Preview 2017: Duke Picking A Bad Time To Struggle
Duke might be good, and it might be plucky, but the ACC is loaded, loaded, loaded now.
If you look around the division and can’t figure out who the sucker is, maybe it’s you.
Duke is picking a bad time to be in a rebuilding/reloading/figuring-it-out mode, with the ACC coming off a massive season and the Coastal Division not just along for the ride.
Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt and Virginia Tech are all excellent or improving, and Virginia is only going to get better. And now Duke has to try to contend with all of them.
The Blue Devils manage to somehow miss Clemson, Louisville and Florida State from the Atlantic, but even so, the schedule isn’t going to be a peach for a team that has to find more firepower on offense, and needs to be much, much stronger defensively.
A few good young weapons appeared to emerge in spring ball, and Daniel Jones looks like the right quarterback for the next few seasons, but there needs to be – to go Charlie Weis – a decided schematic advantage to overcome the talent gap with the rest of the league.
Head coach David Cutliffe has done a nice job of recruiting – he has a great class coming in – but if the schemes don’t work, it’s just not that easy for the Blue Devils to make a whole lot of noise.
The defense has plenty of work to do on the line, and the secondary that got torched last year has to replace some key producers, but the linebackers are going to be a major plus.
Cutcliffe is too good, and the program has been too solid to keep struggling, but the ACC isn’t about to get any worse.
Duke just has to be better.