Category Archives: Duke Football

Duke Football Notebook #1

Football is in the air as the Duke Blue Devils take to the practice field where they'll prepare for their season opener in South Bend, Indiana against the 10th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The Blue Devils head football coach, David Cutcliffe, and players addressed the media today via Zoom where they discussed the many challenges ahead. Here are a few thoughts in the first BDN football notebook for the coming season.

Is the Quarterback Position Wide-Open?

If you listened to Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe via Zoom as he addressed the media you might think the quarterback position is wide open. All offseason, incoming freshman Chase Brice has gotten the most hype but Cutcliffe clearly wants competition at the position. He mentioned that Chris Katrenick had shown vast improvement in understanding the nuance of the position and the way it needs to be played at Duke.

He also mentioned his walk-ons and Gunnar Holmberg while saying little of Brice. Reading the tea leaves on this one still tells me Chase Brice is the person the staff trust most but that he and others have to produce not just in understanding the game on paper, but that it must translate to actual play on the field.

I think the ACC's longest-tenured coach is trying to stabilize a solid backup option while continuing to teach the Duke system to the position.

Safety is a Priority

Duke is adjusting to not only new facemask protection but testing and implementing ever-changing precautionary measures with concern to the COVID virus. He is also allowing his players to wear monitors with concern to conditioning and avoiding soft tissue injuries as they work back into shape. He mentioned a concern with his athletes getting back into shape in the summer heat after so many people have spent time inside.

... but the good thing is...

Cutcliffe said that 98% of his players came back in the shape they had hoped. Duke implemented many a session for training via Zoom, and or, other technologies.

Duke Loses Two to Opt-Outs

Curtcliffe shared with the media that OL Jacob Rimmer and long snapper Ben Wyatt have opted out and both have the blessing of the team and university. He also sounded as if both could be replaced and that he had players ready to step up. Considering he has lost just two players thus far I would say that is the best they could have hoped for.

Cut's comments on the whole

He definitely sounded excited about playing football, but he also shared the following. He said today's practice went off pretty well and that they would adjust as they go. He also mentioned that team spirit was high and that he witnessed good habits during the first practice.

Overall, he sounded pleased where his team was at despite being just 36 days out from their opener at Notre Dame. He also said he was pleased with the kicking game and or how they worked. That is big news considering Duke has new players at the position.

Cut also mentioned his veterans three times during the chat where he is pleased to have some experience. He mentioned the offensive line and seemed to hint at battles for the starting spots while developing depth.

Also mentioned was that players are adjusting to him calling plays and that there were some changes on the offensive end. There was little mention of some of the new staff with the exception of Greg Frey, the OL coach.

A Few Schedule Thoughts

Duke more or less replaced Pitt and Miami with Syracuse and Florida State. With the struggles versus Pitt, this could be a good thing or is it? Syracuse blistered Duke in Wallace Wade last season, so we can hope the Blue Devils will seek revenge in the Carrier Dome. Considering Duke whipped Miami and rarely play Florida State, I think this is a good swap for Duke as well. Duke gets the Seminoles in late November for their last game of the season.

The Blue Devils have a program on the rise in UNCC a team that went bowling on the schedule. That may actually be one of the leagues' tougher outside opponents. In-state opponents are always dangerous and this will be the first meeting between the two schools. Duke lost Middle Tennessee State and NC A & T or Elon. One more note, the Blue Devils play UNCC on Halloween on Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Opening at #10 Notre Dame will certainly be a major challenge for Duke and the two teams played not that long ago. But maybe cathing the Irish early is better than late. The Duke program will also have a lot of the nation's eyes on them with this opener and that can be a good thing.

Stay tuned into Blue Devil Nation as the season approaches for our Duke Football Notebooks will continue as we near the opener. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest breaking information and visit our Facebook Group.

Duke Opens with Notre Dame — Schedule Released

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) –

Here is the Blue Devils schedule with an official announced from the ACC.

Sept. 12 at Notre Dame Sept. 19 Boston College Oct. 3 Virginia Tech Oct. 10 at Syracuse Oct. 17 at NC State Oct. 31 Charlotte Nov. 7 North Carolina Nov. 14 at Virginia Nov. 21 Wake Forest Nov. 28 at Georgia Tech Dec. 5 Florida State

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 2020 football schedule on Thursday. If public health guidance allows, the schedule will begin Thursday, Sept. 10. All 15 conference schools will play an 11-game schedule, with 10 games against ACC opponents and one versus a non-conference program.

The health, safety and well-being of all our campus constituents is at the forefront of all decisions and the schedule announcement follows several months of discussion and scenario planning among the league membership and the ACC’s Medical Advisory Group. The full report from the Medical

Advisory Group is available HERE.

As noted last week in the ACC’s announcement on the plans for football and Olympic sports, the 11-game schedule is slated to be played over a 13-week span. Open dates were strategically placed throughout the schedules for maximum flexibility. Each team will play five home games and five road contests in conference play.

The 2020 ACC Football Championship Game will be contested Dec. 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
ACC play will feature 15 teams and one division this season, as Notre Dame will play a 10-game conference schedule. The Fighting Irish also are eligible to compete in the ACC Championship Game. Game times and television designations will be announced at a later date.

All non-conference game opponents, selected by the respective school, must be played in the home state of the ACC institution, and all non-conference opponents must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC.

Update on COVID-19 Testing for Duke Student-Athletes



July 31, 2020

DURHAM, N.C. -- 
Duke University’s COVID-19 testing program has administered 700 tests to 309 student-athletes, coaches and staff in the first three weeks since student-athletes began returning to campus for voluntary practice.  

As of July 31, 2020, nine student-athletes are in mandatory isolation due to positive COVID-19 tests. Sixteen others who earlier tested positive went through the required isolation period and have been cleared by physicians for return to regular activity. No coaches or staff have tested positive, and no teams have paused team-related activities due to testing results.

The majority of student-athletes testing positive were positive upon arrival.  All were asymptomatic or experienced minor symptoms, and no student-athletes required additional medical care. Treatment consisted of symptom monitoring, rest and over the counter medication. 

“We are foremost concerned for player safety, and with finding ways to balance the desire to have a vibrant athletic culture on campus, with the reality that COVID-19 is a highly transmissible infection,” said infectious disease specialist Cameron Wolfe MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke and chair of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Medical Advisory Group for COVID-19. “To that end, an aggressive testing strategy is paramount -- identifying positive asymptomatic student-athletes, who may be capable of inadvertently transmitting the virus, is crucial.  Duke is finding and isolating cases early in the season, prepared to quarantine when necessary, and by combining a regular batch testing program with multi-pronged mitigation strategies, we believe athletics can and will be successful at Duke.”  

Duke’s testing programs follow the protocols set by the ACC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group. 

With undergraduate and graduate students returning to campus in August for the start of the fall semester, Duke has set up a comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocol which includes encouragement of testing and quarantining prior to traveling to Durham,  mandatory testing on arrival before access to campus is permitted pooled community screening of students, faculty and staff, daily symptom monitoring, and an extensive contact tracing program. The University has set aside more than 300 beds to be used for quarantining on-campus students if necessary. 

“Everyone must contribute to keeping COVID to a minimum on campus,” said Wolfe. “We will all need to be prepared to acknowledge the risks and wear masks and distance where we can; to be prepared to listen to contact tracing experts; and to be a part of our rigorous testing platform that will roll out across campus, as it has done for athletics. Things will feel very different. Regular testing and vigilance around health and safety protocols are going to be crucial for the fall semester to be successful and safe.” 

Duke’s overall COVID-19 testing regimen includes the following steps:   

·         All students have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival in Durham, and obtain COVID-19 tests, if possible, prior to arrival.  

·         All undergraduate, graduate and professional students will be tested before their Duke Cards will be activated, except PhD students who have been regularly coming to campus this summer for approved research.  Students will have to sequester in their room or off-campus residence until their results are confirmed. 

·         All students residing in the Durham area will be required to complete a daily symptom-monitoring survey every day before coming to campus.  

·         Faculty and staff who visit campus regularly will have to complete the symptom tracking survey every day.  

·         Students who reside in Duke housing, who attend classes on campus or work on campus, and a number of faculty and staff, will be subject to regular pooled surveillance testing during the semester.  

·         Contact tracers will conduct notifications of those who may have been in close contact with someone whose test comes back positive.  

In addition, all students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings while on campus and observe other health-related guidelines for distancing and hygiene.

ACC Announces Plans for Football, Spring Sports

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference recognizes the uncertain and challenging environment all areas of our society are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intercollegiate athletics is just one area that we must address as we work to return to our campuses, bring back students and faculty when possible, and pursue our academic missions and goals as part of higher education. The health, safety and well-being of all our campus constituents is at the forefront of all decisions.
With this in mind, the ACC Board of Directors announced that if public health guidance allows, all seven ACC sponsored fall sports will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12. The announcement follows several months of discussion and scenario planning among the league membership and Medical Advisory Group. Each decision is based on the best available medical guidelines and coincides with our universities’ academic missions. 

“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” said Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University and the Chair of the ACC Board of Directors. “Today’s announcement outlines a specific path for ACC fall sports to return to intercollegiate athletic competition using comprehensive protocols put forward by our ACC Medical Advisory Group. As a league, we understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information evolves in conjunction with local and state health guidelines.”
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”

The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group, which has been meeting weekly since the spring to share information on the impact of COVID-19 on ACC campuses and intercollegiate athletics, has recommended minimum standards for each campus to follow as fall sports return. Among those recommendations are weekly testing for close contact sports, standards for reporting positive test results, and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing competition areas. The full report is available on theACC.com (CLICK HERE).
Information specific to 2020 competition for both football and the league’s Olympic Sports is included below. The league’s leadership, and its medical advisory group, will continue to meet on a weekly basis to share information and discuss medical issues related to the ACC’s return to play. Should any future adjustments be necessary, the ACC Board of Directors will do so at the appropriate time.  ACC Football:

  • The season’s first games will take place the week of Sept. 7-12
  • The 2020 scheduling model includes 11 games (10 plus one: 10 conference and one non-conference)
  • All non-conference game opponents, selected by the respective school, must be played in the home state of the ACC institution, and all non-conference opponents must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC
  • The 11 games will be played over at least 13 weeks with each team having two open dates
  • There will be one division
  • Notre Dame will also play a 10-game conference schedule and be eligible to compete in the 2020 ACC Football Championship Game
  • All television revenue for the 2020 season, including Notre Dame’s home games broadcast by NBC, will be shared equally by all 15 institutions
  • The ACC Football Championship Game will be played on either December 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will feature the top two teams based upon highest conference-game winning percentage 
  • All 15 teams will continue to be part of the ACC’s bowl selection process; should Notre Dame win the ACC Football Championship Game they would be eligible for the Orange Bowl, if not selected as a College Football Playoff semifinal team
  • The 2020 ACC Football week-by-week schedule and television selections will be released in the future.
  • 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 𝐔𝐩𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐥𝐞 Duke Football (no dates) 𝙃𝙤𝙢𝙚 Boston College Florida State North Carolina Virginia Tech Wake Forest 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙮 Georgia Tech NC State Notre Dame Syracuse Virginia One out of conference game to be added.

ACC Fall Olympic Sports:

  • Fall Olympic Sports competition may begin on Thursday, Sept. 10
  • Team sports will play a conference schedule that meets the NCAA minimum amount of games: field hockey (6), women’s soccer (6), men’s soccer (6) and volleyball (10)
  • Schools will continue to schedule regular season cross country competitions at their discretion
  • Any additional games against conference opponents or non-conference opponents are at the respective school’s discretion and all opponents must meet the ACC’s medical standards
  • Any additional games against conference opponents that are beyond the conference-mandated schedules would not count in the ACC standings
  • The schedule for ACC Fall Championships 
  • The cross country championships will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on October 30, and include all fifteen member schools
  • The field hockey championship will be held at Duke University on November 5, 6 and 8
  • The women’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on November 6 and 8, as previously announced
  • The men’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on November 13 and 15
  • Television selections via the ACC’s partnership with ESPN and ACC Network will be made in the future

ACC Winter and Spring Olympic Sports:

  • Competition in the sports of swimming and diving, indoor track and field and fencing will be postponed until at least September 10 
  • Fall competition in the sports of men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, rowing, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball and baseball has been canceled
  • Student-athletes in golf and tennis continue to be eligible to compete unattached 
  • Teams in all sports may continue practice at their institution’s discretion 

Duke and the ACC Navigate Tricky Waters

Most of you are wondering if Duke football and basketball will be played this season and the truth of the matter with concern to an answer is that it is up in the air.

Just today, the Miami Marlins baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles has been canceled or delayed due to players testing for the COVID-19 virus. No less than fourteen players and coaches in the Marlins organization have tested positive.

That unfortunate news was then followed by the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies canceling their contest.

The ACC presidents are scheduled to meet this Wednesday and there is no way to know how the latest news will hinder their plans. We were originally expected to hear their outline for Fall sports and scheduling by weeks end, but more developments between now and then could once again delay the process of a firm commitment.

The Duke basketball team is scheduled to be on campus in early August. Most recently, Duke announced that upperclassmen would not be on campus, but the athletes have been given permission to do so. This also means the football team can move out of their temporary quarters in the Washington Duke motel unless those plans change in the current climate of liquid and ever-changing policies.

Another item that has come to light is that Duke expects to implement a 30% reduction in fans allowed to attend athletic events. This too is something that could change as we all watch how major league baseball and the NBA season set to tip-off again this Thursday.

Duke Football – A Season on the Brink?

A Season on the Brink?

I have been hearing for weeks now that the ACC will likely go to a conference only schedule any day now with concern to hopes of completing a football season. It would appear that the power five conferences are about to get on the same page and this will include an expanded 8 team playoff system being developed. Don't shoot the messenger for I am simply passing on the latest scuttlebutt which may or may not come to fruition in a fast-changing world.

During his recent press conference, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said he is in favor of conference-only games. His reasoning and that of others is this is a way to control the situation where everybody is on the same page by a governing body.

The Blue Devils lost one opponent on the schedule in that the MEAC canceled its football season. And that is the conference North Carolina A&T resides and they were the second scheduled game of the season for Duke.

At this point, most of us are hoping for any kind of season, but there are numerous roadblocks ahead of which there are too many to mention.

Duke slotted 6th in the Coastal per preseason polling

The Blue Devils are picked to finish sixth in the seven-team ACC Coastal Division by pretty much everyone making forecasts. The annual ACC Media Day or football has been delayed but I'd be willing to bet that Duke will be picked in this position once the votes are tallied.

While Duke has some talent in many places, especially on defense, there are just too many questions at key positions to rate them higher. One of the two major question marks will be the play at quarterback where Clemson transfer Chase Brice is expected to take over. While he has some experience and has been studying film while being zoomed in with his new mentor David Cutcliffe he is yet to take a snap in the Duke system. The line looks pretty solid in front of Brice and other potential throwers; the wideouts are still coming into their own and the depth is not deep at the running back position so injuries could play a role as Cutcliffe takes over the play calling. Duke is set with their starting tight end Noah Gray but there is unproven depth behind him.

Speaking of the defense, they lost some players upfront via transfers which will cut into depth there. The linebackers are athletic and talented but still relatively inexperienced. The backend has loads of talent and a new coach, so that position will be a little different in style of play. As good as that unit has been they have failed to create a lot of turnovers and that aspect needs to get better. But make no mistake, the Duke defense is the strength of this year's team in that they are experienced in the front and back of their schemes.

The other major question mark I spoke of is special teams play where Duke is breaking in freshman kicker Charlie Ham and punter Jackson Hubbard.