Duke Football: Devils Have Much to Work On As Spring Practice Nears

Mike KlineAnalyst IFebruary 11, 2010

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 14:  Morgan Burnett #1 and a group of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defenders tackle Conner Vernon #2 of the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

When Duke kicks off their spring football practice next Monday there will be a few changes that fans can expect to see.

The most significant change would have to be the Blue Devils need to break in a new signal caller.

Thad Lewis, a four year starter at quarterback and the holder of most Duke passing records, will need to be replaced.

The anticipated replacement, Sean Renfree, is expected to be limited at best as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in a game against Georgia Tech last season.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe is going to need to work his magic to get Renfree's brain ready for the upcoming 2010 season, while working redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder as well as a bevy of incoming freshmen, physically to be ready to run the offense.

But quarterback isn't the only area the Devils need to work on. Duke will need to establish some level of running game capable of taking pressure off which ever young quarterback takes the reigns of Cutcliffe's offense.

Sophomore Desmond Scott appears to be the top candidate. He showed some promise last season as a runner and receiver. Duke will need's Scott's playmaking ability to create opportunities for the passing game.

The Blue Devils recent signing day haul landed them several defensive line prospects, which is consequently an area that will need to be overhauled. With the loss of two of the defense's top players, tackle Vince Oghobaase and linebacker Vincent Rey the Blue Devils will need player makers on that side of the ball.

Cutcliffe who was forced to dismiss projected starter John Drew last month, will have to wait on most of his incoming freshman and that will require co-defensive coordinators Marion Hobby and Jim Knowles to try and mold a quality unit out of the available players left.

Duke's focus during the spring practice sessions will need to be on quarterback and offensive and defensive line development.

Another notable change is the move of wide receiver Johnny Williams to cornerback. Cutcliffe said it isn't out of the question for Williams to play both ways.

But I would expect because of the quality of receivers the Blue Devils showed last season may make it hard for Williams to see time on the offensive side of the ball.

Duke's spring game is March 27 and should help answer some questions regarding the roster but ultimately the quarterback position will have to wait until practice begins in August when Renfree is expected back from his injury.

How the younger players fill the void of those that are now gone and how veteran player step up into leadership roles will go along way in determine how successful Duke will ultimately be come September.