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Duke

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

August 25, 2003 The Big Picture If Duke can't win this season, maybe it never can. The Blue Devils won just two games last season but were within five points of claiming five others, giving games away to Clemson and UNC. With all but two starters back from that team, and the bottom half of the ACC looking as vulnerable as it has in years, this Duke team has a chance to win five to seven games. If it doesn't? Again, it might be that winning on the gridiron just isn't in the cards at this school, barring a coaching presence like Steve Spurrier. And even the Evil Genius himself didn't have to face Florida State on his conference schedule, much less — gasp — Miami and Virginia Tech. Did we mention now or never? The PooP The word around Duke is that fifth-year coach Carl Franks needs to win at least five games to be invited back. With a weak non-conference schedule, that's attainable. At 5-40, Franks already has been shown more patience than almost any Division I-A coach — anywhere, ever — although Franks is tied somewhat to athletic director Joe Alleva, who zeroed in on Franks without pursuing other candidates in late 1998. With this much experience and pretty good talent, Franks must show a return on Alleva's investment or he will be shown the door. Building Blocks Running backs Alex Wade and Chris Douglas give Duke the ACC's most productive 1-2 punch, while quarterback Adam Smith makes better decisions than any Duke QB since Spencer Romine and will be given more freedom this fall. OT Drew Strojny probably will play in the NFL, and the rest of the line is solid. DT Matt Zielinski is another pro prospect, and LBs Ryan Fowler and Brendan Dewan have All-ACC ability. The best defensive back is Terrell Smith, who had 107 tackles and three interceptions in 2002. Long snapper Seth Carter is an unsung player who does his job well. Coming On Strong There are going to be only two new starters on this team, both on defense: Phillip Alexander at end and either Giuseppe Aguanno or DeAndre White at linebacker. Of the three, White is the best talent, but at 6-0, 200 pounds he is essentially a safety playing out of position. Freshman TB Aaron Fryer has the coaching staff relatively unworried about the 2004 losses of Wade and Douglas, while Ben Patrick will continue the recent Duke tradition of getting solid play from tight end. Third-string QB Mike Schneider, a redshirt freshman, has a laser arm; he could be a good one. Done For Me Lately  

Year

ACC

Overall

Postseason

1993

2-6 (7)

3-8

None

1994

5-3 (3)

8-4

Hall Of Fame (L)

1995

1-7 (8)

3-8

None

1996

0-8 (9)

0-11

None

1997

0-8 (9)

2-9

None

1998

2-6 (6)

4-7

None

1999

3-5 (5)

3-8

None

2000

0-8 (9)

0-11

None

2001

0-8 (9)

0-11

None

2002

0-8 (9)

2-10

None

ACC: 13-67 (.163); No. 9 in ACC
Overall: 25-87 (.223); No. 9 in ACC Cause For Concern? Kicker Brent Garber is just as likely to miss an extra point as he is to make a 55-yard field goal, and punter Trey McDonald rarely helps Duke win the battle of field position. That shaky play from special teams puts additional pressure on a Duke secondary that was the worst in the ACC, and No. 102 nationally, at 254.7 passing yards allowed per game. Likewise, on offense Duke can run as well as its defense can stop the run, but can the Blue Devils pass? There are some signs of hope, but nobody knows for sure.

The Whole Truth “We're capable of winning seven games. We were capable of winning seven games last year. Things have got to go our way. We have to stay healthy. And we have to hit it just right.”

— Duke coach Carl Franks   CHART BY: THE DUKE INSIDER