2021 Production Lost – Duke

Next up on Pitt’s ACC schedule are the Duke Blue Devils.

Duke, like previously reviewed Virginia Tech and Virginia, has a new head coach – Mike Elko. After a mutually agreed parting of way, Elko replaces David Cutcliffe who had guided the Blue Devils for the prior fourteen seasons.

Elko was a long time defensive coordinator – thirteen years. He spent nine years with Dave Clawson, first at Bowling Green and then Wake Forest before moving on. Here are his stats from Wikipedia:

Good years (4), a few bad years(3) but mainly B results (based on total defense). My favorite take away from above is that school names get progressive smaller.

What was one of the first thing HCME did to improve his squad? Link to an article on food:

Mike Elko: Duke football rebuild starts with improving the food (fayobserver.com)

Duke’s 2021 results and the 2022 schedule.

Another ACC team playing two P5 teams. At least they scheduled teams that they have a shot at winning. With those P5 teams away games, Duke football faithful are looking forward to seeing Temple and North Carolina A&T in action.

Here are the Rivals 5.7 and above 2022 commits. Also included are the current Transfer Portal (TP) additions.

Surprising to me, the 2022 class was the best recruiting class since 2018 (one 5.8, 4-star, four 5.7 3-stars). Only one of the 5.7’s is still on the 2022 Duke roster and he was not on the roster in 2021 but is back for ‘22. Grades? I have no idea why.

I might as well get this over with – Duke is a BASKETBALL school. I usually start my research with the SBNation communities site. Link:

SBNation.com Communities

Some of the sites are very robust in their articles and I learn from their reporting and the comment section. If a site is like Cardiac Hill (I hate to knock a now defunct competitor), I try to find alternatives. Duke’s SBN site is all basketball. Alternative sites are all basketball.

To tell the truth, I have learned more about Duke football by reading their athletic department’s football page.

Duke lost thirteen players to the TP. Eight of them were defensive players (six DB’s, two DL’s). There were five offensive players (two WR’s, and one each RB, OL and their starting QB).

Duke plucked eight from the TP. There on offense. All play the OL. Four play defense – a DL, a LB and two DB’s. The eight player is a long snapper.

What is interesting is that half of the players are from FCS teams. That is nearly a quarter of the 17 FCS players that ACC teams picked up from the Portal. In total, the Ivy league provided eight of the seventeen.

On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the 2021 All ACC teams. I have added a new stat –  Athlon’s 2022 preseason All ACC Conference’s (four teams). I could not find any mention of Duke players making a Phil Steele team.

There almost certainly was two or more on Steele’s teams but Duke only brags about their basketball players.

The  offense revolves around QB play. I have added sacked and yards lost to the QB chart.

Gunnar Holmberg is gone. He entered the TP. Luca Diamond is making the transition to a fulltime WR.

That leads to a QB competition between Riley Leonard (2021 Rivals 5.7, 3-star) and Jordan Moore (2021 Rivals 5.5, 3-star). 2022 Rivals 5.5, 3-star Henry Belin, Jr. is waiting in the wings.

So far, I do not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about Duke’s offense.

Blue Devil running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production summary for Pitt, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Louisville, UNC, Syracuse, Virginia, and Duke.

The loss of Mataeo Durant (2022 UDFA – Steelers) and leading receiver Jake Bobo (TP – UCLA) has put a big dent in returning production. Only Georgia Tech has ben hurt more than Duke.

Duke did have a wide variety of players running and catching the ball. But that is what happens when you lose all eight ACC games by an average of 31.75 points.

But that variety of players leads to some hope for a run/pass offense. Moore (the QB) had more rush attempts and yardage than pass attempts and yardage. Leonard (the other QB) had more pass attempts/yardage then he had as a rusher.

What does the Oline stats tell us? I added Pitt allowed sacks and tackles for loss.

Duke’s Oline was good in protecting the QB. Not so good at opening holes for the RB’s. Was it because opponents sold out to stop the run?

Duke returns four starters and two with limited (one game) starting experience. Based on that, Duke Oline is a strength.

Do you have any idea why Duke average plays per game (77.8) led the ACC? Wake was close at 77.4 per game. Pitt was third at 76.4.

On to the defensive review.

Duke had 51 players make a defensive stat. But nine of them were offensive players. Three were special teams player. That leaves 39 defensive players making a stat.

The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and fifteen players who did not make at least ten tackles.

The below chart includes 24 players- eleven DB’s, nine DL’s and four LB’s making up (and I mean made up) a “10 tackles two deep.” I did not have to lower my goal of ten tackles to make a “two deep.”

Using the column “Tot”(al Tackles) Duke’s returning defensive production was at 68.3%.

To help put all of the defensive data into perspective, here are Duke’s 2021 NCAA defensive stats.

I give the Blue Devils defensive stats a solid F. Duke has more returning production then Pitt but it will be nearly impossible to move the defensive into C territory.

It is my opinion that Duke will match last year’s 3 – 9 record. It could be 4 – 8 if Northwestern is still in rebuilding mode.

Pitt wins. If you are keeping track, that makes my preseason predictions 10 – 1.