2006 Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: VT vs. Duke

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Virginia Tech survived their first road test of the season last week with a
relatively easy 35-10 victory over North Carolina. This week the Hokies will
face the Tar Heels’ bitter basketball rivals, the Duke Blue Devils, but on
Virginia Tech’s home turf — the football field at Lane Stadium. Despite two
solid wins, many questions still surround the Tech offense, and Duke’s defense
could provide a surprising test for the young Hokie offense.

Without question the strongest unit on the Duke football team is their
defense. The Blue Devils held Wake Forest, one of the strongest rushing teams in
the ACC, to just 57 yards on 24 carries. Hokie fans should not underestimate
Duke’s defense, which is a solid and experienced unit. The Blue Devils’ offense,
on the other hand, is another story.

Virginia Tech has a young offense this year, but Duke’s offense is even
younger. That is a scary proposition for the Blue Devils when facing Bud
Foster’s defense in one of the most hostile environments in college football.
True freshman quarterback Thaddeus Lewis has been impressive in his college
debut, but he has never faced a defense or crowd like he will witness in Lane
Stadium on Saturday.

So, what are the keys to the Duke game?

When Virginia Tech has the Ball:

1. Pick Up the Blitz

Against Wake Forest, Duke blitzed over 80% of the time. The Blue Devils will
likely be blitzing as soon as they get off the bus against the Hokies. The only
hope that Duke has against Virginia Tech is to force mistakes and create
turnovers to give their offense good field position. The Blue Devils have
nothing to lose, so expect them to gamble on defense right from the start.

Duke plays multiple fronts using both a 4-3 and 3-4 look, with rush end
Patrick Bailey (#84, 6-4 230, Jr.) moving around to confuse the blocking
schemes. As a freshman, Bailey played defensive

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