Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Devils really embarrassed Tech at home last season, and the Hokies will have even tougher matchup with David Cutcliffe’s squad when they travel to Durham, N.C., late in the season.
Duke’s quarterback tandem of Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette befuddled Tech’s defense last year. Neither put up gaudy numbers, but they averaged a combined nine yards per carry on the ground and gashed the run defense at all the worst possible moments.
Both signal-callers return in 2014, to the Hokies’ detriment. However, Duke is also replacing its offensive coordinator, promoting former passing game coordinator Scottie Montgomery to the top job.
But while the change could cause some early turbulence, players seem comfortable with the move.
"It will be a great thing for our team," wide receiver Jamison Crowder told Laura Keeley of the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer. "He has a lot of experience, both playing football at the next level, the highest level, and coaching on the highest level. It’s just going to be a great thing, great experience for the players and the coaches to have his schemes and strategies going into a ballgame. I can’t wait."
Where the Hokies might benefit from some turmoil is against Duke’s defense. The unit only returns six starters, as compared to the nine starters the offense brings back.
But Cutcliffe was fond of rotating in his reserves with some frequency, so the new starters won’t be totally green.
In either case, the Blue Devils held the Hokies to just 10 points in 2013, a result they’ll need to reverse if they want to win and seize control of the Coastal next year.
Duke isn’t going anywhere in the division, and it’ll be a tall order for the Hokies to go into North Carolina and come out with a late season win if they can’t use their offensive experience to disrupt Duke’s younger defense.
But while this game might be a challenge, there’s one team at the very top of the schedule that will be a huge hurdle for the Hokies.