By Heath Bradley.
The 2012 season kicks off in just over three months. As the Tigers prepare for summer workouts TheClemsonInsider.com takes an early look at the 2012 opponents. Duke returns to the Clemson schedule for an early November road trip.
Date: November 3, 2012
Location: Durham, NC
2012 Duke QUICK FACTS
Location: Durham, NC
Mascot: Blue Devils
Colors: Duke Blue & White
Conference: Atlantic Coast (Coastal)
2011 Record – Overall (Conference): 3-9 (1-7)
Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (15-33 in 4 Seasons at Duke)
Coordinators: Offensive Coordinator- Kurt Roper; Defensive Coordinator- Jim Knowles
Returning Lettermen: 44 (18 offense, 25 defense, 1 specialist)
Returning Starters: 17, 7 Offense, 9 Defense, 1 Specialist
Key Returning Players: WR- Conner Vernon, QB- Sean Renfree, DE- Kenny Anunike,
Key Losses: WR- Donovan Varner, S- Matt Daniels, PK- Will Snyderwine, NG- Charlie Hatcher
What to Expect: This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and Blue Devils since 2008, when Clemson defeated Duke 31-7 in Death Valley. The last time the two faced off in Wallace Wade stadium was in 2007, a 47-10 Clemson Victory.
It will be important for the Tigers to get started early in this matchup. If the Tigers can score early, they may be able to score often against a Duke team that only won one game in the ACC in 2011. Duke lost their leading tackler and leader in interceptions from 2011, both members of the Blue Devils secondary. Expect Chad Morris to potentially try and exploit the new members of the Duke secondary with the passing game early. If the Tigers can pass the ball efficiently it should leave room for Ellington and the other Clemson running backs to run the ball effectively.
Offensively, Duke returns its quarterback and its leading rusher and receiver from 2011. With an experienced offense, expect the Blue Devil offense to be more efficient and effective than in 2011. Sean Renfree passed for nearly 3,000 yards in 2011, with almost 1000 of them to Conner Vernon. It will be important for Clemson to contain Vernon, if Vernon has a big day against the Clemson secondary this could be a very close game. If the Tigers secondary can shut down Vernon and the Blue Devils passing game, expect a Tiger victory.