August 18, 2007

Fall camp: Offensive grades

With a little less than two weeks remaining before the 2007 season gets underway, many questions still remain with the product the Duke Blue Devils will take to the field this fall. Though the Blue Devils' offense returns intact, the injury bug has taken an early bite out of the offensive line. As a result, inconsistency has plagued Duke's offense throughout camp. After all, the line is the heart of the group, and when they're not ticking it is hard for the rest of the offense to produce.

Despite the inconsistencies, the offense has shown signs of being much better than they were a year ago. With that in mind, Devils Illustrated takes a look at the progression of the offense thus far.

QUARTERBACKS

Last season, the quarterback position was blanketed with question marks heading into the opening game. This season, those questions are gone and the Blue Devils feel they have a top-notch signal caller in Thaddeus Lewis leading the way. So far in camp, Lewis' hard work in the off-season to eliminate mental mistakes has proven to pay off. Through two scrimmages, the sophomore quarterback has completed 24-of-38 passes for 239 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

This effort has his coaches excited about his second season under center. His poise and decision making have improved by leaps and bounds to this point in camp. His ability to carry this into the season will play a major role in determining how good this offense can be in the long run.

His backup, former starter Zack Asack, has unfortunately been a model of inconsistency. His play during practice has been impressive, as he too has appeared to be in control of all situations and inclined to make very smart decisions with the football. For whatever reason, this composure seems to fade when the team walks into Wallace Wade Stadium for a scrimmage. He has appeared uncomfortable under center and has rushed his decisions, resulting in far too many mistakes.

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