Tag Archives: Blue Devils

Duke at Virginia Tech Game Notes

• Game 22 •

[7 AP / 5 Coaches] Duke (18-3, 5-1) vs. Virginia Tech (12-9, 1-5)

Thursday, February 2, 2012 • 7:03 p.m. • ESPN

The Opening Tip

• Duke (18-3, 5-1) faces Virginia Tech (12-9, 1-5) on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.. Tipoff is set for 7:03 p.m.

• Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Len Elmore (analyst) and Jeannine Edwards (sideline) will call the game for ESPN.

• Duke is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Virginia Tech is unranked in both polls. The Blue Devils are 77-20 all-time when ranked seventh in the AP Poll.

• Duke ranks No. 1 in Strength of Schedule and No. 2 in RPI according to ESPN.com. The Blue Devils are one of four teams (Syracuse, Michigan State & Kansas) in the NCAA to rank in the top 10 of the RPI, Strength of Schedule, AP and Coaches Polls.

• The Blue Devils have won three straight ACC road contests and are 8-2 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.

Duke-Virginia Tech Series

• Duke and Virginia Tech have met 45 times heading into Thursday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming in 1912.

• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 37-8, including a 3-2 mark at Cassell Coliseum.

• Duke has won 15 of the last 18 in the series.

• Mike Krzyzewski is 8-3 at Duke against the Hokies. The Blue Devils are 3-2 in Blacksburg under Krzyzewski.

• Duke has won three of the last four games at Cassell Coliseum in the series.

• Six of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.

• Duke won 10 straight games in the series from 1934-1948. Virginia Tech has won back-to-back games once in the series history.

• Duke has held Virginia Tech to less than 70 points in eight consecutive meetings. The Hokies are averaging 61.4 points per game in that span.

Numbers Game

l Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll for 87 straight weeks, the third-longest streak in NCAA history.

l The Blue Devils are one of nine teams in the NCAA with five or more players averaging 10 or more points per game. Duke has finished the year with five double-figure scorers six times under Mike Krzyzewski.

l Duke is the only school in the ACC with five players averaging over 11.0 points per game in league play. Ryan Kelly (13.7), Andre Dawkins (13.0), Austin Rivers (12.0), Mason Plumlee (11.7) and Seth Curry (11.5) each rank in the top 25 in the ACC in scoring through six league games.

l The Blue Devils rank 11th nationally in scoring at 80.3 points per game, despite facing six opponents that rank in top 50 in scoring defense. Virginia Tech is the seventh team Duke has faced that allows under 62.0 points per game.

l The Blue Devils are two wins shy of their 16th consecutive 20-win season.

l Mason Plumlee was named the USBWA National Player of the Week after averaging 19.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in wins over Maryland and St. John’s.

l Austin Rivers, a five-time ACC Rookie of the Week pick, is averaging a team-high 14.1 points per game. Johnny Dawkins was the last Blue Devil freshman to lead the team in scoring in 1983.

l Mason Plumlee collected his ACC-leading ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-best 17 rebounds in Saturday’s win over St. John’s. He has collected 12 or more rebounds in a game 13 times this season.

l Andre Dawkins is averaging a team-high 15.2 points per game, while shooting 46.5 percent (20-of-43) from three-point range, over the last five contests.

l Ryan Kelly ranks second in the ACC in three-point percentage among players who have attempted at least 50 threes. He is shooting 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from three-point range on the season, including 51.9 percent (14-of-27) over the last 12 games.

l Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee combine to average 15.8 rebounds per game. One of the Plumlees has led the team in rebounds in 19 of 21 games.

l Tyler Thornton leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.7:1) through six conference games. He has 20 assists with just three turnovers in ACC play for the Blue Devils.

l Mason Plumlee has improved his free throw shooting over the last four games, going 20-of-27 (.741) from the line during that span. He was shooting 39.8 percent (37-of-93) from the free throw line prior to that stretch. Plumlee averages 5.7 free throw attempts per game

BDN previews Duke Football’s week 7 game with ACC favorite Florida State

Duke will host another top ten opponent in Florida State on October 15

After their week 6 off week, Coach Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils will host yet another top 10 opponent in Wallace Wade Stadium on October 15th, as the Florida State Seminoles travel to Durham. Despite the loss of starting QB Christian Ponder, the Seminoles are the consensus favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference  in 2011. In Jimbo Fisher's second season in charge in Tallahassee, FSU returns 18 starters from last year's Chick-fil-a Bowl Championship team that finished with a 10-4 overall record. Expectations are high for this fall, and with a win against top-ranked Oklahoma in September, the Seminoles could vault themselves into the national championship picture.

The Seminoles have always been a tough opponent for the Blue Devils, as Duke is 0-16 all-time against Florida State. This year will be no exception; Duke will certainly have their hands full against an experienced and confident FSU team on October 15th.

For Duke’s week 7 match up against FSU, we are fortunate to have the insight of onebarrelrum from Tomahawk Nation. 

BDN: In his first year as Head Coach in Tallahassee, Jimbo Fisher led the Seminoles to their first 9-win season since 2003. What were the biggest changes seen on the field and within the program?

Expectations are high for Jimbo Fisher's second season as Head Coach at FSU

We'll start with program changes because that is what dictates and influences what happens on the field. Bobby Bowden's approach to the FSU program was that of CEO of a company much like Mack Brown at Texas. He delegated many responsibilities to other coaches. Fisher, however, is much more hands on with every facet of the program. Sure, his assistant coaches have their own responsibilities, but Fisher doesn't watch practice from a tower. He is on the practice field, managing and coaching, utilizing direct interaction with coaches and players.

Beyond Fisher's approach to coaching, there have been vast improvements in numerous areas including weight training, player tutoring, psychology, and nutrition. An army of support staff was brought on board to help boost all of these areas in an effort to improve the quality of play on the field. Under the waning years of Bowden, these areas had not kept up, or come close to matching other elite programs. Fisher has done an admirable job reorganizing and retooling the program so that it can compete with modern day elite teams.

On the field, the largest changes in x's and o's is most noticeable in the transition from Micky Andrew's man heavy scheme to Stoops' balanced defense that utilizes much more zone. FSU fans would like to all but forget the 2009 defense. It was the worst defense fielded by a Bowden coached team. In 2009 FSU was starting a 225 pound walk-on at defensive end. This year, the first and second string DE position will feature 4 players all over 265 pounds. It was also revealed that the defense was not provided playbooks in 2009. To say the least, Stoops had a lot of issues to address when he stepped on campus.

BDN: Florida State is the consensus top pick in the ACC in 2011, and will almost certainly receive a top-10 preseason ranking. With a win against Oklahoma on September 17th, many expect the Seminoles to vault towards the top of the BCS rankings. What does this team need to do to beat the Sooners, and is FSU ready to return to college football’s elite and compete for a National Championship?

Last year, many 'Nole fans did not expect to win in Norman against the Sooners. They also didn't expect FSU to get absolutely destroyed. It was a learning year for the Florida State defense, and the first exam was against OU. They obviously failed miserably as OU scored on its first five possessions. The FSU offense was in shock and could not come close to offering enough points to help as they dealt with their own struggles. This year, the defense has got to get at least a few stops. The offense has to manage the clock and keep OU's offense off the field and out of rhythm. Last year, the OU no huddle decimated FSU's young, learning defense and that can't happen again if they want a chance to win. The plan should be to shorten the game with long drives and converting on 3rd down (easier said than done, I know). If FSU is successful at limiting OU's offensive snaps, it will have a shot at winning in the 4th.

As for the second part, time will tell. If FSU can keep the game at least close with OU, it will have shown major strides since 2009. While competing for a title is extremely difficult for any team, I think FSU has the structure, players, and coaching staff to once again start competing with and beating the nation's elite.

QB E.J. Manuel has already led the Seminoles to two bowl victories

BDN: While most of the ACC will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2011, Florida State and Duke have to feel pretty good about their QB situation. E.J. Manuel filled in admirably for Christian Ponder over the past two seasons, leading the Seminoles to bowl victories over West Virginia and South Carolina. What do you expect to see from Manuel in his first year as a starter? With three explosive backs and top receiver Bert Reed returning, what questions remain for the FSU offense?

You are right about EJ, fans have been very pleased with his effort filling in when Ponder was injured. EJ is an extremely talented QB with smarts to boot. Though this year FSU fans hope he is even better. He had a mechanics problem in his throwing motion which eventually lead to needing shoulder surgery. The surgery and improved mechanics have helped him with velocity and hopefully accuracy. He is excellent in the option game and keeping his eyes downfield when flushed from the pocket. I look for Fisher to utilize him in the running game quite a bit on designed runs this year to make defenses account for all 11 offensive players. EJ has bulked up to over 240 pounds, hopefully preparing his body for the long season. Outside of his talents EJ is a vocal leader on the team. He also has great chemistry with a lot of the receivers having thrown to some of them for years in practice. Hopefully all those reps will pay off this season.

As of right now, going into fall camp, the biggest question mark for the offense is the offensive line. There are returning players with experience but it is a question of how healthy they will be for the season. Both tackles, Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko had to go under the knife and miss spring ball. Guard David Spurlock had multiple concussions last year keeping him out of a number of games and also missed spring ball. Fisher says that they are all healed up and should be fine. If they are really 100 percent then there is a lot less to worry about for the FSU offense, but I'd wait until fall practice gets going before I breathe a sigh of relief. At the beginning of last season receivers Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith struggled. They had route issues, timing issues, and just needed quite a bit of time to get used to the college game. FSU needs them to continue their maturation and be ready to become major contributors. They will be counted on more than ever with the departure of WR Taiwan Easterling (left for pro baseball).

BDN: Mark Stoops did a nice job with a young FSU defense in 2010, though the group was inconsistent at times. With 8 starters returning in 2011, what improvements need to be made defensively for the Seminoles to compete for an ACC and National Championship?

For the defense, the most improvement should come from being in the new system for another year. While 2010 was a year to learn the basics, this year should show the grasp the players have of the different schemes and the understanding of their roles on any given play. Another issue last year was depth along the front. With so many young players, fatigue became an issue by the NC State game. FSU did not force a single punt in the second half of that game. Russell Wilson, time and again, was able to use his legs and arm to convert on 3rd and long. This year, there should be some serious depth along the front, along with another year of strength training, maturity, and familiarity with a new scheme. Same goes for the linebackers and secondary. With the way FSU is recruiting on the defensive side of the ball and Stoops' scheme, I have no doubt that FSU will field an elite defense in the not so distant future. A defense that can be leaned on to win games and perhaps a championship. There is some hope among fans that this defense won't have to wait another year to be special. Of course, we won't have to wait too long to find out.

BDN: Florida State is 16-0 all-time against the Blue Devils, and the series hasn’t been competitive, with the Seminoles winning each game by at least three scores. Having last met in 2007, the two programs will have to get reacquainted in 2011. Duke has made strides under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, but will still be a significant underdog at home on October 15th. What have you heard about Coach Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils and what will they need to do to compete with the Seminoles?

From what I understand Duke has made very good strides under Coach Cutcliffe. After this season it wouldn't be surprising to see a program offer Cutcliffe a pay increase. Duke was a scrappy team last year and proved to be much better than an annual speed bump in a number of ACC games. I look for that same level of play or even better from Duke this year. I can say it's a good thing FSU's defense has been tuned up since the 2007 match up. If these two teams faced off in 2009 I could have easily seen a Virgnia/Duke 2010 type shootout.

I know Duke likes to throw, but if they want to stay in it with the 'Noles this year, they need to shorten the game. They will have to eat up some clock with runs. Duke needs to seize some momentum early and hope for the best. If FSU puts up 2 or 3 quick TD's all hope may be lost as the revamped defense will be looking for pass. It will be the 3rd road game in a row for FSU, perhaps impacting how much time FSU spends on studying Duke's offense and defense. Best thing to do would be break tendencies and do the unexpected. For heavens sake, don't kick field goals on 4th and 3 inside the 25 or even 30 yard line. Duke will have to maximize every chance it has at TDs, as FG's just won’t get it done.

BDN: Thanks so much for your help! We look forward to hosting the Seminoles on October 15th!


Previous game: October 1, Duke at Florida International

Next game: October 22, Wake Forest at Duke


Duke aggressively recruiting star Florida athlete Marcus Allen for class of 2012

Star student-athlete Marcus Allen would be a great fit at LB in Durham

With thirteen verbal commitments received in the class of 2012, Duke has only a few remaining scholarships available and are looking to fill a few outstanding needs. With California LB Deion Williams already committed, Duke still has a spot to add another athletic linebacker with one of their remaining scholarships. Though the staff has long been in aggressive pursuit of in-state star Keilin Rayner, another athlete out of the Jacksonville, FL area has caught their attention. Marcus Allen is a 6’2” 210 pound athlete from Hilliard HS in Hilliard, FL. A star in basketball and track, Marcus played just his first year of football last fall as a junior and his natural ability earned him plenty of playing time for the Flashes on both sides of the ball. Primarily a running back and linebacker, Allen has earned over 20 scholarship offers this spring and summer, and has recently been busy taking unofficial visits across the Southeast. Duke Assistant Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Jim Collins has produced several All-ACC linebackers during his time in Durham, including recent stars Mike Tauiliili and Vincent Rey (now with the Cincinnati Bengals). As a standout both on the field and in the classroom (he boasts a 4.0 GPA), Allen could become another star student-athlete for Coach Collins and the Blue Devils, if he chooses to join fellow Jacksonville-area natives Dwayne Norman, Erich Schneider, and Thomas Sirk in the Blue Devils’ class of 2012. [private]

BDN: Can you start out by describing your strengths as a player?

Well, this is my first year playing high school football, so my strengths are just my natural ability to play the game of football and my quick ability to learn, catch onto things quickly, and just being able to use my athleticism.

BDN: You played all over the field in your first year at Hilliard; is there a position you prefer, or a position that college coaches are recruiting you for?

At running back and at linebacker.

BDN: What are some of the things you have been working on this offseason?

Just working on more agility and fundamentals.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

My first goal is to have a winning season, I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the spring and the summer. That’s the main goal to have a winning season and make it to the playoffs.

BDN: What are the most important factors you’re looking for in a college?

I’m looking for the best combination of academics and athletics. Just a place that fits me, a program to help me become a better person for my future, teach me how to do finances and stuff like that.

BDN: You mentioned academics as important to you; is there a particular field you are interested in studying?

I’m still undecided.

BDN: What schools would you say have been recruiting you the hardest?

I’d say Tennessee, Duke, Vanderbilt…Kentucky…Arkansas, Boston College.

BDN: Sounds like a good mix of ACC and SEC programs; is there a school or conference that you’ve grown up following?

Not really.







Hilliard's Marcus Allen made a stop in historic Cameron Indoor Stadium during his visit to Duke






BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit so far?

Well I’ve been able to visit Florida, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and I think that’s it.

BDN: Did any of those schools seem to have the combination of academics and athletics that you’re looking for?

They’re all pretty similar, they all have a lot of great things to offer, I didn’t have any stand out just from my visits.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how or when you want to narrow things down and make your decision?

I’m trying to narrow things down some, but I still want to take my official visits, and make sure I have all the information I need to make my final decision.

BDN: Is there anything else that you think is important for college football fans to know about you?

I’m just a guy from a small town that’s trying to make a big impact. For the kids that come from small towns, just show that anybody can make it in college football if you work at it enough.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Marcus, and best of luck to you.

Alright, you too.



Run-stopping DE Torey Agee says Duke has “everything I’m looking for”

Duke was among the first schools to offer Alabama DE Torey Agee

With the addition of veteran Defensive Line Coach Rick Petri this offseason, expectations are high for the Blue Devils’ defensive line in 2011 and beyond. Prior to his arrival in Durham, Coach Petri has tutored some of the top units in the country at Miami, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. Throughout his career, Coach Petri has mentored numerous All-SEC and All-ACC defensive linemen, including NFL stars such as Warren Sapp and John Abraham. With a young group of athletic defensive linemen already in Durham, Coach Petri and the Duke coaching staff are looking to bring in potential impact players in the class of 2012. With three talented prospects already verbally committed, Duke is focusing their recruiting efforts on a handful of top recruits, including a big-time run-stopper from Alabama. Torey Agee is a 6’4” 250 pound defensive end from Opelika, AL and the son of former Auburn star Tommie Agee. Since we last spoke with Torey, he’s earned scholarship offers from several top schools, including Stanford and Vanderbilt. The star student-athlete was in Durham this past weekend and caught up with BDN to give his thoughts on his visit. [private]


BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest this spring and summer?

At this point, the schools that have really be in contact with me besides Duke have been Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Southern Miss, and Auburn.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit recently?

So far I’ve only had a chance to visit Georgia Tech and Duke, but I have plans for other visits later on this summer.

BDN: Do you know which schools you are planning to visit, or is that still up in the air?

I know I’m going to Vanderbilt and I’m probably going to go to camps at Auburn and Troy.

BDN: How did your visits to Duke and Georgia Tech go?

Both those schools are great, they have exactly what I’m looking for and that’s a strong academic program, so it’s right up my alley. Both campuses are beautiful, the football teams are good, the coaches are great, it was just a wonderful trip.

BDN: Since it’s fresh in your mind, can you talk a little about your visit to Duke this weekend?

The Duke visit was great. We toured the whole campus and met some of the coaches and some of the players and they told me what it would be like in a typical day if I became a Blue Devil. It was great, you know, I’m still kind of taking it all in.

BDN: Last time we spoke, you were taking your time with the process. Now that you’ve taken a few visits, do you know how or when you want to start to narrow things down?

No, I’m still pretty much taking my time, like I said,  I don’t really want to rush into anything, so I’m just taking it slow this summer, visiting a bunch of places and trying to get my thoughts together before I pick a school to go to.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Torey, and we look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Alright, thank you.



Big Josh Smith talks recruiting with BDN-Premium

Josh Smith (6-9, 280, Kentwood HS, Seattle Rotary AAU) is one of the nation's most coveted players in the class of 2010.  Duke is but one of many schools in the chase for the talented front court prospects services.   We caught up with Josh and got his thoughts on the recruiting process, timeline of his decision and the schools that are in the race.  Blue Devil Members can continue to read about the latest with one of Duke's ... [private]

Josh dunked for the first time as a 6-4 seventh grader and he hasn't stopped since that time.  In fact, he had so many blocked shots, that his league changed the rules to keep him from eating up the paint.  His Dad, Josh Senior prefers to be called  "Big Josh," but he stands at just 6-3 as his son equaled his height by 12 years old.

I approached this interview as Sports Nation Network which I own, seeking honest answers instead of one slanted for the home team. 

The List - Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA,  USC, Washington and a couple of others.

Has your high school season started yet?

Yes, it started Monday.  Our first game will be December 5th.  We have one starter back other than myself.

Can you tell me which schools have been the most aggressive in their recruitment of you?

I'd say Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Ohio State.

There has been a lot of talk in the past that UCLA was in the drivers seat for your services or that they might lead.  Is there any truth to that?

I would say no.

Suppose somebody had never seen your game - how would you describe it to them?

Over powering, tough in the low post and aggressive.

What are some of the key factors when you think about your pending collegiate choice?

Location won't be a factor for me.  Style of play could be a factor.

Who do you pattern your game after?

Shaq!  I grew up pulling fo him.  Some have called me "Baby Shaq."

If you could meet any NBA player, who would you most like to meet?

Dwight Howard.  I like his powerful dunks and that he tries to make his team better.

What style of basketball do you like to play ... up and down ... structured half court, four out and one in ... ?

Four out and one in.

So you like the idea of being the go to guy in that type of offense.


So, there is no leader at this time ...


Is there a school you are more curious about than others?

I would say there is no leader at this time nor one that I have any stronger interest in more than others.

Are you likely to take all of your allotted official visits which the NCAA allows?

Yeah, I'd probably say I would.  I could make an earlier decision if the situation feels right.

What about the NBA ...

Yeah, I want to play in the NBA, but I also have a big desire to play ... play in the league.

You've mentioned a lot of really good schools, some of which have more success putting guys in the league than others.  Will that kind of thing have a bearing?

Yes, a little bit.  When I get into school my first goal is to be successful there and if I'm lucky or good enough to go to the league, I will start to think about that.

With the exception of Washington and WSU, most of the schools on your list are a good ways off.  So, it's no problem to go as far east as Kentucky, Duke or UNC?

I wouldn't have a problem going to the east or anything like that.  It's like, well in Texas I have family in Dallas and Mississippi down south, so I wouldn't have a problem to go down there and play, but I don't have a problem going anywhere.  UCLA is like a ten and a half hour drive or two and a half hour flight.

Who will play a big role in your decision?

Probably my Dad, my Mom, my family and older brother.

How do you like the recruiting process?  Is it tiring, a lot of calls ...

I do, but my Dad really handles most of the calls.  It's not really tiresome though.

Who are the last coaches to have called you?

Coach Matta at Ohio State, Coach Pitino at Louisville ... that's all I know of this past week.  I'm in a get to know process with all the schools.

What are you like off the court?

 I just like to chill with friends, go see movies and do stuff with a lot of other people, whatever is fun.

Josh Smith in three words as a person?

As a person I would say nice, smart and funny.

... three words as a player?

solid, powerful and understanding. [/private]