Tag Archives: Coach Cut

It’s Back! More of BDN’s Monday Musings on Duke Athletics

BDN Photographer Rick Crank caught wonderful moment after Duke defeated UNC for the ACC Championship. BDN Photo

After a brief hiatus Monday Musings is back and we have plenty of stuff to talk about.  The reason the article went MIA was due to an overload of Blue Devil Nation Premium articles which simply dominated the site last week.  One thing BDN followers can depend on is the flat out best recruiting circuit coverage available. 

The NBA Draft is still fresh in many fans minds and the Blue Devils added three more players to the league.  Kyrie Irving became the second Blue Devil to be the first overall pick, joining Elton Brand as the two Blue Devils holding that honor.  Irving looked rather suave as he hit the podium fulfilling his dream.  While some Duke fans feel a void in that they saw him play just eleven games in the royal blue, there are benefits to his quick departure.  Irving will represent Duke well and he’s already had good things to say about Coach K and the program.  Having an alum in the spotlight will only bring more talk of the program and rising prospects really like seeing the hot rookies which stay fresh in their minds.  Duke adds Austin Rivers this year and trend is developing of great guards coming through Durham on a yearly basis.  Here is Irving and Tristan Thompson being introduced to Cleveland Cavalier fans.

How cool was it to hear, “And with the 21st overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Nolan Smith of Duke?”  Maybe Kyle can give Nolan some tips as he rolls to home state to Oregon with a guaranteed contract in tow.  Smith worked hard at Duke and had both up’s and downs but he stuck it out and he is now in the NBA.  FWIW, I jumped out of my chair and cheered as if it were a Duke buzzer beater when his name was called.  Here is the latest article on NDotSmitty.

Then there was Kyle Singler chosen #33 by the Detroit Pistons.  Singler barely missed the first round but he fell into a good situation with the Pistons in that he was still their first selection and he will get a sure contract.  The Detroit brass pointed to his leadership, work ethic and skills when they spoke of their prized rookie.  I will sure miss all three of these guys but the memories from each have been great, especially Nolan and Kyle who brought a National Championship to Durham.  Here is a link on the Pistons desire for character and that led them to draft KSing. 

It seems like a few months ago when I was covering Duke players at the N.C. Pro Am at North Carolina Central University.  Maybe it’s the fact I am getting older or it could just be that coverage never ends at BDN.  Regardless, BDN will be front and center with coverage for the event which starts this week.  BDN was the first site to cover this event and therefore we’ve developed good relationships with those involved.  It’s a first rate event worth your summer time and a friendly atmosphere awaits.  Stop by and say hello for I will once again be in the end zone with my own private desk;)  A key change to note — no high school players are allowed to participate per NCAA rules this season.  That means no Pinson, Purvis and such.  One other tidbit is that Duke players rarely show the first session, so look for them next week.  And yes, Duke will have players participate but their time will be cut short due to the China-Dubai trip which happens in August.  As we’ve said before, Duke is allotted ten full practices before the journey.

USA!  A few key Duke Basketball recruiting prospects  were missing during last weeks NBA Top 100 Camp and for good reason.  Targets Jabari Parker and Theo Pinson were in the red, white and blue leading Team USA to Gold.  Parker averaged 15.4 ppg and  grabbed 6.4 rebounds a contest.  Pinson was the fourth   scorer at 11.5 ppg and added an amazing 6.2 rebounds from the wing.  Team USA finished 5-0 defeating Argentina 104-64.  Here are the TEAM USA U16 Stats.

The player nicknamed "The Black Falcon," flew on both sides of the fence until his most awkward Skype announcement. We'll let you fill in the caption on this pic. BDN Photo

Stash this in the remember where you heard it department.  Harrison Barnes will be the ACC Pre season POY and maybe even the national one as well.  A look at returning scorers in the conference shows that he is the top returning one in the league.  And look for the Blue Devils Seth Curry to make first team while Mason Plumlee will be on the second team.  UNC and Duke will be picked one, two in the league.  Yes, Duke fans, Barnes pictured left would have been in the top 8 picks had he gone pro, so his return guarantees that he will be one of the most hated Heels ever.

Measurements are coming in from the Nike Skills Academies and we found out that the measurements for the brothers Plumlee. Mason Plumlee measured 6’10,” 234 with  6’11” wingspan, while Miles Plumlee measured 6’11.5,” 247 with a 7′ wingspan.  For full prospect measurements, check out the BDN Premium Message Board.

Recruiting information has been red hot of late and BDN has an incredible amount of material for you to catch up on by becoming a member.  We’ll be heading to the Peach Jam in July but there is much more before then.  We’ll keep you in a bit of suspense on that.  Look for a lengthy interview with Tony Parker today, so get off the fence and join the most dedicated Duke site in the world!  Be sure to go to our premium section located just under the header and take a look at what you’re missing. Recent interviews include, Robert Carter, Davonta Pollard, Rodney Purvis, Troy Williams, Joel James and Nate Britt.  BDN Premium brings you print and video interviews and if you haven’t heard the name Andrew Slater yet then you are not paying attention to our incredibly well informed basketball recruiting analyst and his one of a kind interviews.

BDN Photo

Duke Football Recruiting has been on a roll of late and you can find all the latest verbals by simply going to our football section.  Our resident recruiting analyst, Patrick Cacchio has been on a roll of late and BDN has become the place to be for Duke Football coverage.  We need more members on our football message board to discuss all the breaking news, so join up and help us make our forum the very best.  We are currently seeking a football board moderator, so send me a note through our popular twitter site if you are interested.   Anyhow, Coach Cutlciffe and staff are on a roll and they are beating some big schools for the latest commitments.  One other note, do not miss  our BDN Football Friday column which is the best weekly football article on the web.  If you find a better column on Cut’s team, let us know and we’ll work harder.

Speaking of Duke and ACC Football, I have been writing a preview of the conference for another site.  Everybody points to the Duke offense being able to move the ball  due to more vets on that side of the ball.  A closer look will tell you that Duke starts just two seniors and that nine of these kids will be back again the following year.  I picked Florida State and Virginia Tech as division winners and the main reason is that both have a manageable schedule.  The Blue Devils have the 22nd toughest schedule in the nation according to Phil Steele.  By writing a preview, I have a jump on fellow media members in picking the All ACC first and second teams at the fast approaching ACC Operation Football gathering.

Lastly, our prayers go out to the friends and family of two high school football players that were shot in Durham.

BDN Previews Duke at Wake Forest

Desmond Scott takes a hand off from Sean Renfree - BDN, Lance King Images

After a good effort and a win in week 1, Coach Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils kick off the ACC season early with a trip to Winston-Salem in week 2. The oddsmakers have Duke as 6 point underdog, and a win against the Demon Deacons Saturday would be big for the program. The game will be televised by Raycom Sports in ACC markets, and is also available online at espn3.com.

Duke in Week 1

The Duke Blue Devils got off to a 1-0 start in the 2010 season with a 41-27 win over a pesky Elon team. Sean Renfree was 31 of 39 in his first career start at QB, totaling 350 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ten of his passes went to sophomore Conner Vernon, who ended the game with 129 yards in receptions, while junior Donovan Varner finished with 7 catches and 123 yards. Desmond Scott led the Blue Devil ground game with 77 yards; freshmen Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson also were impressive in limited roles. The defense allowed over 400 yards of offense to Elon, but forced two turnovers and came up with key stops in the red zone, which ultimately led to the victory.

Wake Forest in Week 1

Wake Forest defeated Presbyterian, 53-13, on Thursday. Wake Forest has returned to a more traditional Jim Grobe-style, dominating the game with physical play at the line of scrimmage. The Demon Deacons rushed for 6 touchdowns and 415 yards, while giving up just 70 yards on the ground to the Blue Hose. Sophomore QB Ted Stachitas finished with 76 yards on 10 carries, and the Deacs averaged 8.3 yards per carry as a team. Wake Forest didn’t show much in the passing game, completing just 10 of 24 passes for 94 yards, but will continue to develop their two young quarterbacks throughout the season. Defensively, the Deacs allowed 292 passing yards to winless Presbyterian, but did come away with 4 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Analysis

This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the season, for a number of reasons. Duke and Wake Forest are two of the top private schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with student-athletes who standout both on the field and in the classroom. The head coaches are two of the most likable guys in the ACC, have a great deal of mutual respect for each other, and both have demonstrated a strong commitment to their respective programs. An even closer look shows that the rosters feature 10 players who were high school teammates, and a number of others who were high school rivals. The significance of this overlap is not lost on Coach Grobe, who pointed out, “when you have a lot of kids that have played against each other in high school and in some cases gone to school with each other, I think it stirs things up a little bit.” Both teams are breaking in first-year starting quarterbacks, and have questions on the defensive side of the ball. The matchup is intriguing as much for the similarities as for the differences. Wake Forest features one of the best running games in the conference, while Duke boasts one of the most potent passing offenses. In recent years, Wake Forest competed for ACC championships while the Blue Devils struggled.

We will probably learn a lot more about whether Duke is ready to compete for a bowl game in 2010 in week 2 than we did in week 1. Can Sean Renfree lead the Duke offense in a big ACC road game? Have Duke’s young running backs improved significantly from a year ago? Can Duke’s new, aggressive defensive strategy bring pressure without giving up big plays? Can Duke’s defensive front consistently stop a potent running attack? This last question, in particular, may be most relevant, as the Blue Devils will face several prolific rushing offenses in 2010.

Duke will look to get out to an early lead against Wake Forest, and the Demon Deacons’ secondary should be no match for Sean Renfree and Duke’s ACC-leading receivers. Duke’s young running backs will face a stiff test in the Wake Forest defense, but will have to break open a few runs to balance the offense. Defensively, if Wake Forest is able to run the ball and control the clock, it will be a long day for the Blue Devils’ defense. The Blue Devils will have to match the Wake Forest physicality at the line of scrimmage, and will have to force defensive stops, as the Demon Deacs are unlikely to turn the ball over on the ground. If the Blue Devils can force the inexperienced Wake Forest quarterbacks into passing situations, they will have a good chance of forcing turnovers and stops. It is likely to be a busy day for the Blue Devil linebackers, who will need to get penetration at the line of scrimmage and bring pressure against Wake Forest’s running backs and quarterbacks. In what is likely to be a close game, any mistakes in the kicking game will be costly; both Duke and Wake Forest missed field goals in week 1. Both teams have dangerous playmakers as return men, which will put kick coverage and field position at a premium.

Ultimately, as in every game, the outcome will be mostly based on the team that wins the battles at the line of scrimmage and makes the fewest mistakes.

Check out watzone’s game preview with a Duke slant at Raycom Sports.com by clicking here

BDN Prediction

While many may have circled September 18 and the visit from the reigning national champion Crimson Tide as an important game on Duke’s schedule, those close to the program circled September 11. It’s no secret that the Demon Deacons have had the Blue Devils’ number, wining 10 straight meetings between the two schools. In fact, Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe has never lost to Duke, despite several close games in recent years.

Duke has ended several unsightly streaks during David Cutcliffe’s tenure, and Saturday could bring the end to another. In what is likely to be an exciting, high-scoring contest, the BDN consensus/cumulative pick is Duke 35 Wake Forest 34

BDN Game Day Preview – Duke at Miami

dscott 33BDN previews Saturday’s matchup as Thad Lewis and the Blue Devils travel to Miami to face the #20 Hurricanes. The game will kickoff at noon ET on ESPNU.

Scouting the Blue Devils (5-5, 3-3 ACC)

Last time out

Duke was defeated by Georgia Tech at Wallace Wade Stadium, 49-10. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the Yellow Jackets dominated the remaining three-plus quarters, scoring 49 unanswered points.

Duke’s touchdown came on their first possession, as Thad Lewis found RB Re’quan Boyette for an 18 yard score. The Duke defense also came out fired up, forcing a three and out on Georgia Tech’s first possession, and a fumbled punt on Georgia Tech’s second possession, which handed the ball to the offense at the Georgia Tech 14 yard line. Will Snyderwine, returning after missing the previous game with an injury, connected on a 31-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils up 10-0.

From that point on, it was all Georgia Tech, as the Blue Devil defense continually gave up big plays, while the offense struggled to move the ball downfield. In fact, Duke’s leading receivers on the day were RB Re’quan Boyette and RB Desmond Scott, as the dynamic receiving corps of Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner, and Austin Kelly totaled just 7 catches and 75 yards combined. After a promising start, the Duke defense gave up a total of 519 yards to the Yellow Jackets, including 7 plays of greater than 20 yards.

Season

The Duke offense is led by senior QB Thad Lewis, who ranks third in the ACC with 264 passing yards per game and 16 TDs. Lewis was recently named as one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Award, which is presented to the nation’s top senior quarterback. The four-year starter has been instrumental to the program’s resurgence, etching his name in the Duke and ACC record books as one of the most prolific passers in conference history. Lewis is now just 240 passing yards shy of the Duke career record of 9,614 yards, currently held by Ben Bennett. Duke’s receiving corps of freshman Conner Vernon, sophomore Donovan Varner, and junior Austin Kelly all rank in the top 10 in the ACC in receiving. The Blue Devils have struggled to run the ball all season long, ranking last in the FBS at just 63.9 yards per game.

Defensive Coordinator Mike MacIntyre was recently named National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, and with good reason. The Duke defense has steadily improved under MacIntyre’s leadership, despite an overall lack of size and depth. The Duke defense ranks 6th in the ACC in total defense, and has also forced 16 turnovers on the season. The defense has sealed several of Duke’s victories with key defensive stops and forced turnovers late in games.

Duke’s special teams unit continues to improve, converting 14/18 field goals and a perfect 28/28 extra points. The return game has also set up good field position for the offense in recent weeks, though lead returner Johnny Williams is expected to miss this week’s matchup with Miami.

Scouting the Hurricanes (7-3, 4-3 ACC)

Last time out

Miami fell to a resurgent North Carolina team in Chapel Hill last Saturday, 33-24. QB Jacory Harris threw for 319 yards and a career-high 4 interceptions in the loss. North Carolina’s Kendric Burney set a single-game ACC record with 180 interception return yards, including a 77-yard TD.

The Miami offense moved the ball effectively against the ACC’s top defense, totaling 435 yards and 3 touchdowns, including runs by RB Graig Cooper and Damien Berry. The defense also performed well, holding North Carolina’s rushing attack to 3.6 yards per carry and no touchdowns. The turnovers proved to be too much to overcome, however, resulting in 17 points for the Tar Heels.

Season

While this is not the dominant Miami program of the past two decades, Randy Shannon has begun to bring in the coaches and athletes necessary to return the program to the nation’s elite. Facing one of the toughest schedules in the country, including their first four games against nationally-ranked opponents, the Hurricanes boast a 7-3 record, including wins against Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma.

The Hurricanes rank 4th in the ACC in total offense and 5th in the ACC in total defense. QB Jacory Harris received national attention for his early season success, but has cooled as the season progressed, having now thrown 16 interceptions on the year to go along with 19 touchdowns. His offensive line has also allowed 28 sacks, ranking ahead of only Maryland and Virginia in the conference. An elite receiver has yet to emerge for Harris, although Leonard Hankerson does rank 9th in the conference at 60.0 receiving yards per game. RB Graig Cooper ranks 4th in the ACC in all purpose yards with 128.0 yards per game.

The Miami defense, despite its ranking, has forced only 14 turnovers and 19 sacks, both of which rank in the bottom four of the conference. The Hurricanes are also the second most penalized team in the ACC, averaging almost 8 penalties and 60 penalty yards per game. The defense particularly struggled in a 28-27 victory over Wake Forest, in which senior QB Riley Skinner was able to throw for 408 yards against the Miami secondary.

Injuries

The Blue Devils injury report has grown considerably over the past two weeks, as a result of the long season and two particularly physical contests against UNC and Georgia Tech. Last week, the Blue Devils lost 2nd string QB Sean Renfree for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear. The week before, starting OG Mitchell Lederman was lost for the year with a broken toe. In addition, Duke expects to be without standout DT Vince Oghobaase, WR and lead kick returner Johnny Williams, and senior RB Re’quan Boyette. Several other key players appear on this week’s injury report, including QB Thad Lewis, WR Austin Kelly, K Will Snyderwine, LB Abraham Kromah, and LB Vincent Rey, but all are expected to suit up on Saturday.

The injury report for the Hurricanes, on the other hand, brings some good news, as Miami expects to have two key players back on defense for the first time in the last three weeks. LB Sean Spence and S Ray Ray Armstrong both practiced this week and should be available to play on Saturday. QB Jacory Harris injured his thumb during last week’s loss to North Carolina, but practiced as usual on Wednesday and is expected to play on Saturday. The Hurricanes will be without explosive punt returner Thearon Collier, who sprained his ankle in practice earlier this week. Travis Benjamin will likely field the returns in his absence.

Closing Thoughts

A win for the Blue Devils will bring them one win away from bowl eligibility, a feat the program has not accomplished since 1994. A Blue Devil victory would snap the program’s 39-game losing streak against nationally-ranked opponents, along with a five-game losing streak to Miami. The Blue Devils last win against Miami came in 1976.

Last year at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke held a 24-14 third quarter lead against Miami, before Jacory Harris took over, leading the Hurricanes to a 49-31 victory. In the second half, Duke’s lack of depth and Miami’s superior talent took center stage. Duke has taken the first steps in closing the talent gap, bringing in players like WR Conner Vernon and RB Desmond Scott in the freshman class; however, Miami is a more experienced team this year and will be playing in front of their home crowd.

After two straight losses, it’s a must-win game for Duke, and a great opportunity for the program to upset one of the nation’s top programs. Duke’s Thad Lewis, Conner Vernon, and Donovan Varner all hail from the Miami area, and the trio would like nothing better than to celebrate their homecoming with a victory. At this stage in the program’s development, however, Duke might need help from Miami to win in Land Shark Stadium Saturday. The Hurricanes simply have the superior athletes and an established culture of winning. However, Miami has been prone to penalties and turnovers this season, which could provide the Blue Devils with opportunities to stay in the game and pull off the improbable upset.

Duke QB’s pace Saturday’s scrimmage

1DURHAM, N.C. – Quarterbacks Thaddeus Lewis, Sean Renfree and Sean Schroeder combined to complete 25-of-39 passes for 240 yards to highlight Duke’s 65-snap scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.
“There were some nice plays made offensively and there were some big hits and some nice plays made defensively,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said following the scrimmage.  “It is going to be a great tape for us to study.  One area in particular that I’m interested in right now is where we are with our kicking game.  I was pleased with Thad (Lewis).  He’s been hurt but looked somewhat full speed today and I really thought he did a nice job making plays.”
Renfree threw for a team-high 93 yards by hitting on 11-of-18 throws while Lewis was seven-of-12 for 86 yards.  Schroeder was seven-of-nine through the air for 61 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Schroeder’s touchdown pass covered 10 yards and went to sophomore wide receiver Preston Scott.  Freshman running back Desmond Scott led all receivers with six catches for 39 yards while rookie wideout Conner Vernon had three grabs for 42 yards.
“I thought our passing  game, to the eye, was more crisp than what it was with the ones and the twos,” Cutcliffe stated.
The Blue Devils had 12 completions cover 10 or more yards on the day.
On the ground, redshirt sophomore running back Cameron Jones picked up a scrimmage-best 49 yards on just three attempts while sophomore running back Jay Hollingsworth rushed four times for 28 yards including a one-yard scoring run.  Redshirt freshman Patrick Kurunwune contributed 32 yards on 10 carries while Desmond Scott added four carries for 25 yards.
“Desmond was busy, and was good,” Cutcliffe said.  “He was more consistent than he’s been and looked more comfortable with his assignments.  It was a good growth day for him.”
Defensively, sophomore safety Matt Daniels caused and recovered one fumble while redshirt sophomore cornerback Colin Jones registered one interception.  Freshman defensive end Brandon Putnam chipped in one quarterback sack and one pass breakup.
Junior kicker Will Snyderwine booted a 27-yard field goal and successfully converted his lone PAT attempt.
Duke opens the 2009 season at home against Richmond on September 5.  Kickoff at Wallace Wade Stadium is set for 7 p.m.  Season and single-game tickets may be purchased online at GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-375-DUKE.
STATISTICAL LEADERS
Passing: Sean Renfree 11-18, 93 yards; Thaddeus Lewis 7-12, 86 yards; Sean Schroder 7-9, 61 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Cameron Jones 3-49; Patrick Kurunwune 10-32; Jay Hollingsworth 4-28
Receiving: Desmond Scott 6-39; Conner Vernon 3-42; Donovan Varner 2-32; Brandon King 2-32
SCORING SUMMARY
Jay Hollingsworth 1 run (Will Snyderwine kick)
Will Snyderwine 27 FG
Preston Scott 10 pass from Sean Schroeder (Sean Schroeder pass failed)

Duke Redshirt QB Sean Renfree is learning the system

[private]I made it a point to ask about the progress of Sean Renfree during Tueday’s press conference.  Cutcliffe had some good things to say about a future signal caller -

While Duke has two remaining contests left in the 2008 season, some fans like to look ahead a bit.  Not all of the Blue Devils progress can be measured on the field.  For instance, Coach Cutcliffe said that he would burn no more redshirts the remainder of this season.

While seven or so key freshman have been forced to play due to needs, the Devils will hold the rest out to give them an extra year to mature. Duke is quietly grooming what could be their quarterback of the future behind the scenes.

Sean Renfree chose Duke over Arizona State, Boise State, Georgia Tech and Oregon State last season.  He was one of the nation’s elite quarterbacks and is the first one Cutcliffe and his staff targeted.

At 6-3, 200 pounds and gaining, Renfree has the kind of size Cutcliffe likes in a quarterback.  “I want them to be big, I want them to be able to see the field and they have to be able to command the ball and be accurate.  If they can run, it’s a bonus,” said Cutcliffe.

In fact, his mechanics somewhat resembles the Manning brothers, two highly successful, winning quarterbacks on each level.  The redshirt freshman is known for a quick release and more importantly accuracy and anticipating the wide outs routes.

“Sean had a good morning practice.  He’s a very bright young man.  Redshirting can come very complacent to certain kids, but he’s been 100% the other way – he’s been very much into what he is doing,” said Cutcliffe when I asked of Renfree’s progress.

Renfree attended Notre Dame Prep in Arizona and the school prepared him for the academics at Duke.  He’s adjusting on and off the field and may well earn playing time in 2009 which will be his first collegiate season.

Cutcliffe continued on Renfree’s progress, “I’ve been real pleased with Sean.  He’s throwing the ball well in practice.  We’ve increased his throwing.  He does all of our receiver drills.  He can really throw it and is working out a lot against the defense.  He’s kind of a double dipper, people don’t  know that this guy can really run.”

Duke will no doubt concentrate on Virginia Tech and UNC to close the season, but it’s comforting to know that recruiting continues to better team personnel and that Renfree is accepting of his current role to prepare for next season.

As Cutcliffe has often stated, “We’re not just trying to build a good team.  We’re trying to build a good program at Duke and we will.”[/private]

Anything less than standing room only for the Duke-NCSU game in Wade is unacceptable

[private]The Duke Blue Devils will entertain the North Carolina State Wolfpack in football for the first time since 2003 this weekend in Wallace Wade Stadium.  It’s a shame it took this long for these two rivals to hook up again, but that’s the way it is since the new ACC alignment.

There is no reason for this game to be anything other than a sell out.  N.C. State is sure to bring many a red clad fan in for the 3:30 kickoff and Duke fans need to realize just how long it’s been since their team was 4-4 this time of the season.

Coach Cutcliffe worked hard all summer long to get fans excited and involved and it seems to be working.  I listened to a heart breaking defeat to Wake Forest at a local Durham establishment, Devines, located on Main Street last Saturday.

In the past, it was not unusual for Duke fans to turn out, but they were for the most part old school.  On this day, a large group of students joined the old guard in the courtyard and we all sat around together in unison rooting for Cut’s kids.

The great thing is that generation gaps were bridged and conversations were those you might expect from friends or fans you’ve known for a long time.  In short, there was a new level of interest compared to the years of Franks and Roof. 

The crowd prompted long time Herald Sun sportswriter and my pal Frank Dascenzo to say, “Can you believe this?”  When asked what, he continued, “Look at all the people in here, they are into Duke Football.”  He went on to say he’d never seen it like that before and coming from someone who cut his teeth on ACC football that’s saying a lot.

All season long, Duke fans have come together and that’s a testament to Cut’s dedication to turn this long dormant program around.  Shortly after the opening victory over James Madison, I ventured to Cookout for a quick bite after the game,  The simple fact that I was wearing Duke colors prompted two band members (pictured with thumbs up) to strike up a conversation in the line about Duke Football.

People who know that I run a Duke related web site come up and say things like, “Wow, Duke is for real” or “Cutcliffe really knows what he is doing,”   The best might have been, “Man, I can’t believe it!  Duke really has a football team.” The thing is that most of these comments came from fans of another school, the same ones who were making fun of the program at the start of the season thinking it was the same old Duke.

No matter where I go or what I do, it seems the repercussions of a few wins are prevalent in the community.  The mere fact that I could give ten to fifteen more examples as those above says a lot, but the ultimate statement would be to show our support to Cut’s kids by making the fire marshall come to Wade for tomorrows game.

This team has put in a lot of hard work as has the staff.  There is no reason why any fan within four hours wouldn’t want to venture to Wally World to immerse themselves in a great college football atmosphere.

There is nothing like the contrasting colors or red and royal blue when Duke and N.C. State get together.  Add to that Autumn backdrop on a slightly crisp November afternoon and well, it doesn’t get much better than this.

We have two more chances to see the 2008-09 Duke Blue Devils football team and super senior leaders like Michael Tauliliili.  That said, join me this weekend, cheer hard and wear your Duke Blue proudly for it is the “Dawn of a New Day.”[/private]