Tag Archives: David Cutcliffe

Coach Cutcliffe 11-16-13

Coach Cutcliffe Post-Game: Duke 20, Virginia 13

DURHAM – Duke Head Coach Cutcliffe was clearly pleased with his team’s effort in a 20-13 Homecoming win on over Virginia on Saturday. He pointed out his defense’s 10 pass break-ups, the play of the offensive line, and an emotional boost from Shaquille Powell as keys to the victory. Duke is now 6-1, tied for 1st place in the ACC Coastal Division, and bowl-eligible for the 3rd straight year as they head into a second bye week.

 

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Duke vs Tulane Preview

DSC_0108Duke vs Tulane
12:30 PM ET
Saturday, September 20
Durham, NC
TV: RSN
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 112 and XM Ch 201
Duke in 2014: 3-0
Tulane in 2014: 1-2

DUKE INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Dezmond Johnson (DE), Lucas Patrick (OG)
OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL), Jake Sanders (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

TULANE INJURIES – not available

Duke and Tulane last faced each other on September 24, 2011 in a game Duke won 48-27 at Wallace Wade Stadium. Tulane leads the overall series 2-1 with wins over Duke in 1964 and 1973. Duke defeated Kansas 41-3 last week, while Tulane defeated Southeastern Louisiana 35-20.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

Executing on special teams, achieving balance on offense and ball hawking on defense will be the paths to success for Duke this Saturday.

In Tuesday press conference, Head Coach David Cutcliffe emphasized his desire to pin teams inside the 15 yard line on kick-offs. Look for Duke to use Jack Willoughby to hang the ball up just in front of the goal line in an effort to force Tulane to start their offensive possessions inside the 20 yard line. Moreover, Tulane is averaging 30.6 yards per punt on the season so Duke has an opportunity to exploit this weakness to win the field position battle.

When talking Duke and offense, balance is the key. Duke is averaging 510 yards offense per game through three games with 262.7 of those yards coming via the run game and 247.3 yards via the passing game. Not surprisingly, everyone is buzzing about the emergence of freshman running back Shaun Wilson and his record setting performance against Kansas; however, Duke starts three talented receivers who have the skills to burn the opponent’s defense. Taking a look at the season statistics to date: Max McCaffrey has 16 receptions for 178 yards and two touchdowns; Jamison Crowder has 16 receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns; Issac Blakeney has 13 receptions for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Add in proven upperclassmen running backs Josh Snead and Shaq Powell, and Duke has a laundry list of options the opponent must account for when designing a defensive game plan. Involving all the offensive options to keep Tulane guessing is how Duke will achieve success.

On defense, Duke must pressure Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee and force him to make mistakes. Lee has thrown six interceptions in three games so it is imperative Duke mixes up coverage looks to confuse Lee while simultaneously bringing the heat to hurry him up. If Duke can force Lee out of his comfort zone, odds are he will make mistakes. It is up to Duke’s defensive playmakers to capitalize on Lee’s mistakes.

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

Turnovers and Tulane’s speed are the two things Duke needs to be concerned with on Saturday. Duke has not turned the ball over in their first three games and that needs to continue for Duke to achieve success against the Green Wave. If Duke gets sloppy with the ball, the results could be disastrous. Tulane will be the fastest team Duke has faced in 2014 so Duke must be prepared to counter speed with speed and solid fundamentals. Players must execute their assignments and tackle and block with precision. Tulane has the speed to convert a small mistake into a big advantage.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

The Blue Devils are looking to wrap up the out-of-conference schedule with a victory to improve to 4-0 on the season and equal last season’s non-conference record. After being held to 14 yards on two receptions last week, Jamison Crowder will crank up his star power and combine with quarterback Anthony Boone to lead the stacked Blue Devils offense to victory.

On defense, Duke will emphasize keeping the plays in front of them to limit explosive opportunities to Tulane’s offense, while mixing in blitz packages in an effort to create turnover opportunities.

Finally, Duke will utilize superior athleticism to dominate on special teams to win the vital field position battle. With Tulane facing a long field and Duke playing on a short field it will be a long afternoon for the Green Wave.

BOTTOM LINE

Duke has too many offensive weapons for Tulane to handle. Add to the mix a Blue Devils defense that has allowed opponents to score only 10 points in the 2nd half through three games, against a turnover prone Tulane offense and this event ends up as a game where Duke opens it up in the 4th quarter to win by four touchdowns.

Duke 38, Tulane 10

Duke's running back stable will have a big day at Troy - BDN Photo

Game preview: Duke at Troy

Duke at Troy
7:00 PM ET
Saturday, September 6
Troy, AL
TV: ESPN3
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 135

Duke in 2014: 1-0
Troy in 2014: 0-1

DUKE INJURIES

OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), C.J. France (LB), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL), Jake Sanders (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

TROY INJURIES

Not available

The Troy Trojans made a trip to Durham a year ago, falling to the Blue Devils, 38-31. This year, Duke returns the favor with a visit to Troy, Alabama in week two. Behind four touchdowns from Anthony Boone, Duke cruised to an easy win in their opener against Elon, while the Trojans were trampled on the road by the UAB Blazers, 48-10.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

On his weekly conference call, OC Scottie Montgomery said to be at their best, the Blue Devil offense is all about balance. A balanced attack from Anthony Boone and company should consistently find the end zone against a Troy defense that allowed 338 rushing yards to UAB and finished 115th against the pass in 2013.  Troy HC Larry Blakeney stated this week that the Blue Devils will represent the best offensive line the Trojans will face this season (and Troy will face Georgia in week 4). The key to a balanced offensive attack starts at the line of scrimmage, where Duke will need to impose their will against the struggling Trojan front seven. Expect to see Duke once again rely heavily on veteran RBs Josh Snead and Shaquille Powell as they look to impose a fast pace and consistently move the chains.

Defensively, DC Jim Knowles is likely to implement a more aggressive gameplan than against Elon, looking to turn up the heat on young redshirt-freshman QB Brandon Silvers. A big night from the Duke front six will force the young Trojan offense into turnovers, something they were unable to do against Elon in their opener.

The one glaring weakness in Duke’s effort against Elon was in the kicking game, where the Blue Devils were out-hit by the Phoenix. Coach Cutcliffe spent significant time analyzing the kicking game struggles and expect to see a better effort from Duke in week 2.

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

On their way to a 10-2 regular season, the Blue Devils survived a scare at home against the Trojans a year ago. It would be foolish to overlook this year’s Troy team simply based on their week one result. Head Coach Larry Blakeney and his staff will have the Trojans ready for their home opener (Troy is 22-1 in home openers under Blakeney). On the road against a quality opponent, the Blue Devils cannot afford to make things easy for the Trojans. Ball security is paramount for a Duke offense that on paper should be able to move the ball with ease.

On the road, explosives can give a home team all the momentum it needs to pull off an unlikely upset. Add in a rowdy home crowd (yes, they will be serving adult beverages in Troy), and a few key plays could be all it takes for the tables to turn on Duke. The Blue Devils’ surrendered a few explosives in the return game against Elon, and a similar missed assignment on the road could lead to a game-changing score. Similarly, Duke’s young secondary must keep the Trojan receivers, led by Chandler Worthy in week one. If Troy jumps out to a lead, expect them to try and ride their own four-headed running back committee of Brandon Burks, Jordan Chunn, Khary Franklin and Tim Longmire to victory.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

The Trojans are searching for a defensive identity and the Blue Devils’ offensive playmakers will leave them searching for answers. As they did for most of their season opener, Duke will control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Multiple Duke RBs will find their way into the end zone, while the Duke WR trio of Jamison Crowder, Issac Blakeney, and Max McCaffrey will continue their early season success. Carlos Wray and company will frequent the Trojan backfield and Troy will again struggle to convert on third down.

BOTTOM LINE

As they did a year ago in week two at Memphis, expect the Blue Devils to face their first true adversity of the season on Saturday at Troy. The Trojans will be motivated to bounce back after an embarrassing opening week loss, and will keep this close early. Behind a big day from #TheStable and a bend-but-not-break defense, Duke pulls away in the second half.

Duke 41, Troy 20

 

Anthony Boone 11-30-13

Game Preview: Elon at Duke

Anthony Boone 11-30-13Duke vs Elon
6:00 PM ET
Saturday, August 30
Durham, NC
TV: ESPN3
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 113, XM Ch 194

Duke in 2014: 0-0
Elon in 2014: 0-0

DUKE INJURIES

OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL), Jake Sanders (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

ELON INJURIES

OUT – Karl Bostick (RB)

The 2014 football season kicks off with Elon at Duke this Saturday evening. Duke and Elon last faced each other on September 4, 2010 in a game Duke won 41-27 at Wallace Wade Stadium, in the season opener for both teams. Including the 2010 loss to Duke, Elon has lost four season opening games in a row: 45-14 to Vanderbilt in 2011, 62-0 to North Carolina in 2012, and 70-0 to Georgia Tech in 2013. Under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, Duke is 4-2 in season opening games with both losses coming against Richmond. The four wins were over James Madison 31-7 in 2008, Elon in 2010, Florida International 46-26 in 2012 and NCCU 45-0 in 2013.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

The Blue Devils can win by controlling the line of scrimmage, dictating the tempo of the game and executing a balanced game plan on both offense and defense.

Line of scrimmage – games are won or lost in the trenches so Duke will exploit their size and talent advantage to knock the Phoenix back on their heels and keep them there. By dominating the line of scrimmage, Duke will pummel Elon with the running game while being opportunistic with the pass. On defense, Duke will look to shutdown the Elon running game and force the Phoenix into must pass situations.

Tempo of game – playing fast to minimalize substitution opportunities provides an advantage to the deeper, more talented Blue Devils squad. Duke will substitute freely on dead ball situations and between possessions to ensure the Phoenix are always facing a fresh running back and set of receivers. By utilizing a trio of running backs and possibly a fourth, Duke’s running game will wear down the Phoenix defense as the game progresses. Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery will call an aggressive game, so do not be surprised when Duke unveils a wrinkle or two.

Balanced game plan – mixing things up will keep Elon off balance and guessing. On offense, as stated above, Duke will feed Elon a steady diet of the running game, to both wear down their defense and set up quality passing situations. Being balanced is equally important on defense so look for Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles to utilize the blitz as well as drop an extra defender into coverage. With the defensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, Coach Knowles will have flexibility to utilize multiple techniques with the back seven defenders.

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

The wheels will have to completely come off for Duke to lose. Overconfidence and a total failure to value the football are pitfalls the Blue Devils must avoid. If Duke takes the field with a lackadaisical attitude and commits turnovers in bunches, Elon has the experience necessary to take advantage and capitalize on the miscues. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Quinn is in charge of an offense that returns its leading rusher, B.J. Bennett, plus a couple of experienced receivers in Andre Davis and Kierre Brown.

Quinn set a Southern Conference record in 2013 by throwing 210 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. On the year, he threw for 2,618 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Bennett rushed for 464 yards on 123 attempts and will split time at running back with Tracey Coppedge who led the Phoenix in yards per rush at 4.8 with 90 attempts. Davis recorded 460 yards receiving while Brown logged 448 yards. Senior running back Karl Bostick, who is out with a broken leg, rushed for 443 yards in 2013.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

The Blue Devils are looking to prove 10-4 in 2013 was not a fluke so they will be primed to start 2014 off in dominant fashion. Team Captains Anthony Boone, Laken Tomlinson, Jamison Crowder, Jeremy Cash and Kelby Brown will ensure the team is ready to go. The 2014 Blue Devils are a team with lofty goals and a committment to achieving those goals so they will take the field this coming Saturday with a steel focus to win.

With Head Coach David Cutcliffe, 2013 National Coach of the Year, at the helm, the chances of Duke taking the field less than 100 percent prepared and focused are slim to none.

BOTTOM LINE

Duke is too talented, too deep, too strong and too fast for Elon. This is a game that should be decided by halftime.

Duke 41, Elon 13

A Signature Win For Coach Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils

SONY DSCThe bus that pulled up on the Duke campus at 11:45 last evening carried a team that for the first time in its long history will be going to back-to-back bowl games. Duke football gained its biggest victory of the season, and one of its biggest in decades, disposing of the 14th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 13-10 in Blacksburg, VA.

As the game wound down, you could see the joy in the face of sixth-year coach David Cutcliffe, the man who came to Durham and turned around the fortunes of a team at the bottom of the BCS barrel.

No longer can the local radio stations or other media make fun of the gridiron Blue Devils, for they are 6-2 and riding a four game winning streak, including owning the state of Virginia with two consecutive ACC road wins over UVA and now Virginia Tech.

Nobody can begrudge Coach Cutcliffe the broad smile on his face when he realized Duke had the game in hand, and the program had the signature win of his tenure.

It wasn’t that long ago that Duke was the joke of the ACC, and indeed the country. It has taken time to get the program to where it garners respect from its opponents and from the media. Now, the labor of Coach Cutcliffe, the staff, and of course the players, is bearing fruit. Their hard, hard work is clearly and emphatically paying off.

Coach holds his call-in show on Sunday afternoon and you can bet that some of us regulars will have to make way for more national media as folks address the big win and recognize the resurgence in a once-dormant program. In fact, before he could even get settled in upon his return last night, Cutcliffe did one show for satellite radio, and those requests will assuredly continue to come his way.

Cutcliffe has yearned to compete at this level, and to get his team to round the corner and establish real confidence that they should win games against quality opponents.

In the past, he would often say that the program was going in the right direction, and many would scoff at the notion as the team headed for a 3-9 season. And to be fair, it had been a long time since Duke Football was relevant, so taking the “show me” approach was not unreasonable.

Now, Cutcliffe and company have shown everyone not with words but with results on the field. There will be reverberations from yesterday’s gutty win in many different areas.

With two home games left, with crosstown rival N.C. State and top-10 opponent Miami, expect Duke fans to come out of the woodwork and be a force in Wallace Wade Stadium. Historically, it takes Duke fans awhile to warm up to the football team, but when they do, it’s a sight to see. With this bowl-bound team at this time, the stands at Wade should absolutely be awash in royal blue.

And then there is the recruiting trail. You can bet that the assistant coaches’ phones have been constantly in need of re-charging as they try to take advantage of the program being at a high water mark. Duke now has a big-time win to point to, proof that the program is on solid footing. There is no doubt that prospects will take notice and be more open to a call from Duke.

With four games to go this season, the Blue Devils have done something rare. They have positioned themselves to create their own destiny. This team has turned a major corner. Coming into the season, I had several discussions on the state of the program with media members whom I respect. The one thing everyone agreed on was that Duke needed a win over a nationally-ranked team. The Blue Devils not only got that win, but they found a way to do it on the road in one of the ACC’s most hostile environments.

Imagine for a second, a dark Yoh Center where Coach Cutcliffe’s office resides. Imagine too for a moment, that the team has just gotten off the bus and found their way to campus parties.

Imagine his family waiting on him outside as Cutliffe takes the elevator and turns on the light in a dark hallway that leads to his office.

Imagine the joyous coach taking a moment alone to reflect as he reaches towards a shelf in his office.

You do not have to imagine the next thing that happens, for it will happen.

You see, in his office, Coach Cut has footballs commemorating key Duke football victories. One was his first win at Duke, over James Madison. Another was his first road win over an ACC team (N.C. State), which was also the program’s first ACC road win in a long time. Most recently, the ball from the UNC game was added after Cutcliffe helped Duke break a long losing streak against the Tar Heels, and reclaim the Victory Bell.

So it may have already happened last night, or maybe it will happen today, but he will now add another football to the mantle, with the words “Duke 13, Virginia Tech 10 October 26, 2013″ on it, and deservedly so. And that game ball for the win over Virginia Tech will be the most special addition yet.

And if it seems like I’m saying that the season and its accomplishments are complete, they’re obviously not.

With four games left, the team has plenty of opportunity to expand on what is fast becoming a special season for Duke Football, and make more Duke football history.

And now when people hear David Cutcliffe saying the Duke football program is moving in the right direction, nobody will be snickering and nobody will be raising their eyebrows, because there can be no doubt that it is true.