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Duke Names Captains

SONY DSCDURHAM, N.C. – Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe announced Thursday the naming of Anthony Boone, Kelby Brown, Jeremy Cash, Jamison Crowder and Laken Tomlinson as team captains for the 2014 season. The five individuals were elected by their teammates.

It is the second-straight season Boone has been chosen as a team captain. The redshirt senior quarterback from Weddington, N.C., became the first signal-caller in Duke history to help the team to wins in his first 10 starts. He completed 64.0 percent of his passes in 2013, good for the third-best mark in Duke history. In 33 career games (12 starts), Boone has thrown for 3,089 yards with 19 touchdowns while rushing for 425 yards and 11 TDs. This preseason, Boone was named to the preseason Watch Lists for the Manning Award, Maxwell Award and O’Brien Award.

Brown, a redshirt senior from Matthews, N.C., was the returning starter at Mike linebacker before suffering a season-ending knee injury during preseason camp. Brown was named to the preseason Watch Lists for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy and Lott IMPACT Trophy. In 2013, Brown was a first team All-ACC selection by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association after booking 114 tackles, 11.0 hits for lost yardage, 1.0 sack, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. In only ACC contests, he paced the league with 10.38 tackles per game.

Cash, a redshirt junior from Miami, Fla., is the returning starter at the Strike safety position. Following the 2013 campaign in which he registered 121 tackles, 9.5 hits for lost yardage and four interceptions, Cash was tabbed a second team All-American by USA Today. He was on the field for a team-high 1,120 snaps and averaged 9.63 tackles per game during ACC regular season contests. Already this preseason, Cash has been on the preseason Watch Lists for the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award as well as the ESPN, Lindy’s, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele and USA Today All-ACC squads.

Crowder, a senior from Monroe, N.C., was named to the 2013 All-America second team as a punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America, Sports Illustrated and Phil Steele. He was also a first team All-ACC selection as a wide receiver by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and the league’s head coaches. Crowder finished 2013 with a Duke single-season record 108 receptions. He matched or broke Blue Devil marks with 1,360 receiving yards, 7.79 grabs per game, 14 contests with multiple receptions, 13 games with at least five receptions, four matchups with at least 10 receptions, seven 100-yard receiving games and two punt returns for touchdowns. He has been named to the 2014 preseason All-America teams by Sporting News, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele and USA Today.

Tomlinson, a redshirt senior offensive lineman from Chicago, is the returning starter at right guard. He is a preseason second team All-America pick by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele and has been placed on the Watch Lists for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy. In 2013, Tomlinson was named to the ESPN All-Bowl Team after helping the Blue Devils compile 661 total yards and 48 points against Texas A&M in the 46th annual Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. Tomlinson was an integral component of Duke’s offensive front that ranked first in the ACC in sacks allowed per passing attempt (27.8). He was also part of a Blue Devil offensive unit that established school single-season records for total first downs (298), offensive yards (5,966) and points (459).

Duke opens the 2014 campaign against Elon on Aug. 30 at Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. To order tickets, call (919) 681-BLUE or visit www.GoDuke.com/footballtix.

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Duke Still Has a One-Two Punch at TE

SONY DSCDuke will be missing it’s All ACC starting tight end this season in Braxton Deaver who went out with an ACL injury this past week.   But despite the misfortune, there is reason for Duke fans to remain excited in that they still have a capable one-two punch in D.J. (David) Reeves and Erich Schneider.

“D.J. Reeves is a veteran guy.  He’s experienced and knows exactly what I am doing, what I want to do and vice versa,” said Duke starting quarterback Anthony Boone after todays practice.

Reeves definitely has experience at his position having 20 plus career receptions.

“We are pulling together as a team,” said the redshirt junior Reeves.  He continued, “You have to build chemistry and I always want to be the best that I can.”

Duke will be making some minor changes, but for the most part they will continue with their offensive schemes as they had planned .

“Systematically, we’ve just plugged right in, so there hasn’t been any drastic changes offensively at all.  The only thing maybe are some special team switches but that is going to happen anyway.”

Despite the injury to Deaver, the senior continues to encourage his teammates, especially Erich Schneider, who was originally recruited by Duke as a wideout, but has since moved to tight end.

“Deaver has kind of been my big brother so if I had a question on anything I would ask him what about this.  I try to mimic what Deaver does out there and we both have quickness for our size.  So we are just looking for those mismatches out there and to make some plays, ” stated Schneider.

Boone also chimed in on Schneider, “Eric Schneider is very talented, he came in as a wide receiver so he can run routes and is very fast and has great hands.   He had to work on his physicality and he’s done that this Fall Camp and he is understanding what it takes to be a tight end.”

Gaining weight and getting bigger was the off-season emphasis for Schneider who said he is weighing in at about 245 pounds.

“We’ve got a lot of experience with D.J. and I splitting reps all summer and I didn’t have a lot of experience with the Tight Ends last year splitting time at wide receiver, so this summer has given me a lot of experience and that’s the best way to learn through a lot of experience,” said the sophomore redshirt.

“It’s all about learning by repetition.  I’m ready to take on anybody and can definitely hit a lot better now that I did my freshman year,” said a clearly confident Schneider.

Standing at a listed 6-7, Schneider, a Florida native, is certainly a tall target and he split most of the snaps with the more experienced Reeves when Deaver was serving a suspension that he completed this off-season and for some of the pre season.  In a sense, he benefited from the absence of the player his teammates affectionately call “Devo.”

“I think before Deaver went down we were all ready to split reps. It will be a matter of situations now and whatever coach thinks or which one of us fit better for the situation is the one who will play.  We are both well-rounded tight ends and we can block and we can catch,” said Schneider.

While Duke will certainly miss the chemistry between Anthony Boone and the player he has played alongside since junior high in Braxton Deaver, Duke seems to still have what should be an effective one-two punch in D.J. Reeves and Erich Schneider for the 2014 season.  And that certainly helps to ease the pain of a very talented player being out for the year in Braxton Deaver.

 

 

 

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Duke Football Notebook

SONY DSCA few random thoughts on Duke Football …

ACL injuries are common

As you well know, Duke recently lost two key players to ACL injuries in Kelby Brown and Braxton Deaver for the coming season. That prompted me to do a study on how many other players at the major college division level had suffered similar injuries. I found that there were 19 total players out just this pre season due to ACL injuries and an additional 8 players listed by their athletic departments as knee injuries. The aforementioned 8 players out could have an ACL injury as well in that some athletic departments list injuries different due to their own personal policies concerning injury disclosures.

Running Back position is on solid footing

During a recent interview with Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe, I spoke to the Duke Offensive Coordinators comment that the running back position excited him the most on the offensive side of the ball.  Cutcliffe said he would like to have more depth at the position but that the team certainly had experience there in Shaquille Powell and Josh Snead.  He also mentioned that Joseph Ajeigbe had stepped up and would earn some snaps.  Duke Offensive Coordinator, Scottie Montgomery also commented on Ajeigbe as being a hard inside the tackle runner who could bounce off people for extra yards.  But perhaps the best news was that according to Cutcliffe, North Carolina bred Shaun Wilson would play as a true freshman, making him the fourth running back on the depth chart.  It is worth noting that Duke has pretty much just walk players on the depth chart behind these four players, so you can understand Cutcliffe alluding to depth as a possible issue if injuries occur during the season.  You may also start to hear more references to “The Stable,” which is a name the coaches have coined for the unit.  I think it’s safe to say that he Duke offense will have success this season if they can run the ball effectively which is something they wanted to do even better at this coming season.

Duke will play two games on turf

The Blue Devils will on play on artificial turf two times this coming season.  They will do so when they travel to Troy on September the 6th an Syracuse on November the 8th.  Artificial turf is generally considered to be a faster surface and Duke is built for speed.  At the same time there are studies indicating that there are more injuries on turf than natural grass.

Duke opponents have suffered pre season losses as well

A season ago, Duke avoided the injury bug for much of the season.  For what it’s worth both Kelby Brown and Braxton Deaver have had unfortunate histories with injuries but each has bounced back.  I’ve taken a look at the Duke opponents for the coming season and came up with a total of players they have out due to injuries, suspensions or various other issues and here is the list.  Let me preface the list by saying it is up to date but does not include Elon or Troy.  The teams and numbers of players out are listed in the exact order of the schedule -

Kansas – 5

Tulane – 0

Miami – 3

Georgia Tech – 7

Virginia – 1

Pitt – 2

Syracuse – 4

Virginia Tech – 6

North Carolina – 5

Wake Forest – 1

11 days until kickoff

We are just 11 days away from kickoff for the 2014-15 college football season.  Duke still has some tickets and packages available through GoDuke.com.  Duke opens with the Elon Phoenix on August the 30th at 6:00 and the game will be broadcast on ESPN 3 which for the most part is on line only,

 

 

 

 

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Braxton Deaver Out For the Season

SONY DSCThere has now been an official release from Duke University confirming that All ACC starting Tight End, Braxton Deaver is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Deaver, like Brown a week ago was in good spirits and looking forward to a season where the Blue Devils were the defending Coastal Division Champions.

“This certainly seems redundant after Kelby’s injury last week, but again our thoughts and prayers lie with Braxton and his family with this news,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said.

The redundancy Cutcliffe is speaking to is of course the same injury to another key senior in Kelby Brown.  The losses this early season have certainly hampered Duke in that they will have to continue to make adjustments and hope other players step up.

There seems to be some uncertainty at this time pertaining to whether he can petition the NCAA for another season where I have heard altering versions of the rule, so that remains unclear at this time.

Deaver had been named to the preseason Watch List for the John Mackey Award, which honors the top tight end in college football. In 26 career games at Duke, he has caught 54 passes for 707 yards and four touchdowns according to Duke Sports Information. Deaver was also picked second team All ACC.

“While we’ll miss his presence on the field, the priorities with Braxton right now shift to his health and spirit. We do know that Braxton will continue to be a valued member of our program going forward,” said Cutcliffe in a prepared release.

 

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Monday Musings

SONY DSCMeet the Blue Devils was a hit

The annual Meet the Blue Devils Day was held this past Saturday at the Paschal Field House on the campus of Duke University.  There was a record turnout for the occasion and it’s clear that the program is riding the momentum of last season where Duke won the most games in their schools history.  Fans waited in a line close to 100 yards for a chance to meet Coach David Cutliffe and the players were quite popular as well.  I am sure that there was a moment when Cutcliffe reflected a bit on how far the program has come and most certainly most fans in attendance did the same.  The program has a lot of momentum and it seems like only the start as improvements abound and the future looks bright.  What was evident is that the program seems here to stay and for those long time fans, that is sweet music to their collective ears.  A season ago, many fans were almost stunned by the turnabout after a 2-2 start and some even had to pinch themselves as the team took them on what to that point had been a rare ride.  This seasons team seems poised to show that last seasons run was not by accident and that hard work will take care of any concerns.  Be sure to visit our gallery from this event at out Blue Devil Nation Open Facebook Page.

SONY DSCKelby Brown is as good a spirit as possible

After his emotional and devastating injury, Duke linebacker and defensive team leader, Kelby Brown was present at the Meet the Blue Devils Day and Photo Day held Sunday.  Brown seemed to be in good spirits with concern to his future outlook but stated that he has yet to decide whether he will petition for another season at Duke.  Brown is currently in the Duke Divinity School and professes that he has had a calling to enter the field of endeavor.  He will rehabilitate his knee as if he were to play claiming that was the only way to go.  I may be getting ahead of myself here, but it’s hard for me to imagine the competitive Brown not attempting to return once the dust clears.  After all, he could play beside his brother Kyler Brown a defensive end for this seasons team who will be a senior next season and close out their careers together.

Coach K busy with USA duties

Team USA has been riddled by departures and injuries but Coach Mike Krzyzewski seems up to the challenge of getting his team to where it needs to be.  Former Dukies, Kyrie Irving and Mason Plumlee remain on the team that has to cut down their roster before going overseas, but not to worry for assistant Jeff Capel will remain in Durham to keep an experienced and watchful eye over this seasons team.  On a side note, key Duke prospects Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum performed quite well helping to lead their USA U-17 team to the championship podium.

Site facelift is a work in progress

As you can see our front page view is changing and this is not the finished product.  What already helps is that if you access the site via mobile where a slider is already working. We will eventually go to a slider/hybrid.  We will also be adding a feature making it easier for brief updates which in the past was difficult in the old format.  So, stay tuned as we refine the site to better serve you.  Our goal is to make access easier to access and read.  This will take a bit of time and trial and error for the only way to make the changes was to take the initial changes live.  It is also worth noting that two-thirds of our staff will be on vacation in the next two weeks.  Any feedback is appreciated on what you like and don’t like, suggestions etc.

Chase-and-Chris-Jeter-e1407248425861-172x230Recruiting

The basketball and football teams are almost finished with their recruiting for next seasons classes.  In fact, both programs are having great success and each are moving on to the next class.  Duke Basketball will likely sign one more prospect this season and an offer currently stands for Brandon Ingram who recently visited campus.  Ingram will trim his list by months end and will make a decision around October or the start of his basketball season.  Duke could get involved with others in that time.  Football had two top-notch visitors over the weekend and we’ll talk more of that soon.  Duke most recently signed a big time front court player in Chase Jeter.

SONY DSCPicture Fun

Here is one from the archives of a quite light moment with Coach Mike Krzyzewski during Countdown for Craziness.