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Duke Blue Devils one week from opener

Posted Saturday, August 29, 2009

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Durham, NC - The Duke football team held a two-hour practice focused on special teams Saturday morning. The Blue Devils are one week away from opening the season against Richmond and will start their game week Sunday evening.

"It was a great day today," said head coach David Cutcliffe. "We went on the field and covered every situation that can happen in a ballgame with our kicking game. We put the players in every situation and coached them on what we want to happen. We don't want to put a youngster in a ballgame in a situation he hasn't faced before."

This past week Duke has focused on preparing themselves for the upcoming season opener, basing practices on a typical game week and scenarios that happen during games. On Tuesday night the Blue Devils held a scrimmage to get used to playing under the lights as the Richmond game will begin at 7 p.m. After a light workout on Wednesday morning, the team was in full pads for Thursday and Friday.

"Tuesday was a game simulation scrimmage which went well," said Cutcliffe. "Thursday and Friday were what I like to call typical Tuesday-Wednesday practices during the season where we put them in full pads and got after each other. Most importantly we put our complete Richmond gameplans in during those days."

With the gameplan installed Coach Cutcliffe wants the team to execute better in all phases of the game during the final week of practice leading up to the first game. After a light practice Sunday evening the team will be off on Monday before continuing its preseason on Tuesday morning.

"We want to get pure execution offensively and minimize the wasted plays," said Cutcliffe. "We need to put ourself in position to be successful on a consistent basis and get the game tempo ready. Defensively we need to be sharp on all of our adjustments, all of their formations and all of their personnel groupings so we can make our calls, line up and play fast. In the kicking game we want to play error-free football and we have a week to do that."

The Spiders are the defending national champions in the Football Bowl Championship Division after posting a 13-3 overall record last season. They return 18 starters from the championship team and were voted No. 2 nationally in the preseason FCS coaches poll.

"Richmond is starting 15 fifth-year seniors and seven fourth-year juniors so this might be the most experienced football team that I have ever coached against and they are certainly worthy of the title of national champions they earned a year ago," commented Cutcliffe.

Tickets are still available for the Duke-Richmond game which will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5 in Wallace Wade Stadium. Season and single-game tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-375-DUKE.

Related info:
ACC Football News
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Duke Blue Devils one week from opener
Coach Cutcliffe wants the team to execute better in all phases of the game
photo by Gene Galin

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