Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE NOTEBOOK; Duke's Defensive Struggles a Concern against Alabama

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE NOTEBOOK; Duke's Defensive Struggles a Concern against Alabama

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

In its opening game of the season, Duke gave up more than 400 yards of total offense to Elon.

Last week, the Blue Devils yielded 54 points and 500 total yards to Wake Forest.

What, then, could be in store for Duke this week at home when it faces Alabama, the defending national champion and the top-ranked team in the nation - who expect to get Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram back from a knee injury.

"We better see some gang-tackling out of our football team," Duke coach David Cutcliffe told The Associated Press. "We've got to get more people to the ball. We've got to get off blocks. We have to be consistent in our effort and our assignments to have a chance to stop [Alabama]."

The Crimson Tide is 16th in the nation in total offense through the first two weeks, and the Blue Devils are 105th in total defense. The only good news for Duke might be that Alabama historically doesn't run up the score on inferior opponents.

Alabama players also have a habit, regardless of who their coach is, of saying all the right things before such games.

"We understand we're going to get Duke's best shot," Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said. "Regardless of what they did last week, I'm sure they'll have a plan in place to take away some things we do well, and it should make it difficult for us."

Duke is 0-10 when playing a top-ranked team, hasn't won against a top-five team since 1960 and hasn't beaten a top-25 team since 1994.

STACHITAS MIGHT BE OUT

Whether he's cleared to play against Stanford or not, Wake Forest sophomore quarterback Ted Stachitas will be on the sidelines at the start of the game.

Stachitas, a Nease graduate who has been plagued by injuries for most of his short college career to this point, bruised his non-throwing (left) hand in the first half of last week's game against Duke, and his status is day-to-day. In the meantime, Wake coach Jim Grobe decided to elevate freshman Tanner Price as the starter. Price threw from 190 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 56 yards and one score in the 54-48 victory.

Stachitas scored the game's first touchdown on a 23-yard run before the injury. …

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