Category Archives: Duke Football

Anthony Boone 11-30-13

Game Preview: Elon at Duke

Anthony Boone 11-30-13Duke vs Elon
6:00 PM ET
Saturday, August 30
Durham, NC
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 113, XM Ch 194

Duke in 2014: 0-0
Elon in 2014: 0-0


OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL), Jake Sanders (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)


OUT – Karl Bostick (RB)

The 2014 football season kicks off with Elon at Duke this Saturday evening. Duke and Elon last faced each other on September 4, 2010 in a game Duke won 41-27 at Wallace Wade Stadium, in the season opener for both teams. Including the 2010 loss to Duke, Elon has lost four season opening games in a row: 45-14 to Vanderbilt in 2011, 62-0 to North Carolina in 2012, and 70-0 to Georgia Tech in 2013. Under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, Duke is 4-2 in season opening games with both losses coming against Richmond. The four wins were over James Madison 31-7 in 2008, Elon in 2010, Florida International 46-26 in 2012 and NCCU 45-0 in 2013.


The Blue Devils can win by controlling the line of scrimmage, dictating the tempo of the game and executing a balanced game plan on both offense and defense.

Line of scrimmage – games are won or lost in the trenches so Duke will exploit their size and talent advantage to knock the Phoenix back on their heels and keep them there. By dominating the line of scrimmage, Duke will pummel Elon with the running game while being opportunistic with the pass. On defense, Duke will look to shutdown the Elon running game and force the Phoenix into must pass situations.

Tempo of game – playing fast to minimalize substitution opportunities provides an advantage to the deeper, more talented Blue Devils squad. Duke will substitute freely on dead ball situations and between possessions to ensure the Phoenix are always facing a fresh running back and set of receivers. By utilizing a trio of running backs and possibly a fourth, Duke’s running game will wear down the Phoenix defense as the game progresses. Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery will call an aggressive game, so do not be surprised when Duke unveils a wrinkle or two.

Balanced game plan – mixing things up will keep Elon off balance and guessing. On offense, as stated above, Duke will feed Elon a steady diet of the running game, to both wear down their defense and set up quality passing situations. Being balanced is equally important on defense so look for Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles to utilize the blitz as well as drop an extra defender into coverage. With the defensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, Coach Knowles will have flexibility to utilize multiple techniques with the back seven defenders.


The wheels will have to completely come off for Duke to lose. Overconfidence and a total failure to value the football are pitfalls the Blue Devils must avoid. If Duke takes the field with a lackadaisical attitude and commits turnovers in bunches, Elon has the experience necessary to take advantage and capitalize on the miscues. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Quinn is in charge of an offense that returns its leading rusher, B.J. Bennett, plus a couple of experienced receivers in Andre Davis and Kierre Brown.

Quinn set a Southern Conference record in 2013 by throwing 210 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. On the year, he threw for 2,618 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Bennett rushed for 464 yards on 123 attempts and will split time at running back with Tracey Coppedge who led the Phoenix in yards per rush at 4.8 with 90 attempts. Davis recorded 460 yards receiving while Brown logged 448 yards. Senior running back Karl Bostick, who is out with a broken leg, rushed for 443 yards in 2013.


The Blue Devils are looking to prove 10-4 in 2013 was not a fluke so they will be primed to start 2014 off in dominant fashion. Team Captains Anthony Boone, Laken Tomlinson, Jamison Crowder, Jeremy Cash and Kelby Brown will ensure the team is ready to go. The 2014 Blue Devils are a team with lofty goals and a committment to achieving those goals so they will take the field this coming Saturday with a steel focus to win.

With Head Coach David Cutcliffe, 2013 National Coach of the Year, at the helm, the chances of Duke taking the field less than 100 percent prepared and focused are slim to none.


Duke is too talented, too deep, too strong and too fast for Elon. This is a game that should be decided by halftime.

Duke 41, Elon 13


Josh Snead Provides Confidence

SONY DSCWhen heavily favored Duke takes on Elon to open the season this Saturday in Wallace Wade Stadium, don’t expect the Blue Devils to be caught looking ahead.

“We’re going to approach this game just like it was an ACC game,” said Duke senior running back Josh Snead.

At the same time the star runner followed up by immediately saying, “We’ve got the mindset that we want to come in and dominate.”

There is no doubt that the Elon game is considered to be the easiest game on the Blue Devils  schedule, but there seems to be a focus of importance that the team needs to start the season playing well and carrying over the momentum from last seasons epic 10-4 mark, the most wins in school history.

“If you look back at the Texas A & M game, we played a great game and a few plays here and there and it would have been different,” said Snead. “We feel like we can build off that and capitalize going into this season.”

There is always heightened curiosity going into a season opener for every team.  That certainly holds true for a Duke team where some have still questioned whether they can continue the success of a season ago or if they can match that intensity where they rolled off eight consecutive wins after a 2-2 start.

“We feel that we’ve put in the work in camp — a lot of hard work, said Snead.  And a look around the pre season camp seemingly shows that with players look to be in good shape.  After all, some of the younger Blue Devils know nothing but bowl games and that is a far cry from decades of not so great football.

“I know some feel that last year our program was a fluke,” said Snead.  “We’ve got great coaches here who help us to sharpen our skills and fundamentals each week to go out and compete with the best.”

Snead stated what many have seen in practices, that players are on the same page, get to there stations quickly when the buzzer sounds and that kind of thing plays a big role on game day.

One of the main off-season concerns and a natural one after a 10-4 turnabout, is the fact that the Blue Devils had great leadership a year ago and it can be replaced.

“This year we are trying to be even better leaders. We have a lot of guys believe in what Coach Cut has presented to us.  His mission, his plan, his vision.” said Snead.

Josh Snead is never one who is short for words when dealing with media, but he is also a player who seems poised to show off what he has learned on and off the field.

Snead is the type of player that finds ways to contribute be it a timely blocked punt in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl game or working to make sure newer Blue Devils continue to build on success.

“With me being one of the leaders, I try to help him out a lot.  Anything he needed help with we go over.” said Snead with concern to true freshman running back Shaun Wilson currently slated to see time at the position this season.

Snead is one of a handful of redshirt seniors that in time will be considered some of the first building blocks for the resurgence of Duke Football under David Cutcliffe.  And this Saturday, another chapter in that story is set to begin.



Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. 1

Duke-footballWelcome back to another season of Friday Night Lights where Blue Devil Nation keeps its readers updated on high school performances of future Blue Devils as well as Duke recruiting targets. There were a limited number of players in action this past Friday night with most teams first games coming next weekend.

With running back the obvious remaining need in the Class of 2015, there is no better place to start this season’s Friday Night Lights coverage. Head Coach David Cutcliffe and his staff continue to pursue several Class of 2015 running back prospects including:

Nyheim Hines threw a 72 yard touchdown on a halfback pass, but Garner fell to Middle Creek 28-21. Hines rushed for 167 yards including a 14 yard touchdown in the game.

Reggie Gallaspy carried the ball 24 times for 246 yards and three touchdowns to lead Southern Guilford to a 42-7 victory over Eastern Guilford. Gallaspy has indicated he will make his college decision in September or October and he list his Top Five schools as Arkansas, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt.

Ruben Garnett rushed for 181 yards and four touchdowns, on 19 carries, as Aquinas routed Glenn Hills 41-6. Garnett’s touchdown runs covered eight, six, 35 and three yards. He was named Star of the Game by the Augusta Chronicle.

Albert Funderburke rushed for 197 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, but Sun Valley HS (Monroe, NC) fell to Hough 34-20. Funderburke’s touchdown run covered 76 yards.

Charlotte Christian fell to Mallard Creek 28-21 in a meeting of two teams who won state championships last season. I was unable to find game statistics for Elijah Deveaux (2016 prospect) but this slideshow starts with a nice picture of him running the ball. Deveaux list his Top Five schools as Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.

Incoming punter Austin Parker is a high school quarterback for the Mount Pleasant Tigers. He completed seven of 16 passes for 210 yards, but the Tigers fell to the Central Cabarrus Vikings 40-34. Parker threw two touchdown passes that covered 80 and 46 yards.

Wide receiver T.J. Rahming recorded five receptions for 175 yards in his season opener; however, his school, nationally ranked McEachern, lost to North Gwinnett 52-49. Two of Rahming’s five catches were for touchdowns, which covered 74 and 35 yards.

Ringgold won their season opener 21-11 over Northwest Whitfield. Future Blue Devils DE Zach Morris plays for Ringgold.

Safety prospect Rashad Roundtree lost a heartbreaker in his season opener as North Augusta defeated Lakeside 12-10. Lakeside scored late to take a 10-9 lead but they failed to stop North Augusta who kicked a last second 38 yard field goal to secure the victory.

Sean Pollard (2016 OL) and the Pinecrest Patriots overcame a slow start to defeat Overhills 23-12. Pollard was set to announce his college destination last week before he changed his mind at the last minute and decided to push his announcement to next year. Duke is in solid shape with Pollard.

Be sure and check back next week as a full slate of games are scheduled for the future Blue Devils and Duke recruiting targets. Blue Devil Nation strives to be the go to site for Duke Blue Devils football coverage.


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


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.