We called for questions, and you answered, offering us so many questions that we decided to turn this Q&A session into a multi-post affair. The following is Part I. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments section, and we’ll get to them in the subsequent parts—and thanks for participating. We’ll do it again soon.
Answers after the jump.
Terence Edwin Roof writes: I know there has been a lot of hype surrounding the football team on Duke’s campus, but how do you really think the Blue Devils are going to stack up against ACC opponents? Also, on a somewhat related note, is there any win that you think will inspire students to take down the goal posts? And, more importantly, should they?
Ben Cohen: Great to hear from you, Coach Roof. Hope you’re staying warm up there in Minnesota. The Blue Devils, consisting of the players you recruited to Duke, have been hot all season, as you probably know. But they still haven’t played an ACC team, and won’t play a true test until Oct. 4, when they fly down to Atlanta for a game with triple-option-running Georgia Tech. I’m not sure Duke can compete against quality ACC teams-you can almost surely chalk up away games with Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech as losses-but there are some teams the Blue Devils can play with. They should beat Virginia Sunday, could beat N.C. State in November and, if North Carolina is still plagued by quarterback troubles, Duke could bring home the Victory Bell. Should students tear down the goal posts? Only if a win makes Duke bowl-eligible. Then again, that’s assuming there are students in sections 20-23, which is a question for another day.
Luke asks: I saw the men’s soccer team held their own against Maryland despite Grella getting a red card in the first half. Do they have any chance of making a run in the ACC, though? Or should we just chalk this up to a rebuilding year?
Ben Cohen: Grella’s absence will, of course, hinder Duke’s scoring production-there tends to be a drop-off when you lose your sniper, who also happens to be a senior preseason All-American. Any team breaking into a new coach’s system is bound for a rebuilding year of some sort, and when they’re in the best conference in college soccer, the learning curve becomes even steeper. Four ACC teams are ranked in the top-25, including No. 1 Wake Forest and No. 2 Maryland, but Duke showed it can play with the big boys when it lost a 1-0 decision to the Terrapins last Friday. New head coach John Kerr will have the program up and running again in no time, but this year, the Blue Devils will finish in the middle of the conference pack-whether or not that qualifies for a rebuilding season is up to you.
Mark writes: If football beats Virginia this week, do you think they’ll get any votes in the next poll?
Ben Cohen: Sorry, Mark. Duke is going to have to do more than beat a Division I-AA team, an independent Navy squad without its quarterback and the worst team in the ACC. If David Cutcliffe and Co. can win at Georgia Tech Oct. 4, you might begin seeing Duke in the “others receiving votes” portion of the agate section.
Brian Zoubek: Do you think I can average 20 and 10 this year?
Ben Cohen: Nice showing from Duke athletes and coaches-err, former coaches-on this Q&A session. Glad you’re reading. Hate to break it to you, Zoub, but only one center in the Triangle is going to average 20 and 10 this year, and he’s going to be wearing a lighter shade of blue. Even Shelden Williams only posted 18 and 10 the season before his jersey rose to Cameron’s rafters. But cheer up! Those sounds won’t be “boos” if you average eight points and six rebounds.