Category Archives: Duke Football

Chase Brice named Blue Devils’ starting quarterback

Cutcliffe Names Chase Brice Starting QB

Sept. 6, 2020

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Sunday evening Chase Brice as the Blue Devils' starting quarterback to open the 2020 season.
 
"I could not be more proud of the three young men who competed for the privilege to be this team's starting quarterback at Notre Dame in the season-opener," Cutcliffe said. "Chase, Chris (Katrenick) and Gunnar (Holmberg) all have played really well during camp. We have a healthy quarterback room and the competition has made everyone better. Ultimately, Chase has made plays at the highest rate."
 
A native of Grayson, Ga., Brice joined the Duke program in July after graduating from Clemson University, where he helped the Tigers to a three-year (2017-18-19) record of 41-3 with three ACC Championships, three College Football Playoff appearances and the 2018 National Championship. In 25 career collegiate games, he has completed 82-of-136 (.603) passes for 1,023 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing 30 times for 187 yards and one score.
 
The Blue Devils open the 2020 campaign on Saturday at Notre Dame. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live by NBC Sports.

Blue Devils’ season opener at Notre Dame Kicks off at 2:30


DURHAM, N.C. –
 The Atlantic Coast Conference finalized Tuesday the football game times for Duke's opening two contests.

The p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC. The following Saturday, Duke will welcome Boston College for its home opener at 12 p.m. in Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. That contest will be broadcast live on RSN.

Duke's game with Notre Dame marks the teams' seventh all-time meeting. The Fighting Irish won the last matchup just a season ago, but the Blue Devils were victorious the last time they were in South Bend.

Boston College is on the schedule for the first time since 2015. During the teams' most recent outing, the Blue Devils registered a 9-7 win in Wallace Wade Stadium.

Duke completes 75-play scrimmage

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke continued preparation for the 2020 season with a 75-play scrimmage Saturday morning at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

"It was hot outside, but we had a good day," redshirt junior offensive lineman Casey Holman said. "We had a lot of healthy guys back and we figured out what we needed to do better and we had to give better effort, but we executed really well."

Duke was led by running backs Deon Jackson and Jordan Waters on the ground. A senior, Jackson led with 50 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, scoring from two and 13 yards out. Waters, a redshirt freshman, finished with 88 yards on 12 attempts. 

"Deon ran through people today," Holman continued. "He ran hard and didn't hesitate. He followed our guys that created the holes for him and ran with energy. He wanted it."

All three quarterbacks battling for the starting position took repetitions with the first unit. Graduate student Chase Brice completed six-of-nine throws for 151 yards and one touchdown. The yardage total included two long strikes -- a 53-yard scoring toss to sophomore Eli Pancol and a 42-yard completion to redshirt junior Damond Philyaw-Johnson.

Redshirt sophomore Gunnar Holmberg also had a passing touchdown with a 16-yard scoring throw to redshirt freshman tight end Matt Smith. Holmberg finished three-of-five for 23 yards the score. Redshirt junior Chris Katrenick was four-of-eight through the air for 49 yards.

The quarterbacks spread the ball across the field with senior tight end Noah Gray the only Duke receiver to have multiple receptions as the Leominister, Mass., native tallied three catches for 20 yards.

Senior safety Michael Carter II and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremiah Lewis led the Duke defense with two pass breakups each. Redshirt junior cornerback Josh Blackwell returned a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown. Redshirt junior defensive end Chris Rumph II and redshirt freshman defensive end Caleb Oppan registered one quarterback sack each.

"I felt good out there," Carter II said. "Just being around the guys and feeding off each other, it was just good to be out there and sort of in a game simulation. Just to be live and all-out without any restraints was great."

Duke's amended 2020 schedule has the Blue Devils scheduled to kick off the season on the road at Notre Dame on Sept. 12. 

Duke football continues prep

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke football continued its preseason grind on Tuesday with its 10th practice of fall camp at the Brooks Practice Facility.

Redshirt junior cornerback Josh Blackwell and redshirt senior offensive tackle Devery Hamilton met with the media virtually at the conclusion of practice.

"I feel like the only thing that we would lose is team cohesion a little bit on the field," Blackwell said when asked about dealing with delays and the COVID-19 pandemic. "I think we all got our individual work at home. It kind of kept us in it. I think physically, we're still where we're supposed to be. But the one thing that I would say that was kind of off at the beginning, especially with the COVID situation, was the team cohesion."

In 23 games, 15 starts, Blackwell has 57 tackles, 13 pass breakups and one forced fumble. He owns two-plus tackles in 15 games, including a career-high six stops against Wake Forest in 2019. Back in 2018, Blackwell set the Duke bowl game record for pass breakups with four against Temple in the Walk-On's Independence Bowl.

Blackwell added his thoughts on having position-mate Mark Gilbert back into the lineup

"Oh, it means a lot. Not having him for two years on the field was detrimental. But it made people like me and Leonard Johnson you know that much better being leaders while he was away. Now that we have him back, he's brought back that spark that we've needed on the field. Even off the field the past two seasons, he's been huge for us mentally just teaching us the ropes. Getting us to where we need to be with Coach (Derek) Jones and now Coach (Chris) Hampton. I feel like he's been a huge part of our success here on and off the field."

Blackwell also gave praise to the defensive line, stating they have been a huge part of the backfield's success with their pressure up front.

"My past four years the d-line has been a huge part of our success in the back. You know we got Chris (Rumph II), Victor (Dimukeje), Drew (Jordan) in there. We've also got Congo (Derrick Tangelo). You know all those guys they've come together very well in the past couple seasons. They've grown together and figured out ways to rush the passer successfully to help us in the back. And then you got our backers in Shaka (Heyward), who's grown up and played a huge role last year as a redshirt freshman. I think as we continue to grow and continue to practice, we'll just keep getting better."

Hamilton, who joined the team as a graduate transfer from Stanford, spoke with the media about where he thinks he'll best be able to help the Blue Devils this upcoming season.

"I've been working at tackle both with the ones and twos," Hamilton said. "Coach (Greg) Frey said we don't have a depth chart yet so we're just going out competing every day and playing football. I'm definitely looking forward to playing tackle again. But it's been great in the past to play every single position except center just to show my versatility. But like you said, my skill set is definitely tailored toward playing tackle. I'm excited to get back to that."

Hamilton has seen action in 27 career games, making 10 starts on the offensive line. He comes to Durham a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honoree and helped the Cardinal compile a 32-20 overall record, three bowl game appearances and a pair of national top-20 rankings in the Associated Press final poll during his four seasons.

"My mentality is that you know everything happens for a reason," Hamilton said when asked about the irony of Stanford not playing football in the fall. "There's a bigger picture to everything. Sometimes there are going to be obstacles or hard times in front of you, but you just got to weather the storm. You know when I decided to transfer back in December or January, we didn't know that all this was going to happen. But you know, I'm glad that I'm here. I'm glad that the ACC is still trying to move forward with this as safely as possible. I'm just looking forward to getting back out there with a team. You know that's our mindset, ready to compete for the same goal.

"I'm super excited about this group this year," Hamilton continued. "We got guys returning with experience and we got young guys coming along as well. Like I said Coach Frey doesn't have a depth chart yet, so there could be a combination of five guys out there that you know nobody has seen before. But I think we're all coming together well. All the guys are helping teach the younger guys the playbook, techniques, fundamentals, and things like that. And then you know as much as we can off the field, we're still trying to build that chemistry. It was a little difficult for me at first coming in, being the new guy, but you know since camp has started and we've been spending more time together the chemistry is definitely growing. I'm excited to see what we do this year."

The Blue Devils' amended 2020 schedule has them scheduled to kick off their season on the road at Notre Dame on Sept. 12. 

Duke football continues preparations

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke football continued its preparations for the 2020 season at the Brooks Practice Facility on Tuesday.

The Blue Devils, who have been under careful watch by the team's coaches and medical staff, enjoyed sunny skies during their fourth practice of fall camp. Senior defensive end Drew Jordan and senior tight end Noah Gray met with the media virtually at the conclusion of practice.

"We're really focused on the goal of going down and winning an ACC championship, and that's what we've been sticking to since we've been here on campus," Jordan said when asked about his thoughts on the scope of college football in recent days. "You know we're not worried about the Big Ten or Pac 12, we're worried about ACC football. So, that's what we're going to continue to do moving forward."

Jordan has seen action in 37 out of his 38 possible games for Duke. In 1,498 career snaps, the Suwanee, Ga., native has earned 67 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, one caused fumble, one fumble recovery and 11 quarterback pressures. When asked about how he and the rest of the Blue Devils are staying healthy and safe since being back in Durham, Jordan had this to say.

"First and foremost, we have a great medical staff here. They're doing a phenomenal job of wiping things down and keeping everything clean for us. And then us as players, we're walking around with masks on and staying socially distant when we can. We're really trying to create a bubble within our program. So that's how we've been functioning since we've been on campus and once other students arrive here on campus as well we're going to continue those mandates."

When asked another question about what exact measures Duke football has in place for the players Jordan continued his thoughts.

"Like I was saying before, we have the greatest medical staff here in the country and we also have the greatest medical school here at Duke. So, they've been doing a great job of testing us and instructing us on what protocols we have to follow. An example would be, let's say we go into the training room and somebody is using a foam roller. We do a great job of wiping those things down before and after with bleach. That's mandated by us as players and we'll continue to hold each other accountable moving forward."

Gray, a 2020 John Mackey Award Watch List selection, was a Second Team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation just a year ago. In 38 career games, he has totaled 76 receptions for 663 yards and six touchdowns. His 76 receptions are currently tied with Chuck Drulis for ninth all-time in Duke's career receptions by a tight end. When it was his chance to speak with media Gray echoed Jordan's sentiments about how comfortable he feels being back.

"I believe that our coaches, our athletic training staff as well as our equipment and weight training staff are doing the best that they can to ensure our safety and to allow us to get back into the flow of playing, practicing, and getting us conditioned. They're all doing a fantastic job of that."

The Blue Devils' amended 2020 schedule has them scheduled to kick off their season on the road at Notre Dame on Sept. 12. 

Duke Football Notebook #1

Football is in the air as the Duke Blue Devils take to the practice field where they'll prepare for their season opener in South Bend, Indiana against the 10th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The Blue Devils head football coach, David Cutcliffe, and players addressed the media today via Zoom where they discussed the many challenges ahead. Here are a few thoughts in the first BDN football notebook for the coming season.

Is the Quarterback Position Wide-Open?

If you listened to Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe via Zoom as he addressed the media you might think the quarterback position is wide open. All offseason, incoming freshman Chase Brice has gotten the most hype but Cutcliffe clearly wants competition at the position. He mentioned that Chris Katrenick had shown vast improvement in understanding the nuance of the position and the way it needs to be played at Duke.

He also mentioned his walk-ons and Gunnar Holmberg while saying little of Brice. Reading the tea leaves on this one still tells me Chase Brice is the person the staff trust most but that he and others have to produce not just in understanding the game on paper, but that it must translate to actual play on the field.

I think the ACC's longest-tenured coach is trying to stabilize a solid backup option while continuing to teach the Duke system to the position.

Safety is a Priority

Duke is adjusting to not only new facemask protection but testing and implementing ever-changing precautionary measures with concern to the COVID virus. He is also allowing his players to wear monitors with concern to conditioning and avoiding soft tissue injuries as they work back into shape. He mentioned a concern with his athletes getting back into shape in the summer heat after so many people have spent time inside.

... but the good thing is...

Cutcliffe said that 98% of his players came back in the shape they had hoped. Duke implemented many a session for training via Zoom, and or, other technologies.

Duke Loses Two to Opt-Outs

Curtcliffe shared with the media that OL Jacob Rimmer and long snapper Ben Wyatt have opted out and both have the blessing of the team and university. He also sounded as if both could be replaced and that he had players ready to step up. Considering he has lost just two players thus far I would say that is the best they could have hoped for.

Cut's comments on the whole

He definitely sounded excited about playing football, but he also shared the following. He said today's practice went off pretty well and that they would adjust as they go. He also mentioned that team spirit was high and that he witnessed good habits during the first practice.

Overall, he sounded pleased where his team was at despite being just 36 days out from their opener at Notre Dame. He also said he was pleased with the kicking game and or how they worked. That is big news considering Duke has new players at the position.

Cut also mentioned his veterans three times during the chat where he is pleased to have some experience. He mentioned the offensive line and seemed to hint at battles for the starting spots while developing depth.

Also mentioned was that players are adjusting to him calling plays and that there were some changes on the offensive end. There was little mention of some of the new staff with the exception of Greg Frey, the OL coach.

A Few Schedule Thoughts

Duke more or less replaced Pitt and Miami with Syracuse and Florida State. With the struggles versus Pitt, this could be a good thing or is it? Syracuse blistered Duke in Wallace Wade last season, so we can hope the Blue Devils will seek revenge in the Carrier Dome. Considering Duke whipped Miami and rarely play Florida State, I think this is a good swap for Duke as well. Duke gets the Seminoles in late November for their last game of the season.

The Blue Devils have a program on the rise in UNCC a team that went bowling on the schedule. That may actually be one of the leagues' tougher outside opponents. In-state opponents are always dangerous and this will be the first meeting between the two schools. Duke lost Middle Tennessee State and NC A & T or Elon. One more note, the Blue Devils play UNCC on Halloween on Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Opening at #10 Notre Dame will certainly be a major challenge for Duke and the two teams played not that long ago. But maybe cathing the Irish early is better than late. The Duke program will also have a lot of the nation's eyes on them with this opener and that can be a good thing.

Stay tuned into Blue Devil Nation as the season approaches for our Duke Football Notebooks will continue as we near the opener. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest breaking information and visit our Facebook Group.