Tag Archives: Duke Football

BDN Weekend Notebook – Still celebrating Gold and Meet the Devils in Football

What an exciting time of year this has been for Duke fans. Coach K has returned from London with his blokes in tow -- that's assistants Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, mate --  and with Gold. And football is just two weeks away from kickoff ...

You need a map and compass to keep up with the various appearances Mike Krzyzewski has been making since he returned from the other side of the pond. Amazingly, Coach was the first one in the Duke Basketball offices the day after he got back, which is a testament to his dedication and hard work. Here at BDN, we're still trying to figure out ways of saying thanks for all that he does.

Meet the Devils goes off tomorrow at the Paschall Field House at around 6:00 PM. Paschal is the new facility in the end zone of Wallace Wade, and once you see it you will know that Duke Football is making the necessary moves to compete in the increasingly difficult ACC. This is a serious facility. Free posters, refreshments, drawings for prizes and such will take place. It's a great time to meet the football team in an "up close and personal" environment, and you'll be able to take pictures with your favorite players as well.  Come on out if you can!

Staying with the pigskin, check out this in-depth question and answer feature on the ACC Sports Journal web site, where BDN Football Analyst Patrick Cacchio chats with Jim Young about the Duke program and this year's team. Jim made no bones about putting Patrick on the hot seat, and our man predicts a 5-7 season against a pretty dern tough schedule, both in and out of conference.  For instance, Duke has to face Florida State and Clemson from the other division, while UNC gets Maryland and Wake Forest.

The pressure is already building  for the opener against Florida International, who returns 18 starters from a season ago, when they went to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl.  The Panthers dominate the Phil Steele Preview Magazine's All-Sun Belt pre-season team, with 10 players on first or second team.  In last season's meeting down in Miami, the Panthers badly outgained Duke in total yardage, but the Blue Devils prevailed because they did not turn the ball over and they capitalized on FIU's only turnover to pull it out late by the score of 31-27.  Undoubtedly seeking revenge, the Panthers will have their ears pinned back and be ready to rumble; in many circles FIU will be considered the favorite.  It will be a heck of an early test for the Devils, and they'll need Wallace Wade to be packed and ready.

Patrick also has an interview up where he recaps the latest Duke verbal commitment, California running back  Joseph Ageigbe.  This is verbal number fifteen for the program, which really does seem headed in the right direction.

With all of that going on, Andrew Slater's latest interviews have been flying a bit under the radar at BDN Premium. Slater has set the gold standard when it comes to getting to know these hoops prospects.  One recent post profiles The Rockwell Rifleman, Austin Grandstaff who is a young combo guard out of the Dallas area that we talked to at the Nike Peach Jam and then followed up with in Las Vegas.  Then there's the Rebel with a Future, KavonLooney, a good-looking prospect from Milwaukee who has been catching the eyes of many scouts.  There is also Explosive Potential-An interview with Robert Hubbs focussing on the Tennessee wing who continues his rise in the rankings, and finally the star wing out of Houston is profiled in And Justise for All-The Justise Winslow interview.  As a paying subscriber you have full access to all of these articles and can talk recruiting and more on our members-only message board, where you will get all the latest scoop.

BDN will cover today's closed session football scrimmage and we'll have photos galore. Be sure to check out the previous pictures from Photo Day here and we will be adding more as time allows.

 

Thaddeus Lewis heads to Cleveland Browns Training Camp

Well, it's that time of year again.  NFL training camps are underway, and standout former Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis is in Ohio trying to earn a spot with the Cleveland Browns.

Lewis started his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams after having signed as a free agent, but was released after two years.  New Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmer knew Thad from his tenure as Offensive Coordinator with the Rams before getting the Browns job, so Cleveland quickly snagged Lewis.

Lewis opens camp as the fourth quarterback on the depth chart.  Rookie Brandon Wheedon will battle incumbent Colt McCoy for the start at QB, but many have speculated McCoy could be shipped elsewhere, which would mean Lewis battling Seneca Wallace for the backup role.

There is a reason Shurmer wanted Lewis in the fold, and BDN feels there is no doubt we'll be seeing him earn a spot on the squad this August. Here is another BDN interview with the former Duke star.

Monday Musings – Duke Hoops had a heck of a week

 

Mason slams one down.  His brother was a first round NBA Draft pick this past week.

What a week it has been for Duke Basketball!  There is no denying the "feel good" atmosphere around the program these days. It began last Thursday night when Austin Rivers was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th pick in the NBA draft. He was followed by Miles Plumlee, who went 26th to the Indiana Pacers, giving Duke two more first round draft selections under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. On Saturday, coveted transfer Rodney Hood pulled the trigger for Duke, so as I say, it has indeed been a good week for the program.

If you've seen Miles Plumlee of late, he sports a spiffy new look that recalls Clark Kent chic, and it fits him to a tee. Plumlee was often seen by the media as a mild-mannered type, always polite, grounded and professional. But this past Thursday, Plumlee ripped open his shirt to reveal he has a little Superman thing going on as well. While the Pacers' pick shocked many, those of us who followed Plumlee's progress and spoke with league insiders saw this coming. Plumlee is a workout freak, and he posted great numbers during the NBA combines.  Many teams saw a player with both the athletic ability and the skill set to make it in the league. You can't teach height, of course, and Miles's size, combined with his ability to shoot from the permiter and run the court, served him well. NBA coaches and execs also did not forget that Miles learned how to play the game under Coach Krzyzewski at Duke, and that at 23, he's already mature in many ways that should aid in his transition to the next level.

Austin Rivers is one of the most unfairly judged players I have been around since covering Duke basketball. Many mistake his confidence as a brash arrogance, when the reality is that confidence is an integral part of his game and a key component of his drive and his motor. Desire can carry a player a long way, and Rivers unquestionably has it. It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed internet chatter can be taken as gospel truth, even by the "mainstream" media, and this was certainly the case with regard to the perceptions of this young man.  I can tell you first hand that Rivers is a good kid, polite and professional when need be, but also not afraid to speak his mind. He is the type of kid that would settle differences with a game of one-on-one; the only thing wrong with that is how unfair it would be to just about any opponent he would face.

Austin leaves Duke having provided the program and its fans with one of the most thrilling and unforgettable moments in Duke's long and glorious history when his buzzer-beater to beat UNC hit nothing but the bottom of the net.  While Rivers will certainly have to adjust to the physicality of the NBA game, he has been a big success at every level, and this one will be no different.

The news came Saturday evening that Rodney Hood, a coveted transfer from Mississippi State, would be attending Duke. In our latest BDN Premium update we discuss his addition for our members, and one of the things we share is that he will be on campus this Wednesday.  Hood's addition changes the landscape of Duke's recruiting, and we discuss that as well in the Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update. Hood was a player BDN was on early when he was on the AAU circuit, when he let us know that he had always liked the Blue Devils growing up. Hood will be allowed to practice with the team this year, and should be a part of the N.C. Pro-Am, where fans will get a firsthand view of his game.

We are a mere two months away from kickoff on the gridiron, and the Blue Devils face a bear of a task in the opener, as Florida International comes to Wallace Wade returning 18 starters from back-to-back bowl teams. There is no doubt that this game, even though it's the opener, is vital to the Devils' hopes of a run at a bowl themselves.  If a season opener could ever be "must win" for Duke, this would be the year.  We'll be talking more football starting this month as Cut surveys his team.  Make plans now to support Duke Football by buying season tickets and check out the new "Cut's Corner."

USA Basketball is about to take center stage as well, and Coach K and company will keep Duke in the headlines in their effort to bring another gold medal home from London.   BDN has always supported and covered Team USA's efforts, and this season will be no different.

Georgia OL Brett Steverson impressed by Duke

Duke would love to see big GA OT Brett Steverson clearing holes in Durham

Brett Steverson is a 6'4" 300 pound offensive tackle from Fitzgerald, Georgia. After a slow start, his recruitment is picking up this spring, and he now holds scholarship offers from Duke and Troy, with strong interest from several others. The Blue Devils have Steverson near the top of their recruiting board for offensive lineman, and hosted the top junior on a recent visit. Steverson came away impressed and updated BDN on his recruitment.

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BDN: How would you describe your strengths as a player?

As far as being a player, I think that, we’re a run-oriented offense, we run the ball a lot, that’s not to say that I can’t pass block, I’m pretty good at that too. I’m a dominant run blocker, and I think I’m underrated. I think if I match up with anybody in the state, head to head, up front, it doesn’t matter if I’m a two-star or a three-star, it doesn’t matter what they rate me, if I’m going up against a 5-star, All-American, I think I can go head to head with them in run blocking and pass blocking. I love run blocking because I’m physical and I finish all my blocks. As far as pass blocking, I’ve got pretty quick feet for a big guy, but I’d be fine run blocking all game. I can also, in our offense, last year we didn’t pull our tackles as much, but this year we’re supposed to pull our tackles more, so I’ll get a chance to do that. In practice when they pulled them last year, I did a good job and the year before that I actually played guard, so I can pull and move and stuff.

BDN: What are you working on this offseason as you prepare for your senior year?

I think the main thing I’m trying to do is just, I’m a strong kid in the weight room, most people call me the gym rat because every time somebody comes to the weight room, it seems like I’m up there. But, just getting stronger, faster, and quicker, and more explosive. Trying to work on football explosiveness through power cleans and stuff like that so I can be more explosive on the field, it all ties together. That’s the main things I’ve been working on, and also some pass blocking, doing some more one-on-ones so that when I get to combines it’s not such a big thing because we never get in the two-point stance, so just working on my pass blocks and stuff we don’t do that much.

BDN: As you approach your college decision, what are the most important things you are looking for in a school?

I think education is going to play a big role. Another thing that will play a big role is how much of a family atmosphere there is, how the coaches and players get along, how their relationship is. Of course, a relationship between a coach and a player is going to be intense at times, but I also want to have that security where the coach is going to care about you and be like your dad when you’re at college and away from your family. That’s one thing that I really liked about Duke, Coach Cutcliffe is such a great guy, and those guys up there are top notch academically.

BDN: You mentioned Duke as one of the schools that has stood out to you. Where do you stand with offers and interest from schools now?

Duke and Troy are my two offers right now, but our high school coach has been talking a lot to Coach McCollum up at Georgia Tech and Coach Brattan at Maryland, they might offer at any time. People say that Georgia…people say things, that stuff, all the articles and reporters and stuff, until it’s legit, you don’t really know. I did really like Duke and I think Coach Cutcliffe and them are doing a great job up there. I haven’t been to Troy yet. I know that people say Duke’s football is not on the map, but Coach Cutcliffe has done a great job there trying to develop a program, building new facilities. Even though they only won 3 games last year, they lost 5 games by a combined 14 points, so that shows they’re right on the brink of being a bowl team and an ACC contender. That’s a credit to Coach Cut and the players and all the assistants.

BDN: You mentioned Troy as a school that you have some interest in; do you have any plans for any visits this spring or summer?

Miami wants me to come down, I’ll go down there in the summer probably. I’ve been to Georgia three times before I got offered by Duke. It was nice, but I didn’t like the atmosphere, I didn’t take in as much as I did at Duke, even though they’re a top school every year, it just didn’t seem like as friendly of an atmosphere. I plan to go to Troy, but I’m not going to lock down any visits until I get some more offers, which will probably come this spring. I’m not going to really plan anything, I’ll probably go to some places over the summer, but right now I don’t know where I’m going to go. I want to take my mom back up to Duke, because she didn’t get to see it. I have three players from our school, well two are already there and one is going there this fall, to play football at Troy, so it will be cool to catch up with those guys, but I haven’t planned to go there yet.

BDN: Do you have a timeline in mind for when you plan to narrow things down or make your final decision?

That’s a tough questions, because I think I’ll get some more offers this spring and hopefully get an offer from a SEC school, a big SEC school, because it seems when that happens everybody starts to jump on board and pay attention. It would be nice to get an offer from someplace like that so I can see what all my offers and options are going to be. I really would like to make a decision either in very early football season or before football season, because I don’t want my football season to overlap with questions not surrounding the team but surrounding me and my decision. I would rather get that out of the way so it’s less of a distraction for me any my team.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Brett, and best of luck.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

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Statesville CB Breon Borders commits to Duke

CB Breon Borders led Statesville with 8 interceptions as a junior

After a short lull, Duke football picked up another early commitment in the class of 2013 on Thursday. Statesville CB Breon Borders gave his verbal pledge to the Blue Devils, joining fellow in-state CB Dequavais Mann and Virginia CBs Evrett Edwards and Jake Kite in the future Duke secondary. The 6'1" 170 pound prospect helped lead Statesville to the state playoffs and a 7-5-1 overall record as a junior; he finished the season with 48 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 6 pass break-ups. Borders picked up his first scholarship offer on a February unofficial visit to Durham, which he described as a dream come true, and declared Duke his early leader. He made his decision official on Thursday by informing the Duke coaches, and ultimately chose Duke over an offer from Georgia State and strong interest from Clemson, ECU, UNC, and Wake Forest.

Borders caught up with BDN after his high school track meet this afternoon.

BDN: What led to your decision to commit to Duke today?

I've wanted to go to Duke ever since freshman year, plus I am ready to get recruiting out of the way so I can focus on my senior year and football.

BDN: How did you inform the coaches of your decision and what did they have to say?

I just called up Coach Cutcliffe and I told him that, "Coach, I'm ready to commit." And he was just so excited, he was so excited, I was excited. It was just amazing, it was amazing!

BDN: I know we spoke after you took a visit to Durham earlier this spring and you've had some other schools recruiting you as well. What was it about that  Duke that made it the school for you?

I just really connected with the coaches and I really liked the vibe around campus. I think I could come and play within my second year at Duke.

BDN: I'm sure Duke fans will be excited to hear about your commitment. Is there anything you want to let them know?

I just want them to know that they got a good athlete, a long athlete, and they got a corner that's going to come to work every day.

BDN: Congratulations on your commitment, Breon, and best of luck this fall!

Yes sir, thank you!

 

Highlights

 

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