Duke Blue Devils of Durham -iguazu falls devils throat

The Duke Blue Devils of Durham, NC have tasted so much success with their basketball program that it is sometimes hard to remember they do have football as well, albeit, the football team is almost laughable at times. They play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Coastal Division, which is not typically a very strong division for football, yet they only posted a 4-8 overall record with a measly 1-7 conference record. They have lost the rivalry game against in state rival the University of North Carolina Tar Heels – also a well known basketball school, not football – for the Victory Bell for five straight years.

Second year Coach David Cutcliffe is happy with the recruiting season. “I think this is a great start of the 2009 year,” he said. “I think it’s really important to under the significance our fan base had in recruiting, because people forget how many of these people came to ballgames and felt and sensed the enthusiasm surrounding Duke football.” He said the key emphasis this year was to increase their speed. “I think as you look at our team, that was probably the biggest deficit we faced overall on both sides of the ball as you compared us to the rest of the league. That’s something we knew we’d address quickly.” Another thing Cutcliffe focused on was instate recruiting. The Blue Devils typically recruit more on a national level, with its private school status, but this year nine players are from North Carolina and five are from the Raleigh-Durham area dubbed “The Triangle” that includes the Duke campus.

There was no headline-grabbing star like present senior defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase among the class of 27 recruits. However, they did get Defensive Tackle John Drew of Midland, Ga, who was rated as the 20th best in the nation and number one in Georgia, and Running Back Desmond Scott of Durham, NC, who was rated the 134th best in the nation and number one in North Carolina. Scott ran for 2,249 yards and had 30 receptions as a senior at Hillside High. The Blue Devils also brought in 6 foot 220 pound defensive back Walt Canty from Roebuck, SC. Canty was rated as one of the top 25 overall prospects in the state of South Carolina and had 84 tackles and four interceptions and also ran for 501 yards and 16 touchdowns on offense.

Despite a season that many schools and fans would consider subpar, Coach David Cutcliffe signed a two-year extension that pushes his current contract through the 2015 season. Duke was impressed with what he was able to do and the Blue Devils won their first ACC game since 2004. This stability in coaching can only help to clear the coaching staffs mind to allow them to focus and will improve recruiting and retention matters in the future. Under Coach Cutcliffe’s leadership, Duke looks to be stepping in the right direction, but these are baby steps nonetheless and it will be a while before they have anything to celebrate about with their Football program.

Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of the SEC and the Duke Blue Devil. Check out his Duke Blue Devils apparel or his Wallets-Checkbooks.

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