Tuesday, August 3, 2010
ACC 2010-Duke Blue Devils
2009 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
Head Coach: David Cutliffe (3rd season, 9-15...53-44 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Luke (3rd season) and Kurt Roper (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Marion Hobby (3rd season) and Jim Knowles (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Close, but no cigar
Offense: There are not enough words to authenticate what a huge black hole the QB spot turned into with the graduation of Thaddeus Lewis. Lewis is the all time leading passer in Duke history with 10,065 yards. You don't just find that kind of production on the corner, but it will be Sean Renfree's job to try. Renfree did lead Duke to a win over Army last season when Lewis was hurt, but has only really played in that one game at any length. He also missed most of spring ball with a knee injury. There is no depth behind him. The running game is problematic as well. Jay Hollingsworth, Desmond Scott, and Patrick Kurunwune should be a committee at that spot. The wideouts are strong as Austin Kelly, Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon all caught at least 50 passes in 2009. LT Kyle Hill, C Bryan Morgan, and RG Brian Moore all return to the O-line, Brandon Harper and Mitch Lederman will battle it out for the LG spot, while Jon Needham, a junior, has basically locked up the RT spot. Expect freshman Josh Snead to get a long look at fall camp.
Defense: The D-line lost a ton of depth to graduation and criminal activities, so there could be issues here. Patrick Egboh returns at DE and Charlie Hatcher is back at NT, but Wes Oglesby is battling Erik Reks for the other DE spot. Expect a fluctuation between 4-3 and 3-4 on defense, and when the 4-3 is being used, Sydney Sarmiento will rotate in at DT. Damian Thornton and Abraham Kromah will return at LB, and it looks like Adam Banks has locked down the open spot on the strong side. Again, depth seems to be a problem. Chris Rwaukamba and freshman Ross Cockrell are expected to man the corners. Matt Daniels returns at S, and Lee Butler will take the vacated spot at the other S position. There is a ton of speed with this secondary, and they had better be ready to give chase with a leaky front seven.
Special Teams: Will Syderwine won the PK job as a walk on last season, but was a pleasant surprise. P Kevin Jones returns after a season in which he ranked dead last in the ACC in punting.
Wins: 9/4 Elon
Toss Up Games: 9/25 Army, 10/2 @ Maryland, 11/6 Virginia
Losses: 9/11 @ Wake Forest, 9/18 Alabama, 10/16 Miami, 10/23 @ Virginia Tech, 10/30 @ Navy, 11/13 Boston College, 11/20 @ Georgia Tech, 11/27 North Carolina
This is a rough schedule for the Blue Devils. With only one guaranteed win, this season looks to have Duke take a step way back from the progress made in 2009. 4 wins maximum but not likely.
Outlook: Duke did get some good news in the off-season, when David Cutliffe turned down the Tennessee job. A man of lesser character would have left, but he is committed to building a winner in Durham, and recruiting should see a boost because of that move. If a coach is committed, the kids will be too. This season will be a letdown, but Cutliffe is working hard to get a level of consistency at Duke that has not been seen since Steve Spurrier coached there in the 80s.