Duke Preview 2006
Duke CB John Talley
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Duke might have had the worst of all possible worlds last season. It was one of the awful teams in the nation going 0-10 vs. D-I programs, and it now has to start from scratch.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Usually teams take a big step back in the attempt to take a giant leap forward, but the 2006 Blue Devils have so many question marks and so much youth that unless this is the ACC's surprise team, it'll be another building year.

Not rebuilding. Building.

It has been 11 years since Duke has come up with a winning season with 1994 the only oasis 1989. Even more embarrassing, Duke hasn't won more than three games against D-I teams in a season since going to the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1994. The program has averaged 1.5 D-I wins a year over the last 11.

Head coach: Ted Roof
3rd year: 5-22
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 18, Def. 20, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 26
Ten Best Duke Players
1. CB John Talley, Sr.
2. DT Alex Oghobaase, RFr.
3. LB Michael Tauiliili, Sr.
4. WR Eron Riley, Soph.
5. DE Eli Nichols, Sr.
6. DT Casey Camero, Sr.
7. RB Justin Boyle, Jr.
8. C Matt Rumsey, Jr.
9. RB Ronnie Drummer, Jr.
10. SS Glenn Williams, Soph.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10

9/2 Richmond
9/9 at Wake Forest
9/16 at Virginia Tech
9/30 Virginia
10/7 at Alabama
10/14 Florida State
10/21 Miami
10/28 Vanderbilt
11/4 Navy
11/11 at Boston College
11/18 at Georgia Tech
11/25 North Carolina

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 3-8
2005 Record: 1-10

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at East Carolina L 24-21 
9/10 Virginia Tech L 45-0
9/17 VMI W 40-14
9/24 at Virginia L 38-7
10/1 Navy L 28-21
10/8 at Miami L 52-7
10/15 Georgia Tech L 35-10
10/22 Florida State L 55-24
10/29 Wake Forest L 44-6
11/5 at Clemson L 49-20
11/19 at North Carolina L 24-21

The expectations are hardly high around Durham with the focus of  the athletic program more on the basketball and men's lacrosse teams. That doesn't mean head coach Ted Roof and the rest of the Blue Devils will accept year another miserable season, but they might not have too much of a choice.

Duke isn't going to win the ACC title this season, and it's not going to even come within ten miles of challenging in the Coastal Division. Everyone is going to mentally mark off Duke week as a sure win, so there has to be at least a game or three where effort alone will mean everything.

There are positive pieces in place to build around. The defensive line has the potential to have a huge season if 2005's star recruits Vince Oghobaase and Ayanga Okpokowuruk can use their talent to combine forces with steady veterans Eli Nichols and Casey Camero. John Talley is one of the nation's best cornerbacks, and there are nice receivers and running backs to get excited about.

Of course, this is Duke, so the talent level isn't even in the ballpark compared to the rest of the ACC. The offensive line, which was horrible last year, only has one returning starter and needs time to jell. Lots of time. The quarterbacks have to be much, much more consistent, and the all around team speed isn't even close compared to the rest of the division

Being more competitive will be the first step after losing seven games by more than two touchdowns. The offense has to be more consistent, while the defense has to be more than a speed bump against the better teams. It'll be a long road and a long time before the Blue Devils can be an ACC player, but this season should be key for 2007 when 20 starters going into this season should be back.

The Schedule: There are three legitimate chances for wins opening at Richmond and getting Vanderbilt and Navy at home. The remaining nine games will require upsets, including the ACC opener at Wake Forest. The North Carolina rivalry battle is at home, but so is a brutal back-to-back mountain to climb against Florida State and Miami in the middle of the year. Because the ACC slate isn't tough enough, the Blue Devils get to go to Alabama at the end of September.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore WR Eron Riley. The hope is for quarterback Zack Asack to become the team's best offensive player, but early on, the speedy Riley will be the team's most dangerous weapon. He's 6-3, 200 pounds, and has the ability to be a game-changing deep threat.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB John Talley. One of the nation's best pass defenders, Talley has also proved to be a solid hitter with 109 tackles over the last two seasons. Teams are going to avoid him like an Arliss rerun, so Deonto McCormick needs to have a big year on the other side..

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Marcus Jones. After Zack Asack got suspended, that left only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Jones is a great athlete, but he has to show he can be a great quarterback.

The season will be a success if ... The Blue Devils win five games. That might be asking for the world with so many holes, but it's an attainable goal if they pull off home wins against Richmond, Vanderbilt, and Navy. The North Carolina game is always a battle, and someone is certain to be looking ahead and will get caught napping.

Key game: Sept. 9 at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are much better than last season, but they're still the only ACC team around Duke's size and talent level. If Duke can pull off the upset, that would mean a 2-0 start (after playing Richmond to open the season) and would double the 2005 win total.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 146 - Duke 43
- Passing touchdowns: Opponents 22 - Duke 5
- Points per game: Opponents 37.1 - Duke 16.1

The Last Time Duke…
…played in a bowl game…1994 (Hall of Fame Bowl vs. Wisconsin)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1989 (North Carolina)
…was shutout…2005 (Virginia Tech)
…scored 50 points…1994 (Wake Forest)
…went undefeated…1920
…won a conference title…1989 (tie, ACC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1988 (Anthony Dilweg)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Chris Douglas)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1989 (Clarkston Hines)
…had a first-round draft choice…1987 (LB Mike Junkin)