6 questions about Duke

Greetings-

The weekly Q&A with a beat writer who covers Georgia Tech’s opponent. This week, Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald-Sun was gracious enough to answer some questions about the Blue Devils.  Steve has been covering Duke for the Herald-Sun since Aug. 2010. He’s previously worked at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Biloxi Sun-Herald and the State in Columbia, covering the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and South Carolina, respectively. You can follow him on Twitter here and read his stuff here.

1. To what degree have Duke’s injuries cost the Blue Devils? Could their record be a win or two better if they’d been healthy?

Injuries have really cost Duke this year. It started early when Will Snyderwine, the preseason all-ACC kicker, suffered a foot injury in preseason camp. He missed two chip-shot field goals in a 23-21 loss to Richmond and has never been the same. He also had a big miss in the 24-23 loss to Wake Forest. So that’s two wins right there. The Blue Devils will have seven players from their two-deep unavailable for Saturday’s game with Georgia Tech.

2. Duke has played a lot of teams close only to lose in the fourth quarter. Do you see any patterns in how those games have been lost?

In David Cutcliffe’s four years on the job, he’s upgraded facilities and improved Duke’s recruiting. The talent in the freshmen and sophomore classes is superior to the junior and senior classes. But Cutcliffe and his staff have been unable to teach the Blue Devils how to win games. One game, it’s a key penalty or turnover that costs them. In another it will be blown assignments on defense, the offensive line allowing a key sack or a running back not getting to the hole fast enough. The 14-10 loss to Virginia Tech is a good example, as are the Wake Forest and Richmond losses. Duke has yet to give Cutcliffe a signature win, despite several chances.

3. Is safety Matt Daniels that good or does he have that many tackles (10.2 per game) because he’s the last line of defense?

Daniels is a legitimate defender, particularly against the run. He has good size, decent speed and is smart about the routes he takes to the ball carrier. Cutcliffe is touting him as an All-American candidate, which is a tough sell because of the team he plays on. Daniels does tend to get exposed in passing coverage – Florida State burned him on a couple of deep routes – and that will keep him from being any more than a late-round pick or undrafted free agent in the NFL next year. But the kid is very smart, a hard worker and one of the team’s steadiest players for sure.

4. What are Sean Renfree’s strengths and weaknesses, and where do you place him among ACC quarterbacks?
Renfree is a classic drop-back, pro-style quarterback. He’s 6-5 and has the ability to see the field well. He suffered a torn ACL in 2009, which has limited his mobility. Many observers, myself included, thought he would take a big step forward this season and become one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks. But it just hasn’t happened. At times, he looks brilliant. At other times, he’s somewhat erratic. I believe he tends to over think things and it hamstrings him. When he is playing loose and free, he’ll lead a team downfield. But for now he’s in the middle of the pack in the ACC.

5. What would you say is the over/under on attendance Saturday?
22,000. It’s going to be cool and, frankly, the fan base has turned its attention to basketball. Duke is on a five-game losing streak and in real danger of closing out with seven losses. Not a pretty sight.

6. What are a few restaurants or bars you’d recommend to Tech fans going to the game?

The place nearest to Wallace Wade Stadium is the Bull Durham Bar and Grill at the Washington Duke Inn. It’s about a three-block walk to the stadium from there.  Other than that, there’s really not much on campus. Two sports bars popular throughout the Triangle have locations in Durham – the Carolina Ale House and the Tobacco Road Sports     Café. Tobacco Road is in downtown Durham and overlooks the left-field wall at  the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, so that’s different. Ale House has lots of seating and a long list of brew choices and good food. One other popular local place is Satisfaction, also in downtown Durham.

Thanks for reading. This is probably it until Saturday.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

295 comments Add your comment

goldwreck

November 18th, 2011
6:19 am

I certainly hope GT can get past Duke.I like Cutcliffe but I don’t want to see him get his first signature win against the Jackets. GO TECH!

ToeMeetsLeather

November 18th, 2011
6:36 am

Gailey was just about ready to have a “6-5 classic drop back passer” on the flats with Renfree.
Sure wish he had come along soon enough to play with the megatron Johnson teams, Woa Nelly!

Unlike Gailey, CPJ doesn’t lose to teams he shouldn’t lose to. Hope it does not start tomorrow.

Hopefully the focus and intensity is there to hammer the Blue Devils with a 400 yard rushing day.

Wrecker

November 18th, 2011
6:44 am

Duke’s lack of depth will begin to show early in this one. Duke will get a a cheap score or two, but I don’t see this one as scary.

reebok

November 18th, 2011
7:37 am

Get in, get the win, get out with no injuries. It’s going to be hard, after the hoopla and national coverage of the last 2 games, for our guys to get fired up about playing a bad team in front of 22K. CPJ is going to have his hands full getting the team fired up and ready to play. GO JACKETS!

U(sic)GAly

November 18th, 2011
7:37 am

Good morning! Go Jackets!

IL Jacket

November 18th, 2011
7:39 am

Wrecker, I hope you are right, but this one scares me. I watch a good portion of the Duke-VT gAme and if Duke had a field goal kicker they would have won. The Hokies had trouble running against them, particularly in the second half and Renfree was able to pass against VT’s defense. So, given last Thursday night’s result, I am apprehensive.

Dang!!

November 18th, 2011
7:53 am

You mean they haven’t played yet? I thought the Jackets always played on Thursday so not interfere from the REAL football games schedule.

GT FAN IN PA

November 18th, 2011
7:58 am

Toe Meet Leather- I would agree but UVA and Miami game says different this year- but still think Tech rolls all over Duke.

Freddy Blassie

November 18th, 2011
8:04 am

Tech is in real danger of losing to Duke Saturday. Stadium will be half empty, the weather will be cold and Tech will come out flat after a home loss. Duke has played close in tough games and Tech is in danger of turing Duke’s fortunes around. Defense and offense must put together a good game as do special teams.

GTJeff

November 18th, 2011
8:13 am

Toemeetsleather, Did you all of the sudden forget about the UVA game? The Air Force game? The UGA game in 09 & 10? Johnson is not some genius that CAN’T lose a game he should win

Tech Guy

November 18th, 2011
8:19 am

Duke has a history of upsetting the Jackets. I hope not this year, but I am worried.

dawgfan

November 18th, 2011
8:29 am

Something you probably won’t hear out of the Paul Johnson Fan Club at the AJC is that he is currently sitting at 2-5 against Virginia Tech and UGA, the only top 25 caliber teams that Tech ever plays. Throw in an 0-3 bowl record and it is becoming painfully obvious that Paul Johnson cannot beat the big boys, despite all the hype about how his offense supposedly levels the playing field. You could be looking at a 2-6 record against those teams soon. Coaches at big time programs get fired for records like that against their biggest rivals, but Techies are content as long as Johnson beats up on the Dukes and UNC’s of the world and they’ve got their usual excuses about academics.

Its just sad.

Burdell

November 18th, 2011
8:37 am

You’re so right dawgfan…how do us Tech fans even get up in the morning?

RambleOn84

November 18th, 2011
8:40 am

Not quite as sad as the social life of a loser who spends all his time blogging about teams he doesn’t like though…

go jackets

November 18th, 2011
8:45 am

we’ll see the dawgfan next week…do you honestly think your schedule is tough…let’s see…Vanderpuke, Missipppi (gag),Tennesse (where’s old yellow),Florida…watch out for the gators they are fierce…Auburn (where’s the quarterback)…wow what a stretch of losers….

carolinajacket

November 18th, 2011
8:49 am

Not too sure about not losing to underdogs, Kansas and UVA were supposed to be easy Tech wins, even though I must admit that UVA has proven to be a better team than expected. The last time I went to Durham to see the Jackets play Duke, guess what — Duke upset us.

GT FAN IN PA

November 18th, 2011
8:50 am

@dawgfan- so Florida is not a rival for the dawgs? What is Richt’s record against those folks-

U(sic)GAly

November 18th, 2011
8:50 am

I guess Clemson ranked at #5 isn’t top 25 calibre, huh?

RedandBlackDawg

November 18th, 2011
9:01 am

Go Jackets,

These stretch of losers as you call them, would most likely still have more than the same set of teams you have played in the ACC. You might have beat an over confident Clemson team, but you lost to a average VA. tech. team, and next year they will be head and shoulders above Tech.
The simple fact that some of your fans are worried about Duke at all, says volumes about the confidence fans have in your team.
I usually just like to come onto a tech. blog, mostly to find out, what injuries and excuses the fans have this week, but if you are actually delusional enough to compare UGA’s opponents to Techs. and brag about your tough teams schedule, It would appear that your football knowledge is limited, but you are good at talking the talk. It is just too bad that you can’t walk the walk.

Clemson ?

November 18th, 2011
9:06 am

Clemson is not regarded out side of N Avenue and Clemson, Greenville and Seneca SC.

Clemson plays in the ACC and given that reality, there is no respect for them or even FOR FSU or MIami or VaTech on a national scope. None ……………SEC owns all of that anyway.

How do I know this? LOOK at the bowl projections. The ORANGE BOWL HAS to take the ACC Champ. THAT BOWL WOULD LOVE to dump that connection and they will soon enough …………………..JUST LIKE THE GATOR BOWL did with the ACC # 2 team as their contractual team. Gator Bowl DUMPED the ACC. Orange Bowl will too.

Look at the venues being penciled in for SEC squads ………..COTTON, SUGAR, OUTBACK and CAPITOL ONE and where ever the NC game is. ACC squads are looking for the Belk Bowl or ths Music City or Tech’s home away from home The Independence Bowl or the Armed Services Bowl ( AIR FORCE? YIKES) or that Poinsettia Bowl thing. AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA …………..ACC’s bowl venues.

I hear the Waffle House Bowl is upcoming ……………played on the parking lot of the old Zayer’s store near Buford Highway. Maybe GT can get invited to that bowl.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA, ACC?? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahhahaa

GTSteve

November 18th, 2011
9:17 am

Ummm….dawgfan, what is UGA’s record over the last decade against teams in the top 25, I mean you have beaten UF twice in the lifetime of current college students…..etc

Gorilla Biscuit

November 18th, 2011
9:20 am

22,000? Those guys are almost as pitiful as you guys. ‘Cept they probably ain’t giving away free weenies.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:27 am

Gorilla, you’re back to your TSK TSK TSK

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:32 am

Clemson ? might I remind you that Clemson is in the top 10 right now. You think that doesn’t mean that Clemson is regarded nationally. They are ranked higher than the mighty mutts. Are you on the Orange Bowl committee making you privy to information not provided to the rest of the world? Nah, I think you are just talking out your azz like most mutts do. You would be better off just licking that azz like a good biatch

Gorilla Biscuit

November 18th, 2011
9:33 am

C’mon Supersize, 22,000 for a major conference game? Georgia Southern does better than that for a regular season game.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:34 am

Gorilla, that was supposed to have read “back to your old ways.”

Buzzed

November 18th, 2011
9:39 am

I have reserved a table at the Bull Durham in the name of GP Burdell for the 2 tek fans going to the Duke game. Clemson top- 25 caliber? Can’t be. Lost to the Trade School, who lost to UVA, The U., and to VT – “the worst Top-10 team ever”.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:45 am

Gorilla, I have no control over how many people attend Duke games. They almost never have many more in attendance than that. What’s your point? Besides Ga Southern is probably better than Duke

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:47 am

Buzzed, so glad to know that you know more than the AP voters and the coaches. I’m sure they are quaking in their boots at your superior knowledge.

Delbert D.

November 18th, 2011
9:48 am

Figure out all the possibilities. Unless Auburn beats Alabama, Georgia will end the regular season not having beaten a Top 25 opponent.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:49 am

And the mutts still have only beaten one team with a winning record in the past two years—Auburn

Delbert D.

November 18th, 2011
9:49 am

Now, let’s get back to talking Georgia Tech and Duke football, which is the subject of this blog.

T3

November 18th, 2011
9:52 am

You need to open the comments for the article about penalties against GT.

The stats are simply PROVING what GT fans have known for many years:
blantantly biased ACC refs.

Here’s just a few occassions:

2007 vs Boston College (indescribably bad Pass Interference calls on GT)

2008 vs VT (2 Personal Fouls calls on GT, both of which came on 3rd & long for VT, that sustained a VT drive for the winning FG)

2009 vs UNC (with 30 seconds left in 1st half, GT gets a first down on a pass play AND the WR goes out of bounds. Yet, the ACC refs REFUSED to stop the clock, even with CPJ standing ON THE FIELD screaming at the refs to stop the clock.. A BLATANT and DELIBERATE call by the ACC refs.

2011 vs UNC (with NC losing badly in 3rd Qtr, ACC refs give UNC a “gift” Personal Fould on 3rd & long on a highly dubious head-to-head hit on Sweating, when replay CLEARLY shows Sweating hitting the UNC WR square in the numbers.

2011 vs Clemson (The blatant No-Call on Offsides vs. Clemson Defense with GT on 3rd & Goal from teh Clemson 1 yard line when Clemson DT snatched a “fumble” right from the Center’s hands).
The most flagrant No-Call I have witnessed in a very long time.

The ACC bias against GT has been OBVIOUS and FLAGRANT for years.

okiemon

November 18th, 2011
9:57 am

Ken, just a semi-related question here: are you the beat writer for all GT sports, or just football? If it’s football only, then who is the basketball writer? Tech played (and lost, unfortunately) last night, as you know, and the only thing about it in the AJC is a paragraph written by the AP. I would think, even for a loss, we’d get more local coverage than that.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:58 am

T3, in that 2008 VT game, only the first personal foul was a bad call, and it was REALLY BAD!!! The second one was unfortunately correct. We might have survived one of the calls, but that both of them did us in.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
9:59 am

okiemon, Ken told us that he WILL be covering basketball, but not so much till after football season is over.

Buzzed

November 18th, 2011
10:01 am

So, supersize, are you going to Durham, or are you a non-traveling ‘fan’? Sounds like you won’t make it, because that’s a way you (and your co-’fans’)) COULD impact how many go to Duke games. The polls are by-products of opinions based upon perceptions – not a measure of intelligence. Nobody’s quaking, nobody’s smarter. Let’s see where Clemson and VT end up at the end of the year – based upon results. Pretty sure it’ll at least look like I’m smarter.

ToeMeetsLeather

November 18th, 2011
10:01 am

GTJeff, UVA is a bowl bound team with an outside shot at the ACC Championship, Air Force was in a bowl for a reason and we were playing them without Nesbit. I will give you 09′ against the Nadlickers but we now know the team had a major distraction going on with Burnett and Thomas. Of course we still win that game if the UGA big ulgy on their DL doesn’t twist Nesbit’s knee in the pile and force him to miss most of the first half.

Get back with us Leghumpers when you beat a ranked team.

Delbert D.

November 18th, 2011
10:01 am

Basketball shouldn’t begin play until January. No. 1, it’s a distraction, and No. 2, those incoming freshmen will have earned their eligibility (or not).

Buzzed

November 18th, 2011
10:04 am

And, T3, as a conspiracy theorist and for arguments’ sake, have you thought about why the refs might be biased? Any team could come up with a list of ‘bad calls’ against them, and make the same claims as this article. The stats ‘prove’ nothing; your opinion doesn’t make it so; the bias is unproven.

Delbert D.

November 18th, 2011
10:05 am

Clemson and VT will end up in a poll at the end of the year.

GTBob

November 18th, 2011
10:06 am

Throw in an 0-3 bowl record and it is becoming painfully obvious that Paul Johnson cannot beat the big boys

Your team has one win against an winning opponent in the last two years and one win over a top 25 team who shouldn’t have been in the top 25 anyways. CPJ has beaten two top 25 teams this year, one in the top 5. Its pretty humorous that you consider yourself a big boy also. UGA hasn’t been a big boy for a while. You need to beat somebody worth a crap before you start pretending that anyone even cares about your team.

Gorilla Biscuit

November 18th, 2011
10:07 am

ToeMeetsLeather, we were hoping to beat a ranked team (at the end of the season), but you guys are gonna blow it for us.

Buzzed

November 18th, 2011
10:09 am

TML: Do you have proof that a ‘big ulgy’ (sic) on the DL twisted Nesbitt’s knee on purpose, or did it just happen as part of physical play? UGA beat a ranked team last weekend. If the Trade School doesn’t step on its collective twinkie this weekend, UGA will get to do it again next weekend.

Buzzed

November 18th, 2011
10:11 am

Delbert: No doubt about it, but moreso because of default. Any team left with 3-4 losses will be in a poll. If the Trade School is lucky, maybe even one with 5 losses.:)

Buzzboy47

November 18th, 2011
10:13 am

Ok UGA, let’s wait until you play in the SEC championship game with the tougher conference side (LSU) then see if you can walk the walk..

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
10:14 am

Buzzed, I am no longer able to make it to away games. I am PHYSICALLY able, but I have too many other commitments. There is a life to be lived outside of football, you know. Or maybe you didn’t know that. Besides, like I said earlier, hardly anybody ever goes to Duke games at Duke. I imagine the other NC schools pretty much fill up the stadium there, but that’s about it; and it’s for sure the Duke fans don’t.

GT Joe

November 18th, 2011
10:15 am

Congrats to UGA, winner of the SEC Least. The worst offensive division of all AQ Conferences.

Total yard ranks:

Florida #96
Vandy #97
Tenn #98
SC#87
Auburn #99

Might be the worst division of all times.

Delbert D.

November 18th, 2011
10:15 am

GTBob – I get your logic, but I look only at the final poll rankings to determine wins and losses against ranked opponents. If Texas beats Kansas St., Baylor and Texas A&M, Missouri gets credit for beating a Top 25 opponent (along with Oklahoma, Ok. State.)

Supersize that order, mutt

November 18th, 2011
10:15 am

I guarantee you at season’s end, both VT and Clemson will be ranked higher than the mutts.