2008 Duke Blue Devils Football Preview
Duke's 2007 Record: (1-11, 0-8 ACC)
2007 Bowl: none
Duke Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (1st season at Duke, 44-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kurt Roper
Defensive Coordinator: Mike MacIntyre
Returning Leaders for Duke:
Other Key Returnees: DE Greg Akinbiyi, S Adrian Aye-Darko, OT Cameron Goldberg, DE Wesley Oglesby, DT Ayanga Okpolowuruk, OT Fred Roland, G Rob Schirmann, CB Glenn Williams
Key Losses: DE Patrick Bailey, RB Justin Boyle, S Chris Davis, G Zach Maurides, C Matt Rumsey, WR Jomar Wright
Here we are again. Every few years the excitement about Duke football is rejuvenated with the hiring of a new coach. Usually that excitement wears down pretty fast, but new head man David Cutcliffe hopes this one will last. Coach Cutcliffe is a great X’s and O’s guy and his pro style offense should be able to utilize his team’s strengths against the opponents’ weaknesses, even without the athletes to match.
Peyton Manning, Eli Manning…Thaddeus Young? What do those three have in common? Not as much as Duke fans would hope, but Coach Cutcliffe was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee when Peyton was tearing up the SEC and he took over the head coaching job at Ole Miss from 1998 to 2004 in time to teach what he knows to young Eli. Young might not be a Manning, but the junior quarterback does have two years of starting experience, a decent arm, a surprising amount of accuracy and a fresh start in a new offense. The return of Eron Riley, who caught 40 passes for 830 yards and nine touchdowns will make Young look even better.
What makes Young’s 21 touchdown passes and just ten interceptions so impressive is that the rest of the offense was just plain bad last year. Young was sacked 44 times and the offensive line has more questions than answers. Three starters are back, but that includes left tackle Cameron Goldberg who is spending his off-season suspended for breaking unspecified team rules. His status for the season is unknown. There is some decent young talent on the o-line, but nobody is expecting a miracle quite yet. The lack of a line leads to a lack of a running attack as well. Re’quan Boyette led the team with 432 yards on the ground and two touchdowns and those numbers will have to improve if Duke wants to win a game against somebody other than Northwestern.
The Bottom Line for the Blue Devils:
Of course the defense was not great either, but they do return nine starters. There were a ton of underclassmen thrown into the defensive fire last season and it is hoped that the new found optimism along with that experience will turn the defense into a formidable unit. With linebackers Michael Tauilili and Vincent Rey, Duke has a good place to start.
2007 Duke Blue Devils Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 64.00 (117th in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 207.08 (74, 6)
Total Offense: 271.08 (117, 12)
Scoring Offense: 17.92 (114, 12)
Rushing Defense: 180.25 (84, 11)
Pass Defense: 244.08 (82, 10)
Total Defense: 424.33 (92, 12)
Scoring Defense: 33.17 (98, 12)
Turnover Margin: -.25 (81, 8)
Sacks: 2.08 (60, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 3.75 (112, 11)
By Joel Welser
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