The Blue Devils keep improving, but they've barely budged the needle that keeps them at the bottom of the ACC.
Coach David Cutcliffe has returned a heavy dose of respectability to the Blue Devils. But until there are some breakthrough victories, much of that progress goes unrecognized.
That's why Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils are closer to turning it around than many people might think. Still, he said Duke needs results on Saturdays in order to prove that.
Duke has been fifth or sixth in the six-team Coastal Division every year since the ACC broke into two divisions for football.
There's also the matter of regrouping after summer injuries and the life-threatening situation facing receiver Blair Holliday from a jet-ski accident. Cutcliffe said Holliday's problems are of concern for the whole team, while it also has altered the product the Blue Devils will send onto the field.
"It shook us pretty good," Cutcliffe said of impact to the depth chart.
The Blue Devils want all the possible weapons at veteran quarterback Sean Renfree's disposal for his final go-around. They also want to make the most out of senior receiver Conner Vernon, whose big-play abilities have garnered him preseason accolades.
A new defensive alignment last year took some time to click into place, and with changes in personnel in some spots there will be more adjustments. There's the hope from within the Blue Devils that veterans such as cornerbacks Ross Cockrell and Lee Butler, safety Walt Canty and linebacker Austin Gamble can be stabilizing enough.
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