Tag Archives: Will Snyderwine

Monday Musings – Duke Basketball and Football tidbits

Here's another Monday Musings Cheeleader of the Week pic!

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings Blue Devil Nation!  Duke Athletics had another full weekend slate and we’ll take a look back and ahead on the latest edition of Watzone’s Monday Musings.

Enter Goliath!

In the pre season Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski joked about during the annual ACC Media Day about how Duke became known as Goliath in media circles once they entered the championship game against Butler, a team that rolled their way to the final.  Everywhere you turn Duke is getting cover boy status with magazines to go along with the outstanding ESPNU Special.  And then Duke has been named the favorite to win another national title, yet we all know that the teams generally picked for that spot rarely are there in the end.  Anyway you look at it, Duke is Goliath this season or the 800 pound gorilla in the room for they will be painted as such so there is little any of us can do about it.

A pretty good start to the season for the Duke Men

Duke was hardly clicking on all cylinders against Princeton, yet they still won convincingly via the three point shot and their staple defense.  Duke had a long time to prepare for Princeton, more time than anyone else might receive the rest of the way.   It’ll be interesting to see how Duke plays Miami of Ohio after having less prep time.  But back to last evening, Duke looked every bit the part of the aforementioned label Goliath.  It’s got to be scary for opponents to realize they might shut one or even two players down on this seasons team, but Duke has too many offensive weapons and somebody will almost certainly pick up the slack.

The Duke Women are rocking too

Duke has an interesting mix of youth and experience on the basketball court this season and they should be a top ten main stay all year long.  I was really impressed by the play of young freshman guard Chloe Wells the other night and she’ll take to the court against Southern Cal this evening.  Duke handled BYU in the opener by dominating the paint and tonight is another good early season test, so turn out in Cameron if you are in the area.  The Duke Women, like the Duke Men have been rocking the recruiting front as well, but we’ll talk of that later in the week.

Devils oh-so close on the football field

Duke lost a heart breaker to Boston College as a pass was batted down as Duke was knocking on the door in what would have been a rousing win.  Despite the loss, Duke continues to show improvement in many areas and the team will show up in Atlanta and in my opinion give Georgia Tech all they want.  A look up and down the roster shows how many players Duke will return for next year and they are playing to get better in closing out a season where they fell just short in three ACC games.  For the record had they won those tight contest, Duke would have been 6-4.

Two Devils will push for All ACC honors

When it comes time to vote for All ACC teams, the media will realistically consider Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine and wideout Conner Vernon for first team.  Snyderwine is as accurate a kicker as Duke has had in a good while and he made second team last season.  Vernon leads the ACC in most receiving categories.  And go ahead and pencil Kelby Brown on some freshman All American teams.  And note that all of these player return next season.  The Blue Devils lose six starters but have replacements with experience coming back and some pretty decent redshirts to add to the mix.

Sean Renfree

Renfree didn’t put the ball in the end zone but he had another solid game going 35 of 49 for 285 yards.  His experiences this season will shape and mold his character even more and he will never give up as seen by this quote, “Nobody’s going to put his head down.  We have two games left against two very good teams.  We’re going to prepare as we have all season long.”

And the Viking ship was set to sea

Students wore Viking Helmets in tribute to Drew Everson who had a fall to his death on campus recently.  Drew was a popular fellow amongst his peers and the head line monitor and he was given a Viking salute last evening.  He would have been proud of the Cameron Crazies efforts which were praised by Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.

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.

Snyderwine takes over place kicking duties

duke-blue-devilsDURHAM, N.C. — Head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Thursday that junior walk-on Will Snyderwine will handle Duke’s placekicking chores on Saturday when the Blue Devils face Army.  Kickoff at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., is set for 12 noon and the game will be televised live by CBS College Sports.

“He had a tremendous week this week both placekicking and with kickoffs, and he had a tremendous day today,” Cutcliffe said Thursday after practice. “He’s earned that opportunity.

“We’ll see what he does with it.”

Last week, Snyderwine kicked off for the Blue Devils and was scheduled to attempt any field goals over 40 yards.  Cutcliffe turned to the Potomac, Md., native for the PAT on Duke’s second touchdown of the evening.  Returning starter Nick Maggio successfully booted his lone PAT attempt against Richmond, but missed two field goal attempts.