One loss not becoming two has been the theme this week as Duke opens up ACC play versus Virginia, who has defeated them seven straight times.
The Blue Devils are looking for their first conference win since 2020, focusing on four specific things leading up to Saturday’s contest:
- Coverage Communication
- Dual Threat Quarterback
- Tackling & Technique
- Disruption upfront ( only 1 sack versus Kansas)
From an execution standpoint, Duke was a couple plays from having a different outcome at Kansas. Nevertheless, that performance was just that – a previous performance. How do you bounce back from a disappointing defeat? You must have a next play mentality.
For the Blue Devils it starts and ends on the defensive front. Virginia’s quarterback Brennan Armstrong presents the same issues as Jalon Daniels of Kansas. Although he’s not as fast out of the RPO, Brennan has a stronger arm that will allow him to get the ball downfield against a unproven secondary. Armstrong likes to look for his number one option – Keytaon Thompson, so communication on the backend with safety help from Darius Joyner will be of great importance.
Starting the game fast will be pivotal. It will allow Duke to dictate the tempo and scheme. The Blue Devisl become predictable when facing deficits, as we’ve seen against the Jayhawks – tending to run away from the ground game, which chews the clock and time of possession.
Duke quarterback Riley Leonard has praised the offensive line and talked about the confidence he builds from trusting them. That trust will get tested this week, as Duke’s offensive line has yielded just four sacks this season – a league best – and Virginia has a league best 14 sacks. Something has to give.
Impact Players to Watch Out For:
You can catch the action starting at 7:30 PM Saturday viewable on ESPN 3.