1-5 Duke’s head coach talks about bye week and being ‘resilient’ in final 5 games


Duke head coach David Cutcliffe (left) and starting quarterback Chase Brice.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Tough times never last, but tough people do. It’s as true today as it was when Robert Schuller first wrote it in 1984.

The Duke Blue Devils have had a tough time. They sport a 1-5 record. They’ve lost numerous players to injuries but they aren’t packing it in.

The Blue Devils took their bye week to fine tune and really focus on getting things right for the final five games of the season. 

“You want to surround yourself with resilient people and certainly we have resilient people here,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe in his Monday press conference. “Players, coaches, everybody involved in Duke football has been tremendous during a very difficult time. They came to work and we got outstanding work done during the open date.” 

The team practiced three times last week. The first area focused on was ball security. It’s something that’s plagued Duke all year.

Through six games the Blue Devils have a league leading 22 turnovers. Turnovers are not usually a problem for Cutcliffe-coached teams which are usually noted for being precise and meticulous in how they carry out their assignments. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a team that -2 in turnover ratio,” said Cutcliffe. “Also not scoring touchdowns in the red zone. You take possessions away and then you’re not getting the ball in the end zone in the red zone and your point production is going to be poor.” 

The practices were some of the most productive coach has had during an open date both on the field and off.

Working with starting quarterback Chase Brice was of utmost importance. It’s obvious the young man has the physical skills to run the Duke offense. His biggest and only problem is the lack of time he’s spent in the system.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to correct this issue other than time more under center. Cutcliffe doesn’t expect miracles, just steady improvement. 

“Just learning and continuing to learn defensive football and progression and making decisions in the passing game that are going to be aggressive but still taking care of the football,” said Cutcliffe. “I think he utilized the time really well and I think finding a way to get him more comfortable in our system is still a big part of whether we’re going to be successful or not.” 

The Blue Devils take the field next against UNC-Charlotte on Halloween night. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. 

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