UVa Vs. Duke Preview: Duke Defense

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Andrew Pearman could be a key factor this week because of his speed – the Cavs need to use it because Duke doesn’t pursue well laterally.

If you listened to Duke coach Ted Roof and Al Groh in their weekly pressers, you’d think they were reading from the same script.

“It wasn’t a lack of effort; it was a lack of execution,” Roof said of his team’s season opening loss to Connecticut. “Football is the ultimate team game. You’ve got to have 11 guys all doing their job at the same time, and when you don’t and there are only 10 of 11 doing it or nine of 11 doing it, then breakdowns occur, and it costs the whole football team.”

On defense it was big plays that killed the Devils as they yielded five running plays of more than 14 yards and eight passing plays in excess of 14 yards, including two that went for more than 40 and a third that was erased due to a penalty.

The Blue Devils do welcome back middle linebacker Michael Tauiliili who had been suspended from the team after he was arrested August 4 was but reinstated two weeks ago. Duke’s leading tackler in 2005 and 2006 was suspended against Connecticut.

Roof’s defense is a welcome opponent after Virginia offense sputtered it’s way though a 110-yard, 2.4 yards per play performance last Saturday. After last week’s dismal display in Wyoming, if there were ever was an opposing defense to try and get the Virginia offense in sync, this is it.

The Devils almost hit for the cycle last year, finishing 105 in total defense, 108 in pass efficiency defense, 114 in scoring defense, and just missing out on the grand slam by ending the season 99th in run defense.


  • In eight of 12 games last season, opposing QBs passed for more than 7.3 yards per attempt and five passed for more than 8.0 YPA.
  • Duke allowed an average of 98.7 yards per game and a 3.1 yards per carry in the first seven games of 2006. Those averages ballooned to 265 YPG and 5.92 YPC in the final five outings of the year.
  • During Duke’s 21-game losing streak,