The Duke Blue Devils started off the season in a big way as they were 6-1 and competing for a spot in the ACC Championship game. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils finished the year on a 1-4 record and earned a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl, which they won in an offensive shootout over Indiana, 44-41 in overtime.
Despite their offense showing up and showing out in their bowl game, where they racked up 530 total yards of offense, part of their problem to end the season was the lack of offensive production, especially through the air. The team ranked ninth in the ACC in passing offense, so, after Scottie Montgomery became the new head coach at East Carolina, the Blue Devils didn’t look too far to hire their new offensive coordinator.
According to reports, the Blue Devils promoted special teams coordinator Zac Roper to offensive coordinator. Roper has been in Durham since 2008 and is the younger brother of former offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who led Duke to one of their best offensive seasons ever in 2013 when they won the ACC Coastal and went to the Peach Bowl.
“The first question I asked coach Roper, without telling him some of my thoughts, is ‘What makes us better? What do you see?,’” head coach David Cutcliffe told The News & Observer. “I said, ‘You’ve been respectful of leadership here, but what do you see that makes us better, what are some things that we need to address?’ And I loved his thoughts. They weren’t just brand new. He’s a veteran coach, and he brought that to the table.”
The Blue Devils return much of their offense, including quarterback Thomas Sirk and running backs Jela Duncan and Shaun Wilson. If they are able to get the same production through the air from Sirk that they did on the ground, this team could be one to watch in the ACC in 2016.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports