Tag Archives: Blue Devil Nation

Tyler Thornton on his visit – “By the time we got there, I knew I wanted to be a Blue Devil”

Tyler Thornton took the time to chat with Blue Devil Nation Premium last evening.  Thornton talked about his big weekend visit sharing his thoughts on his trip to Durham and verbal commitment to play for Coach K's Blue Devils.   In our previous talk, Thornton said that he had every intention of returning home to think over his choices.  In the end, far too many factors fell into  place, so he made his collegiate choice on the spot and he's glad he did.

When Thornton answered the phone, it didn't take long for me to tell there was a wide grin on the other end.  His Mom, who I talked to first said,  "I saw a comfort level in his body language during the visit and that led me to believe he was very excited and definitive with his choice.  [private] Tyler has an infectious smile and he was wearing that smile on our visit."

"By the time we got there I knew I wanted to be a Blue Devil," said Thornton.  It was just so much fun.  I loved being around the guys and the coaches on campus and I had a great time the whole weekend.  I can't wait to go back!"

As it turned out, Thornton spent most of his free time with Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins and Elliot Williams.  He mentioned that the brothers Plumlee, Mason and Miles also stopped by the room on Saturday evening as well - all talking of one day playing together.

"Andre and I have always been cool with each other.  Getting a chance to hang out with Josh who I consider one of my best friends and him was really nice.  We hung all day with each other and we can't wait to go back down."

Thornton made his commitment official during an afternoon meeting with Coach K.  "We talked about the guys visiting and this years team.  He told us stories about Team USA in Beijing and how much fun he had coaching them," said Thornton.

"It's a blessing being a part of the Duke Family.  Not everybody gets to go even see things like the new practice facility.  To have it at my disposal  and to be able to go whenever I want or need to is great.  I can't say a lot more about ... it's great to be a part of the family.

Family is a recurring theme when one talks of Duke Basketball and all three of the 2010 verbals seem to realize they are part of something really big.  However, the prospects aren't the only ones impressed by the homey togetherness.

"One of the common themes that came out is that everything just felt right," said Thornton's Mom.  She continued, "Tyler has been in private setting since the seventh grade.  It's a setting we feel most comfortable in and Duke had a lot to offer off the court.  What's impressed me the most since the beginning was the family feeling and how welcome and at ease we were.  As a mother or a parent, you want to know that your child is going to be taken care of."

The weekend also included several rounds of pickup ball.  "My team had Jon Scheyer, McClure, Mason and Josh.  We won most of the games - it was fun."  It was later confirmed in a talk with Andre Dawkins that Tyler's team indeed was tough to beat last weekend.

"The highlight of my visit was when I actually made the decision that I was going to commit," stated the future Dukie.  "All the coaches were excited.  I did go down with the mindset that wasn't going to commit, but once I got there, I couldn't resist - I couldn't wait any longer, so I made my choice and I'm happy about it." [/private]

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Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton commit to Duke

[private]Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton have committed to Duke University!  The BDN has learned from sources close to the situation that the two standout prospects from the class of 2010 made their selection today.  Welcome aboard guys!  Good job staff! 

Josh Hairston - (2010) 6-7, 200, Spotsylvania, Va.  Courtland HS

Josh continues to improve his game, having developed more and more over the AAU summer.  He has a nice inside-outside game and Duke will use him much like they did Roshown McLeod.  Josh picked Duke over Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Georgetown.

Tyler Thornton - (2010) 6-2, 180, Gonzaga HS  Washington, DC - Tyler is a true PG ranked hin the top fifty players in the class of 2010.  He is a hard nosed leader who loves to win.  He is Josh Hairstons teammate for DC Assault on the AAU circuit.  Thornton chose Duke over Georgetown, Stanford and Wake Forest.

"We got them," said Duke commitment Andre Dawkins.

"We're very happy to have them aboard," said a source close to the team.

The members of BDN Premium get reliable information and are often tipped off long before the real deal goes down.  I will have interviews with Hairston, Thornton, Dawkins and Plumlee up starting late tonight.  Why not join us on the inside by becoming a member of BDN Premium today![/private]

BDNP Hoops Recruiting Update – Ryan Kelly offered

Ryan Kelly was officially offered a scholarship when he visited the Duke campus on an unofficial visit today. [private] The Duke staff is in the process of setting up an official visit. Kelly was accompanied by his family.

Duke Coaches will be allowed back on the road on September 9th and will visit the Boyntons on that very day. Duke is also ironing out a date for his official visit despite various internet rumors which said he would not visit Durham.

Mason Plumlee will come in on his official with his parents on September 12th to the 14th. That same weekend on the 13th, Duke will entertain Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton on a visit. They will be joined by Duke commitment, Andre Dawkins.

Duke could very well end up with a class of Plumlee, Kelly and Boynton in 09. I will keep you updated.[/private]

Game Week – Cutcliffe talks to the media, part I

[private]Coach Cutcliffe addressed the media today with the emphasis on changing the culture of Duke Football and asking the fans to be in the stands early.

Opening statements - We are going to have a Blue Out.  So, we want everybody to wear blue to the game.  We want to see a sea of blue in the stadium.

Just evaluating our team, there are three phases that have happened already.  There's winter conditioning, there is spring practice and summer conditioning work.  All three phases, we've gotten better.  Is it good enough?  I'm not saying that.  But we're at a point of being so far away, that we have miles to go before we sleep, so to speak.  The fourth phase is the season.  It's very obvious we are better as a team.  I can give some specifics.

We are much better in the kicking game.  Again, consider where we were!  So, much better is not good enough to this point in my opinion.  But we are much better!  Our punting, our place kicking ... our kickoff has been excellent.  I like our ability to be a good return team!  Our coverage has been much better than what it's been.  I think we can make some things happen.  I think we can block some kicks.

As far as throwing and catching the ball -- I was very concerned after spring practice.  They (team) struggled with that.  Our throwing and catching was really poor.  It has now reached the point where it is much better.  Again, it's a little too inconsistent than what I like, but I'm pleased with the progress.

One of the areas I'm most pleased with is the pass coverage.  I think our secondary has done a tremendous job at this point.  I hope it is an indication of them improving, not our receivers not being able to separate.  There has been a tremendous job done by Coach Jones and Coach MacIntyre in that regard.

Our tackling has been better.  You can't play good defense ... the scheme doesn't matter if you can't tackle.  Our tackling is not where it should be at this time, but it is better than any point in spring practice.  If I had to lift something quickly right now, I would pray for great tackling.

The biggest concern I have, although there is improvement are both fronts.  Our front on defense is much better, but I have a major concern about depth there.  The offensive line is the same thing.  There has been drastic improvement, but it's still not where it needs to be and the depth is horrendous at this point.

Overall, the thing that has helped us get better is better practice habits.  I knew the first time I saw this team that was an issue.  We sometimes try to revert back to 0-12, 1-11 habits.  That's what we're here for is to make them understand you practice with the same intensity and the same execution which never waivers and we lose focus.  Our jobs as coaches is to immediately correct that.  If we continue to do that through the season, by the time we get to November, we can be a good football team.  We are not the most talented team in the conference, but we need to be a good football team and if you are a good football team you can carry into the fourth quarter and win the game.

On the importance of a good showing on Saturday night ... Thank goodness there's expectations.  I like that.  Obviously I know of the importance of going out and playing well and people coming back.  The biggest challenge is to generate the interest have some expectations.  If you don't go in expecting to do well, you generally will not.

On changing the culture and the mentality of players -  We have them everyday since last January and we've made progress in that regard.  The thing we had to do was get the people enthused, get them in the stands, sell the stadium out.  There has been too much finger pointing when it comes to Duke Football.  We all have to take responsibility..  Our Administration has been a part of this and very supportive and they've declared that they want to change the culture of football at Duke and we are taking that serious.  I'm not going to be afraid to challenge people.  If it's not good enough on their end then I need to let them know.  They can be mad if they want, but we are serious about changing the football program.

Part 2 is coming soon. Pictured is Coach David Cutcliffe and new Athletic Director, Kevin White. (copyright BDNP)[/private]

Duke Football Practice Report #3 – Fundamentals

[private]The Duke Football Staff has taken a step back and gone into a teaching mode.  "I changed our schedule to do a lot more teaching, a lot more fundamentals.  We are where we will test offense versus defense in more situations in the next two days," said Cutcliffe.

The team lined up the with DL's and LB's versus the offense early in the practice.  They were surrounded by five coaches which include Matt Luke, Kurt Roper, Zac Roper, Ron Middleton and of course Coach Cutcliffe.  It was obvious these guys had worked together and it was easy on the eyes to view the coaches at work.

Luke would bark orders just outside the trenches and Middleton stayed behind the offense, exhorting several players with Kurt Roper nearby.  Coach Cutcliffe was overseeing the whole scene with intensity, making the team run several players over.  Zac Roper, like Cutcliffe would push a linebacker in a certain direction from behind to either test the offense or to improve their skills aof perception.  In short, all the coaches were on the same page and they were trying to get the team that way.

A lot of emphasis was put on the throwing motion, stance and footwork of the quarterbacks.  The defensive linemen went one on two and one on three in drills.  Four or five players looked really good during these drills including offensive linemen, Goldberg and Roland.

The tight end position has has a lot of attention in that Brandon King has been out.  Cutcliife stated, "when we get this thing going rolling we will have two and three tight ends in the game at one  time.  We want guys who can stretch the field and are physical.  That's a special position to go and recruit.  I think the guys we have now are capable, but I don't think they are use to the versatility and what they are asked to do.

Notes- Duke will turn around and practice in the morning, for Cutcliffe has a speaking engagement at Tyler's Tap House in Durham.  Duke will wear full pads tomorrow and hold a closed scrimmage on Saturday.  Coach Cutcliffe said the team was in as good of shape as he thought they were.  He wouldn't go into individual players name but said the young guys are providing some speed and quickness.  He mentioned that his team needed to play lower which especially holds true for certain positions.  I noticed the same thing and it's as if Coach read my mind.  Coach said, "the first thing out of my mouth tomorrow is to play lower."  Coach also said his team could not afford to waste any reps.  He also mentioned that he liked seeing the stadium in the backdrop as Duke practiced.  Coach also said they have great respect for James Madison and their coaching staff, mentioning they were winners saying "we have a big challenge in front of us."  Vinnie Rey took a big hit and was taking into the Yoh Building.  It is said it was not serious.[/private]

Duke Football ready to begin a new era under Cutcliffe

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Duke Football is about to kick off the 2008 season under new Coach David Cutcliffe. The Blue Devils held their annual picture day on Sunday in Wallace Wade Stadium and the Blue Devil Nation was there to cover the event. We secured several interviews and will have articles almost daily leading to the home opener with Division II power, James Madison. We will also be bringing you some coverage from football practices as Duke Football readies to embark on a new era. As always the BDN will bring you plenty of illustration, so check back in for a photo gallery tomorrow and a one on one with new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper later today. Until then, enjoy the links below.

Today's Football Links -

Duke Football begins new era

WRAL Video

New staff determined to change the culture of Duke Football

Lewis talks of meeting the Manning brothers

Will a summer of hard work pay off?

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