After a long offseason, football is finally back in Durham.
With the calendar flipped to August, football season is right around the corner as the Blue Devils are preparing for their season opener against No. 2 Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Aug. 31. Coach David Cutcliffe and his squad begin fall camp with four practices without pads at the start of the month before finally putting on full equipment Aug. 6.
For the first time in three seasons, the Duke offense will not be led by Daniel Jones, who was selected No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Now the reigns have been handed over to Quentin Harris. The senior signal caller started two games last year with Jones dealing with a collarbone injury.
Jones' injury last year was one of many, as the Blue Devils dealt with a heavy injury bug all year. Defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord is one player back on the field and trying to find his groove again after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon against Georgia Tech.
Cutcliffe announced that two players, cornerback Mark Gilbert and running back Marvin Hubbard III, both had additional surgeries to clean up injuries they suffered last season for a dislocated hip and ruptured Achilles, respectively. There is no expected timetable on their return yet.
Here are some key thoughts from Cutcliffe and the new signal caller Harris as camp starts picking up:
Harris on his work in the offseason and creating chemistry with his receivers:
- “It was very busy. We threw at least three times a week, twice during the week and once on the weekends as well. We were working on a lot of the same routes that we are starting to run now. I think the biggest adjustment now is running them under a game scenario and then adapting to the play calls by the coaches as well.”
Harris on opening the season against Alabama:
- “We’re really excited for the opportunity to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against a great opponent like Alabama. Obviously they’re going to be a great team to play and we’re going to have to play to our full potential and make sure we don’t go against ourselves, so to speak.”
Cutcliffe on the depth at offense:
- “On, offense, our offensive line is going to have a competitive circumstance because there are some good young players. Our offensive staff and Jim Bridge have done a great job recruiting some young people that are competing. At receiver, there’s depth, but not yet enough depth that we know exactly what to expect from them. It’s a big group.”
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Cutcliffe on Cerenord getting back on the field:
- “He has limited reps, but he felt great. He’s had a great a summer. I think when you’re a big man like that, part of it for Edgar was to get this day out of the way. That I can run, I can chase, I can rush the passer. He had a smile on his face at the end and I knew what that was about. He will have a significant impact on this team.”
Cutcliffe on new wide receiver coach Trooper Taylor's impact:
- “If you don’t block as a receiver at Duke, you won’t play. Trooper played [defensive back] and he knew what he hated to play against, was a good receiver that was harassing him all game. I kind of like that.”