Tag Archives: Abraham Kromah

Stats Update: Duke runs over Virginia

I remain convinced a team must successfully run the ball to consistently compete to win. After rushing 45 times for 142 yards in the win at Navy, Duke followed up by rushing for 230 yards on 45 attempts with six rushing touchdowns in Saturday’s 55-48 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. So far in 2010, through nine games, Duke is averaging 132.8 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 85th out of 120 Football Bowl Series teams. Last season, Duke finished 120th in rushing.

On Saturday, Desmond Scott rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries including the decisive 35 yard touchdown scamper on a toss sweep. Brandon Connette was Duke’s second leading rusher gaining 78 yards on 12 carries, followed by Sean Renfree who gained 22 yards on 10 carries. Connette and Renfree each scored two rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receiver Donovan Varner was the fourth Blue Devil to score a rushing touchdown when he went in motion out of the slot, received an inside hand-off from Connette on a QB option, and darted off tackle for nine yards into the end zone. Varner gained 14 yards on two carries.

Improvement in the ground attack is a positive indicator Duke continues to progress toward turning the football program into an ACC contender.

It is no coincidence Duke has a plus five (+5) turnover margin in their three victories while being minus 14 (-14) during the six losses. Turnovers kill a team’s ability to win games. Duke remains last in the ACC in turnover margin at minus nine (-9) so if they are to extend their current two game winning streak they must value the football.

With all the success Duke has had running the ball recently, make no mistake, the Blue Devils remain a pass oriented offense. Duke is third in the ACC in passing offense averaging 261.3 yards per game. Sean Renfree has passed for 2270 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

Conner Vernon (5.4), Donovan Varner (5.2) and Austin Kelly (4.4) are first, third and eighth in the ACC respectively, in receptions per game. With Austin Kelly out for the game and Conner Vernon injured returning a kick-off, tight end Cooper Helfet stepped up and caught seven passes for 126 yards against the Cavaliers. Helfet has 20 catches in eight games this season for a 2.5 receptions per game average. He was named one of the ACC players of the week for the second consecutive week.

On Duke’s game winning drive, Donovan Varner converted the critical first down when he caught a 26 yard pass on fourth and 18.

The kicking game is another phase of the game where Duke is excelling. Will Snyderwine is ranked number three in the ACC in scoring (kick) with 72 points. He has made 15 field goals out of 16 attempts plus all 27 extra points attempted.

Duke has attempted six onsides kicks this season and been successful four times.

Lee Butler averages 9.5 yards per punt return, which is fifth in the ACC. His longest return this season is 33 yards and he returned one punt for 26 yards in this week’s victory.

Desmond Scott is sixth in the ACC in all purpose yards with 957. Scott has rushed for 489 yards, gained 260 on kick returns, and caught 22 passes for 208 yards this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, Abraham Kromah ranks second in the ACC in tackles per game at 10.1. Kelby Brown is eighth with 7.6 and Matt Daniels is tied for eleventh with 6.9.

Injuries are starting to mount and could become an issue over the last three weeks of the season so I’m awaiting Thursday’s injury report with trepidation. Duke seeks to extend their winning streak to three games when the Boston College Eagles visit Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

Stats Update: Conner Vernon has an Excellent Game but Turnovers Tell the Tale

Conner Vernon leads the ACC in Receptions per Game and Receiving Yards per Game
Sometimes statistics can be misleading while other times they concisely tell the tale. In Saturday’s 35-21 loss to the Army Black Knights one needs to look no further than the five Blue Devil turnovers to understand the outcome. Sean Renfree threw interceptions on two of Duke’s first three possessions, which resulted in the Cadets jumping all over the Blue Devils early and never looking back.

Duke lost fumbles on their first two possessions of the second half and Army pushed their lead to 35-7 by converting Duke’s turnovers into touchdowns. With five turnovers on Saturday, the Blue Devils saw their turnover plus/minus fall to minus four for the season, which is last in the ACC.

On the positive side, wide receiver Conner Vernon had eight receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. Vernon has three touchdown receptions so far this season and all have been on receptions greater than 50 yards.

Vernon leads the ACC in Receiving Yards per Game (112.1) and Receptions per Game (7). Those numbers result in a national ranking of seven and 14 respectively. In post game comments, Coach Cutcliffe described Vernon as, “…one of the toughest young men that you will ever come across…he can be a great football player.”

As good a game as Vernon had, he was responsible for one of the turnovers when he fumbled while fighting for extra yards on a reception early in the second half.

Donovan Varner is tied for fourth in the ACC, with Florida State’s Bert Reed, in Receptions per game with 5.8, while Austin Kelly is number eight with 4.8 receptions per game. With three of the league’s top eight receivers, Duke’s receiving corps is living up to its reputation as the most talented in the ACC.

Sean Renfree’s seven interceptions this season are troublesome; however, he still leads the ACC in Passing Yards per Game at 278.2 yards and he has thrown nine touchdowns. Renfree seemed to be a bit out of sync against Army so he needs to have a good week in practice and reacquire the razor sharp edge he has previously displayed.

Duke continues to display an ability to run the ball by rushing 24 times for 111 yards against the Black Knights. Duke is averaging 144.5 yards per game, on the season, which is ninth in the ACC and number 72 in the nation. Duke has rushed for over 100 yards in all four games this season after accomplishing the benchmark only once in 12 games in 2009. The one occurrence in 2009 was against FCS opponent North Carolina Central University.

This season Desmond Scott (277 yards), Josh Snead (158 yards) and Brandon Connette (118 yards) all have the potential to breakout on a long run. Their long runs on the season are 63, 27 and 48 yards, respectively.

On the defensive side of the ball true freshman linebacker Kelby Brown recorded six solo tackles and was credited with four assists for a total of 10 tackles. Senior Abraham Kromah was responsible for a total of 13 tackles with four being solo. Safeties Matt Daniels and Walt Canty were credited with nine and eight tackles respectively.

Kromah is tied for ninth in the ACC at 7.8 tackles per game while Daniels is tied for 12th with 7.5.

Two worrisome defensive statistical categories are Sacks and Tackles for Loss. Duke does not have a single player who breaks out amongst the 20 listed by the ACC in these two categories. Duke is tied with Boston College for last place in the ACC in sacks.

Here is how Duke stands in the ACC and NCAA in 10 statistical categories:

1. Total offense: dropped to number four in the ACC and number 38 in the nation. Offensive yardage dropped from 443.7 to 425.8 yards per game. Duke was number three and 27 last week.

2. Time of possession: dropped from number one in the ACC to number six as Army dominated this statistic. Duke’s time of possession fell from 32 minutes and 27 to 29 minutes and 21 seconds per game.

3. Third down conversions: Duke was 1 – 8 on third down against Army, which lowered their success rate to 42.9% resulting in Duke falling to number six in the ACC and number 48 in the nation.

4. Red zone offense: Duke remains at 100 percent success in the red zone scoring nine touchdowns and four field goals in 13 opportunities.

5. First downs: fell from number one in the ACC to number three with 87 first downs. The Blue Devils have rushed for 29, passed for 52, and been awarded six via penalties. These numbers result in Duke falling from being tied with Notre Dame at number 16 in the nation last week to being number 37 this week.

6. Total defense: improved to number 11 in the ACC and number 110 in the nation as they decreased total yards allowed to 466.2 from 510.7 yards of offense per game.

7. Scoring defense: Duke remains last in the ACC giving up an average 44.5 points per game down from 47.7 points per game. Those numbers still rank number 118 in the nation. The 35 points given up to Army can be partially attributed to the Blue Devils turnover issues.

8. Opponent first downs: improved to number 11 in the ACC and number 106 in the nation by giving up 92 first downs. Opponents have rushed for 47, passed for 39 and been awarded six via penalty.

9. Red zone defense: Opponents have scored on Duke in 16 out of 18 red zone opportunities. Duke improved to being tied with Clemson for number nine in the ACC and number 91 in the nation.

10. Turnover margin: Last but definitely not least, Duke now has a minus four (-4) in turnover margin, which is last in the ACC and tied for number 100 in the nation. Last week the Blue Devils were ranked number five in the ACC and number 33 in the nation.

Turnover margin is the one statistic Duke must turn around in a hurry if they are to win ball games. Turnovers played a crucial role in the losses to Wake Forest and Army. Without the turnovers, Duke could arguably be sporting a 3-1 record. Teams cannot win ball games against an evenly matched opponent when they turn the ball over. Saturday’s game against Maryland is a game the Blue Devils are capable of winning if they take care of the football and force the Terps to cough it up once or twice.

All statistics quoted in this article are from www.theacc.com and www.ncaa.com.

Duke Football Update – Abraham Kromah ready to step up

courtesy GoDuke.com
courtesy GoDuke.com

BDN chatted with Duke LB Abraham Kromah on Tuesday.  Here is that interview –

Play makers, on defense!  Do you feel like you can be a “play maker” on defense this season?

I definitely hope to.  As long as I take what the coaches give me, there is no chance you cannot be successful.  I just have to implement and do the things they harp on like watching film and studying my opponent.  They put everybody in position to make plays so it’s just up to me to be accountable to my teammates and do what I have to do.

Last year Michael Tauliliili had Vincent Rey, this year Vincent Rey has?   Do you think you can be that guy?

I feel like I can do some things and I’ll definitely need to just keep coming along and keep taking the coaching and we’ll go from there.

Can you describe your game in your own words?

I would like to think of myself as a hard worker.  I pride myself in running to the ball and fitting in with the defense and do what I have to do.  I play to the defense run to the ball and make plays.  Just try to be as fearless as possible.

You have had two head coaches in Roof and Cutcliffe.  What was the change like for you?

It’s tough to see new people come and people go, but change is sometimes necessary.  It’s been part of a growing up process for me.  Everything is looking up now and we’ve seen improvement and what it takes to win, so it feels like everything happens for a reason.

Some people are questioning the 09  linebackers, saying there is no depth.  What do you think about that?

Every Saturday you get to go out there and prove yourself.  Better yet you go out and practice and get better.  To me, you don’t want respect givent to you anyway.  You want to earn it and in that regard I feel like we need to go out there and make the plays and show everybody what we are capable of.

How important is it to you for fans and students to turn out for the opener against Richmond?

I feel like it is important.  We love the fan support.  The students … you just hope they stay behind you and let us know they are faithful in us.  I hope fans know we are working hard every single day to give them what they want and came to see.

What is it like to see changes being made around you?  The new practice field, visitors locker room and practice facility …  As a player do these changes mean a lot to you?

Yeah, it definitely is a plus for me.  It shows me that Coach Cutcliffe is a man of his word and what he has said so far, he’s done.  If I were to make a list of tall the things he said he was going to do  … It’s all definitely been done.  We are taking the steps forward for success.