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Five burning questions Duke must answer in 2005.

Can Mike Schneider avoid making the big mistake?

Much has been said about Schneider’s experience and increased leadership role over the past season. But Schneider’s inability to avoid drive-killing mental mistakes loosened his grip on the starting job. Roof has praised the junior’s maturity and mental progression, however, giving hope that Schneider can avoid the interceptions and miscues that put him on the bench last season.

How badly will Duke be hurt by playing so many true freshmen?

Roof said Duke could play anywhere from 12 to 18 true freshmen, which will make Duke one of the most inexperienced teams in the ACC. The silver lining to this cloud, however, is that the Blue Devils will be working with their best recruiting class in decades this season, which should markedly improve Duke’s athleticism.

Can the offensive line give Mike Schneider and Co. enough time to be effective?

Duke’s line played terribly last year, giving up 39 sacks and allowing Duke rushers only 2.7 yards per carry. To make matters worse, only two starters return from last season’s line. Senior Jim Moravchik and junior Tyler Krieg must be steady anchors on an inexperienced line that starts one player, Demetrius Warrick, who has not played offensive tackle in years.

Can the Blue Devils win the time of possession battle with their running game?

Cedric Dargan ran very impressively when healthy, but injuries kept him from realizing his full ability last season. In his absence the Blue Devils struggled to find a running game to grind out the clock and keep the defense fresh. At least this year’s backups, Ronnie Drummer and Justin Boyle, have game experience.

Which wide receiver will step up as the go-to guy?

Deon Adams will finally get an extended opportunity to show his skills at receiver, and Ronnie Elliott returns as the team’s second-leading receiver. But the best bet to be Schneider’s top target appears to be sophomore Jomar Wright, a physical big-play artist who led the team in receiving yards last season.

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