Category Archives: Duke Football

OL David Harding commits to Duke – Today’s Scrimmage Report

[private]The Duke Blue Devils continued their early assault on the class of 2009 getting a commitment from David Harding a 6-4, 280 pound offensive lineman.  Harding plays tackle for Boone High School in Orlando, Florida.

The Devils beat out Florida State, Vanderbilt and many others including South Carolina.  There were unfounded rumors that Harding would commit to the Gamecocks this weekend floating around the Internet.

Harding's decision gives the Blue Devils a total 22 commitments under first year Coach David Cutcliffe.  It's quite obvious that many prospects can clearly see the direction in which the program aspires to go.  Harding was on campus to take in the "Meet the Devils," festivities and the scrimmage.  Duke has very much turned their attention to the class of 2010, but still has a few spots to fill in the 2009 class.

It's been a long time since Duke has committed so many prospects before their first snap in the coming season.  The staff has been quite active on the recruiting front and it's clearly the "Dawn of a New Day," which is the slogan on this seasons team poster.

Pictured - David Harding (center) checked out the Duke scrimmage with other prospects this past weekend

Today's Sctimmage Report from -

DURHAM, N.C. -- Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completed nine-of-11 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown and added another score on the ground to highlight Duke's 50-play controlled scrimmage on Tuesday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Lewis hooked up with Sheldon Bell for a 33-yard scoring strike to go along with his four-yard touchdown scamper.  Tony Jackson paced the ground attack with 10 carries for 68 yards and one touchdown while Jay Hollingsworth scored on a three-yard run.

“The big thing was to try and create some game management situations,” said head coach David Cutcliffe. “We came out and divided our squad up and had our starting units together. We put them down 10 points midway through the third quarter and tried to play a game from then on. Fortunately, we came back and won by 21. We were productive, but the biggest thing I wanted to accomplish was not to get anybody hurt so we did not tackle live.

“What I was interested in seeing was our execution,” continued Cutcliffe. “I thought our offense executed very well and knew what to do. They threw and caught the ball well. Defensively, we worked exclusively towards James Madison. We got a really good jump start on that. We have been working off and on with that style of offense a lot. I think we learned a couple of things which was good for us. It also gives you a chance to look at your young players on the other team and some of those guys stepped up.”

Bell had three receptions for 53 yards while Johnny Williams added three grabs for 50 yards.

The Blue Devils open the season on August 30 at home versus James Madison.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. and tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 877-375-DUKE.[/private]

“Meet the Devils” Photo Gallery


The Blue Devil Nation strives to bring the best coverage available for Duke Football and Basketball.  Here is another photo gallery which features the festivities of the Meet the Blue Devils Day (be sure to click Meet the Blue Devils to view the gallery) where fans gathered for autographs from players and coaches.  Among the pictures are Coach Cutcliffe's SEC Western Division Champions ring and a more personal look at the new staff.


BDN’s Football Scrimmage Gallery

[private]Here is a photo gallery from yesterday's football scrimmage - (View Gallery by going to this LINK and hitting slideshow, just below the picture). Check back for pictures from the "Meet the Blue Devils" event.  We will also have Coach Cutcliffe's comments after the game with a general recap of the days action.  BDN is the place for football coverage, so be sure to check back for almost daily reports leading into the season.

True freshman Jay Hollingsworth celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Thaddeus Lewis in the picture to your left.

The pictures in this gallery are set at low resolution.  All pictures on this site are property of BDN and cannot be reprinted without prior permission.[/private]

Duke Football Practice Report #5 – Defensive Front learning to play four quarters

[private]One of the keys to Duke Football success this season, will be the play of Vince Oghobasse (6-6, 300, Jr - DT).  He has slimmed down and has appeared much quicker in the drills this season and more importantly has shown better endurance.  Cutcliffe stated, "Vince has had his moments of greatness.  I would like to see more consistency there, Coach Hobby would say that, but it's been a lot more good from him than bad."

Cutcliffe has liked what he has seen from Brandon Harper and mentioned that his play in practice, namely the scrimmages has drawn notice.  Harper (6-3, 310, Jr - DL) missed almost of of the spring coming back from an injury.  How hard has Harper worked?  At this moment he is ahead of Okpokuwuruk on the depth chart. 

"Wes Ogelsby knows how to give you a day's work." said Cutcliffe.  Ogelsby (6-6, 245 So - DE) had 22 solo tackles last season.  Ayanga Okpokowuruk (6-4, 255, Jr - DE) has been moved back to a more natural position after playing as an undersized nose last season.  Look for his stats to take a big leap from last seasons 7 solo tackles and 16 assists.  You have already heard about and from Cliff Respress in an interview you will find below. 

Coach Cutcliffe hopes to rotate five to seven players.  "We've got some guys that are capable ...we have to show we can play four quarters.  That's obviously been the past history with these kids," said Cutcliffe.  He continued by saying that the defensive front has to learn how to practice to be successful for four quarters.  The staff has put emphasis on teaching them how to go from start to finish in order to gain better practice habits.

Tomorrows scrimmage starts around 10:15 in Wallace Wade and is open to the public.  Of course, Meet the Blue Devils Day will be held after the scrimmage.  Prizes will be given away and you will have the opportunity to meet the new staff and the 2008 players.  The meet and signing period will be held on the track and not Wilson Recreation Center which was reported earlier.[/private]

Quick Hitter #2 – Cliff Respress talks defensive front and practice

[private]Senior Cliff Respress (6-3, 280, DL) has had a good camp.  In fact, Coach Cutcliffe said that he had moved up to first team status by earning it.  Here are his comments after yesterdays practice -

On the competition in practice - Coach Hobby tells us all the time, I want to see you make plays.  That's what he's real big on.  So, everyday we come out and get loose and get after it.  The younger guys are stepping up and coming through ... Hatch (Charlie Hatcher) is stepping up and playing real good.  It's a pretty deep group.

On off season conditioning and the benefits - Most definitely!  We are flying around, getting tot he ball and moving a little but faster.  I watched some of last years film and we looked a little slower than we do right now in practices.  Flying to the ball, get off on snaps ... I feel we are moving a lot faster.  That 25 second clock when they spot the ball -- that's plenty of time to get back  for the snap.

On learning new skills or schemes- I wouldn't say we're learning new skills ... we're still attacking.  The main part is attack.  Being in shape and being stronger definitely helps when you are using those (skills).

On getting reps versus the offensive line and his impressions -  Their off season work and weight lifting has done a lot for them, moving their feet on pass protection.

On James Madison- We are focusing more and more on James Madison.  We break camp on Tuesday and after that it will be all James Madison.[/private]