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Roof looks for progress in 3rd full season

Coming off a season in which the Blue Devils went 1-10 and were winless in Division I-A, head coach Ted Roof has been working hard in the off-season to prepare his squad for the 2006 campaign. He spoke with Greg Beaton about the upcoming season.

Greg Beaton: Zack Asack started down the stretch last season at quarterback, but his classmate Marcus Jones switched over full-time to the position in the off-season. How is that position battle shaping up?

Ted Roof: Marcus is battling Zack Asack for the starting quarterback job right now. Marcus is a quarterback and that's all he is right now. Whenever it sorts itself out, it'll sort itself out.

GB: What type of progress has Jones made at QB?

TR: I have a lot of confidence in Marcus. He made tremendous strides this spring, and so did Zack.

GB: With your depth chart at QB composed of two sophomore quarterbacks and one freshman, are you concerned about depth there?

TR: I'm concerned but at the same time that's why you recruit. It goes on the offensive line to keep those guys healthy. You look at depth and every coach in the country would be concerned about depth in certain areas.

GB: But is the trend of so many underclassmen playing a problem in your eyes?

TR: This year's recruiting class is our second full one as a staff--the first one they're just going to be sophomores this year. The problem is way too many have played. At Duke, these guys grow up to be juniors and seniors pretty quickly. But the upside of playing the young kids is the experience speaks well to their futures.

GB: What impact will the incoming freshman class have?

TR: Some are very talented and will fight for playing time and they'll also provide depth.

It'll be interesting to see how many have a chance to play. The past two years we've played more freshman than anyone else in the country, and I hope this is the last year we're talking about that. I hope next year we have depth and can develop these young kids.

GB: With only one returning full-time starter on the offensive line in center Matt Rumsey, how concerned are you about that group?

TR: It's critical. If you look at successful teams in football they're always solid up front. This is the third year in a row we're re-tooling there and hopefully next year we won't be saying that. As we keep recruiting and creating competition, I see that happening with the offensive line.

GB: After two tough seasons, how important to your program is it to win a few games this year?

TR: Any time you're building and working hard you want to be able to see results and our kids are working hard. If you do the right things and build the program from the ground up on hard work you'll eventually get there.

GB: Is that difficult to do at Duke?

TR: There are no quick fixes, especially at Duke. We're not going to recruit junior college guys. We've got to recruit well and develop those players when they get here.

GB: Last year the team struggled with injuries, how important is it to stay healthy this year?

TR: That's critical. If you look at teams all across the country at particular universities, teams that win games are ones that stay healthy. Staying healthy is a huge factor.

GB: What are your goals for the upcoming season?

TR: We're never satisfied unless you win them all, but I don't talk about goals publicly.


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