Ask A Blogger Series: DukeBlogMKline talks Duke Spring Football

The Duke Blue Devils are the next installment of HokieGuru’s Ask a Blogger Series. The Miami Hurricanes are tomorrow. Enjoy!

Past Ask A Blogger – ACC Spring Football Reports

 North Carolina | Miami | Virginia Tech | Maryland | Virginia | Georgia Tech

Good evening from @HokieGuru.  I’m here today to discuss the ACC spring football practice with each bloggers from each of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams.  What follows is our interview with@DukeBlogMKline on Duke Football football.  Mike Kline is the Writer/operator of Duke Sports Blog. Fan of all things Duke, including football, yes I said football.  Here we go with our interview below!!!

@HokieGuru:  Tell us about your spring game – how was the turnout?  Was the team well received?

@DukeBlogMKline: The turnout was minimal perhaps a couple hundred people at the most. The team was well received though there was some confusion over the team alignments. First and second string offense versus first and second string defense. Lots of recruits on hand to see the game and coach David Cutcliffe got a nice ovation at halftime with a rousing speech to moviate the fans on the state of the program.

@HokieGuru: What are some of the major strengths coming out of spring practice?

@DukeBlogMKline: The athleticism and the return of Josh Snead at running back were probably the biggest positives. Duke has experience on the offensive line and at the quarterback and the wide receiver positions. A lot of younger guys on the defensive line and linebacker got some looks thanks to injuries so depth should be much better this year.

@HokieGuru: What are some of the major weaknesses coming out of spring practice?  In other words, what do you think Duke will be working on in August before the first game?  What are the questions that you think have to be resolved?

@DukeBlogMKline: The running game will continue to be an area of struggle even with a solid stable of backs. Duke has to find a way to get something positive from the running game each and every game. They have experience and skill at the back position and on the offensive line they just have to put it together. For Duke fans the concerns are also around the plan to utilize more than one quarterback in a game, something that just didn’t pay many dividends last year especially in the redzone. David Cutcliffe is looking at using quarterbacks at different positions in an effort to get the best players on the field. There are also lots of concerns on the defensive side of the ball with the loss of Matt Daniels to graduation and the probable loss of starting linebacker Kelby Brown who re-tore his ACL prior to spring practice. Lots of young guys will have to step up as a lot of the older guys missed spring ball due to injury.

@HokieGuru: Fall will be here before we know it – what position concerns you the most?

@DukeBlogMKline: Linebacker and defensive line. Duke was beat up last year on the defensive front and couldn’t stop or get pressure on opposing offenses. They suffered a lot of injuries as well and can’t afford that kind of luck again. As I mentioned before, Kelby Brown is likely to miss the season and he was probably Duke’s best returning defender the linebacking corps has to step up. I’m also concerned with the move of Brandon Braxton to safety. He is a good player and athlete but I’m hoping he doesn’t start because if he does I look for teams to take advantage of his inexperience. So I guess I’m concerned with the entire defense.

@HokieGuru: Who are the new recruits that you are impressed with the most?  Are there any that you think will get some major playing time right away?

@DukeBlogMKliner: Quarterback Thomas Sirk was impressive in the spring game and while he will likely start down on the depth chart and could even redshirt, he is versatile and athletic and you never know. The incoming running back duo of Shaquille Powell and Jela Duncan could very well add even more depth to the running game. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Powell get some carries in the redzone. He was a four-star recruit according to at least one recruiting service.

@HokieGuru: Based on what you saw/read from spring practice, do you think Duke will be better than last year?  Why or why not?

@DukeBlogMKline: I think they will be better though I’m not sure their record will necessarily reflect how much. They have a brutal schedule and 10 of their 12 opponents were bowl eligible teams last season. I think an optimistic record would be 5-7 unless they shock someone and beat a team or two they probably shouldn’t.

@HokieGuru: Give us the pulse of the Duke football program – what are the Blue Devils bloggers/fans thinking right now on the status of the program?

@DukeBlogMKline: I think most are optimistic and have faith that the program is headed in the right direction and is in the right hands. However, another three-win season and we might be singing a different tune. Again I think Duke has to win 5 games and go at least 3-1 in their nonconference schedule, including no losses to FCS schools, for me to feel they are making positive growth. Anything better than that including a bowl berth would be great but realistically given where Duke has had to come from, it would be gravy.

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