LevelMagazine – CA – X Factor: Shaka Heyward has to be all over the field in Atlanta


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With only two games left, Duke Football needs to win this season to set a slightly less one-sided record. It won’t be easy, but the last two games are against fighting opponents and the Blue Devils definitely have the roster to get two more wins.

Shaka Heyward is Duke’s lead tackler and has emerged as the undeniable leader of the linebacker corps. Georgia Tech has relied on young talent all year long, which means that the longer they are in the field, the longer they are prone to failure. Heyward’s safe approach will make all the difference in the game. He has to get Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims to put together 10+ game rides if the yellow jackets are to score, and he can do so by continuing to have a constant presence inside.

While Heyward is forcing Sims to methodically shut down the field, the likelihood of newbie Jahmyr Gibbs intercepting or fumbling increases exponentially, giving the defense the chance for big sales.

Based on sheer talent, the yellow jackets can play with the blue devils, but all the benefit goes to Duke with Heyward plugging the holes and keeping Sims from clearing themselves of puzzles. With Heyward in the middle of the offensive, Sims will be forced to fold, and that’s a good sign for Duke considering he’s thrown 10 interceptions in seven games.

Sims had a very real newbie season marked by inconsistencies and flashes from quarterback head coach Geoff Collins. Regardless of the season roller coaster Sims has, he’s entering his eighth college game and it’s more a question of when rather than if Sims will have a game full of highlights.

If Sims decides to break out this Saturday, Duke will be in trouble. The Blue Devils haven’t seen a double threat quarterback since their game against Virginia Tech in early October, and Sims is far more talented than any double threat quarterback Duke has seen this year. Brennan Armstrong of Virginia and Braxton Burmeister of Virginia Tech used their legs to get them out of broken games, and Duke’s secondary school has only gotten worse since then.

The catch-22 situation Sims puts the Duke Defense in is whether to have an extra man under cover or to spy on Sims. Overall, Sims is largely unproven in college and if the Blue Devils can force him to hit her with his arm, they’ll be in good shape on Saturday.

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Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Men’s Basketball, Atlantic Coast Conference, Duke Blue Devils Soccer, College Basketball

LevelMagazine – CA – X Factor: Will Shaka Heyward must be everywhere in Atlanta
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Ref: https://www.dukechronicle.com




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