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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Duke spring wrap-up

By staff

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Duke Blue Devils
2008 overall record: 4-8

2008 conference record: 1-7

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense: 5, kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Johnny Williams, RB Jay Hollingsworth, RB Re'Quan Boyette, OG Kyle Hill, C Bryan Morgan, CB Leon Wright, LB Vincent Rey, DT Vince Oghobaase

Key losses

RB Clifford Harris, WR Eron Riley, OT Cameron Goldberg, LB Michael Tauiliili, FS Adrian Aye-Darko,

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Jay Hollingsworth* (399 yards)
Passing: Thaddeus Lewis* (2,171 yards)
Receiving: Eron Riley (693 yards)
Tackles: Michael Tauiliili (140)
Sacks: Greg Akinbiyi, Vince Oghobaase* (6)
Interceptions: Michael Tauiliili (4)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 Richmond
Sept. 12 at Army
Sept. 19 at Kansas
Sept. 26 North Carolina Central
Oct. 3 Virginia Tech
Oct. 10 at North Carolina State
Oct. 17 BYE
Oct. 24 Maryland
Oct. 31 at Virginia
Nov. 7 at North Carolina
Nov. 14 Georgia Tech
Nov. 21 at Miami (FL)
Nov. 28 Wake Forest

Next in line at quarterback: Redshirt freshman Sean Renfree not only solidified himself as the backup quarterback, but he also earned some playing time this fall. Renfree threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game, cementing his role after former backup Zack Asack moved to safety.

Boyette's back: Boyette, the Blue Devils' leading rusher in 2006 and 2007 who missed all of last season after surgery to his left knee, answered any questions about whether or not he'd return to his pre-injury form. Coach David Cutcliffe has been calling Boyette an "all-star" since he took off for a 55-yard touchdown in a scrimmage this spring.

Catching on: The Blue Devils appear to have an answer for the loss of Eron Riley, but it's going to be a senior-less group effort led by sophomores Johnny Williams and Donovan Varner, who had six catches for 116 yards in the spring game. Williams finished second on the team last year with 30 catches for 327 yards.

Fall questions

Tackling the holes at linebacker: Vincent Rey is still the only proven linebacker. Competition remains among Damian Thornton, Abraham Kromah, and Adam Banks. Can two of those three guys step up to fill the shoes of Tauiliili and Marcus Jones?

Inexperience up front: The offensive line struggled this spring to replace three starters. There was improvement, but nothing can compensate for game day experience. Kyle Hill moved from left guard to left tackle, so the unit has a whole new look. The one player back in his original position is center Bryan Morgan.

Take three? The biggest question for Duke can't be answered until the fall, and that's will the program take the next step? A realistic goal for a program that won one ACC game in 2008 is winning three league games in 2009. The last time Duke won three conference games was in 1999. Since winning the ACC title in 1989, Duke has won three or more league games twice -- a span of 19 seasons.