Duke-Army: Blue Devils' Defense Must Defend Against Black Knight Attack

Mike KlineAnalyst ISeptember 24, 2010

Sean Renfree saw his first real action in 2009 against Army, helping Duke to a come from behind win.
Sean Renfree saw his first real action in 2009 against Army, helping Duke to a come from behind win.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When Army brings in its wishbone, triple option attack on Saturday it will be a completely different picture in Wallace Wade Stadium.

For starters all of the Alabama fans have moved on, and probably, despite the fact it is Duke's Homecoming, a few less Blue Devils fans will be in attendance.

Duke looks to rebound from what was a less than competitive effort against the nation's top ranked team.

David Cutcliffe has said while the Blue Devils weren't able to match the physicality of the Crimson Tide that there speed was pretty close. That same speed should help give Duke a slight edge against the boys from West Point.

Last year Duke pulled off a come from behind victory at West Point led by then redshirt freshman Sean Renfree who threw two touchdown passes. A year later as the starter Renfree looks to duplicate that effort but will have a few more weapons.

For starters the Blue Devils' offense features a running game that is averaging more than 100 yards per game. That running game led by Desmond Scott and Josh Snead will be crucial in helping Duke keep the Army offensive unit on the field.

When the Black Knights do take to the field on offense they once again will rely on a run-oriented attack which has helped them to a 2-1 start. Granted both wins come against lesser talent, but then again Duke's only victory is against FCS Elon.

A week removed from the Blue Devils biggest game under Cutcliffe, much has been made about how poor the defense has looked. They are sure to get a major challenge against what is sure to be a very disciplined and precise option attack.

Cutcliffe said that mistakes you make against option teams are much more glaring as you can't always rely on speed and athleticism to fix them.

Duke's young and inexperienced defense will get its first taste of what will be three games against teams that feature an option-style offense. If the Duke defensive front can play good, clean assignment football then the Blue Devils have enough weapons on offense to come away with their second victory of the season.

Keys for Duke

The Blue Devils must control the ball. The less time the Army offense is on the field the more time Duke's offense is. That helps keep the defense fresh and the score in the Blue Devils' favor.

Renfree will surely throw it but if Scott or Snead can have good days on the ground, the edge definitely falls to Duke.

Keys for Army

Army is all about execution of its offense. If they play good technique they can circumvent the lack of athletes they have.

If they can control the ball and not have empty possessions it will force Duke to rush on offense and go away from the rushing game, making them one dimensional.


Duke 28 Army 17

Duke backs off its previous high scoring ways (Alabama being the obvious exception) and control the clock a little more with the ground game.

The Blue Devils defense should step up to the challenge and have its best game of the season.