|Position:||Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line|
|Alma Mater:||Massachusetts '95|
Ben Albert joined the Duke staff in February, 2016, and serves as the program’s Co-Defensive Coordinator and defensive line coach. Albert was Duke’s Associate Defensive Coordinator for two seasons before being elevated into his current role in February, 2018.
Depth was key to Albert’s 2018 defensive unit as Duke lost four defensive starters throughout the course of the campaign. The Blue Devil defense closed the season on a high note, allowing just 54 yards of total offense in the second half of the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, including holding Temple to -29 rushing yards after intermission. Albert’s defensive line helped Duke limit the Owls to just 53 total rushing yards for the game. In the Blue Devils’ last two bowls, both victories, Albert has helped oversee an effort that has yielded just 118 total rushing yards. The Blue Devils also shut out the Owls in the second half in Shreveport, La., marking the sixth time during the season Duke blanked a team in a half.
Along the defensive line, Albert guided Chris Rumph II to Freshman All-America honors from USA Today. The Gainesville, Fla., product collected 25 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two quarterback pressures, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. He tied for 36th in the ACC in sacks and tied for second among the league’s freshmen. His 8.0 tackles for loss were the sixth most in a year by a rookie at Duke and tied for the second most by an ACC rookie.
In 2017, the Duke defense proved to be one of the best in the ACC, ranking among the league’s leaders in opponent pass completion percentage (2nd), scoring defense (3rd) and total defense (4th). The Blue Devils, who allowed 25 or fewer points in 11 of 13 games, were one of just four defenses in the ACC to have four players register 9.0 tackles for loss or more each, joining Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech.
Senior captain Mike Ramsay, who was the only defensive tackle in the ACC to produce at least 40 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks in 2017, capped off his career by earning third team all-league honors. Ramsay signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in April of 2018. In addition, Duke sophomore Tre Hornbuckle was one of just seven defensive ends in the conference to compile 50-plus tackles and 9.0 or more tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The ACC’s leader among rookies in tackles for loss, end Victor Dimukeje enjoyed his first season as a Blue Devil and finished the year with 40 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, one interception and four QB pressures. The Baltimore, Md., native earned first team Freshman All-America honors from ESPN for his efforts. In addition, Drew Jordan ranked third among ACC freshmen with 3.0 sacks on the year.
The defense anchored Duke’s success late in the 2017 campaign as the Blue Devils limited their final five opponents — Virginia Tech, Army West Point, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Northern Illinois — to 13 total points after intermission and zero in the fourth quarter. Additionally, Duke set or matched Quick Lane Bowl records for fewest points allowed (14) and fewest rushing yards surrendered (65) as the Blue Devils earned a 36-14 triumph over Northern Illinois.
During the 2016 campaign, Albert’s work along the defensive line resulted in Duke finishing the year tied for 37th with 2.42 sacks per game. Duke totaled 29.0 sacks — the fourth-highest single-season total in school history — one year after managing just 17.0 sacks in 2015.
Individually, Albert helped defensive tackle A.J. Wolf become one of 19 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Candidates represent the qualities embodied by the award: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Wolf was also a finalist for the 2016 Pop Warner College Football Award. He repeated as a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree, becoming just the second Blue Devil to receive multiple CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America accolades, joining three-time selection Mike Diminick (1986-87-88).
Albert joined the Blue Devil staff after spending the previous three seasons (2013-14-15) coaching the defensive line at Boston College. In 2015, the Eagles led the country in total defense (254.3), third down conversion defense (.241) and tackles for loss per game (9.6) while also ranking among the nation’s top five in rushing defense (2nd; 82.8), scoring defense (4th; 15.3) and passing efficiency defense (5th; 104.66). During his tenure, Albert helped Boston College to bowl game appearances in 2013 (Advocare v100 Independence) and 2014 (New Era Pinstripe). While with the Eagles, Albert mentored defensive end Harold Landry, who was a second round pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2018 NFL Draft. Landry earned All-America accolades while at Boston College and established the school’s single-season record for quarterback sacks.
Prior to his three campaigns in Chestnut Hill, Albert served two seasons (2011-12) as the linebackers coach at Temple University. In 2011, he helped the Owls rank third nationally in scoring defense (13.9) as Temple posted a 9-4 overall record and defeated Wyoming, 37-15, in the New Mexico Bowl, for the program’s first bowl victory in 32 years. While at Temple, Albert mentored Tahir Whitehead, who earned All-MAC honors prior to being a fifth round choice of the Detroit Lions in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Albert spent the 2010 season on the staff of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, serving as an assistant defensive line coach.
A native of Paterson, N.J., Albert got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Massachusetts, where he coached the defensive line for two seasons (1995-96) before helping Richmond to a pair of conference championships during a four-year (1997-98-99-00) stint coaching the Spider defensive line and linebackers.
After one season (2001) mentoring the defensive front at Rutgers, Albert returned to Massachusetts for two seasons (2002-03) to coach the inside linebackers while coordinating the special teams units. During this stretch, he helped the Minutemen to the 2003 Atlantic 10 Conference championship and aided in the recruitment of fellow Paterson native wide receiver Victor Cruz to Massachusetts. Cruz, a two-time all-conference pick at Massachusetts, helped the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2012.
Albert then served a second stint at Richmond (2004) as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator before a four-year (2006-07-08-09) tenure as the associate head coach and linebackers coach at Delaware.
An all-conference defensive lineman at Massachusetts, Albert graduated in 1995 with a degree in political science and sociology. He later earned a master’s degree in education from Massachusetts in 1997. Albert and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Maya and Elijah.