Coach K – Defense builds character at Duke

Coach K teaches during a recent practice - BDN Photo
Coach K teaches during a recent practice - BDN Photo

Durham, N.C. -A lot of Duke fans were not around when current Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was first named the basketball coach at Duke University.  Thirty years ago, Tom Butters interviewed the then Army coach at the bequest of Bobby Knight and the rest is glorious history for the Duke program.

Krzyzewski didn't inherit a lot save two seniors Gene Banks and Kenny Dennard from previous coach Bill Foster and that meant a few lean years before Duke turned into the perennial national power it is today.  I have been around since the very first day Kryzewski came aboard and remember well him being introduced along with his family on the concourse in between Cameron Indoor Stadium and Card Gymnasium.

Practices were fairly open back then and on a few occasions I'd drop by to see how Krzyzewski handled his program.  It was on a pre season day in his third year that it became oh-s0 clear to me what he was trying to do, that being develop a system.  I knew then that it was simply a matter of him getting a few top notch players before his man to man would work.

A few years later, he made up for some early misses when Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins and David Henderson came aboard.  Oddly, just before that happened Duke had some disgruntled fans who couldn't see the foundation being laid, but that's a story for another day.

Several key words describe the Duke program.  The word family is the first that comes to mind, but character goes hand in hand with that.  During ACC Operation Basketball I had a chance to confer with Krzyzewski about many things.  When I asked about playing zone defense, that allowed him to segue into how his man to man defense and principles build character.

Why not hear what he said for your self by pressing play below -

Jon Scheyer discusses social media outlets, family and Coach K

Duke senior Jon Scheyer sat down and chatted with the Blue Devil Nation
Duke senior Jon Scheyer sat down and chatted with the Blue Devil Nation

Jon Scheyer talked of social media groups, such as Twitter and Facebook, his parents' support and thoughts on playing for Coach K in Part 1 of a recent one-on-one interview with the senior [private] co-captain.


BDN Premium - Up next - Marshall Plumlee

Duke at Virginia Game Notes

Blue Devils Travel To Charlottesville
Duke (4-3, 2-1 ACC) will head to Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, Oct. 31 to face Virginia (3-4, 2-1 ACC). Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (ET) at David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium. The game will be streamed live on with Frank Giardina calling the play-by-play and Danny Kanell providing the color commentary. The Blue Devils have won two straight games after beating Maryland at home, 17-13, last weekend. The Cavaliers are coming off a 34-9 loss to Georgia Tech at home a week ago.

Last Time Out
Duke’s defense and punt coverage unit came up with two takeaways in the final five minutes to help the Blue Devils earn a 17-13 win over Maryland. Vincent Rey intercepted a pass at the 4:09 mark and Brandon King recovered a fumble with 1:42 remaining to seal the win. Thaddeus Lewis completed 30-of-43 pass attempts for 371 yards and two touchdowns. Duke had two receivers go over 100 yards. Donovan Varner caught eight passes for 120 yards and one touchdown and Conner Vernon had five grabs for 102 yards.

Duke-Virginia Series
Virginia leads the all-time series between the two schools 32-28. Duke snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Cavaliers last season. Virginia has won the last four in Charlottesville.

Overall: Virginia, 32-28
First Meeting: Virginia, 10-4 in 1890
Last Meeting: Duke, 31-3 in 2008
Largest Duke Margin of Victory: 49 (49-0) in 1943
Largest UVA Margin of Victory: 59 (59-0) in 1990
Duke’s Last Win in Charlottesville: 1999 (24-17 2OT)
Virginia’s Last Win in Durham: 2007 (24-13)
Current Streak: Duke, W1

Last Meeting
The Blue Devils posted a big second half against Virginia last season, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-0 and forcing five turnovers after the game was tied 3-3 at halftime. Duke caused six turnovers in the game with Michael Tauiliili posting an interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery to go with 16 tackles. Jabari Marshall returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown as well.

Inside the Numbers ...

  • .222 - Duke is tied for the ACC lead and tied for fifth nationally in fourth down defense as opponents are converting only 22.2 percent of their fourth down opportunities. The Blue Devils have not allowed a fourth down conversion in four attempts in the fourth quarter this season.
  • 2 - Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will move into a tie for fifth on the ACC career passing touchdowns chart with two passing touchdowns. Lewis currently ranks sixth with 63 career scoring tosses.
  • 4 - The Blue Devils’ punt coverage unit has recovered four fumbles this season with two returned for touchdowns. Last week against Maryland, Brandon King recovered a fumbled punt with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter to seal a win over the Terps.
  • 5 - Sophomore wide receiver Donovan Varner is tied for the ACC lead with five touchdown receptions this season. He has caught a touchdown pass in four of the seven games this season.
  • 5.57 - Junior wide receiver Austin Kelly leads the ACC with 5.57 receptions per game. He has caught five or more passes in five straight games and in six of the seven games overall on the year.
  • 6 - True freshman Conner Vernon needs just six catches to tie the school record for receptions in a season by a freshman. Corey Thomas has held the record of 37 since 1994.
  • 8-0 - Under head coach David Cutcliffe, Duke has an 8-0 record when leading after the third quarter. The Blue Devils have had leads heading into the final stanza in all eight of Cutcliffe’s victories at Duke.
  • 25 - For the first time in school history, four different wide receivers have caught 25 or more passes for the Blue Devils. Kelly (39), Varner (35), Vernon (31) and Johnny Williams (26) have all gone over 25 receptions in the first seven games.
  • 100 - The Blue Devils had two wide receivers record over 100 yards against Maryland for the first time since 1999. Varner (120) and Vernon (102) each posted their second 100-yard games of the year. Vernon became the first freshman in Duke history with two 100-yard games in a season.
  • 144.47 - Lewis has a quarterback rating of 144.47 this season, which currently ranks as the top mark in school history. Ben Bennett is the school’s record holder with a 142.45 in 1982.
  • 300 - With 289 career tackles, Vincent Rey is 11 stops shy of becoming the 13th player in Duke football history to register 300 career tackles.
  • 322.6 - Duke leads the ACC and ranks sixth nationally in passing offense by averaging 322.6 yards per game through the air. The Blue Devils last led the league in passing offense in 1991. Duke also ranks third in the league in total offense with an average of 397.0 yards per game.
  • 350 - With his 371-yard outing against Maryland, Lewis has now thrown for 350 or more yards in five career games. He is one of four quarterbacks in Duke history to have four or more performances of 350+ yards, joining Anthony Dilweg (7), Ben Bennett (6) and Spence Fischer (5).
  • 2,000 - With 28 passing yards, Lewis will become the second player in ACC history with four 2,000-yard passing seasons. The only other player to accomplish the feat is N.C. State’s Philip Rivers. Wake Forest’s Riley Skinner is 51 yards shy of his fourth straight 2,000-yard season.
  • 9,000 - Lewis is 293 yards away from becoming just the third Duke player and seventh player in the ACC with 9,000 career passing yards. He is 314 yards away from tying Spence Fischer for second all-time at Duke and sixth in ACC history.

Duke WR Austin Kelly talks about the Devils big win over Maryland

Kelly showed up big in rainy Wallace Wade
Kelly showed up big in rainy Wallace Wade

Not to be lost in all of the basketball hullabaloo is Duke's second consecutive ACC win in football.  The Blue Devils took care of business against Maryland posting a 17-13 victory.  BDN caught up with Austin Kelly to get his thoughts on the game.  Kelly had a team high nine catches for 61 yards.

Just press play ...

Do you want to go to the UVA game but don't want to drive?  Mark: Still have some seats in a 15 passenger van for the Virgina &  UNC games. Fans can call me at (919)730-0540 or email me for details.