For the week leading up to Duke football’s 2013 Spring Game, the Blue Zone has broken down this year’s returning squad unit by unit to examine the key changes you’ll see for next year’s Blue Devils. With the Spring Game set to kick off at 4 p.m., here’s everything you need to know about this year’s squad.
Redshirt junior Anthony Boone will take over as Duke’s full-time starting quarterback for the first time in his career. Thomas Sirk was expected to challenge him but ruptured his achilles last week and should miss the 2013 season. And Duke’s “phantom,” Brandon Connette, will still find his way onto the field. Click here to read about the Blue Devils’ intriguing situation at quarterback. We also featured Boone in Friday’s Chronicle and took an in-depth look at Duke’s newest leader.
- The Blue Devils will return their top three rushers from last season, and sophomore Shaquille Powell is having an excellent spring. Poised to potentially have a breakout season, click here to read about Duke’s ground attack and for further analysis, check out our feature from Tuesday’s Chronicle.
After losing Conner Vernon and Desmond Scott to graduation, the Blue Devils had some major holes to fill at receiver. Jamison Crowder will be the team’s featured playmaker after a breakout sophomore campaign, but who else will step up? Click here to check out our profile of Duke’s young receiving corps. We also featured the unit in Wednesday’s Chronicle and talked to new wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery about who might be the most likely to step up and fill the void next season.
- Duke’s tight ends had a widely unproductive year last season, but with some new additions the unit looks to make an impact in 2013. Click here to read about the return of Braxton Deaver and the Blue Devils’ new weapons at the tight end position.
- The Blue Devils return four of their five starters from last year’s offensive line, hoping to stay healthy, maintain its high standard in pass protection and help more with the run. Click here to read about Duke’s experienced offensive line and who the fifth starter could be.
- Similarly, Duke returns nearly its entire rotation on the defensive front. The unit had its ups and downs last season but hopes to be more reliable in the pass rush in 2013. Click here to read about the defensive line, led by sixth-year senior Kenny Anunike.
- The Blue Devil linebackers were a model of consistency in the 2012 season, but the unit wishes to take the next step and become playmakers. A healthy Kelby Brown should help them accomplish that goal. Click here to read about Duke’s linebacking corps and what Brown’s return should mean for the defense.
Duke’s secondary was torched down the stretch last season, and the struggling unit graduated three of its starters last season. All-ACC cornerback Ross Cockrell will lead an inexperienced Blue Devil defensive backfield hoping to make some major improvements in 2013. Click here to read about the new faces in Duke’s secondary. We also talked to Cockrell about the work his unit has put in during this offseason and featured it in Thursday’s Chronicle.
- Finally, the Blue Devils had their ups and downs last year on special teams. Ross Martin and Will Monday were fantastic for Duke in the kicking game, each garnering postseason honors, but the team struggled in the return game and kick coverage. Click here to read about the Blue Devils’ special teams unit.
We’ll have live updates and analysis throughout Duke’s 2013 Spring Game. Feel free to follow along live on Twitter at @chroniclesports.