Reviewing Georgia State’s list of impact players: No. 7 Bruce Dukes

Georgia State's Bruce Dukes attempts to tackle Washington's Kasen Williams. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Georgia State’s Bruce Dukes attempts to tackle Washington’s Kasen Williams. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Before the season I listed the 10 players who I thought would most impact Georgia State’s football season.

Over the next  days, I’ll review the list and detail how each player performed in the 1-11, 0-8 in the Sun Belt campaign.

As they were listed, we will count down from 10 to 1.

We started with No. 10 Matt Hubbard and moved on to No. 9 Shawayne Lawrence and continued with No. 8 Robert Davis.

We move on to….

No. 7 Bruce Dukes

Here’s what I wrote:

How can Dukes make a difference? An interception would make a huge difference. Last year’s starting corners had three. If Dukes can’t create interceptions, just doing a better job of shutting down that side of the field would be a start. Opponents completed 64.5 percent of their passes against the Panthers last year. Georgia State’s Sun Belt opponents had the highest passing efficiency (158.2) than against any other team.

Best-case scenario: Dukes does a good job forcing opponents to narrow their range of attack, which makes it easier to for the defense to scheme. Additionally, he intercepts a few passes and gives the front seven that extra half-second to pressure the quarterback.

Worst-case scenario: The front seven can’t generate any pressure (a problem last year), which forces Dukes and the rest of the secondary to try to cover for too long, something which even the  best can’t do forever. As a result, opponents are once again able to pick the Panthers apart with passes.

So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?

The worst-case scenario because of the total absence of a pass rush.

Duke struggled early in the year but improved as the season continued. However, even Deion Sanders can’t cover a receiver forever and that’s what Dukes and the rest of the secondary was often asked to do.

Partially as a result, Dukes had no interceptions, but he led the team with six passes broken up. The team had just three as it allowed 193.7 yards per game on a 68.1 percent completion rate.

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