To preview this weekend's game between BC and the Duke Blue Devils, we welcome Adam Rowe from Duke Hoop Blog to the blog for Five Good Minutes. You can read up on Blue Devils football at Duke Hoop Blog and follow Adam on Twitter @DukeHoopBlog.
In exchange, I answered some questions on the Eagles over at Duke Hoop Blog. Keep me honest.
BC Interruption: For a team with bowl aspirations, how big of a setback was Duke's season opening loss to Richmond? What happened, and why do you guys keep playing the Spiders?
Duke Hoop Blog: Choke doesn't even begin to describe it. The offensive alternated between maddeningly overconfident and boringly conservative. While bowl aspirations were in the minds of the biggest Duke Football fans, that game certainly delivered a cold slap of reality to remind Blue Devil supporters just how far up Coach David Cutcliffe has to bring this program to be competitive in Division 1. Luckily, Kevin White is smart enough to discontinue the series with Richmond and other upper FCS squads, unlike his predecessor, Joe Alleva. See the preliminary future schedules here:
BCI: Duke was able to hang with a top ranked Stanford team for a half. How were the Blue Devils able to hold the Cardinal close for a half?
DHB: Coming into the season, the defensive unit of Duke was supposed to be a weakness. However, throughout two games, it has invariably been the team's strength. After giving up a long touchdown drive on Stanford's first drive of the game, the Cardinal's next 2 drives consisted of four plays each and 17 and 18 yards. On Duke's first drive of the game, Sean Renfree led his team 70 yards down the field only to have preseason All-American kicker miss a chip shot from 27 yards out. Duke would miss two more field goals to end the first half, but the defensive unit made enough stops (including a 76 yard INT return for a touchdown to keep the Blue Devils within striking distance. Against a team like Stanford, a team like Duke would have to play a near perfect game to pull of the upset. Little mistakes like Going 3-16 on 3rd down and missing 3 field goals will not put Duke into position to win.
BCI: Last season BC saw both Sean Renfree and Brandon Connette under center. What's the status of Duke's QB rotation? Will we see Connette under center on Saturday?
DHB: Connette is injured at this time, and while no Duke fans want their second string QB to be hurt, it does lead some to be excited at the chance for Sean Renfree to get some work in the red zone on early downs and for them not to see the constant shuffling between Renfree and Connette that some feel has contributed to Duke's offensive struggles this season. Even more so, the game against Boston College last year was a prime example of what looks to be a troubling trend if you look simply at the red zone performance.
These are the plays inside the 20 from Durham last year:
|Play Result||Down||To Yard Line|
|Renfree 48 yards to Vernon||1||BC 4|
|Connette run -4 yards||1||BC 8|
|Duke penalty -5 yards||2||BC 13|
|Connette run 1 yard||2||BC 12|
|Renfree incomplete||3||BC 12|
|Snyderwine FG||4||BC 12|
|Renfree 6 yards to Watkins||1||BC 17|
|Scott run 2 yards||2||BC 15|
|Connette run -7 yards||3||BC 22|
|Snyderwine FG||4||BC 22|
|Scott run 7 yards & facemask||3||BC 10|
|Connette 3 yards to Vernon||1||BC 7|
|Connette run 2 yards||2||BC 5|
|Renfree sacked -10||3||BC 15|
|Snyderwine FG||4||BC 15|
|Connette 19 yards to Thompson||2||BC 9|
|Varner run -1 yard||1||BC 10|
|Renfree 6 yards to Trezvant||2||BC 4|
|Connette incomplete||3||BC 4|
|Renfree incomplete||4||BC 4|
You may see some of Anthony Boone though, who will likely be the 2nd QB in this game.
BCI: What would a win over BC mean for the Blue Devils?
DHB: The world. It would give this season some hope of not being a complete and total train wreck.
BCI: Give me three keys as to how Duke can beat the Eagles on the road this weekend.
DHB: 1) Red zone efficency. Our kicking game is shot. Have to score touchdowns at this point. 2) Montel Harris being hurt. 3) Defensive pressure on Rettig. If we can force him into another 10/23 70 yard, 2 INT performance, we should have a shot.
BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who ya got? What's the final score?
DHB: 24-21 BC (I'm not predicting Duke to win until they do)
BCI: Thanks for joining us, Adam.
For more on the Duke Blue Devils, be sure to stop by Duke Hoop Blog.