As the 6-4 Blue Devils prepare to take on Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Duke released its weekly injury report. Here’s a rundown of the players are listed on the injury report this week:
C Brian Moore (leg)
S Dwayne Norman (upper body)
RB Juwan Thompson (upper body)
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (leg)
CB Jared Boyd (leg)
S Brandon Braxton (lower body)
LB Kelby Brown (leg)
TE Braxton Deaver (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
WR Blair Holliday
DE Allen Jackson (shoulder)
S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder)
S Taylor Sowell (leg)
Breakdown: For most, the bye week was just what the doctor ordered for Duke, but for Brandon Braxton that was simply not the case.
Braxton, who started Duke's first five games of the season at safety, has struggled with injury issues as of late. He will miss his third-consecutive contest Saturday against Georgia Tech with a lower body injury he suffered in practice nearly four weeks ago. Braxton will give way to true freshman Dwayne Norman, who is probable for Saturday's game and is expected to make the sixth start of his young career.
Issues at safety continue to be the story of the season for the Blue Devils. Walt Canty remains the only player who has started every game for Duke at safety this year, and the team has lost two safeties for the season due to injury, had one leave the team for personal reasons and had one ineligible to play while sitting out the year after transferring.
Anthony Young-Wiseman's leg injury only makes matters worse for the Blue Devils at the safety position. He will be listed as doubtful for Saturday's game and leaves Duke with very little depth in the defensive backfield. Expect to see cornerbacks Ross Cockrell and Lee Butler sliding over to one of the Blue Devils' three safety spots in the 4-2-5 defense, which will also mean more time on the field for Tony Foster at corner. The defensive backfield has a daunting task this weekend, responsible for providing run support against the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack and often finding themselves on islands against deep throws from quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee.
Injuries in the secondary aside, the bye week was certainly helped Duke to get healthy after back-to-back crushing losses to Florida State and Clemson. Head coach David Cutcliffe said in his weekly media luncheon that had the team played a game last Saturday, "We probably would have had eight guys not play" who will suit up against Georgia Tech this weekend. Those include offensive starters Juwan Thompson and Brian Moore, who are listed as probable this week, along with tackle Perry Simmons and defensive end Kenny Anunike.
“The two-game stretch took a toll on us,” Cutcliffe said. “We had guys already banged up, and we got to the point where they were worse. Being able to rest everybody helped us get a large number of people back.”
With substantially better health on their side, the Blue Devils will have quite the test on their hands this weekend, trying to improve on their 1-3 road record against an offense that posted 68 points last week in a win against North Carolina.