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MacIntyre, Hobby to co-teach defensive unit

The David Cutcliffe era has generated excitement because of Cutcliffe's offensive resume. Although Cutcliffe has garnered much of the attention, many forget that Duke's new head man has brought with him a staff of almost entirely new coaches-and two defensive coordinators.

In 2007, the Blue Devils did not have a defensive coordinator on staff-former head coach Ted Roof put the heat on himself and doubled in that role. Shortly after arriving in Durham, however, Cutcliffe hired Mike MacIntyre and Marion Hobby to co-coordinate a defense that finished near the ACC cellar in almost every statistical category last season.

"We're ready to go out and play," MacIntyre said. "The guys have pushed themselves and they're motivated. Now it's time to get out there."

Cutcliffe brought in his former Ole Miss staff member from the New York Jets, where MacIntyre spent the 2007 season coaching the defensive backs. Prior to his stint in New York, MacIntyre spent four seasons under Bill Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys.

In their first season coordinating the defense, MacIntyre and Hobby will employ a 4-3 scheme that will rely heavily on Duke's experienced front seven, anchored by four-year starter Michael Tauiliili and NFL prospect Vince Oghobaase, a junior. Tauiliili is the team's leading returning tackler, as his 9.8 tackles per game were good for third in the ACC in 2007.

The Blue Devils also lined up in a 4-3 defense a year ago, but this year, the scheme focuses more on the entire front seven swarming the ball and will consist of formations not seen a season ago.

"It's not basic, but it's not too advanced for us," Tauiliili said of the scheme. "One thing they always tell us is knowledge equals confidence equals playing fast. As long as you know what's going on and you can anticipate different plays based on formations and things like that, it really works out for us. We have a very strong base, so it's not like we're changing every week."

Both Tauiliili and Oghobaase commented on the changes in the mentality of the coaching staff in regards to swarming the ball and stripping it away from the opponent. Hobby doubles as the team's defensive line coach, and has stressed this fact since day one.

"Every person on the defensive staff has the mentality of swarming the football," Tauiliili said. "Through practice and team drills, it's showed positive signs. Vince [Oghobaase], he'll come and knock the ball out of a receiver's hands.... You have to get to the ball and work on your technique of stripping it, punching the ball out. That's a major difference that I've seen since they've been here."

Hobby spent six seasons with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss and had spent the past two years with the New Orleans Saints. While he will focus on the line and MacIntyre on the defensive backs, the two will share duties as coordinators.

MacIntyre will call most of the plays in Duke's first game Saturday, but that doesn't mean he won't be talking to his counterpart between series, he said.

"It's a shared responsibility," MacIntyre said. "So far it's been like teaching a course-but Saturday is the first test."

While the defense will aim to score high on its first exam, its final grade will depend heavily on MacIntyre and Hobby's ability to co-teach the class.

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