Reviewing the spring games for each of the Hokies' division rivals. The rest of the schedule: Virginia - April 2; North Carolina - April 9; Miami - April 16; Georgia Tech - April 23.
The first of Virginia Tech's ACC Coastal competitors held its spring game this past Saturday. Duke (along with Army) was the first D1 team to start spring drills and therefore was among the first to finish. The Blue Devils braved the cold on a day many thought its basketball team would be playing for a trip to the Final Four to showcase the progress it's made since going 3-9 in David Cutcliffe's third season.
Unlike 2010, the Blue Devils had the services of starting quarterback Sean Renfree this spring. Saturday he helped lead his White team to a 21-14 victory over Blue. He finished the day 8-for-14 for 105 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Connette also had a good day passing for Blue, completing 10 of 16 attempts for 102 yards. He also ran eight times for 34 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown.
Connette was used as a run-first quarterback in 2010, especially in short yardage and red zone situations. A third quarterback has also emerged for the Blue Devils. Redshirt freshman Anthony Boone threw a game-winning TD pass for White in the fourth quarter and was 7-for-15 for 94 yards with a TD and an interception, the only turnover of the day. Cutcliffe said after the game the Blue Devils would have a special package for Boone that they'll use this year.
The Duke defense was decimated by injuries this spring, which helped the offense's dominance in the spring game, especially in the secondary and at linebacker. Cutcliffe said only three seniors saw time on defense during the game. Between those injuries and a new defensive system, we probably shouldn't be surprised the Duke offense was able to dominate Saturday.
The Blue Devils are making baby steps, but they're still way too young to pose anything resembling a threat to the division. However, Duke is going to beat someone it has no business beating this year.