Pregame Intel: Duke Blue Devils

Some Duke observers think that the Duke Offense will feast on the Northwestern D because the Wildcats gave up so many yards to Nevada last week. They hope to exploit NU's defensive lapses to break their 22 game losing streak. So what makes them think they can humble the Wildcat team....?

If you are a coach - you always expect to win...

And you can't fault the Duke Blue Devil fans for backing their team, even though home attendance for the team with the long losing streak has been dropping like free throws at a Coach K Basketball practice. [According to a Duke Cronicle columnist]

Maybe its the 22 game losing streak, which their team hopes to break at the nands of the Wildcats. Maybe its just that all the excitement about Ted Roof and the big improvements Duke made to Wallace Wade Stadium and the football facilities is starting to wear thin on the Alumni.

Roof took over in 2003 after coaching defense for 2 years at Duke. He also was DC at his old school - Georgia Tech - proving that you can go home. Like NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald, Ted Roof is also a former linebacking star, altho he played ball 10 years earlier than Fitz.



Offense

This is an offense that returned every starter from last year

The problem appears to be on the offensive line - Scout's man in Durham, David Duhrman called out the line, calling it lackluster. He says they need to find an offensive rhythm, they need to get their "skill" players up to speed.

The big problem is that QB Thad Lewis [#9] just doesn't have the time to throw.
    I would have expected us to be more productive offensively than we have been thus far. There are a lot of factors in that, it's not Thad, it's a lot of factors. We're all accountable and responsible for it-- Duke Coach Ted Roof
Not that they don't have experience up front - center Matt Rumsey [#68] and tackles Cam Goldberg [74] and Fred Roland [#70] have been around for a while, but Lewis just doesn't have time to throw, and the 3 running backs don't have holes to run through.

The Dukies have 3 running backs in regular rotation - Re'quan Boyette [#21], Justin Boyle [20] and Ronnie Drummer [#40] are the only active unit in the nation to have three players with a run from scrimmage of over 75 yards, but in 41 games under Roof, the Devils only have 11 100 yard rushing games. [All 3 active backs contributed to the 11 games] - last week Robinson rushed 9 for 31, Boyette 6 for 31 and Boyle 7 for 14.

Ronnie Drummer is a big play back - and returner. He has a 100 yard return, and an 81 yard rush from scrimmage.

But the Devils didn't start a running back against Virginia - choosing to go with 3 WRs and a tight end.

Will Duke go after the NU Defensive Line and try to get the running game going? or will Corey Wootton & Co. pad their sack numbers?



Defense:


The Duke Defense looks like a 4-3. They play with a Nose Guard [DT on Center] and a Rush End. Last week they ran what appears to be a 5-2, adding an additional Tackle to the front 7.

The experience of the front 4 was considered to be a strength before the season started. Third-year sophomores Vince Oghobaase [#3, Ayanga Okpokowuruk [#91] and Ryan Radloff [#55] are starting - they were the big names in Ted Roof's first good class in 2005. All 3 were persued by major programs in their home states.

When Oghobaase is asked about going to Duke, instead of some bigger name programs...
But all three had to sit out their first year due to injuries and there is still a depth issue on defense. The two inside "O's" are tough to block, but they tend to wear down as those little injuries take their toll. If the Duke D is on the field for a long time, there are question marks on the depth chart.

The unit did put forth a slightly better effort against UVA last weekend, but there are still plenty of improvements to be made. Against the run, the Blue Devils held the Cavaliers to a modest 3.9 ypc. But in the passing game, UVA completed an efficient 22-of-32 tosses.

And Coach Roof recognizes that defending against NU's pass happy offense won't be easy...
And here's the problem - in their opener, Duke's inexperienced cornerbacks we giving 10 yard cushions [sound familiar]. In two games Duke has allowed 69 points.

Something to be worried about - Duke did put up a safety on Virginia last Saturday.


Special Teams

Shades of NU over the last few years - Duke's place kicker, Joe Surgan [#25], is 1 for 4 in field goals this year. Surgan was Florida's version of Stephan Demos  - he only missed one PAT in 65 tries, and was 23 or 28 on FGs. As a frosh, he was 8 for 8 kicking off the grass.
Backup kicker Greg Meyers [#98] has been given more reps this week - the Duke Chronicle points out that had Surgan made all 4 FG attempts last week, the game would have been very close - 2 points in the last 7 minutes.

There's also a joke around that Duke is holding open tryouts for a punter.

In the opener, starter Kevin Jones [#49] averaged 31 yards in 3 punts. Nick Maggio [#47] came in and averaged 26.3 yards.

Things aren't all sweetness and light in Durham.


Injuries:

Nothing reported for this week, altho RT Fred Roland missed game one with an injury.


Overall:

    What the Cats Have to Do:

      TV - Big 10 Network - Mark Neely, Glen Mason and Marshall Harris call the action
      • Direct TV Channel 219
      Radio - It will be on WGN, [620 AM [also XM Satellite Radio ch 198] Starting at 7:07 WT with the pregame, Game at 6:30 PM with Dave Eanet and Ted Albrecht.
      • Also WNUR, pregame at 6 PM WT
      • In North Carolina - Duke has 27 station network, Bob Harris and Anthony Dileg call the action. The game is on Duke Radio Network
      We'll be chatting at the same spot

      You can send your comments or "back door" information
      to Coach Roy
      Go Cats
      Beat 'em All!
      Talk about it on the Purple Boards
      [Click Here]
      Copyright 2007 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

      Purple Wildcats Top Stories