Category Archives: Duke Football

Duke Football: Freshman of Influence

[private]I asked Coach Cutcliffe which freshman looked as if they were ready to contribute right away this season. The following is the list he gave BDN.

DB Matt Daniels #40 (6-1, 195)- "Matt Daniels looks like he will be able to contribute on defense," sad Coach Cutcliffe after a recent practice. Daniels will compete for time in the secondary. Set a single game rushing record of 348 yards while at Fayette County HS in Georgia. Tallied 268 tackles in his career and pulled in 7 interceptions.

DB Lee Butler #36 (5-10, 180)- Coach Cutcliffe also mentioned Butler as a player who could step in right away. Butler most recently had 4 tackles and cause a late fumble to seal a South Carolina victory over North Carolina in the annual Shrine Bowl which is an all star game. Had 1263 all purpose yards and 11 touchdowns last season for Westside High in Anderson, S.C.

ST, LB Trent Mackey #20 (5-10, 220)- "I expect to see Trent Mackey get some time on special teams and eventually make it at the linebacker," said Coach Cutcliffe. There has been a buzz around Mackey during early practices. Had 103 tackles, 13 for losses as a senior at Carnecro HS in Louisiana.

WR Johnny Williams #37 (5-10, 190)- "Johnny Williams has certainly set a strong pace at receiver. He's been one of our leading receivers in every scrimmage we've had," said Coach Cutcliffe. Williams is a very talented youngster capable of making big plays. He ran first team more often than not in many drills. Was a do all athlete at St. Stephens HS in Alabama. One of the true gems in the class of 2008.

RB Jay Hollingsworth #27 (5-10, 185)- With injuries to tailbacks, Hollingsworth will be depended upon to carry an early load. Looks like a pure running back in practices. Was rated the number three running back in the state by RIvals. Played his ball locally at Lee County H.S. in Sanford, North Carolina. "Hollingsworth is getting a lot of snaps at running back. We have major concerns in that area. I think that Jay continues to get himself ready to play," said Cutcliffe.

There are a handful of others who could make this list. It'll be interesting to watch the 08 guys develop as the season moves along.[/private]

Quick Hitter – Vincent Rey talks leadership and JMU

[private]I caught up with LB Vinnie Rey, having a bit of one on one time with him after an intense practice.

Looks like you guys are going at it hard and preparing for James Madison ...

"We're working hard. It's like two jobs. It's a job in the film room and it's a job out here. The film room is a job to understand and learn the schemes. Out here you just have to run to the ball and finish."

You are going up against a multi-faceted quarterback. How do you prepare for that?

He's a very good quarterback ... good on his feet and throwing the ball also. We have a big job to do, but we can't forget that there is ten other guys out there on his team who can play as well.

You stepped up big time last year. Have we seen the best of Vincent Rey yet?

No sir! I feel like I've gotten a lot better physically. I'm learning the game a lot better under the new coaching staff. I feel that I just have to keep doing my job on defense. The better I do my job, the better I help my team.

You've been named team captain! What does that feel like in that the other three are seniors?

It's one of the biggest honors I've had in my life. And it's definitely a responsibility on and off the field.

What do you bring to the table as a leader?

I bring hard work. Every time I come out here I want to be the hardest working guy on the field.

Do you have a message for Duke fans?

Come to the game and you will be entertained. It's going to be a good game and we want your support.[/private]

Duke Football Practice Report #7 Cutcliffe talks defense and more

[private]The Blue Devil Nation was once again on the scene for today's practice where Coach Cutcliffe took the time to give us a synopsis of the practice.

Coach Cutcliffe on today's practice- We had our second day in a row of physical practice in preparation for James Madison. I think we are on pace. We'll pick back up next week. Tomorrow we'll have a workout that's dedicated to the kicking game ... all phases and aspects. So we will cover every situation. I don't like putting a team out on a field when they haven't been put through every situation that can arise in a ball game. Coach Middleton and I met kind of late last night and developed a nice script. So we will add some strong meeting time and get that worked out. We'll do some heavy physical conditioning in the morning and we'll be ready to start game week on Sunday.

On the defense- I think there is a significant difference in our linebacker play because of our speed. Vinnie and Mike have totally different body types than they had a year ago. I think Coach Hobby has the defensive line playing really hard. I'm concerned about our depth there. Charlie Hatcher has put himself in a position to really help inside. Ayanga and Egboh are showing progress outside. I'm real pleased with the secondary. The consistency has been good, the tackling has been good. They're liking the tighter coverage ... the press coverage. There getting use to it now, it's fun to watch it work. I'm pleased, but the biggest concern I have with this football team is injuries. Knock on wood, we've been relatively injury free on defense and we need to stay that way.[/private]

Duke football equals family fun

[private]Football season kicks off next Saturday and the excitement around Duke is palpable. I have some very strong and pleasant memories of Duke football. As a young boy, my father took me to games at Wallace Wade Stadium (some of those games before the horseshoe was renamed) a couple of times a year. Those trips were always a great day so I thought I’d share a couple of memories.

Duke hosted South Carolina on September 30, 1967, and the game started fast. My father and I were in our end zone seats with the Duke kick returners lined up right in front of us as South Carolina kicked off to start the game. Duke failed to handle the kick and the ball bounced into the end zone where the Gamecocks covered it for a touchdown. There were only a few seconds gone off the clock and Duke was down by a touchdown. South Carolina went on to win 21-17. Duke may have lost on that particular afternoon, but as an eight year old rabid Duke fan, I still had a great time.

In the early days, we always sat in the end zone general admission seats that sold for $1 back in the sixties. On one Saturday afternoon, I don’t remember the year or who was the opposing team, every point scored in the game was scored at the closed end of the stadium right in front of us. Our seats were worth every one of those hundred pennies that day.

During the 1974 season, I went to the Purdue game with an older friend who lived across the street. The previous Saturday the Boilermakers had defeated Notre Dame in South Bend. My friend and I had seats on about the 35 - 40 yard line on the East side of the stadium. Duke defeated Purdue 16-14 and as time expired everyone in the stadium was chanting, “We want Notre Dame!” I’m not sure why we wanted the Fighting Irish, they went 10-2 in 1974, but it was exciting at the time.

My last trip to Wallace Wade Stadium was almost 32 years ago in 1976. Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers traveled to Durham. Pittsburgh won 44-31 as part of their 12-0 season. But 1976 turned into 1977 and I was off to the United States Navy traveling extensively and living overseas.

So with the 2008 season about to start I encourage all readers in North Carolina to take advantage of the opportunity for some great family fun and take in some of the games at Wallace Wade. We need fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers to gather up those youngsters and take them to a Duke football game. I will not be making it back to North Carolina this year, but I have a three year old grandson and I will be taking him to a couple of games in the future.[/private]

Cutcliffe talks kicking game, James Madison and the latest scrimmage

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On yesterday's scrimmage - We did a little game work in yesterday.  We had to put that together and make it all work.  We followed up today with some walk thru's and corrections and an on the field scouting report continuing with James Madison.

We scrimmaged yesterday and we didn't tackle to the ground.  We couldn't afford to lose anymore running backs.  We got exactly what we wanted out of it ... great looks defensively at what the James Madison offense is suppose to look like.  Our number two units ran the James Madison offense.  We saw some things in there that give us problems, we saw some things in there we really liked. (Coach asked his team to stay late last evening and study tape).

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Lewis and Paulus are selfless leaders who are enjoying the Duke experience

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It's always nice when Duke Student Athletes support one another.  Just ask Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis who recently told BDN, "When you sign on the dotted line to attend Duke University you are embracing a family whether you are a student or student athlete."

He went onto say, "I want them (athletes) to support me, so I go out and support them."  Lewis could be seen at the Coach K Academy this summer checking out all of the former Duke players while stopping to talk to a couple of current players like Greg Paulus.  "I wish I could get out there on the court," said Lewis during that event.  He went on to say he played basketball in high school.

Almost all athletes at Duke played multiple sports at one time.  The aforementioned Paulus was one of the top rated quarterbacks in the nation out of high school.  In a twist of irony, Paulus could be found at a recent football practice peering on much like Lewis did in Cameron, wondering what if.

Lewis and Paulus are two perfect examples of the kind of special athlete Duke produces both on and off the court or field respectively.  Both could be seen at various Duke sporting events last year and both are willing to put in the work for their university of choice.

I mean, talk about being selfless!  Lewis could be field on the field handing out water to prospects during the Duke Football Camps.  Paulus could be found  atop the hill in the new practice facility waiting to give attendees to the Coach K Academy rides to and from their motel.  Just take a second and imagine Lewis handing you a gatorade and Paulus saying "where to," as his van loads.

"Greg Paulus is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  He'll do anything for his school," said recently retired Frank Dascenzo of the Herald Sun while the two of us sat in the new practice facility during the K Academy.

Lewis also supported the basketball Blue Devils at the recent SJC Pro Am event at NC Central University.  It's kind of nice when Singler, Williams or Smith can look up and see Duke's starting quaterback in the stands.

There is one bond that ties the two together besides being the engine to their respective teams.  That being each one is throughly enjoying their Duke experience.  "Duke is somewhere you can be comfortable at.  It's somewhere where you want to be and it's somewhere where they want you," said Lewis.  He went on, "It's family oriented around here and I'm enjoying every mintue of every day.

So, if you happen upon Paulus or Lewis around campus or in any environment, you will see two Duke student athletes who strive to not only give their best, but to support one another.  Perhaps more importantly, they are enjoying their Duke experience.[/private]