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SharkD
10-30-2010, 06:08 PM
Duke won a nail-biter over the Naval Academy, in a game where the Blue Devils absolutely dominated the first half, finding the elusive combination of effective Offense, Defense and Special Teams play.

I didn't see the game and only was able to catch the radio broadcast in spurts, so that's the limit of my insight, so I'll defer to others for better analysis.

Let's Go Duke!

CameronBornAndBred
10-30-2010, 06:09 PM
Big Fat WHEW!!!! We shoulda won by way more than 3. I'll post later after I decompress. Main observation...our guys were fired up!!! They had confidence. GO DUKE!!!

sandinmyshoes
10-30-2010, 06:15 PM
We did what Notre Dame couldn't do. Been awhile since we could say that about football.

weezie
10-30-2010, 06:21 PM
Good lord, what an afternoon. I need to collapse on the couch.

Devilsfan
10-30-2010, 06:23 PM
Great offensive display. Cut is one great offensive teacher. Our QB set a Duke record for completion percentage (28-30 314 TD). Great game plan. Keep Navy's offense off the field and keep scoring. Hope we can do this the rest of the way.

Bob Green
10-30-2010, 06:24 PM
The two key stats were time of possession and turnovers. Duke had the ball for 36:57 due in large part to our ability to run the ball (45 carries for 142 yards). Navy had a turnover while Duke had zero! Renfree threw for 316 yards:

Vernon: 5 receptions for 90 yards
Helfet: 7 receptions for 69 yards
Varner: 5 receptions for 57 yards
Scott: 5 receptions for 49 yards
Braxton: 2 receptions for 26 yards
Kelly: 2 receptions for 23 yards

Navy went for an onside kick twice in the 4th Quarter but Conner Vernon and Cooper Helfet made great plays catching the ball.

This game was way too close for comfort down the stretch but it was a great victory for our Blue Devils.

Bob Green
10-30-2010, 06:27 PM
I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the defense which played great. Kelby Brown had 12 tackles and Abraham Kromah had 11. Brown also recorded a sack while Patrick Egboh recorded two.

CameronBornAndBred
10-30-2010, 06:28 PM
Navy had a turnover while Duke had zero!
Absolutely HUGE! The offense was so fun to watch today..especially because you could tell they were having fun themselves. Lots of smiles on the field. They did a great job of making really smart plays and protecting the ball. Renfree even took a sack instead of trying to force it. He played very smartly, like we had seen him play before. This is a game these guys needed as they advance into November.

OldPhiKap
10-30-2010, 06:35 PM
Great road win! Thanks to Bob (I think) for the video link. Got to see it, almost didn't survive it.

Survive, and build for next week!

killerleft
10-30-2010, 06:40 PM
We won!

But, dang, this game was looking like a great platform to build on. The 4th quarter was excruciating.

Still, to have lost this game would have been horribly depressing. So, Go Duke!

OZZIE4DUKE
10-30-2010, 06:45 PM
This is the team that we have been expecting to have all year. Everything that has been said above is true. But it is still a learning process on how to win, how to close out a win, and we made great progress on that front today! Next time, next week hopefully, it won't seem so hard to do!

Now, let's BEAT UVA!:cool::cool::cool::cool:

jimsumner
10-30-2010, 06:48 PM
We won!

But, dang, this game was looking like a great platform to build on. The 4th quarter was excruciating.

Still, to have lost this game would have been horribly depressing. So, Go Duke!

Beyond excruciating. It seemed like every play Navy ran in the 4th quarter stopped the clock. Duke ALMOST got a sack a half-dozen times. Duke ALMOST got a pick, play after play.

But a W is a W. I've often said that the difference between a good team and a bad team is that good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose. Today, Duke found a way to win.

And Duke did get those two onside kicks. Huge plays.

And Renfree was magnificient. I do think Duke stayed with Connette a bit too much in the fourth but at least the clock kept moving.

And I would have liked to have Snyderwine try a 50-yard, 4th quarter field goal with the game on the line. The guy is one of the best FG kickers in the country. And how much yardage did Duke gain on that last punt? The one that was almost blocked.

Something to build on. All of a sudden Duke-UVA next week doesn't look so much like a battle of losers. One of those teams will be going into the stretch on a two-game winning streak. That's really something to build on.

Newton_14
10-30-2010, 06:54 PM
We won!

But, dang, this game was looking like a great platform to build on. The 4th quarter was excruciating.

Still, to have lost this game would have been horribly depressing. So, Go Duke!

It is still a great platform to build on in my view. Had Navy completed the comeback, then of course it is a devastating blow, that they likely do not recover from. However, the fact that they got the stop they desperately needed at the end to snuff out the comeback, will give them confidence.

Renfree goes 28 for 30; team has zero turnovers; running game gets 142 yards, defense makes key stop with the momentum all in Navy's favor, are all good things that can be looked back on as a turning point, if they turn this season around down the stretch. I think this was huge, even with the comeback.

Navy is a good football team. Not a great team, but certainly a good one. Duke has winnable games left on the schedule, some of which are at home. If Sean becomes the QB we saw in the first two games, and in the game today, down the stretch, then this team can win games.

I mentioned this in the other thread but it is worth repeating. I listen to Cut just about everyday on the Duke Football Report, and he has done several interviews on local radio as well, and he has been stressing for some time now that this team is very close to being a good, competitive football team. He says they have been practicing really well for a couple of weeks now, but just needed to carry that into games and we would see a difference. I think we saw what he has been saying come to fruition today.

A big shot in the arm that was sorely needed. Just got to build on it and continue to improve and win games.

Go Duke!!

30scheyer
10-30-2010, 07:06 PM
C'mon 28 out of 30 is RIDICULOUS! Grats to Sean and the team.

SilkyJ
10-30-2010, 07:10 PM
I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the defense which played great. Kelby Brown had 12 tackles and Abraham Kromah had 11. Brown also recorded a sack while Patrick Egboh recorded two.

The announcers said Kolby's name a lot and dolled out plenty of praise. He was great blowing up the option in the first half, and a had few keys plays in the second as well.

All those dropped picks were frustrating b/c one of them would have sealed it. Helfet's bobbled catch was a nice, late bounce to go our way, though.

Go Duke!

Bob Green
10-30-2010, 07:18 PM
Navy is a good football team. Not a great team, but certainly a good one. Duke has winnable games left on the schedule, some of which are at home. If Sean becomes the QB we saw in the first two games, and in the game today, down the stretch, then this team can win games.

The next two weeks we are home against Virginia and Boston College, which are both winnable games even though the Cavaliers and Eagles played great in wins today. In fact, the way we controlled Navy's option offense in the first half today, I'd say Georgia Tech is a winnable game as well.

Coach Cutcliffe is 0 for November at Duke, today's win sets this Duke team up to break that streak starting next week at home against Virginia..

BlueandWhite
10-30-2010, 07:27 PM
It is still a great platform to build on in my view. Had Navy completed the comeback, then of course it is a devastating blow, that they likely do not recover from. However, the fact that they got the stop they desperately needed at the end to snuff out the comeback, will give them confidence.

Renfree goes 28 for 30; team has zero turnovers; running game gets 142 yards, defense makes key stop with the momentum all in Navy's favor, are all good things that can be looked back on as a turning point, if they turn this season around down the stretch. I think this was huge, even with the comeback.

Navy is a good football team. Not a great team, but certainly a good one. Duke has winnable games left on the schedule, some of which are at home. If Sean becomes the QB we saw in the first two games, and in the game today, down the stretch, then this team can win games.

I mentioned this in the other thread but it is worth repeating. I listen to Cut just about everyday on the Duke Football Report, and he has done several interviews on local radio as well, and he has been stressing for some time now that this team is very close to being a good, competitive football team. He says they have been practicing really well for a couple of weeks now, but just needed to carry that into games and we would see a difference. I think we saw what he has been saying come to fruition today.

A big shot in the arm that was sorely needed. Just got to build on it and continue to improve and win games.

Go Duke!!

Yes, Go Duke!

The winnable games are all at home, against:
UVA,
BC, and...
the University of North Carolina.

loran16
10-30-2010, 07:28 PM
The D may have looked shoddy at the end, but I liked the conservative play and if we pick off that one pass that literally was just dropped by our cornerback, the game's over much earlier.

Overall, great game. We have a good shot the next two games, and we will have a shot to beat UNC given how they played today.

4 wins is possible. Not being winless in the ACC is VERY possible. We. Can. DO THIS!

SharkD
10-30-2010, 07:40 PM
I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the defense which played great. Kelby Brown had 12 tackles and Abraham Kromah had 11. Brown also recorded a sack while Patrick Egboh recorded two.

From the postgame, it seems that Kelby, Abe and Matt Daniels played their hearts out.

Donovan Varner had a remarkable first half (to accompany Sean's record-tying 16-straight completions) and our quarterbacks rushed for a combined three touchdowns.

[I don't have CBS College SportsNet and the game coincided with pumpkin carving time with my 2-year-old (trying to pay attention to the radio while trying to help him carve a pumpkin just wasn't going to work); much as I love all things Duke, you have to have your priorities straight.]

6th Man
10-30-2010, 08:08 PM
It sure was nice to see our ol' buddy Sean Renfree again. Not sure who that imposter was posing as him the last few games. Welcome back!

The 4th quarter collapse seemed to be the product of the playcalling more than the players. Just trying to run the clock and not pass. Almost cost them in the end. I'm just never a big fan of going so conservative so early, but a win is a win and we had a big enough lead to get it done!

Big WIN!!!

Oh yeah, did anybody catch Feinstein doing the Navy play-by-play? Loved Duke getting the W with Mr. Sourpuss himself calling the game.

buddy
10-30-2010, 08:09 PM
Matt Daniels made the defensive play of the game on 3rd and 2 when he blew up the Navy receiver for a loss. It meant the clock kept running, Navy had to go on 4th, and virtually assured the victory.

Conner Vernon and Cooper Helfet made outstanding plays on the two onside kicks. So how do we get an illegal substition penalty after Helfet's play? Knowing we were going to run, that penalty took us out of field goal range. I expect that is a coaching error, one our staff cannot afford to make. (And I'm sorry, but a 53 yard field goal attempt at that point would not have been a good play.)

And Sean was 28 for 30, averaging over 10 yards per attempt. That is unreal.

And just maybe the football gods have changed our karma. A field goal attempt hits the upright, and is good! Cooper Helfet makes an unbelievable catch, batting the ball four times while in the clutches of defenders and still pulls it in for a critical catch. That catch was a highlight reel play. Those plays usually go against Duke. Today they won us a game.

Normally, I would agree with the let's go conservative approach. But Navy obviously had no answer for Renfree and our passing attack. I disagreed with Cutcliffe's "let's just run with Connette" strategy. I thought (and think) it was too early. While our defense had been strong, Navy had just traversed the field in nothing flat. I know it worked, but it was a close run thing. Our passing game does not result in extending games, because it is possession passing. And even with stopping the clock to move chains, every time you get a first down you keep the other team's offense off the field.

Still, a very gratifying win. We should have beaten Wake, Maryland, and probably should have beaten Miami and Army. Let's hope the team gets some momentum and wins some more games.

jimsumner
10-30-2010, 08:25 PM
From the postgame, it seems that Kelby, Abe and Matt Daniels played their hearts out.

Donovan Varner had a remarkable first half (to accompany Sean's record-tying 16-straight completions) and our quarterbacks rushed for a combined three touchdowns.

[I don't have CBS College SportsNet and the game coincided with pumpkin carving time with my 2-year-old (trying to pay attention to the radio while trying to help him carve a pumpkin just wasn't going to work); much as I love all things Duke, you have to have your priorities straight.]

A knife, a pumpkin, a two-year old and a tight game.

Probably a good idea to turn off the radio. :)

devildeac
10-30-2010, 08:37 PM
Beyond excruciating. It seemed like every play Navy ran in the 4th quarter stopped the clock. Duke ALMOST got a sack a half-dozen times. Duke ALMOST got a pick, play after play.

But a W is a W. I've often said that the difference between a good team and a bad team is that good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose. Today, Duke found a way to win.

And Duke did get those two onside kicks. Huge plays.

And Renfree was magnificient. I do think Duke stayed with Connette a bit too much in the fourth but at least the clock kept moving.

And I would have liked to have Snyderwine try a 50-yard, 4th quarter field goal with the game on the line. The guy is one of the best FG kickers in the country. And how much yardage did Duke gain on that last punt? The one that was almost blocked.

Something to build on. All of a sudden Duke-UVA next week doesn't look so much like a battle of losers. One of those teams will be going into the stretch on a two-game winning streak. That's really something to build on.

Especially with that "bank shot" FG that he forgot to call "off the upright.";)

Scorp4me
10-30-2010, 09:21 PM
Don't know where Sean has been, but he played like he did earlier this year. Clean passes that not only hit their mark but hit them in stride. Not to mention he clearly wanted to run the ball a bit more. Guess he didn't like Connette being the designated runner.

In addition to Renfree the receivers showed up as well. Not only were their hands no longer stone, but they didn't pop any up to be intercepted. Of course it's hard to do when you're catching everything. Again the went the extra mile and turned short yardage plays into first downs repeatedly.

Defense was great in the first half. They absolutely stifled the option and Navy couldn't do anything with it. Unfortunately as is often the case, Navy got behind and went to the air where we turned a rushing quarterback into a star. Dobbs threw more passes today than he ever did and looked great doing it for most of the time. Our secondary continues to frustrate me although I believe it was Cockrell that really impressed me. Johnny Williams continues to struggle with the transition from receiver to defensive back getting not one but two pass interference calls late.

Like many of you was disappointed with the coaching in the second half. Took a game that even with the change in momentum still should have been comfortable into a nail biter. I like the use of Connette, the kids a player. Just think we could have taken more time of the clock by trying to get a first down, instead of simply using as much time as possible for three plays before punting.

Still it was a very exciting game. Frustrating to know where this team has been all year and I hope this is a sign they are back. If the offense is back, with an improved defense we should be in good shape. Against a run first team we should be able to dominate!

sagegrouse
10-30-2010, 09:52 PM
It was chilly and got really cold on a windy late October day. The Navy stands were 80% empty in the second half.

As a sideline critic, I think we got stuck in a rut in the fourth quarter. Duke was stopped only once all day until the two onside kick recoveries. We should have been much more aggressive on offense in the fourth quarter. We could have had at least one more score.

Our defense against the option in the first half was amazing. This team was tons better than Navy.

I thought the second interference call was BS. The official was behind the defender and couldn't see it. I thought the contact was OK and the ball was uncatchable. Admittedly, I was 100 yards away, but I did see the stadium replay.

How can we drop so many interceptions when we didn't drop any passes on offense?

Great game! Great win against a bowl team. Go Duke!

sagegrouse

gep
10-30-2010, 10:13 PM
As a sideline critic, I think we got stuck in a rut in the fourth quarter. Duke was stopped only once all day until the two onside kick recoveries. We should have been much more aggressive on offense in the fourth quarter. We could have had at least one more score.


Bob Harris (or his counterpart on radio) made a comment of Coach Cut turning conservative in the 4th qtr to give them the best chance of winning... similar to what Coach K did at the end of the NC game... having Brian miss to give them the best chance of winning... :)


How can we drop so many interceptions when we didn't drop any passes on offense?

maybe different guys?... defensive backs vs receivers? :cool::):p

Reilly
10-30-2010, 10:46 PM
....
[I don't have CBS College SportsNet and the game coincided with pumpkin carving time with my 2-year-old (trying to pay attention to the radio while trying to help him carve a pumpkin just wasn't going to work); much as I love all things Duke, you have to have your priorities straight.]

Don't mention anything for 3 years. Then, three years from now, ask the then-5 y.o. how much he remembers of that pumpkin carving experience when he was 2 years old. Exactly.

Also, think of the joy the 2-year old no doubt had today. Now, think of the equal amount of joy that lovely child would have had with, say, some paper towel rolls, or an especially colorful magazine. Exactly.

Next week's game is at noon.

Olympic Fan
10-30-2010, 10:53 PM
Don't get me wrong ... I was groaning like everybody else at how conservative Coach Cut was at the end, especially his decision to use Connette so much more than Renfree down the stretch and not to let Sean throw when he did play at the end.

But as much as it pained me, I'm pretty sure I understand why he did it -- and not just because he was sitting on a big lead against a team that normally doesn't have a very explosive offense.

I believe he was thinking long-term about the program. I think he was protecting Renfree. My point is that the worst thing that's happened this season was Renfree's loss of confidence, starting with the Alabama game and continuing through last week's game with Virginia Tech. Even when he did have a little success during that stretch against Maryland, he made some crucial mistakes against the Terps that cost us that game.

Sean Renfree is vital to the long-term success of this program. He has a chance to be a great quarterback ... and that's the best chance Duke is going to have in the next couple of years to be a successful team. Restoring Renfree's confidence -- getting him back to the swagger that he had against Elon and Wake Forest -- was more important than beating Navy.

Renfree put us in position to win the game ... Cut wasn't going to let him lose it. I feel fairly confident that had he turned Renfree loose late, Renfree would have continued to shine -- and we wouldn't have had to sweat it.

But what if he hadn't? What if he had missed a pass or even had one of his on-target passes bounce off the receivers hands (how many times has that happened this year?)and turn into a pick six?

It probably wouldn't happen, but if it did, it could have been a real blow to Renfree's development. It might have wiped out the progress he made against Navy. Cutcliffe wasn't going to take that chance.

After a couple of strong games, I think Renfree will be more resilient, able to absorb setbacks. But right now, I think he's a fragile young player. He needs success to build on and he had that success today. I think Cut didn't want to risk that. That's a large reason why he used Connette and played it so close to the vest at the end (plus, of course, he was eating clock against a team that relies on the rush).

As someone noted, we had half a dozen near sacks and at least two or three near interceptions in the last 10 minutes. Make one of those plays and it's easy at the end.

In the end, we did win and Renfree finished with one of the great passing days in Duke history ... I think he set a new school record for completion percentage (of his two misses, one was a pass that hit Vernon in the facemask ... the other was actually completed to Scott on the sidelines, but he bobbled it as he was going down out of bounds). He didn't throw an interception (or anything close to an interception). He ran better than at any time in his college career ... even before his knee injury.

THAT's the Sean Renfree we were hoping to see. That's the Sean Renfree who can make Duke a bowl team in the near future.

-bdbd
10-31-2010, 12:24 AM
It was chilly and got really cold on a windy late October day. The Navy stands were 80% empty in the second half.

As a sideline critic, I think we got stuck in a rut in the fourth quarter. Duke was stopped only once all day until the two onside kick recoveries. We should have been much more aggressive on offense in the fourth quarter. We could have had at least one more score.

Our defense against the option in the first half was amazing. This team was tons better than Navy.

I thought the second interference call was BS. The official was behind the defender and couldn't see it. I thought the contact was OK and the ball was uncatchable. Admittedly, I was 100 yards away, but I did see the stadium replay.

How can we drop so many interceptions when we didn't drop any passes on offense?

Great game! Great win against a bowl team. Go Duke!

sagegrouse



Sage - 'wish I'd known you were there, as I was there with a few friends in the upper-deck Duke side, 40-yard-line. Would've loved to connect.

Gotta say, we all just LOVED the "true" college FB environment in Annapolis. Right out of the 1950's, with tons of old-style tailgating, real student-athletes on both sides, FRIENDLY (and mutually respectful) teasing by both groups of fans, a 40K seat packed house, 1,000 plebes doing push-ups on the field with each Navy score, old-time CLEAN cheers (with cheer sheets!), Navy jets flyover just before game-time and a great FB game!! It was also cool to see Cut have the team go over, with the whole Navy team, after the game and stand with the Navy players in front of the Corp of Midshipmen as they all sang the Navy Alma Mater. We had a great time. The opposing fans were intelligent and very respectful. The Navy cheerleaders even came up and sat with us for 20 minutes - we were sitting in a Navy fan section with a large group of spirited alums, complete with a bugle-player - from class of 1958 (I sat next to 2 retired admirals!). (Though the chatty Navy cheerleader sitting next to me really made me angry, constantly calling me "sir!" The nerve! I'm just in my 40's after all...) :rolleyes:

I agree with the earlier comment that a big chunk of Navy fans left at halftime, but I'd say maybe 20% - you might too if down 24 - 0 at home... But we kept telling them, "this game isn't over yet." Gotta say I was stunned at the apparent total loss of confidence from the Duke D in the last 20 minutes. During the critical last scoring drive by Navy the defense's fourth-and-15 late hit on the QB - it was WAY late - was just inexplicable.

Yes, we were clearly prepared to stop the option - which bodes well versus GaTech - but once Navy started throwing we seemed to panic/cave. During the last big Navy drive we got whistled for two critical and really unnecessary interfenece calls, though I agree with Sage that the second one was BS. BTW, it came in a stretch where the refs whistled Duke for about 6 straight penalties vs none for Navy (arrgh!) seemingly caught up in the USN momentum. But I thought we played a bit panicked.

Our D must've dropped at least six obvious INT opportunities that either hit them in the chest or hands. We MUST hang on to more of those to beat ACC-level opponents.

I understood, and expected, the 2H offensive conservatism, but thought that it came just a little too early. Given how well we were clicking I told my friends at the time that we should keep up the (conservative) passing 1-2 more drives. Ho-humm.

The Navy fans seemed to be impressed, asking how this good a team coulda lost to Army?? (of course, this being Navy, half the cheers and songs seemed to end with "Beat Army!"). :rolleyes: This Duke team is way better than its record indicates.

Great win. Great environment. Let's build on this Devils!!

:D :cool:

sagegrouse
10-31-2010, 06:41 AM
I agree with the earlier comment that a big chunk of Navy fans left at halftime, but I'd say maybe 20% - you might too if down 24 - 0 at home... But we kept telling them, "this game isn't over yet."

I sat on the visitors' side. The home stands were about 25% empty at the start of the game (although folks could have been back on the concourse). By the middle of the second half they were pretty cleared out, except, of course, for the Middies.

And it was chilly, esp. in my seats three rows from the top of the stadium. But it was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen on the East Coast.

BTW, the reason this game started at 3:30PM was because of coverage on the CBS Sports channel. This contest should have been a noon or 1 pm start.

sagegrouse

sagegrouse

4decadedukie
10-31-2010, 07:27 AM
I returned from Annapolis after midnight; therefore, I apologize for this delayed report. Sage’s post #25 is – as always – thorough and insightful, and this post will (hopefully) add a few more details.

BACKGROUND/NON-GAME COMMENTS:
1. It was Homecoming at Navy and they were still on a major “Notre Dame high,” thus I was truly surprised by their sections’ seating being so uninhabited, especially in the second half.
2. By contrast, Duke had a remarkably large turnout, almost all of whom stayed – and loudly cheered – throughout the entire game (of note, we were seated by a senior’s football parent (and retired USAF officer), who indicated that this was the largest away crowd he has seen in four-years).
3. The pre-game Duke tailgate was excellent, especially the companionship of so many great Dukies.
4. I was very impressed with the Duke crowd’s size, passion and regalia; I would roughly estimate that our seating area was 400 percent larger than it has been in many past Duke-Navy games in Annapolis.

GAME OBSERVATIONS:
1. Defense against the long passes in the final quarter was excellent, and secured our victory despite several other miscues.
2. Our kicking game was also excellent.
3. Our inability to stop TWO two-point conversions was poor, setting up a near-disastrous game ending.
4. The first half was Duke Football nirvana – I suspect Navy was still so high from their Notre Dame win that they “looked past” Duke until after halftime.
5. However, in the second half our ability to stop Navy drives was dismal; we were, however, able to score in response to Navy several times, which saved our win.
6. Our ability – and this was NOT easy – to capture two onside kicks was critical to the victory.
7. We can pass with considerable success, but our running game was generally non-existent.
8. In many ways, I was pleased with our defensive performance; however, we still require major improvement.
9. Duke’s tenacity was an important ingredient in our victory; it would have been easy for the team to quit in the last quarter, but we had the mental and the physical toughness to prevail.

This was a FINE WIN for Duke, against a talented Navy team, playing at their Homecoming. We still require a few years of steady improvement before we reach a level of overall competence (excellence) that will allow us to beat many competitive schools. However, there has been a significant enhancement in Duke’s play since the last Navy games. Kudos to the team, the coaches, and Duke institutionally for beginning to develop a football program that consistently demonstrates the same excellence that is Duke’s overall hallmark.

77devil
10-31-2010, 08:13 AM
Gotta say, we all just LOVED the "true" college FB environment in Annapolis. Right out of the 1950's, with tons of old-style tailgating, real student-athletes on both sides, FRIENDLY (and mutually respectful) teasing by both groups of fans, a 40K seat packed house, 1,000 plebes doing push-ups on the field with each Navy score, old-time CLEAN cheers (with cheer sheets!), Navy jets flyover just before game-time and a great FB game!! It was also cool to see Cut have the team go over, with the whole Navy team, after the game and stand with the Navy players in front of the Corp of Midshipmen as they all sang the Navy Alma Mater. We had a great time. The opposing fans were intelligent and very respectful. The Navy cheerleaders even came up and sat with us for 20 minutes - we were sitting in a Navy fan section with a large group of spirited alums, complete with a bugle-player - from class of 1958 (I sat next to 2 retired admirals!). (Though the chatty Navy cheerleader sitting next to me really made me angry, constantly calling me "sir!" The nerve! I'm just in my 40's after all...) :rolleyes:

I agree with the earlier comment that a big chunk of Navy fans left at halftime, but I'd say maybe 20% - you might too if down 24 - 0 at home...


This was my 4th Duke vs Navy game at Annapolis and the game day experience has always been terrific as you described. Yesterday was no exception. Before 9/11, the fly overs passed over nearly at the treetops and absolutely shook the stadium.

Have to agree with Sagegrouse on the stadium being closer to half full in the second half. The sections behind the North end zone were practically empty. I kept waiting for the more seats to fill after halftime but most never did. That surprised me given the big win against ND and Duke's defense this season. But as others have said, it became cold as the sun was setting and the seats on the home side were in the shade all day.


I sat on the visitors' side. The home stands were about 25% empty at the start of the game (although folks could have been back on the concourse). By the middle of the second half they were pretty cleared out, except, of course, for the Middies.

And it was chilly, esp. in my seats three rows from the top of the stadium. But it was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen on the East Coast.

sagegrouse

This was my first time in the upper decks. Seemed like the tickets allocated to Duke were more spread out than in past games and not as many in the lower level. Maybe because it was Navy homecoming. A noon or 1 pm start would have been much better as you noted. My teeth were chattering at the end.

OZZIE4DUKE
10-31-2010, 08:42 AM
Don't get me wrong ... I was groaning like everybody else at how conservative Coach Cut was at the end, especially his decision to use Connette so much more than Renfree down the stretch and not to let Sean throw when he did play at the end.

But as much as it pained me, I'm pretty sure I understand why he did it -- and not just because he was sitting on a big lead against a team that normally doesn't have a very explosive offense.

I believe he was thinking long-term about the program. I think he was protecting Renfree. My point is that the worst thing that's happened this season was Renfree's loss of confidence, starting with the Alabama game and continuing through last week's game with Virginia Tech. Even when he did have a little success during that stretch against Maryland, he made some crucial mistakes against the Terps that cost us that game.

Sean Renfree is vital to the long-term success of this program. He has a chance to be a great quarterback ... and that's the best chance Duke is going to have in the next couple of years to be a successful team. Restoring Renfree's confidence -- getting him back to the swagger that he had against Elon and Wake Forest -- was more important than beating Navy.

Renfree put us in position to win the game ... Cut wasn't going to let him lose it. I feel fairly confident that had he turned Renfree loose late, Renfree would have continued to shine -- and we wouldn't have had to sweat it.

But what if he hadn't? What if he had missed a pass or even had one of his on-target passes bounce off the receivers hands (how many times has that happened this year?)and turn into a pick six?

It probably wouldn't happen, but if it did, it could have been a real blow to Renfree's development. It might have wiped out the progress he made against Navy. Cutcliffe wasn't going to take that chance.

After a couple of strong games, I think Renfree will be more resilient, able to absorb setbacks. But right now, I think he's a fragile young player. He needs success to build on and he had that success today. I think Cut didn't want to risk that. That's a large reason why he used Connette and played it so close to the vest at the end (plus, of course, he was eating clock against a team that relies on the rush).

As someone noted, we had half a dozen near sacks and at least two or three near interceptions in the last 10 minutes. Make one of those plays and it's easy at the end.

In the end, we did win and Renfree finished with one of the great passing days in Duke history ... I think he set a new school record for completion percentage (of his two misses, one was a pass that hit Vernon in the facemask ... the other was actually completed to Scott on the sidelines, but he bobbled it as he was going down out of bounds). He didn't throw an interception (or anything close to an interception). He ran better than at any time in his college career ... even before his knee injury.

THAT's the Sean Renfree we were hoping to see. That's the Sean Renfree who can make Duke a bowl team in the near future.
Oly, I have to strongly disagree with what you say in the bolded portions above, or at least with Cutcliffe's strategy if this was his thinking. Renfree's confidence in his ability and his performance will never be higher than it was when he was effectively pulled and the play calling changed to "stall ball". If EVER there was a game to stay aggressive and stay with "what got you there" in the second half, this was it. We had the hot quarterback, the hot receivers. We were getting the lucky bounces (two of them, in fact!) We had the good karma going. The biorhythms were good for our guys. Assuming Navy did what they did on offense in the second half, we should have won this game going away, say 48-31, or 44 - 31 if one of our drives "only" resulted in a field goal and not a touchdown. I don't think Renfree would have been devastated if he had made a mistake, and with what was going on, I don't think he would have, and taking that chance was worth it.

This coming Friday at the Blue Devil Club meeting in Durham, the Offensive Coordinator - Quarterbacks Coach, Kurt Roper, will be our speaker. I plan to politely address this very point with him. I will also refer everyone here to the HPR and topic 1e. Every coach, if every sport, suffers from the same disease...
http://www.duke.edu/~bct1/images/DBRHPR7.1asPDF.pdf

buddy
10-31-2010, 09:11 AM
Actually, the offensive play calling makes sense. Your quarterback is only 28 for 30 passing, so of course you stop doing what has worked and try something else. I understand that Connette is a better runner, but if I as a fan know that putting Connette in means we will run, surely some defensive coordinator who actually understands football knows the same thing. It would be one thing if our defense was rock solid (as they were in the first half), but our defensive backs have been torched all season. (Ross Cockrell stepped up and made some big plays yesterday, but Johnny Williams still can't turn around to find the ball.)

Ozzie, better that you ask the question (politely) than that I repeat my rant from the last time. I really don't want to be banned for life.

Next week should be a good test. Let's hope our positive momentum carries over. UVA is a beatable team, but they did what we could not--beat Miami.

wilko
10-31-2010, 09:25 AM
I watched most of the game yest.
It was really really odd to see Duke BLANKING an opponent with a 3 touchdown lead.

Then something happened. We started playing "not to lose" and the game got much closer for comfort than I would like. I would have much preferred seeing no TD's by the opponent... We had that going for 3Q's..

Yest should be great cornerstone of confidence for the O. Hopefully the D can find similar things to be proud of and build on. I guess in a way its only fitting that the game was decided on a Defensive stand. Those guys did a nice job with the gameplan and execution.

But our reaction to the Passing attack was destroying MY confidence.

Proud of the guys and proud of the win. Ready for a hot streak to start.

devildeac
10-31-2010, 09:43 AM
I returned from Annapolis after midnight; therefore, I apologize for this delayed report. Sage’s post #25 is – as always – thorough and insightful, and this post will (hopefully) add a few more details.

BACKGROUND/NON-GAME COMMENTS:
1. It was Homecoming at Navy and they were still on a major “Notre Dame high,” thus I was truly surprised by their sections’ seating being so uninhabited, especially in the second half.
2. By contrast, Duke had a remarkably large turnout, almost all of whom stayed – and loudly cheered – throughout the entire game (of note, we were seated by a senior’s football parent (and retired USAF officer), who indicated that this was the largest away crowd he has seen in four-years).
3. The pre-game Duke tailgate was excellent, especially the companionship of so many great Dukies.
4. I was very impressed with the Duke crowd’s size, passion and regalia; I would roughly estimate that our seating area was 400 percent larger than it has been in many past Duke-Navy games in Annapolis.

GAME OBSERVATIONS:
1. Defense against the long passes in the final quarter was excellent, and secured our victory despite several other miscues.
2. Our kicking game was also excellent.
3. Our inability to stop TWO two-point conversions was poor, setting up a near-disastrous game ending.
4. The first half was Duke Football nirvana – I suspect Navy was still so high from their Notre Dame win that they “looked past” Duke until after halftime.
5. However, in the second half our ability to stop Navy drives was dismal; we were, however, able to score in response to Navy several times, which saved our win.
6. Our ability – and this was NOT easy – to capture two onside kicks was critical to the victory.
7. We can pass with considerable success, but our running game was generally non-existent.
8. In many ways, I was pleased with our defensive performance; however, we still require major improvement.
9. Duke’s tenacity was an important ingredient in our victory; it would have been easy for the team to quit in the last quarter, but we had the mental and the physical toughness to prevail.

This was a FINE WIN for Duke, against a talented Navy team, playing at their Homecoming. We still require a few years of steady improvement before we reach a level of overall competence (excellence) that will allow us to beat many competitive schools. However, there has been a significant enhancement in Duke’s play since the last Navy games. Kudos to the team, the coaches, and Duke institutionally for beginning to develop a football program that consistently demonstrates the same excellence that is Duke’s overall hallmark.

Overall, right on target except one minor quibble with #7. We gained 140+ yards on about 45 carries for about 3.2 yds/rush. Not the average we'd all like to see but far better than about 75 yds/game and around 2.0 yds/carry as we have had in recent years. Might be nice to have a FB bruiser to block/run over people on 2nd/3rd and short or at the goal line, but I'll take the speed and craftiness of Scott, Snead, Thompson and Hollingsworth to keep opponents' defenses honest and be happy with 100+ yards/game.

Devilsfan
10-31-2010, 09:48 AM
I don't think we played not to lose. We merely forgot what our defense was capable of, being fooled by the fact that we kept the ball out of Navy's hands for most of he first half. The best part of watching the game was seeing that pompous John Feinstein (our own Benedict Arnolds) announcing the game and seeing how wrong he was about his forgotten roots and Alma Mater.

Reilly
10-31-2010, 10:22 AM
.... But it was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen on the East Coast.

BTW, the reason this game started at 3:30PM was because of coverage on the CBS Sports channel. This contest should have been a noon or 1 pm start.

sagegrouse

sagegrouse

I didn't know if it was just me being overly emotional with all the tradition yada yada and dewey-eyed over Duke clicking throughout the day ... I agree on the sunset. I sat there hoping some photographer was capturing it. There is some famous photo of a similar type sunset over VT's Lane Stadium ... I wanted to just capture that moment in time: the sunset, Duke ahead in the 4th, the chill, late October in Annapolis .... *everything* college football can be when at its best ....

The 3:30 pm time is more conducive to tailgating. All of Navy's home games are at 3:30 this year, I believe, due to tv or choice I don't know. Works well for them. Many of the fans who left the stadium simply went back to tailgating, as one looked out over the parking lots with the crowds assembled and the smoke rising .....

Reilly
10-31-2010, 10:25 AM
O

This coming Friday at the Blue Devil Club meeting in Durham, the Offensive Coordinator - Quarterbacks Coach, Kurt Roper, will be our speaker. I plan to politely address this very point with him. I will also refer everyone here to the HPR and topic 1e. Every coach, if every sport, suffers from the same disease...
http://www.duke.edu/~bct1/images/DBRHPR7.1asPDF.pdf

What is the Blue Devil Club? Is that a subset of the Iron Dukes? A football only thing? Open to anyone or at a certain donor level?

CameronBornAndBred
10-31-2010, 10:27 AM
And it was chilly, esp. in my seats three rows from the top of the stadium. But it was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen on the East Coast.

Kudos to the camera people, they made a point to show it on TV a couple times. I live at the beach so I've seen my fair share, but that one ranks right up there.

CameronBornAndBred
10-31-2010, 10:31 AM
Ozzie's words in the pregame thread...

Psssst! Here's a little secret. Duke has learned to defend the option (run) offense pretty well in the last couple of years. Just sayin'...

I wasn't aware of just how prepared Duke was, but apparently Cutcliffe makes it a point to practice against it with regularity.



"We made that decision when we went to Duke. Looking at our schedule, we knew Georgia Tech was now in that option offense and we knew we had Navy in 2008, Army in 2009 and 2010 and Navy in 2010. So we just decided to make a commitment to work it," Cutcliffe said. "We work it with regularity in spring practice and fall camp. I think it's helped us to see it."

http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/nas/2010/10/31-22/Navy-Notes-Working-on-option-pays-off-for-Duke.html

devildeac
10-31-2010, 10:41 AM
Another random positive thought to come out of the game was Cooper Helfet's performance. I don't recall him being very involved in the O much in the 1st half of the season, and when he was, he also had his fair share of drops. I thought he was fabulous yesterday, leading the receivers with 7 catches, including one very key bobble/tip/bobble reception that led to a 1st down and kept a drive alive. What effort and concentration there! His recovery of the 2nd on-side kick was also a crucial play.

uh_no
10-31-2010, 11:16 AM
I'm just glad Renfree broke out of his slump. This guy is going to be our quarterback for the next two years, and it was good to see that he's still 'got' it after a few bad games in a row.....i mean he was phenomenally.....in the record books now...28-30? thats just incredible....



2 down

4 to go

killerleft
10-31-2010, 11:22 AM
Another random positive thought to come out of the game was Cooper Helfet's performance. I don't recall him being very involved in the O much in the 1st half of the season, and when he was, he also had his fair share of drops. I thought he was fabulous yesterday, leading the receivers with 7 catches, including one very key bobble/tip/bobble reception that led to a 1st down and kept a drive alive. What effort and concentration there! His recovery of the 2nd on-side kick was also a crucial play.

I noticed that, too! After hearing how good he was supposed to be, I have been surprised he hasn't made a positive impression sooner. It's easy to see how his size could cause him to be a major match-up headache, as well as opening the game up for our excellent wideouts.

OZZIE4DUKE
10-31-2010, 11:28 AM
What is the Blue Devil Club? Is that a subset of the Iron Dukes? A football only thing? Open to anyone or at a certain donor level?
The Blue Devil Club is open to most any Duke fan, and no opposing fans - blood tests may be taken:p. It hosts about 10 noon Friday luncheons each year with speakers featuring coaches primarily from the football and basketball teams, including the women's basketball team, but also other sports on occasion, like Coach Danowski making an appearance at the last meeting. This Friday will be the last football meeting of the year and the basketball meetings will start later in November (2 meetings in November!) Membership this year is $75 and they welcome and are recruiting more members. Lunch is $10 for members, $25 for guests. PM me if you'd like to come this week as a guest and I'll make you a reservation; you can inquire about joining while there.

OZZIE4DUKE
10-31-2010, 11:38 AM
Ozzie, better that you ask the question (politely) than that I repeat my rant from the last time. I really don't want to be banned for life.
LOL! :cool: Well, your rant was a classic for sure, just mis-timed. This Friday, talking to the offensive coordinator and not the defensive backs coach would have made more sense to me! We all share your frustrations. But I'm pretty sure that Coach Roper will tell me that the ultimate decision on Saturday was Coach Cut's and not his, and I will gladly have the same discussion with Cut if given the opportunity.

Devilsfan
10-31-2010, 01:12 PM
Hope we recruit an abundance of D backs.

SoCalDukeFan
10-31-2010, 01:33 PM
This was obviously a great win. I would not criticize Coach Cut after a win.

It does show how hard it is to get a team up after a big win. After beating Notre Dame Duke must have easy for the Navy players.

I don't follow Duke football closely but it seemed like TV announcers referred regularly to freshmen. Hopefully good things to come. Renfree looked like an All American.

Lastly, we have a new member at my golf club who is about my age and went to Annapolis. We had a very modest wager on the game. We have another on the lacrosse exhibition.

SoCal

jimsumner
10-31-2010, 03:52 PM
Hope we recruit an abundance of D backs.

Duke has an abundance of D backs.

What Duke lacks is an abundance of experienced D backs.

Matt Daniels, Lee Butler and Chris Rwabukamba are the only DBs who had significant college experience at that position(s) coming into the season.

Duke had an interesting defensive strategy in the 4th quarter yesterday. Many teams in Duke's position go conservative, rush 3 men and send the rest into coverage.

Duke elected to go after Dobbs and go after him hard. He was under duress the entire period, chased out of the pocket, throwing off balance, being hit and hit again. He made some questionable decisions and threw some horrible passes.

But Duke never could get that sack that might have sewn up the win, never could get the interception that definitely would have sewn up the win. When you go after the QB with that heavy a rush, you leave your DBs alone on an island and some of the youngsters got burned, especially on those two 4th-down plays conversions.

So, it's a high-risk, high-reward strategy and it almost backfired.

But it didn't. And it was Matt Daniels who made the big tackle late.

In the long run, the success or lack thereof of Cutcliffe's rebuilding effort will depend a lot on the maturation and improvement of Cockrell, Butler and Butler, Williams, Greene, Canty, Sowell, Byas, Young-Wiseman, Patterson, Stevenson, et. al. Duke has a pretty big investment in that group.

roywhite
10-31-2010, 04:31 PM
Congrats to the team on the win. Sean Renfree's 28-30 performance, excellent play by the receivers, and a good mix of running the ball made this a very potent offense yesterday.

Honestly, I have to say the last 10 minutes of the game seriously dampened my enthusiasm and left a bit of a bad taste, win or not. Not only were we unable to stop Navy (I'm not sure I've ever seen a team get three 2-point conversions in a game), but we played a prevent offense. Renfree had been dynamite all game, but he was taken out. Connette is a good runner, but the plays became so predictable that Navy totally sold out and run-blitzed. If Renfree stays in and leads another drive, or even if Connette has a play-action fake or two with a short pass on his series, we might have hit a big gainer, or at least produced first downs. And the penalties were self-inflicted wounds.

Plenty of lessons to be learned from the desperate finish; as Coach K has said before, it's better to learn lessons from a victory than from a loss.

Love to see this team finish strong and win a few games down the stretch. They've got the ability to do it.

Greg_Newton
10-31-2010, 05:45 PM
When you go after the QB with that heavy a rush, you leave your DBs alone on an island and some of the youngsters got burned, especially on those two 4th-down plays conversions.

So, it's a high-risk, high-reward strategy and it almost backfired.

First of all, I just typed a very long post that was deleted because the system logged me out before I posted it for some reason. Boy, do I hate that. Anyway:

I'm a big Cut fan, and have always defended him, even during the darker weeks this years. They did a great job of getting a young, shaken group of guys ready to play yesterday, and the fact the our running game was roughly comparable to that of 5-2, option-running Navy was remarkable. I'm also very proud of all of our players for their inspired, focused performances.

However.

In my opinion, the last eleven minutes represented an infuriatingly bad episode of decision making by our coaching staff that if not for a lucky goalpost-bounce, a couple onside kick recoveries (one of which injured one of our best players), and a game saving open field tackle by Matt Daniels, would have cost our guys a game which they absolutely deserved to win going away.

At roughly ~11:00 in the 4th, Duke had driven six plays, ~3:30, 36 yards to the Navy 46, leading 31-15. Then we put in Connette, and didn't throw another pass. This is how the ensuing possessions went:

-Duke continues to drive 24 yards and ~3 minutes, Snyderwine banks in a FG: 34-15.

-Navy drives 61 yards in 2:18, 2PT conv, 34-23.

-Duke recovers onside kick, QB sneaks 4X in a row, turns over on downs, takes 1:41 off the clock.

-Navy drives 67 yards in 2:11, 2PT conv, 34-31.

-Duke starts drive on Navy 28, loses 8 yards in 1:32 and gives Navy the ball back on their 20 with no points to show for it.

-Navy gets the ball with ~1min left, and if Daniels misses his open field tackle, they have a first down at midfield with ~30 seconds left and the clock stopped and very possibly send it to OT or worse.


Before we started basically taking a knee on offense, our drives lasted 10, 14, 14 8, 5, 10 and 12 plays. Not a single three and out, and all but one would have taken between 4-8 minutes off the clock if we were running down the playclock. So essentially, an "average" drive for us would have effectively ended the game.

Regardless, I could maybe understand the ultra-conservative approach if Renfree had been shaky, throwing a few interceptions, etc. Even though Navy knows to completely ignore the pass when Connette is in, maybe we put him in if we're worried about protecting the ball. But how do you take out your QB during arguably the most flawless QB performance in Duke FB history in that situation?

To address Jim's point above - if we're going to gamble in the fourth quarter, why on earth was it with that defensive strategy? Sean was 28-30, and one of his two incompletions literally bounced off Vernon's chest. The risk of him throwing an interception or throwing an incompletion en route to a 3-and-out is miniscule. Leaving the ball in his hands and letting the offense continue to handle its business is a very low-risk strategy in that scenario.

So how in the world did our staff determine that dismantling our flawlessly performing offense and blitzing incessantly with our previously solid defense (while leaving or DBs in single coverage) was a LESS risky plan that letting our offense continue to roll and defense hold solid? Why not let our offense continue to do its thing and make Navy beat what's already been working on D? Crippling our offense and setting up our defense for big-play lapses was the only thing our coaches could have done to let Navy back in the game.

What's more, what is it say to Sean that he doesn't let him throw a pass in the final 10 minutes, as he watches the 3-possession lead he's built with an impeccable performance evaporate? How is that good for his confidence?

I'm sorry, I'm still a big Cut supporter in the long run, but I was absolutely furious with him yesterday and would still like to hear some type of explanation for why he did everything he could to let Army back in the game.

Bob Green
10-31-2010, 05:55 PM
First of all, I just typed a very long post that was deleted because the system logged me out before I posted it for some reason. Boy, do I hate that.

If you check the "Remember Me" box next to the "Log In" box, the system will not time out and log you out.

sagegrouse
10-31-2010, 07:05 PM
I have three examples where the normal decisions of coaches -- the "book," as it were -- don't seem to make a lot of sense, and they all involve getting away from what is working for the team in the lead.

The "prevent defense" in football is just awful and only prevents victory. To me, it always seemed to guarantee the offense 25 yards per play, so it was god-awfully ineffective except in the last few seconds. Fortunately, it seem to have faded in popularity. Now it is not uncommon to see teams blitz when the offense needs to complete a long pass.

"Taking the air out of the ball" in hoops after running out to a reasonable lead with an aggressive slashing offense often changes the momentum of the game. I know, I know. Duke does this a lot, and the mature team last year was very good at it. But often -- even for Duke -- this means the team in the lead quits playing offense, and its lead shrinks dramatically.

"Running out the clock." OK, if it's the last 1-2 minutes (or even 3-4). But in yesterday's game, Duke gave up on the pass totally in the last quarter. Prior to that Duke was 30 out of 32 in passing with no TOs. Moreover, the team had only one drive without a score in the first three Qs. It makes absolutely no sense to get away from what was working with so much time left in the game. Another TD and FG would have made what Navy did ir-relevant.

In all three cases, the coach changes what is working to something totally different. I call these examples "over-coaching," and maybe I am dead wrong, but they seem dumb to me.

sagegrouse

OZZIE4DUKE
10-31-2010, 07:29 PM
First of all, I just typed a very long post that was deleted because the system logged me out before I posted it for some reason. Boy, do I hate that. Anyway:

I'm a big Cut fan, and have always defended him, even during the darker weeks this years. They did a great job of getting a young, shaken group of guys ready to play yesterday, and the fact the our running game was roughly comparable to that of 5-2, option-running Navy was remarkable. I'm also very proud of all of our players for their inspired, focused performances.

However.

In my opinion, the last eleven minutes represented an infuriatingly bad episode of decision making by our coaching staff that if not for a lucky goalpost-bounce, a couple onside kick recoveries (one of which injured one of our best players), and a game saving open field tackle by Matt Daniels, would have cost our guys a game which they absolutely deserved to win going away.

At roughly ~11:00 in the 4th, Duke had driven six plays, ~3:30, 36 yards to the Navy 46, leading 31-15. Then we put in Connette, and didn't throw another pass. This is how the ensuing possessions went:

-Duke continues to drive 24 yards and ~3 minutes, Snyderwine banks in a FG: 34-15.

-Navy drives 61 yards in 2:18, 2PT conv, 34-23.

-Duke recovers onside kick, QB sneaks 4X in a row, turns over on downs, takes 1:41 off the clock.

-Navy drives 67 yards in 2:11, 2PT conv, 34-31.

-Duke starts drive on Navy 28, loses 8 yards in 1:32 and gives Navy the ball back on their 20 with no points to show for it.

-Navy gets the ball with ~1min left, and if Daniels misses his open field tackle, they have a first down at midfield with ~30 seconds left and the clock stopped and very possibly send it to OT or worse.


Before we started basically taking a knee on offense, our drives lasted 10, 14, 14 8, 5, 10 and 12 plays. Not a single three and out, and all but one would have taken between 4-8 minutes off the clock if we were running down the playclock. So essentially, an "average" drive for us would have effectively ended the game.

Regardless, I could maybe understand the ultra-conservative approach if Renfree had been shaky, throwing a few interceptions, etc. Even though Navy knows to completely ignore the pass when Connette is in, maybe we put him in if we're worried about protecting the ball. But how do you take out your QB during arguably the most flawless QB performance in Duke FB history in that situation?

To address Jim's point above - if we're going to gamble in the fourth quarter, why on earth was it with that defensive strategy? Sean was 28-30, and one of his two incompletions literally bounced off Vernon's chest. The risk of him throwing an interception or throwing an incompletion en route to a 3-and-out is miniscule. Leaving the ball in his hands and letting the offense continue to handle its business is a very low-risk strategy in that scenario.

So how in the world did our staff determine that dismantling our flawlessly performing offense and blitzing incessantly with our previously solid defense (while leaving or DBs in single coverage) was a LESS risky plan that letting our offense continue to roll and defense hold solid? Why not let our offense continue to do its thing and make Navy beat what's already been working on D? Crippling our offense and setting up our defense for big-play lapses was the only thing our coaches could have done to let Navy back in the game.

What's more, what is it say to Sean that he doesn't let him throw a pass in the final 10 minutes, as he watches the 3-possession lead he's built with an impeccable performance evaporate? How is that good for his confidence?

I'm sorry, I'm still a big Cut supporter in the long run, but I was absolutely furious with him yesterday and would still like to hear some type of explanation for why he did everything he could to let Army back in the game.
If it's all right with you, I'm going to print this out and use it as the basis of my "polite" questioning of Mr. Roper next Friday. I may even give it to him to give to Coach Cut. Excellent detailing, Greg!

OZZIE4DUKE
10-31-2010, 07:37 PM
I have three examples where the normal decisions of coaches -- the "book," as it were -- don't seem to make a lot of sense, and they all involve getting away from what is working for the team in the lead.

The "prevent defense" in football is just awful and only prevents victory. To me, it always seemed to guarantee the offense 25 yards per play, so it was god-awfully ineffective except in the last few seconds. Fortunately, it seem to have faded in popularity. Now it is not uncommon to see teams blitz when the offense needs to complete a long pass.

"Taking the air out of the ball" in hoops after running out to a reasonable lead with an aggressive slashing offense often changes the momentum of the game. I know, I know. Duke does this a lot, and the mature team last year was very good at it. But often -- even for Duke -- this means the team in the lead quits playing offense, and its lead shrinks dramatically.

"Running out the clock." OK, if it's the last 1-2 minutes (or even 3-4). But in yesterday's game, Duke gave up on the pass totally in the last quarter. Prior to that Duke was 30 out of 32 in passing with no TOs. Moreover, the team had only one drive without a score in the first three Qs. It makes absolutely no sense to get away from what was working with so much time left in the game. Another TD and FG would have made what Navy did ir-relevant.

In all three cases, the coach changes what is working to something totally different. I call these examples "over-coaching," and maybe I am dead wrong, but they seem dumb to me.

sagegrouse
1e.
1e.
1e.

That pretty much covers all three issues, and you're right all three times!

Greg_Newton
10-31-2010, 08:03 PM
If it's all right with you, I'm going to print this out and use it as the basis of my "polite" questioning of Mr. Roper next Friday. I may even give it to him to give to Coach Cut. Excellent detailing, Greg!

Haha thank you - please do!


If you check the "Remember Me" box next to the "Log In" box, the system will not time out and log you out.

Thanks Bob - I realized it was because I had just reset my browser due to a recent malware scare. Oh well.

Sage - well said, and more succinctly than I. Seems like if all your drives are spanning 5-15 downs, then you'll run clock more effectively by sticking to your normal offense than by running three QB sneaks and punting. Plus, you might put some points up, which never hurts.

sagegrouse
10-31-2010, 09:08 PM
Yesterday's Duke-Navy game was fifty years minus one week after Duke upset the 4th ranked Midshipmen, 19-10, rallying from a 0-10 deficit. It was the last Duke win over a top five team, and last Duke team to win a bowl game (7-6 over SWC champion Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl).

It has personal significance, something to do with the theft of the Navy goat the evening before. And it was the only time I had a sideline pass for a Duke football game.

sagegrouse

CameronBornAndBred
11-01-2010, 08:09 AM
Coach Cut has shouldered some of the blame for the second half comeback.



"In the second half," Cutcliffe said, "I saw Navy chucking the ball and making the plays and us not making the plays. Offensively, I got us a little bit too conservative. I should have kept the hammer down a little bit longer. Overall, we made a lot of big plays in the ballgame. We have something to build on."


http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10117900/article--Something-to-build-on-?instance=main_article

devildeac
11-01-2010, 09:07 AM
Coach Cut has shouldered some of the blame for the second half comeback.

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10117900/article--Something-to-build-on-?instance=main_article

I talked with one of the FB managers last PM. There was a very good feeling in the locker room after the game. He said the entire team and staff have been expecting that sort of performance on both sides of the ball for several weeks now and they were pleased with the W. Interesting to read Coach Cut's comments. Heck, we all knew that from our fine seats in our TV rooms and in chat.;)

peloton
11-01-2010, 12:29 PM
I talked with one of the FB managers last PM. There was a very good feeling in the locker room after the game.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I don't doubt it one bit. While I think that the coaching staff got too conservative in their offensive play calling trying to hold onto the lead rather than going for the jugular, it was a more than solid win for us. Although our secondary play needs to continue to improve, someone mentioned before that we have some talented guys who just need playing time & experience to show what they're truly capable of. I truly felt that Sean would at some point come out of his funk and boy, did he ever. Major congrats to him, the rest of the offense, the defense (especially on their first half domination in regard to Navy's running game), and the coaches on a great win. I see no reason whatsoever why we can't carry the momentum into our next few games and get a few more victories.

Kfanarmy
11-01-2010, 01:53 PM
.....
I'm sorry, I'm still a big Cut supporter in the long run, but I was absolutely furious with him yesterday and would still like to hear some type of explanation for why he did everything he could to let Army back in the game.

Makes it even tougher to win if the officials let Army suit up after you've built a big lead over the Navy team.

Kfanarmy
11-01-2010, 02:10 PM
Last year Duke BB lost a couple of games mid-season that I didn't worry too much about...players seemed to be gelling as a team and I thought they'd be pretty good at the end of the season.

This has the opposite feel to me. QB hits 93.3% of his passes; the team controls the clock; O commits no turnovers; yet the team wins by 3 points against a Navy team that was likely experiencing a bit of a let down. Needing those statistics in order to eek out a win just doesn't seem to suggest a turn around of the program to me.....

4decadedukie
11-01-2010, 02:14 PM
I have three examples where the normal decisions of coaches -- the "book," as it were -- don't seem to make a lot of sense, and they all involve getting away from what is working for the team in the lead.

The "prevent defense" in football is just awful and only prevents victory. To me, it always seemed to guarantee the offense 25 yards per play, so it was god-awfully ineffective except in the last few seconds. Fortunately, it seem to have faded in popularity. Now it is not uncommon to see teams blitz when the offense needs to complete a long pass.

"Taking the air out of the ball" in hoops after running out to a reasonable lead with an aggressive slashing offense often changes the momentum of the game. I know, I know. Duke does this a lot, and the mature team last year was very good at it. But often -- even for Duke -- this means the team in the lead quits playing offense, and its lead shrinks dramatically.

"Running out the clock." OK, if it's the last 1-2 minutes (or even 3-4). But in yesterday's game, Duke gave up on the pass totally in the last quarter. Prior to that Duke was 30 out of 32 in passing with no TOs. Moreover, the team had only one drive without a score in the first three Qs. It makes absolutely no sense to get away from what was working with so much time left in the game. Another TD and FG would have made what Navy did ir-relevant.

In all three cases, the coach changes what is working to something totally different. I call these examples "over-coaching," and maybe I am dead wrong, but they seem dumb to me.

sagegrouse


Your three recommendations are SUPERB! There is a reason you are called "Sage." Very well thought through.

SharkD
11-01-2010, 09:33 PM
Makes it even tougher to win if the officials let Army suit up after you've built a big lead over the Navy team.

I think they've taken the 'Jointness' concept a little too far, if you ask me. :cool:

4decadedukie
11-02-2010, 06:10 AM
I think they've taken the 'Jointness' concept a little too far, if you ask me. :cool:

LOL - VERY nicely done!