What You Need To Know About The Duke Defense
– There’s a whole lot to like with eight starters back on a defense that finished 21st in the country allowing just 333 yards and 20 points per game. It starts with a fantastic group of linebackers, with Joe Giles-Harris one of the nation’s top stat-sheet fillers. Ben Humphreys is a great running mate, who finished third on the team with 70 tackles for a defense that allowed under 2,000 rushing yards with just 16 touchdowns.
– The pass rush was okay, and there weren’t enough tackles for loss. But the line has the potential to be fantastic, with rising sophomore star Victor Dimukeje on one side and Tre Hornbuckle back on the other. Get ready for the ends to attack more.
The tackles aren’t huge, but Edgar Cerenord and Trevon McSwain are veterans who know what they’re doing. There’s bulk among the backups, with a few 300 pounders ready to fill in.
– With six interceptions, Mark Gilbert came up with a special sophomore season. Now the all-star veteran corner will likely be avoided with an opening on the other corner spot. Jeremy McDuffie is a terrific all-around safety who should once again be one of the team’s leading tacklers. He’ll be a star in a secondary that will once again finish among the nation’s top 20.
Biggest Key To The Duke Defense
Get around the ball even more. There’s no complaining about what the Blue Devils were able to do last season defensively, but this year they’re going to be more aggressive and try to get behind the line on a regular basis. That includes recovering fumbles.
Turnover margin wasn’t much of an issue, and the interceptions and big plays from the secondary were there, but the D only came up with four fumble recoveries.
With 28 in the previous three years, the Blue Devils got their share. But last season they went through a stretch of six games without a recovering a fumble and only forced ten on the year.