Blue Devils look to air it out against Pack

WRAL says that Duke will look to air it out against the Wolfpack on what may be a raining day in Raleigh this weekend.

Who could blame them after the way our defense has been playing? Maybe we should really be asking — Will Mike Archer’s defense find a way to hold an opponent under 30 points?

Thad Lewis certainly can’t complain about the opportunity.

He’s a senior with 39 starts at quarterback for Duke and is playing for a coach who has built a reputation around throwing the football. And when he takes the field Saturday against North Carolina State, he’ll face a defense that allowed a bevy of yards through the air last week and will likely have overhauled its secondary.

It seems to give the Blue Devils – the top passing offense in the Atlantic Coast Conference – an edge. They just have to take advantage.

Ultimately, they key to Duke’s quest of stopping NC State’s eleven game winning streak in this series probably lies with NC State‘s execution – or lack thereof. As this article points out, You Can’t Spell “Mistake” without (NC) “ST”.

But Obie’s bottom line is what bottomed out State in Winston-Salem last week: the Wolfies aren’t a good enough team to make so many mistakes and consistently get away with it.

How many times they have to re-learn that lesson, if they ever fully learn it, will dictate whether this is the club many thought it could be.

Where do we begin?


Up Next: Duke

NC State Depth Chart Discussion for Duke game

Current ACC Power Ratings

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'09 Football

37 Responses to Blue Devils look to air it out against Pack

  1. tjfoose2 10/07/2009 at 5:25 AM #

    Well, at least someone agrees with me, per State’s DB’s vs Lewis and Duke’s passing game.

  2. Wufpacker 10/07/2009 at 6:54 AM #

    ^I’ll go out on a limb here and say that wayyyy more than just one “someone” is in agreement with you that Duke will attempt to exploit the fact that their relative strength (experienced QB, capable receiving corp, leading the conference in passing) will be matched up against our (arguably) most glaring weakness (defensive secondary). I say “arguably” because it appears that, according to the current results of the poll to the right side of the page, at least as many folks believe that special teams is our biggest weakness. I can’t necessarily argue that point, and in fact had narrowed it down to those two choices myself, only choosing the secondary over the special teams based on the frequency, the sheer number of plays per game, that they are on the field and involved in the outcome of a play.

    And, while I do realize that plays on special teams often involve plays where relative field position can be altered dramatically, it has recently become all too clear that our defensive secondary is having this same effect. That is to say, because of their play, our opponent’s field position is changing often and drastically, and usually in the wrong direction.

    I honestly don’t know too much about Duke, including their offensive and defensive lines. My hope is that our DL’s will be able to pressure Lewis enough to get him rattled and not give him the time to pick and choose his targets. They were able to do that with Skinner, but with Skinner it didn’t matter…he was still able to torch us.

    I realized that, despite sacking him early and often, Skinner was likely going to hang in there and be the difference maker when he was hit HARD in the pocket, twice on the same play, and yet as his body was crumpling under the weight of TWO of our DL’s he was able to stay poised, keep his vision up, find an outlet and get the ball there, accurately no less. I think it was that play when I was certain we would not win that game. But Lewis is not Skinner, at least I hope he’s not. And I hope that if we can punish him a little bit he’ll falter, rather than get better (like Skinner seemed to do).

    The DL’s getting good pressure on the QB and continuing to be effective against the run, and the OL continuing to protect Wilson but also hopefully opening some holes for the running game, are the two main things I’d like to see Saturday.

  3. Alpha Wolf 10/07/2009 at 8:21 AM #

    I predict that we won’t make as many mistakes.

    Or if we do, a coach or two will have their heads explode on the sideline.

    I also predict lots of servings of Carter-Finley’s fine new turf to Thad Lewis.

    Finally, if it is raining, it will be harder for Duke to play air mail against the Pack. Especially because I expect the new turf to be a bit treacherous.

    On the other hand, expect to see lots of Baker and Eugene pounding the Dook line. And Mr. Wilson having a huge day rushing on his own.

  4. Plz2BStateFan 10/07/2009 at 8:41 AM #

    I hope to see Wilson and the coaching staff come to a harmonious state in-between staying in the pocket and running the ball.

    And the way WFU controlled our receivers last game I expect us to run, run, and run some more until Duke is forced to shut the run down. Then Wilson can go get em.

    I want to see more balance with more north/south and less draw plays. Throw in some reverses, keep them guessing.

    And finally, I hope to see some improvement in the secondary. Even though we should see it just because of Duke’s talent level, I want to see strides in the right direction.

  5. ncsufan13 10/07/2009 at 8:43 AM #

    I’m hesitant to make any predictions about the Duke game given our shaky performances so far. We go from scoring only 3 points in the season opener to scoring 24 against wake and looking like a worse football team while we’re doing it. Considering our team hasn’t played with any consistency this year (unless you count our incurring penalties) I’d hope the coaches are ready to coach on their feet and throw out their game plans if things don’t look like they are working out. I think this line might apply to us again this week if we underestimate Duke.

    But Mouse, you are not alone,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes of mice and men
    Go often askew,
    And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
    For promised joy!

  6. old13 10/07/2009 at 8:56 AM #

    It’s not only the pass D that must show marked improvement against Duke. If the STs consistently give away field position like they did at WF, Duke will just keep scoring with little total yardage needed. This, IMO, is a “must” game for the Pack to not ony win, but also to take a big step up in overall improvement.

    BTW This ain’t the same Duke team that we’ve seen over the past decade or so. Although I’m sure that VaTech didn’t bring their A game last Saturday, a Duke team that puts up 400 yards of O on Bud Foster is doing something right.

  7. BJD95 10/07/2009 at 9:04 AM #

    Duke is the worst team on our conference schedule. We are at home. We are a 15-point favorite. I won’t be pissed if Duke covers, but they sure as hell better not win.

  8. packof81 10/07/2009 at 9:44 AM #

    This ain’t a must win, it’s a must stomp. The pack needs redemption.

  9. Classof89 10/07/2009 at 9:45 AM #

    I picked special teams as our weakest area, because the 20+ yards of field position we give up on every special teams possession exchange (i.e. punts or kickoffs) often neutralizes our offensive strength (balanced offensive attack centered around Wilson’s passing and running). When we start possessions inside our 20 due to poor special teams play, Bible always goes conservative, resulting in 3rd and longs and putting pressure on Wilson to bail us out.

  10. 4in12 10/07/2009 at 10:08 AM #

    ^ I prefer Burn’s original Scottish version :

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft a-gley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promised joy.


    Duke always brings their A game against us. We always seem to play them to not lose. We need to play them with the mind set we had against Murray State and pound them into submission.

  11. nav 10/07/2009 at 10:20 AM #

    I can’t remember when I have seen worse special teams play. We almost waste a play by punting. Maybe TOB should read that article someone posted on the forums the other day about never punting in a FB game. I honestly think we have a better chance going for it on 4th down EVERY time and just trust in Russell to make a play. I would say that 75% of the time he would and that has to be better than our punting and coverage plays.

  12. jaybird80 10/07/2009 at 10:28 AM #

    Not only should we go for it on every 4th down, we should on-sides kick for kick-offs instead of trying to kick it deep.

    Seriously though, I can see this game looking a lot like the Miami game of last year. Close for a while, but then the offense gets rolling and the defense gets a big turnover to provide a working margin and then the Pack pulls away at the end. (I hope!)

  13. johnwolfpack2003 10/07/2009 at 10:28 AM #

    “I’d hope the coaches are ready to coach on their feet and throw out their game plans if things don’t look like they are working out.” – Agree 100%

    Let me just say that this game scares the hell out of me. I can envision a really tight game and I can also see 10-15 point swings in either direction.

    As far as our game plan, I expect us to try harder to establish a run game after the complete fail in W-S. I would like to see some variations in play-calling…at least try to mix it up a little bit.

    Regarding their d-line/o-line: their d-line is fairly solid, and Oghobaase is a beast. Their o-line is one of their weak spots this year (according to Dook fans).

    Duke monkey boards (State game predictions):

  14. howlie 10/07/2009 at 10:43 AM #

    They’ll throw a gazillion short crossing patterns & short out patterns. We stay 30 yards off the line of scrimmage; and have LB’s to cheat up in their zone to cover the run game… and ignore the pass.

  15. old13 10/07/2009 at 11:03 AM #

    At the WRAL site linked above, there is a link to Cutcliffe’s interview yesterday, which I thought was very good – much like a TOB interview but with a southern accent. Personally, I like his style.

  16. CaptainCraptacular 10/07/2009 at 11:19 AM #

    This is off the topic of Lewis vs our secondary.

    Seems to me that with USC and now Wake (who’s D was mostly effective after the first quarter) somewhat limiting our Offense, the book on slowing down RW is taking shape: Pressure with 4, max 5. Doesn’t have to be a near sack every play but just enough pressure to clog the viewing angles without worrying about contain. Couple that with an underneath heavy zone or 2 spies on either side of the box that covers areas that he may run to and limit potential damage from the dump off. I’ve observed that when faced with that type of zone, we haven’t had many plays of medium distance over the linebackers yet still in front of the safeties. It appears to me that Russell has been hesitant to try and get passes in over the linebackers heads. Of course I have only watched on TV and you don’t see the whole picture so this is only my observation. I’ve wondered if it might not be better to go ahead and get that interception out of the way so he’s not so hesitant to try and make that type of play more often.

  17. Plz2BStateFan 10/07/2009 at 11:32 AM #

    This is why we need more run this week. Force them to take those guys out of the secondary and play the run.

  18. 61Packer 10/07/2009 at 11:38 AM #

    There’s no doubt that the Wolfpack has better talent than the Blue Devils, but the South Carolina game made me believe that we just aren’t going to be a good team this season, and except for the second half of the Pitt game, we haven’t played like a good team this season, let alone a smart one.

    Duke doesn’t have anything to lose in this one. They’re long overdue in this series, and we don’t have Philip Rivers to save us this time if we need bailing out in the final minute. I’m afraid this one may show the nation why we’ve become the apparent football darlings of ESPNU.

  19. bradleyb123 10/07/2009 at 11:43 AM #

    I think State wins by 17+. Duke is decent and improving, but after the way we lost to Wake, I think we’ll bounce back and put a thumping on Duke.

    Russell and our receivers should be able to pick on Duke’s short defenders all day long. Our defense will give up some yardage, too. But offense vs offense, I think we outscore them for sure. And if Duke gets behind, they’ll air it out more and take bigger risks, and we’ll get some INTs. That’s my prediction (and hope!)

  20. wolfpacktexx 10/07/2009 at 12:35 PM #

    Last year the height of our receiving core exploited Duke’s very small in stature DB’s. Russell was able to throw the ball for grabs and our receivers were able to play catch most of the afternoon. Different note: Surprisingly Va Tech was not able to run against Duke last week in Durham.

    What we need to see is a complete game. No more oil leaking from our kicking game and special teams, a solid pass rush with Mr. Lewis getting hit each time he throws and lastly a solid effort in the running game.

    15 point favorite – I agree this game does not need to be a nail biter. Stay healthy and give our coach the big win in Boston the following week. Make no mistake about it TOB wants his first win over BC badly!

  21. VaWolf82 10/07/2009 at 12:39 PM #

    I don’t know what team or what games some of you are watching….but expecting State to “establish the run” appears foolish to me. Even against Gardner Webb, State threw more than it ran.

    It would be great to be able to come out, run the ball, and control the clock. I just don’t expect to see it.

  22. wolfpacktexx 10/07/2009 at 12:52 PM #

    I don’t know what team or what games some of you are watching…expecting State to “establish the run”.

    NCSU vs. PITT – Saturday 9/26

  23. ncsufan13 10/07/2009 at 12:56 PM #

    I would be interested to see us use some power run formations and attempt something other than draw plays. Russell Wilson was obviously hamstrung by our lack of a running game last week and was forced into far too many 3rd and long situations (penalties added to this as well).

    Russell had to throw the ball more than he did in the other four games with a season high 43 attempts. It is crucial that we give Russell a chance at 3rd and short to keep the pressure off of him from the pass rush and wearing out his arm.

  24. Alpha Wolf 10/07/2009 at 12:58 PM #

    Duke has a solid DL. I wouldn’t expect an old-school Power-I to open them up easily. I do, however, expect us to try it in order to try to draw these guys in and get them trapped inside the box. That opens the flats and also post and fly routes. I like our receivers in iso one-on-ones. If they catch it in stride, watch out.

    Once they get loosened, expect the offense to be able to move the ball on the run. Especially with the “dreaded” draw plays (that aren’t draws, they are delays.)

  25. ncsufan13 10/07/2009 at 1:03 PM #

    “Especially with the “dreaded” draw plays (that aren’t draws, they are delays.)”

    I don’t want to sound naive Alpha Wolf, but could you explain the difference? I thought that draws were run out of the shotgun (which we do) and delayed handoffs were run from under center (we don’t do often).

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