Duke Football Practice Report #2 – First Unit Offensive Line Pleases Cutcliffe

[private]Coach Cutcliffe sang the praise of the number one offensive line unit on Wednesday evening.  “It was good to put the pads on where we could get some work on the line of scrimmages with the offensive line against the defensive line.  It really starts telling the tale of who is ready to play,” said Coach Cutcliffe.  He continued, “I was encouraged by the offensive lin in our inside running drills today.  It was the best I’ve seen them play since spring.”

“Get up, get up, get up!,” echoed in the background from various parts of the field as dusk closed in on Duke Football’s third practice of the season.  In short, when a player hit the turf, they we immediately encouraged to get up so that they could still make the play.  “One of our rules is to treat the ground like a hot stove.  Nobody has ever won a football game laying on the ground.  I think it’s critical that our guys understand.  That’s how we play football, we’re back on our feet.  That’s the biggest emphasis we have right now, that everybody get back on their feet, stay on their feet and keep moving.  There is an old saying I like from the years I heard from old Jim Neyland, “No feet, defeat,” and I think that’s very true in football.  If you don’t have good feet you’re gonna get beat.”

With regards to the passing game, Cutcliffe stated, “We have miles to go, but we are making a lot of progress in throwing and catching the ball route running and understanding spacing versus zone and separation versus man.”  Coach then said that they had slowed the process down and got back into the teaching mode saying,  “We don’t want the cart to get ahead of the horse trying to do too much.”  This was in reference to similar mistakes this unit had been making in Spring ball which once again caught his watchful eye.  He also mentioned that the receivers were starting to learn how to separate and that the quarterbacks were starting to play a little faster saying, “It’s a fast mans game and we’ve got to get to that point.”

While a lot of the focus has been on the offense, it’s defense that often wins you the ball game.  “I see our defense managing our zone blitz game and disguises.  You can tell they’ve done a lot of group and individual work on it,” said Cutcliffe.

Notes- Much like Coach K, Cutcliffe is active when talking about changes he feel will help the college game.  He feels there should be some sort of exhibition game in order to work out the kinks, stating the NFL got four games to work with.  He also talked of some rule changes which I will elaborate on later.  A couple of freshman caught my eye and it is being discussed on the BDN Premium Message Board.  Tielor Robinson is running with the tight ends.  There is no word on the status of Brandon King.  Coach Cutcliffe will be speaking at Tyler’s Tap House in Durham tomorrow with tickets still available.[/private]