Tag Archives: Duke-Wake Forest

BDN Monday Musings takes a look at Duke Basketball and more

Amile Jefferson will visit Duke this weekend

Good Monday Blue Devil Nation! We’re a day removed from March and that translates into the busiest time of year for Team BDN. I’m already setting up credentials for events like the Nike Jordan Brand Classic and even AAU events for they will be upon us in short time, but there is the here and now as well. On Tuesday I will head to Winston Salem for the Duke at Wake Forest game, then back to the Bull City for Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his annual state of the program address going into the UNC game. On Friday, I’ll head to Greensboro for the opening round for the Duke women’s basketball team, then back to Durham for ESPN GameDay coverage and of course, the biggest of the big ones, North Carolina at Duke which will likely be for the ACC regular season title.

First things first

The Blue Devils were scheduled to get a little rest after their overtime victory over Virginia Tech at home and that rest is well needed. Duke will take on the Deacons in a game that tips at 9:00 and as always, it’s their opponent’s biggest game of the season. Wake Forest is dangerous in that they have nothing to lose and a win would get them out of the bottom of the ACC standings. This is a game where Duke just wants to get in and out with a win and move forward and the one things good about a Tuesday game is that they’ll have a little extra rest for the North Carolina game or will they?

The shadow of Duke at North Carolina

It wasn’t that long ago that Austin Rivers hit a three point buzzer beater over North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Blue Devils will be asked of that game a thousand times by the media this week. Despite the Wake game looming, the shadow of the greatest rivalry in college basketball is so powerful that fans and media alike cannot help but look ahead. And what a game it will be when ESPN rolls into town and fans have the opportunity to show up for a live show and get in free around 10:00 the morning of. Campus will be abuzz in many ways for this one an the list of activities is long. Starting Wednesday, we’ll have player interviews, hear from Krzyzewski himself and more. Here is a link for the ESPN GameDay activities ESPN Game Day at Duke

Miles Plumlee!

If you’ve been paying attention you have seen the Duke senior stepping up his game of late and it couldn’t come at a better time. It seems like yesterday when I was covering Miles and his brother Mason in the North Carolina State Championship game where Christ School of course, came out the champs. I’ve watched Miles grow into a man and he, like all the Plums are polite in every way. But as nice as they are, each of them has that little bit of nasty in them and here is to hoping Miles taps into that and goes out with a championship or two. Miles will address the crowd win or lose after the North Carolina game on Saturday and personally, I’d love to see him ride his infamous unicycle out to do so. Win or lose, fans should honor his efforts and appreciate the fact that he’s represented Duke in a well mannered and solid way. I’m sure this will be a big week for Team Plumlee and here is shout out to his parents Perky and Leslie for raising a truly good young man. Miles will leave Duke with a national championship ring and maybe two if all goes right.

NCAA tickets for Greensboro

Tickets are still available but will be gone before you know it to the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro. Actually, it is now called the second round, but the first game for Duke. The Blue Devils will share the venue with 8 teams, one of them being rival North Carolina. So buy your tickets now and represent.

Josh Hairtson out for Wake

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Josh Hairston would not play against Wake Forest during the ACC weekly call in show today.  Tyler Thornton has been cleard to play.

Shabazz Muhammad to visit

The nations top rated prospect, Shabazz Muhammad will visit Duke for the UNC game. You can learn more about this visit and other prospects by joining Blue Devil Nation Premium our extended subscription service which is all about insider information. Be sure to give him a nice welcome Crazies.

And then there is Amile Jefferson

Jefferson is about to pull the trigger on his decision on where to play his collegiate ball and Duke will be his last visit. Jefferson fits the Duke mold on and off the court and is a sleek and smooth forward prospect from Philadelphia. This will be his second visit to Cameron, the first during the inaugural Countdown to Craziness. Duke will have more prospects as the game draws near and again, BDN premium will be all over it, so if you are a recruiting fanatic, join today.

A crazy time for media

I’ve been hammering down my travel plans for the upcoming ACC Tournament where I will stay at the Marriott Marquis which is a hop, skip and jump from Phillips Arena. We also have to sign up for credentials to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. And the All ACC ballots, which include player, rookie and coach of the year will be in the mailbox this week. And with Duke Football starting spring practice earlier than most schools? Well, it’s brutal on those who cover the Duke beat and trust me when I say I am taking my vitamins. The dust will not clear for me until Duke goes out and so I’m hoping to be at it in April. If not, it’s straight ahead to the grass roots basketball circuit. In short, covering Duke Athletics is a 364 days a year job.

 

Shabazz Muhammad will visit Duke

Duke Women earn top seed in the ACC Tournament

The ACC Tournament starts in Greensboro this Thursday and the Duke women play Friday due to earning the regular season title with a win over rival UNC yesterday. I cannot tell you how awesome a job Coach P has done this season with enough injuries to make one cry. The future is bright for the team but so is the here and now, so get over to the ‘Boro and support our women.

Duke Spring Football

We haven’t forgot about the Duke Gang on the football field and we’ll do our best to cover the team during a most busy time. We’ll have more player interviews this week and our staff will be bringing you some good stuff as the practices roll along.

A new follow suggestion

Follow our friends at the new DMIX Magazine where the girls can check out Team Plumlee rocking their style.

BDN on social media

If you are not a follower on our twitter site, then you should be. We started out tweets from press row in Cameron and since that time we have brought you the view from behind the bench at the 2010 National Championship and more. So look us up and follow now! Also, we have a new Open Group Facebook page known as Blue Devil Nation as well and you can get there by going here/. Join in the interaction with fellow fans, post pictures, etc. All that of require is that you are a Duke fan and that you act in a decent way to fellow fanatics. Here is a link to our BDN Twitter Home BDN Twitter home and or look for BlueDevilNation.

And lastly ..

 Take time to take a deep breath and realize that these Blue Devils are taking you on quite a ride and enjoy every second left of the season. We often get so caught up in future recruiting and worries that we fail to take in the here and now. Immerse yourself in Royal Duke Blue and cheer your team on with the support they deserve.  And you want to bookmark us now, for BDN coverage this week will flat our ROCK!

Wake Forest is riding a 12-game winning streak in the series with Duke.

Blue Devils will try to end a streak against Wake Forest Saturday

Wake Forest is riding an 11-game winning streak in the series with Duke.

Duke (3-3, 1-1 ACC) will host in-state ACC rival Wake Forest (4-2, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon in Wallace Wade Stadium. The two programs are familiar foes, having met 91 times, including each of the last 44 seasons. The Blue Devils hold the all-time lead in the series, but the Demon Deacons have dominated their Tobacco Road rivals over the past decade. Duke’s last victory over Wake Forest came in 1999, and though the two teams have produced several competitive and memorable matchups since (5 games decided by less than a touchdown), the Demon Deacons have won 11 straight in the series. The Blue Devils will try to end that streak when the two teams kickoff at 12:30 PM ET on the ACC Network.

After a disappointing season in 2010, the Demon Deacons have been one of the ACC’s biggest surprises in 2011, with conference wins over NC State, Boston College, and Florida State. Wake Forest is led by a disciplined offense, which leads the ACC in red zone efficiency (89.7% scoring) and turnovers (5 total turnovers). The Demon Deacons feature a balanced attack led by QB Tanner Price (267 yards per game, 2nd in the ACC), WR Chris Givens (123 yards per game, 1st in the ACC) and RB Josh Harris (82 yards per game, 6th in the ACC). The defense has been opportunistic, forcing 9 turnovers on the season, but ranks last in the ACC with just 6 sacks.

Both Duke and Wake Forest were riding winning streaks before a conference loss last week, and both teams will look to get back on track this Saturday with a crucial ACC win.

Tanner Price led the Demon Deacons to a shootout victory over Duke last season- Blogger So Dear Photo

KEYS FOR DUKE

1. Limit Explosives: the Blue Devils got burned repeatedly last week against the Seminoles, and that helped put the game away early. The combination of Price and Givens has proven to be explosive this season for the Demon Deacons, as evidenced by a 79-yard TD catch last week against Virginia Tech and a season average of 18.5 yards per catch. Expect Ross Cockrell to have a busy day keeping tabs on Givens, and the entire Blue Devil secondary will have to help to keep him contained. Josh Harris is the key for the Wake Forest running game, but has been limited in practice this week. Expect senior Brandon Pendergrass to help shoulder the load, and look for Duke’s Kelby Brown and Matt Daniels to have a big role in stopping the Deacs on the ground.

2. Take care of the football: Duke has improved on their turnover ratio from a season ago, but continue to give the ball away. QB Sean Renfree threw a costly tipped pass interception early in the game against FSU last week, and that helped to set the tone of the game. Wake Forest has been the best in the ACC at taking care of the football, and the Blue Devils cannot afford to give the Demon Deacons extra possessions on Saturday.

3. Find an unlikely hero: we’re at the halfway point of the season, and every team is bound to have injuries. They have certainly piled up for the Blue Devils, but Duke has showcased some of their improved depth over the past few weeks. Heading into Saturday, there are three key positions of concern for the Blue Devils, where young players will be needed to step up. Duke’s secondary is slowly healing, but several players are hurting, including a few not listed on the official injury report. Lee Butler, Johnny Williams, and August Campbell all appear on this week’s injury report, which means that players like Zach Greene and Jordon Byas will have to take on a larger role again this week against an explosive Wake Forest passing game. The Blue Devils have significant injuries to two potential offensive line starters in David Harding and Brian Moore. Both players may be able to play, but will be far from 100%, which means that Conor Irwin may again have to take some snaps at center. Lastly, senior WR Donovan Varner continues to nurse a hamstring injury that will limit him on Saturday, meaning more snaps for freshmen Jamison Crowder and Blair Holliday. A combination of these young players will have to make an impact for the Blue Devils to get the W on Saturday.

GAME ANALYSIS

Turnovers

Wake Forest +4, Duke -2

Duke has made significant improvements in limiting turnovers this season, but continue to struggle in forcing turnovers. The Blue Devils rank 3rd in the ACC with just 8 turnovers on the season, but are last in the conference with just 6 takeaways of their own. Similarly, the Demon Deacons are 1st in the ACC with just 5 turnovers, but 8th in takeaways with 9.

Sacks

Duke 10, Wake Forest 6

Two of the ACC’s worst pass rushes will face off on Saturday, with the Blue Devils having slightly more success thus far. The Duke offensive line has also done a slightly better job protecting their QB, having given up 13 sacks on the year versus 16 allowed by Wake Forest.

3rd Down

Duke 40%, Wake Forest 37%

Again, both teams fall in the bottom half of the conference in 3rd down efficiency. The Wake Forest defense has held opponents to just 34% on 3rd downs, which means that the Blue Devil offense will have to execute well to move the chains on Saturday.

Explosives

With two of the top WRs in the country squaring off on Saturday, the team that does the better job defensively will win this game. These two defenses will be challenged to keep their opponents’ offense grounded with stars like Conner Vernon and Chris Givens. In their losses, the Blue Devils have been burned by explosive plays, especially through the air. If Price is able to find Givens in open space, it will be a long afternoon for the Blue Devils.

Rushing TDs

Duke 12, Wake Forest 8

This statistic is very misleading. The Blue Devils have the worst red zone offense in the ACC, scoring on just 73.9% of trips to the red zone. When Duke does score, it’s usually on the ground, with 12 rushing TDs to just 2 passing TDs in the red zone. Wake Forest is tops in the ACC, scoring on nearly 90% of their trips to the red zone, and feature a balanced red zone offense with 8 rushing TDs and 6 passing TDs.

Field Goals

Wake Forest 92%, Duke 40%

While much of Dukes struggles in the kicking game came early in the season, the Blue Devils still have improvements to make. Wake Forest’s Jimmy Newman is 1st in the ACC with an average of 2 made FGs per game.

Penalties

Duke 36.2 yards per game, Wake Forest 49.7 yards per game

Surprisingly the Demon Deacons rank next to last in the ACC in penalty yards per game. The Blue Devils continue to be one of the more disciplined teams in the conference. Duke will have to continue to play good fundamental football on Saturday, as their margin for error against a confident and talented Wake Forest team is slim.

PREDICTION

With 11 straight wins in the series, it’d be an understatement to say the Demon Deacons have the Blue Devils’ number. Both teams enter the game bumped and bruised and fresh off an ACC loss. Wake Forest has been the more consistent team and have done a good job taking care of the football. With a depleted offensive line, expect a light workload for Duke’s running backs and quick throws from Sean Renfree. A hamstring injury to Donovan Varner will provide an opportunity for young Jamison Crowder and Blair Holliday to step up. The Blue Devil defense will have their hands full trying to stop Wake Forest’s combination of Tanner Price, Chris Givens, and Josh Harris. The team that takes care of the football will emerge the victor.

Wake Forest 34, Duke 31

BDN goes 1 on 1 with Duke RB Desmond Scott as he prepares for Wake

Photo - GoDuke.com

DURHAM – Duke running back Desmond Scott hopes to build on last Saturday’s game where he led the team in rushing with 77 yards against Wake Forest this weekend.  BDN caught up to Scott for a 1 on 1 chat where he speaks of how big the game is and the fact he’ll be going up against people he played with or against in high school.

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Monday Musings, Holiday Style! Football, Basketball, Cheerleaders, Mild Rant

Congrats to this weeks Monday Musings Cheerleader of the Week - BDN Photo

Good Labor Day Monday folks!  Despite the holidaze there is still a Monday Musings column in store for those who read on.  I recap the opening day win over Elon, touch on recruiting, encourage you to support Coach K and Team USA and whine a little bit about the Wade Wacko’s who leave the game early.  And of course, there is our continued salute to the cheerleaders and the best mascot in the world with the pic of the week.

It’s good to be 1-0

The Blue Devils have a lot of areas to improve upon after their 41-27 opening day victory over Elon but for now they are 1-0 and that affords the football team an opportunity to get off to a good start in 2010.  Several young players showed they have good upside and abilities in Saturday’s win including a pair of freshman running backs in Josh Snead and Juwon Thompson ability.  Be it a timely sack from redshirt freshman Justin Foxx or Desmond Scott showing that he wanted to be the man in the backfield, Duke’s youth showed promise and gained valuableexperience.  Trust me, Elon is no slouch or a walk in the park like Samford, Florida A & M or other opening day beating boys for fellow ACC members.  Still, Duke must stop letting up big plays which Coach Cutcliffe alluded to on his call in show on Sunday if they have a chance against Wake Forest in Winston Salem this weekend.

Speaking of Wake Forest

This is a huge game for Duke in many ways for the Blue Devils at some point must break through against an opponent that has had their number the last ten outings.  Despite that disparity, the Blue Devils still dominate the series against their rival.  Cutlciffe could chalk up another signature win should the cards fall right on Saturday where Duke is an early 5.5 point underdog.  Hopefully, the Duke Nation will travel in force to support the team in this noon affair which will be televised by Raycom Sports.  Early indicators point to a good old fashion shoot out but as we all know there is a lot of improvement from week one to week two and that will determine who wins this contest.  You can bet that both teams held back much of their arsenal in the openers which is another indicator that this will be one heck of an early season ACC matchup.  We’ll be talking a lot about this game as the week progresses.

Thaddeus Lewis and the Rams

I love me some Thaddeus Lewis!  Getting to know Lewis over the years was rewarding and it is no surprise to me that he made the cut for the St. Louis Rams.  Unassuming and laid back off the field, Lewis is all about drive when on it and I can tell you first hand that he is a hard worker trying to fulfill his dreams.  I’ll miss Mrs. Lewis being right there on front row to cheer her son on and I will certainly follow his exploits in the NFL as will many of you.  It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.

 
 

I keep telling the Blue Devil he is exclusive to Blue Devil Nation but as you can see, he'll have none of it as he hams it up for yet another camera in the hood.

Nice crowd there, Duke fans!

For those who attended this past Saturday’s game, I am sure they’ll tell you it was nice to see Wally World [Wallace Wade Stadium] full which made for a great college football environment.  Lots of Duke Blue filled the place and those there for the first time will hopefully return.  In short, let’s do it again!  Now, if we can get the students to stay past half time, we’ll have really made progress.  Oh snap!  That’s just not a fair statement for the ones who did remain were really good.  I dream of a day the students will lift the team for the whole game.  It’s happened, it can happen, but will it happen?

USA -USA -USA!

That old Mike Krzyzewski just keeps on winning and he hasn’t let up since last seasons Countdown to Craziness.  Team USA enters the elimination round and after an expected walk through in game one, it will get dicey from then on.  Support our guys starting this week and let’s cheer them on while Kryzyzewski works his magic.  The master will return with assistant coach Chris Collins in late September where they will hit the road running to prepare for what should be a fabulous 2010-11 season.

Countdown to Craziness 2

It’s coming to  theater near you!  October 15h marks the start of the college basketball season in many ways and the Blue Devils are stirring up more than just a little excitement.  Several prospects are lined up for the event which you can read about on BDN Premium, your inside source for all things Duke.  Last years event was incredible and it set the tone for a national championship run and who’ll ever forget short-short’s and ice.  We’ll defer to Nolan Smith for the answers if I lost you there.

Recruiting is quiet but that will change soon

With Coach K  in the middle east and kids just starting back to school, all is rather quiet on the hoops recruiting front, but that’ll change shortly as in home visits will be set up and again, check out BDN Premium for all the latest.  We posted a new interview with Shabazz Muhammad today and have more as the week progresses.

Be safe, be happy and relax

You deserve a break today and not because you visited McDonald’s.  Did anyone get that lame attempt at humor or did I generation you out?  Regardless, take time to relax, recharge, spend time with family and friends.  Think of what is important in life!  That’s obviously Duke Athletics.  Seriously, hope all had a great Labor Day weekend and thanks for checking out the Blue Devil Nation.

Sunday Morning Quarterback: Recapping Duke’s 41-27 win over Elon

Coach Cutliffe leds his troops to a 41-27 opening day win over Elon - BDN Photo

DURHAM – BDN takes a look at several aspects of the game and individual play in our first addition of Sunday Morning Quarterback for the 2010 season.

Sean Renfree Debut is solid

Renfree was one cool customer in the Blue Devils opening win throwing for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns.  More impressive was his completion percentage of 31 for 39.  Renfree took a sack in the game but from my vantage he looked off his receivers and when none were open took the sack instead of throwing what would have been a risky pass.  Renfree had control of his team and showed he was cool under pressure but he admitted that he was at times nervous.  Renfree is the key to Duke’s success this season and teams will start to come after him beginning with Wake Forest this Saturday.

Running game led by Scott

Durham native Desmond Scott rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries for a 5.5 yard average.  True freshman Josh Snead [1 touchdown] added 29 yards and fellow frosh Juwon Thompson 26 which translates into 4.1 and 3.1 yards per carry.  Jay Hollingsworth scored a touchdown but was not as effective gaining 16 yards on 10 carries.  Reserve quarterback Brandon Connette showed off his running ability scampering 48 yards down the sideline on his only carry.  Overall the running game improved but there is plenty of room for improvement with concerns to making big plays.

Offensive front solid

The offensive line seemed improved as well and Cutcliffe was able to play several backups as the game progressed which is for the first time in many years allowing the Blue Devils to build some depth.

Conner Vernon picks up where he left off

Vernon led Duke in receptions with 10 catches for 129 yards and the sophomore wideout shows tremendous confidence on the field.  There were several instances where he let the coverage know they could not stop him and that edginess to his game is refreshing.

Donovan Varner just as good

Varner took a while to warm up and he saw more coverage than any Duke receiver.  He still brought in 7 catches for a touchdown and 123 yards in receptions.

Good night for Brandon King

A few years ago King caught a TD pass vs UConn and it looked as if he would be a playmaker for Duke.  The Blue Devils are deep at the tight end position but King stood out last evening with a touchdown catch of 7 yards to go with his 5 catches.  Duke held out Cooper Helfet and Brett Huffman hauled in 2 passes as well.

A great opening night crowd

Fans turned out in force selling out Wallace Wade Stadium and the atmosphere was solid most of the evening.   The 33,941 fans still do not quite get on a whole when to cheer on key defensive downs but they are getting better and the support was appreciated by Cutcliffe and his team.  If Duke can beat Wake this weekend, Duke will have a strong crowd for the Army.  And Alabama?  Get there three hours before kickoff.

542 yards of total offense

Not bad, huh?  The offensive output was the most in the David Cutcliffe era.  The previous high was 502 in the win over N.C State last season.

The good

Offensively Duke looks as if they are really grasping Cutcliffes system in his third year at the helm.  Getting off to a 1-0 start is always nice and Elon is a good football team.  The passing game looks great after one game and the crowd was supportive and all promotions came off in a positive manner.  Duke was able to play a lot of players which will bode well for the future.  Duke had some young guys shine.

The bad

Duke had opportunities to put the Phoenix away but allowed them to hang in the game when the offense stalled via mistakes.  The Duke defense let up a whopping 400 plus yards and they could not stop Elon in the fourth quarter which is a concern.  The punting game was so-so and a missed field goal is concerning

The ugly

The third quarter was atrocious for Duke and they cannot afford that kind of a drop off versus Wake.  The Blue Devils came out a bit passive and that allowed the Phoenix to gain confidence and cut the lead to 27-20.

The bottom line

There were plenty of positives for Duke as has been mentioned but the defensive effort will have to improve if there is any chance of a win over Wake Forest in Winston Salem this week.  Bare in mind that Duke did not show their hand on offense and kept it close to the vest at times trying to establish a running game. Duke responded to adversity when the lead was cut to one score by getting it done on offense.  The bottom line is Duke is 1-0.

Next play

Duke will now travel to Wake Forest who has defeated the Blue Devils ten straight times.  Coach Cutcliffe keeps some game balls in his office and this is one of those wins which would mean another one on the shelf.  It is oh-so important to get a conference win for both schools and a shootout may be in store.

BDN Locker Room Report – Nolan Smith talks Wake Forest

Smith and Curry confer during the Blue-White game, BDN Photo
Smith and Curry confer during the Blue-White game, BDN Photo

Durham, N.C. – BDN was once again on hand for this weeks player availability and we had a chance to ask Nolan Smith about the Wake game as other media members chimed in.  In fact, Al Featherston who you all know does some work for us led the way with some really good questions.


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