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
Off. 18, Def. 20, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 26
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.
at Wake Forest
at Virginia Tech
at Boston College
at Georgia Tech
2005 Record: 1-10
Preview 2005 predicted wins
at East Carolina
Virginia Tech L 45-0
at Virginia L 38-7
at Miami L 52-7
Georgia Tech L 35-10
Florida State L 55-24
Wake Forest L 44-6
Clemson L 49-20
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
- 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)
…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)