Georgia Tech Football: Opponent Preview – Duke Blue Devils

It’s time to preview everyone’s favorite Duke squad. You know, a one that everybody though Georgia Tech got jumped by final season? That’s right, we (indirectly) were a ACC Coastal Champions final year. No volume of giveaway wardrobe can take that away.

Duke’s 2013 football debate was by distant one of a many successful in propagandize story for a Blue Devils. The organisation won a propagandize record 10 games on their proceed to their initial ever ACC Coastal climax (the initial ever claimed by a organisation besides Georgia Tech or VPI) and did it all in thespian fashion– after commencement a year 2-2, a Devils finished off a unchanging deteriorate on an 8 diversion winning strain that enclosed large wins over Virginia Tech, Miami, and arch-rival North Carolina. Despite their unsure start, a Devils would turn a organisation to be reckoned with in both a ACC and their postseason appearances. They hung with a National Champion Seminoles improved any organisation had to that point, shutting them out in a initial entertain (which no one had finished previously) and not losing control until low into a third quarter. Duke also handed in a near-upset opposite Johnny Manziel’s Texas AM Aggies in a Chick-fil-A Bowl, carrying built adult a 38-17 halftime lead before floating it late in a fourth quarter.

The 2013 deteriorate ideally illustrated a enlightenment that manager David Cutcliffe has fought to hospital during Duke, a propagandize that for all of time has been overshadowed by a overachieving basketball program– one of toughness, balance, and a loyalty to personification a essentially sound form of football. Nothing highlights this enlightenment and what it has finished for Duke’s football module some-more than Cutcliffe’s success as conduct manager over a past dual seasons. He carries with him a 16-11 symbol (9-7 ACC) with dual play appearances in that span, including an coming during a Belk Bowl– Duke’s initial postseason coming in eighteen years. If we incited your nose adult during that record, be certain to remember that Cutcliffe is coaching during a propagandize with some-more severe entrance mandate and curriculum than even Georgia Tech, and that Duke has had no success whatsoever in decades– their final play win came in 1961 in a Cotton Bowl over a Southwest Conference’s Arkansas Razorbacks.

Despite playing before a smallest throng in a ACC year in and year out, a Devils will demeanour to continue their winning ways of late in 2014. They’ll start a deteriorate as a favorite to repeat by many experts, though customarily time will tell a outcome.

Who’s Gone for a Devils?

This season’s Duke organisation is ranked No. 25 in a republic in terms of returning players from final year (according to Phil Steele), and for that reason it is deliberate to be one of a many dangerous teams in a ACC Coastal. That doesn’t mean, however, that a Devils got off a offshoot in regards to losing players. They too took some vital blows due to transfers, graduation, and a NFL Draft on both a descent and defensive sides of a ball.

Ross Cockrell, CB: Cockrell was one of a anchors of what would infer to be a really miserly Duke delegate final season. He was drafted in a fourth turn by a Buffalo Bills, creation him a top drafted Blue Devil given Lennie Friedman was drafted in a second turn in 1999. Cockrell, who played dilemma for a generation of his college career, was by distant a many well-balanced actor on a invulnerability final season, racking adult 46 sum tackles (two for a loss, one sack), 3 interceptions, a team-leading twelve passes deflected, and a forced fumble. He finished his career with a whopping 50 pass deflections, twelve interceptions, and 233 tackles.

Brandon Connette, QB: While Connette was strictly a backup quarterback for a Blue Devils in 2013, he is simply going to be a many missed actor in 2014. He filled in for starter Anthony Boone for most of a season, accounting for a span of 300 yard flitting games, and came in during pivotal situations even when Boone was healthy in sequence to collect adult tough yardage, customarily in idea line situations where his 6-2′, 225 support was invaluable. He threw for 1,212 yards with 13 touchdowns opposite 6 interceptions and rushed for 337 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013, 10 some-more sum touchdowns than Boone accounted for. He eliminated to Fresno State this off-season to be closer to his mother, who is fighting cancer.

Juwan Thompson, RB: Thompson finished third on Duke’s register in terms of rushing yards, going for 394 yards and a touchdown while hauling in 7 passes for 46 yards in 2013. He was a longtime actor for manager Cutcliffe and his maestro participation will be missed in a Duke locker room as most as his descent prolongation will be.

Kenny Anunike, DE: Anunike finished 2013 fourth in sum tackles for a Blue Devils with 67 over a march of a season. He led Duke with 13.5 tackles for a detriment and 6.0 sacks final season, both career highs, and also played as a parsimonious finish and a defensive lineman in his time in Durham.

Key Returnees and Guys to Watch

Anthony Boone, QB: Boone, a undisputed starter for 2014, will face Tech for a initial time in his career this deteriorate after blank them final deteriorate with a damaged collarbone. He finished  206 of 322 pass attempts final deteriorate (64%) for 13 touchdowns (13 interceptions). Boone can also get a pursuit finished with his legs; he rushed for 214 yards and 5 touchdowns final deteriorate though removing many (if any) idea line carries. Remember that those stats will positively see a burst this season; Boone missed 3 starts this deteriorate with an damage and common snaps with Connette when he was healthy.

Jamison Crowder, WR: This man is usually plain impressive. As a receiver, he rushed 8 times for 71 yards (8.9ypc) and a touchdown while hauling in 108 (!) passes for 1,360 yards (!!) and 8 touchdowns. (For those gripping measure during home, that’s 9th nationally in yards and 19th nationally in yards per game.) To put that into perspective, let’s demeanour during how it compares to Tech’s quarterbacks from 2013. Vad Lee, Justin Thomas, and Tim Byerly sum to finish 92 passes all season, 16 brief of a series of passes Duke finished to Crowder alone. Lee threw for 1,561 yards, and Crowder held for 1,360 yards — a disproportion of 201 yards. Those are positively crazy numbers for a receiver to put adult in college.

David Helton and Kebly Brown, LB: Helton and Brown finished initial and third, respectively, on a Duke sum tackles list. They sum for 255 tackles, 15 tackles for losses, dual sacks, dual interceptions, and dual forced fumbles in 2013 alone, all really considerable numbers for a linebacker corps that should improve.

Jeremy Cash, S: Cash finished second on a Duke tackles list with 121 sum tackles, 9 for a loss, 4 interceptions, and dual forced fumbles in 2013. He should assistance anchor what should be an even improved Duke invulnerability this season.

Potential Impact Freshmen:

A note on Duke’s arriving beginner class: It is not a deepest category they have had, and since they are so gifted right now many rising beginner will not play a lot of snaps. They have sealed a few impact players, though since many will approaching redshirt this season, I’m customarily speculating on who could be an impact player.

Trevon Lee, WR: Lee is by distant a most-touted partisan that Duke sealed in 2013. He is a three-star wideout from Florida, and during 5’11″, 167, he will substantially find himself as some-more of a container receiver than anything else during his career. If he is starting, however, a Tech delegate will need to be prepared for a one-two-punch of him and Crowder; a opening like they put adult final year won’t cut it.

Alonzo Saxton, CB: Saxton is one of a rising freshmen who competence be competing for snaps this season. He is three-star dilemma a of Columbus, Ohio with good measurables though some next normal speed for a defensive back. He ran a 4.85 in a forty, so he competence have a small difficulty gripping adult with some of a ACC’s far-reaching receivers– I’d add-on him as a reserve if we asked me.

Zach Harmon, OL: Harmon is a three-star descent lineman out Toledo, Ohio who has a intensity to assistance an already gifted and achieved Duke descent line urge even more. He is listed during 6’4″, 265, and had offers from Michigan St., Indiana, and Purdue among others. His appears to have good footwork and mobility though can also mount his possess opposite stronger pass rushers, a good multiple for an offense as offset as Duke’s.

Joseph Ajeigbe, RB: Ajeigbe is approaching to start a deteriorate as a third using behind on a abyss draft behind Josh Snead and Shaq Powell, though he should still get his satisfactory share of touches since of Cutcliffe’s welfare to use a using behind by cabinet approach, not distinct that of Paul Johnson.

*All stats, measurements, and ratings came from Rivals.

Major Differences from 2013:

While a Blue Devils are experiencing minimal turnover as distant as players, their coaching staff did get a assuage makeover after descent coordinator Kurt Roper was hired to reason a same position during Florida. Former far-reaching receivers manager Scottie Montgomery will take over a Duke offense that has been successfully using a discerning paced widespread offense for a few years now.

One of a vital changes in Duke’s shaping will come in idea line situations. Because a aforementioned Brandon Connette is no longer with a team, Cutcliffe and Montgomery will need to find a new process of punching it into a finish zone; Boone is positively not a pushover during 6’0″, 230, though he doesn’t have utterly as most physicality or continuance as Connette did.

The apparent change will be a deficiency of Brandon Connette, who started opposite Tech in final season’s match-up. He threw for 122 yards and rushed for 15 some-more (on 10 carries) opposite a Jackets in Durham.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

One of a biggest strengths that Duke has this deteriorate is a singular commodity in a ACC: an experienced, maestro quarterback. The significance of a quarterback who knows what he’s doing can't be overstated, and joined with a maestro offense with compliments like Crowder and a plain fast of using backs, a offense as a whole looks like a certain thing in 2014. The descent line should also be one of a nation’s best; it defended copiousness of talent from final season’s organisation that customarily authorised 17 sacks all season, including Laken Tomlinson, Matt Skura, and Takoby Cofield.

The biggest doubt symbol on Duke’s arriving organisation is a defensive line. With longtime starters Kenny Anunike and Justin Foxx both relocating on, a Devils will have to demeanour to some unproven talent to step up. Again, there is copiousness of talent to go around on Duke’s DL, though it usually isn’t proven yet; we don’t design any struggles from that patrol this year. If customarily Tech’s worry list could be this skinny…

Duke during a Glance:

When we see Duke, we see a organisation with a lot of similarities to Georgia Tech. Coach Cutcliffe, like CPJ, has to quarrel a consistent ascending conflict of recruiting during a propagandize with high educational standards. Both CPJ and Cutcliffe are skilful during anticipating “diamonds in a rough” in a clarity of looking for underrated talent and removing to it quickly, before a rest of a universe even knows it’s there. Not to discuss that both coaches’ tendencies to use a using behind by cabinet  approach and dual quarterbacks are utterly similar. Heck, both schools are even basketball powerhouses. No? I’ll usually keep forgetful then..

Overall, a Blue Devils should be in line to have nonetheless another successful deteriorate in 2014. Will they finish with 10 wins or even more? I’d contend it’s simply possible. They have a soothing out of discussion report with Elon (whose rage we faced final season), Tulane, Troy, and Kansas, so integrate that with their ACC Atlantic opponents for this deteriorate in Syracuse and Wake Forest and we have a recipe for during slightest 6 easy wins and a third true play appearance. If all goes as approaching for a Devils, they could see their best deteriorate in propagandize history, and if zero goes as approaching afterwards they are still looking during a successful season. I’ll give them a best box unfolding of 12 wins and a misfortune box unfolding of 7 wins.

Thanks a lot to DukeReport.com ‘s Jim Oliver (@jimoliverDR) and Brian Evans for some good info on Duke’s recruiting; anticipating good recruiting news about a football organisation during a basketball propagandize got flattering challenging.

What do we design out of Dukes season? Will it be another vital success or a ancestral flop?

Phew, all that football speak done me want… football. Is it Aug yet? No? we theory I’ll usually shelter into hibernation until a NBA Draft then…

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