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Duke football notebook

Posted Monday, March 28, 2005

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OFFENSIVE INSTALLATION
With first-year offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien on board, the Blue Devils have spent much of the spring installing a new offense ... "I've been pleased with the way we've picked up the offense, especially Mike Schneider, Ben Patrick and Ronnie Elliott," said head coach Ted Roof. "Our execution has gotten a little sharper every practice." ... While the Blue Devils bring back just one starting offensive lineman in guard Tyler Krieg, Duke is the only team in the ACC that will return all of its starting skilled position players from a year ago ... Roof noted that Krieg, along with returning lettermen Bob Benion and Lavdrim Bauta, were experiencing good spring practice sessions.

DUKE DUO AMONG ELITE COMPANY
Duke linebacker Brendan Dewan and safety Brian Greene both will enter the 2005 season with 30 career starting assignments, and are two of just six players in the ACC with 30+ career starts ... Others in the league include offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (39) and defensive end Brennan Schmidt (39) of Virginia, offensive tackle Jimmy Martin (33) of Virginia Tech and defensive end Travis Parker (36) of Georgia Tech.

DARGAN & DRUMMER
Cedric Dargan and Ronnie Drummer, the only two tailbacks healthy for spring practice, are getting plenty of repetitions as Duke installs a new offense ... Dargan, who missed four games in 2004 due to injury, is combining his power and elusiveness to pick up yards while Drummer continues to display excellent speed on the outside ... "Ronnie has made some very big plays for us this spring," Ted Roof said. "He's hit some home runs." ... Dargan led Duke in rushing a year ago with 462 yards on 125 attempts while Dargan rushed 25 times for 114 yards while catching 10 passes for 72 yards ... Drummer's first collegiate touchdown came in Duke's 16-13 win over Clemson when the Salinas, Calif., native caught a four-year scoring strike from Mike Schneider with just over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter to tie that game at 13-13.

EVOLVING ATTITUDE
Rising senior Brian Greene is one of the leaders of the 2005 Duke team, and the three-year starter can sense a change in the demeanor of the squad ... "There definitely is a different attitude within the program, and you can see it in everything we do," Greene says. "It has been more intense in the weightroom than ever before. Guys know that we can compete and win. Last year's freshmen brought in a whole new attitude. They may be a little cocky, but they brought in an attitude that maybe we lacked in the past, one that said don't push us around. I like that. We've fed off of them and we've fed off the new coaching staff."

FAMILIAR FACE ON THE COACHING STAFF
While the Duke sideline has two new full-time coaches in Bill O'Brien (OC & QBs) and John Strollo (TEs), former All-ACC defensive back Terrell Smith has joined the staff as a graduate assistant coach ... Smith played at Duke from 2000-03, registering 321 tackles and three interceptions in 40 career games ... As a senior, the Wingate, N.C., native served as team captain, led the Blue Devils with 140 tackles and earned Second Team All-ACC honors.

A GLANCE AT THE SECONDARY
Duke brings back two starters from its 2004 starting defensive backfield in cornerback John Talley and safety Brian Greene, who recorded 59 tackles each last fall while helping Duke rank fourth in the ACC it total turnovers caused with 26 ... Head coach Ted Roof has been pleased with the unit as a whole this spring ... "They've done a good job back there," Roof stated. "Chris Davis has had an excellent spring, and Deonto McCormick has improved. Jabari Marshall has made great strides and has a very bright future and Andreas Platt also has played well."

GUEST SPEAKER
On March 24, the Blue Devils were treated to a guest appearance from former letterman B.J. Hill, who spoke to the team on the field following practice at the request of head coach Ted Roof ... Hill, who now lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area, played from 1998-01 at Duke as both a running back and safety ... In 1998, the Detroit, Mich., product established a school record for rushing yards as a freshman by picking up 798 yards on 192 attempts ... "I think it is good for the players to hear from guys that have been in their shoes," Roof said. "It's good for them to hear what Duke football has meant to their lives."

 
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