Know Your Enemy: Duke
Each game, we'll get the inside look at Virginia Tech's opponent by talking with the opposing team's beat writer. This week, we spoke with
Then, Duke started winning again and that success, the way they were winning the games, you started to realize that maybe we shouldn't be surprised by this. It's the same offense we saw last season. Coach
Offensively, they've got a lot of key players and defensively, they've got some veteran guys that got all their bumps and bruises out of the way last year as freshmen and sophomores. It's certainly surprising to be 5-1 but to see them have success, we were definitely not giving them the credit they deserved.
Over the summer during ACC media days, Vernon welcomed opponents to focus on him because he said that knew how good Crowder is. He's just begging teams to double-team him because he knows Crowder can make big plays. Some teams have already made that mistake, to double Vernon and give Crowder room to make plays. Vernon's the type of player that he's gonna make plays whether you're double-teaming him or not. He just has that knack to find the football and rarely drops a pass in his area. He's not a big receiver, but he has deceptively fast legs.
The second half has been a key, as they've made monster adjustments. That's where they really show their strength. It's their conditioning and from a football standpoint, they're starting to get pressure in the backfield. They haven;t been able to do that in a long time. Now you have a four-man front that can get to the quarterback and pressure on him, maybe not sack him, but hurry him up. That's allowed the defensive backs to do their job.
These guys, from a Duke standpoint, regardless of what Virginia Tech is doing, they feel confident that they can play with anybody right now. They're confident they can go on the road and win against a team like Virginia Tech. They feel like they're playing consistent and on top of their game. No matter who they're playing, they feel like they can compete and win games. Cutcliffe sees them as the same Virginia Tech team they've seen. The talent is there.