Tag Archives: Duke Football

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.

Duke Football – The Midweek Report

The Duke Blue Devils football team will take on Troy this weekend in Wallace Wade Stadium in a game which represents the schools homecoming.  Duke is coming off a tough loss to Pitt in a game that dropped the team to 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and they'll look to gain some momentum with a win this Saturday.  Here are some video interviews with Dave Harding, Jamison Crowder and Kenny Anunike.

Duke QB Anthony Boone talks the season opener

Duke Football kicks off it's 2013 football season this Saturday afternoon versus North Carolina Central University at 4:00 in Wallace Wade Stadium  Today, players addressed the media for the last time and Blue Devil Nation, soon to be Devils Sports Beat was there to get player thoughts.  Check out what Anthony Boone, the Devils starting quarterback had to say -

Monday Musings – It’s time for some Duke Football

SONY DSCIt's that time of year again folks! Duke Football is less than twelve days from kicking off their 2013 season against North Carolina Central in Wallace Wade Stadium. It'll be a 4:00 start. Inside the locker room, the Blue Devils are where most teams are this time of year mentally: they're anxious to compete against someone other than a teammate.

Coach David Cutcliffe has ushered in many changes since his arrival in Durham, with the main boost being facilities upgrades. Those upgrades were on display this past Saturday during Meet the Devils Day, where fans could meet and interact with players, and pick up some autographs and pictures along the way.

The event was held in the Paschal Field House, which is the new practice facility, so it allowed fans to see the new digs first hand. Having observed the changes surrounding the program in an up close and personal way through our coverage, I can tell you that the differences are like night and day from when Cut and company arrived on the Methodist Flats.  Players quickly pop to their assigned areas in practice, and there is a definite sense of togetherness and focus. Trust me when I say this:  there will be some more bumps in the road along the way, but a foundation is finally in place and as a result, Duke recruiting continues to get better each season. Better recruiting of course leads to better results on the field.

In the coming seasons we'll be seeing the removal of the track and a new press box, not to mention an upgraded concourse which will connect to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Some of us used to say we wanted to see these kinds of things happen before we die.  Well, I'm not dead yet, and it is just great to see the administration finally dedicating the necessary support for these important steps to be taken.

Duke players, coaches, and fans had a ton of fun going to the Belk Bowl last season, despite losing it in heartbreaking fashion. But let's face it: to make another bowl game this season, Duke will need to take another step forward -- this one being winning games that are regarded as toss-ups on paper.  Many fans are falling into the trap of thinking Duke will be a favorite over teams they defeated a season ago, like Wake Forest and Virginia. Even without Florida State and Clemson on the schedule this year -- which is nice -- you could make a case that ten games could fall into that toss-up category.  Duke has to start winning some more of those.

But if the Blue Devils struggle in those games, and the record suffers, it is important for the fan base to focus on the big picture.  That big picture consists of a program that undoubtedly is moving in the right direction.

Duke can and will win some games this season, but keep in mind that it wasn't that long ago when the Devils struggled simply to compete at this level.  It takes time -- a lot of time -- for a foundation to solidify.

For me, I will enjoy attending the opener like any other person who follows the program. It will be a new team, breaking in a new starting quarterback and replacing some really good players who graduated off of last year's squad.  It will be interesting to see which players step up and how they handle the inevitable adversity which comes to all teams.  I can tell you that these players are hungry for a win after losing every game since their rollicking and most satisfying victory over arch rival North Carolina a season ago, a win which landed the Victory Bell back in Durham.

One of the things Coach Cutcliffe has mentioned on several occasions this off-season is how much the fans helped Duke defeat North Carolina at home. We live in an age in which every move a team makes is televised in some way, but attending the games with some good old-fashioned live support makes things happen.  Fan support is one of the most important elixirs when it comes to winning, so in a sense the fan base and team are in this thing together.

And should the Blue Devils make it to another bowl, it will not likely be right down the road as it was in Charlotte last year, so fan turnout and continued support will be even more important.  A season ago in their close loss to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, Duke drew some very solid ratings on ESPN.  The team got a taste of something special and fans' thirst for a bowl game was quenched.  But everyone left wanting more.  And that's a good thing.

The truth of the matter is that the program is not at a place where you can count on a bowl game just yet, but these Blue Devils are in a position to compete in every game on their schedule this season and with some luck and good play, they could take their fan base bowling again.

But one game at a time is the way to get it done.  Game One: Duke will take on NCCU at Wallace Wade on August 31st at 4:00.  Tickets are still available through GoDuke.com.