A number of you have taken issue with our contention that the football team
deserves support and with the idea that good things are happening there and that
Ted Roof is a rising star. We have to say, we think you're wrong.
First, consider the immediate turnaround in attitude when Roof took over last
season. His team played winning football and was really tough and
tough-minded. The transition took about a week.
Secondly, consider the injury situation. Duke has had significant
injuries to end Phillip Alexander (out for the year), Kenneth Stanford, and
Cedric Dargan, who was counted on at running back, but who has missed three out
of four games and will likely miss the Citadel as well.
Duke will also be missing Alex Green and Brian Greene.
This is a team which already relied on true freshmen too much, but what can
you do? You go with what you have.
In spite of the inexperience and the injuries, no one has made excuses, and
they have played hard. When these kids get a year or two in the system,
things will be different, but now, there's not much anyone can do: they're young
and they'll be young, and injuries take time to heal.
Ted Roof's ability has also been questioned, which to us, is somewhat
unkind. He's playing with less than a complete hand, and he's getting a
solid first half out of them in most cases before they get worn down.
And finally, we'd like to repeat our point that while we all want to see
football recover and thrive, it can't happen in a vacuum. You can't just sit
back after two half-seasons into Roof's career and toss in the towel.
Why does football thrive at Notre Dame and Southern Cal? Why at
Miami? Simple: because people care.
If we want football to succeed, we have to get off of this cynical track
where a guy takes over, coaches for four years, gets some recruits in who are
not half bad, then gets axed.
The players seem to believe in Roof, he has attracted some very good
assistants who also seem to respect him, and the job he did last year was
Look, it's not even just that the guy deserves a chance, because he does, and
whatever luck Duke has had this year has been bad.
It's also that the players deserve respect and support from Duke fans.
We are homers, but we're not pollyannas. We know where Duke football
has been, and frankly, there's a chance it could stay in the toilet
forever. But there's also a chance that it doesn't have to. And for
it to happen is going to take a lot of energy, mostly from the players and
coaches, but also from the fans. We have to ditch the attitude that
somehow Duke can't succeed in football, because it can, and it should.
Our belief is that there has to be a vision before anything happens. If you
just accept cynicism, and defeatism, then nothing ever can happen. On the other
hand, what if Roof is the guy? What if his aggressive recruiting and
hard-nosed style pays off? What if Duke ends up taking people to the woodshed in
a couple of years? And what if you are along for the ride?