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.
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
The Dukies have 3 running backs in regular rotation - Re'quan Boyette [#21], Justin Boyle  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?
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...
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...
- because they're so spread out and make you defend the entire width of the field, there's going to be a lot more one-on-one tackling opportunities because of what they do, and we're going to have to tackle well in the open field.
Something to be worried about - Duke did put up a safety on Virginia last Saturday.
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.
- I don't know what it is, I don't know what it is. We've
gone around and around-investigating things, talking to people. He's
gone to [kicking camps]. -- Ted Roof
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.
Nothing reported for this week, altho RT Fred Roland missed game one with an injury.
- Duke Coach Ted Roof we need to protect the passer better, at times we need to run better routes and at times we need to throw better balls. To say that there's the one thing, there is not just one thing – it's a combination of a bunch of things
- NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald: I'd like to see us have a little more disciplined execution along with our disciplined football. Those two combined will be a great asset to us as we move forward in our football season
What the Cats Have to Do:
- Play Defense: Finally, we faced some adversity and we really kind of showed what we can be and who we are -- Mike Dinard after the Nevada Game
- Ross Lane has to catch more passes - Ross had to beat that guy, it was 1-on-1 coverage, and he did. -- NU QB C.J. Bacher'
- Show what kind of team NU has this year - I'm very excited about the direction we're headed here into a very important week for us to improve on what we're doing and get one week better in our preparation -- Coach Fitzgerald
- Keep the strings going - in the series we're 7-7, NU has
won 7 of the last 8 games, and Duke has lost 22 straight.- the longest
current losing streak in Div I
TV - Big 10 Network - Mark Neely, Glen Mason and Marshall Harris call the action
- Direct TV Channel 219
- 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
Beat 'em All!
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