Duke football accepting challenge of not looking back amid 0-3 start

Duke

FILE – In this Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe reacts during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Durham, N.C. Cutcliffe is taking over playcalling duties in hopes of helping the Blue Devils find an offensive spark in 2020 after struggling to some of their lowest totals under Cutcliffe the previous season. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The old saying goes if you don’t like what you’re getting then change what you are doing. After an 0-3 start, the Duke Blue Devils are going over every aspect of their preparation.

“You look at every little detail of everything you’re doing,” said head coach David Cutcliffe. “Yes it’s been challenging and it’s going to continue to be challenging when you have to alter the way you prepare.”

The first change is mental. Win or lose players traditionally move on from the previous game within 24 hours and focus on the next opponent. The rationale being you can’t change the past so why focus on it. To some holding on to a small piece of those losses isn’t a bad thing.

“Last year our mentality was to not look back and this year I think we need to focus on that,” said offensive tackle Casey Holman. “Not in the aspect of wallow in it but we need to really remember how we feel after those games. Being up going into the fourth quarter we need to really focus on how that felt and how it felt after the game and carry that over because we don’t want to feel it again.”

The next is practice with a purpose. The Blue Devils aren’t just running plays on offense trying to develop timing and chemistry. They are drilling down on the fundamentals and especially the issue that’s plagued them through three games.

“The path I know to get on the other side of the ledger and win football games is that you have to get it done on the practice field and certainly an example would be ball security,” said Cutcliffe. “There is not a play on the practice field, not one play, that we aren’t coaching ball security better.”

The next would be the offensive line. With them, it’s not about keeping the football safe as much as it’s keeping Chase Brice safe so he can run the offense.

“We have to give him more time so he feels more comfortable in the pocket so he can move around, make progressions and he can make the throws we all know he can,” said Holman. “We’ve all seen what he can do. If we give him better protection and clear that lane up for him he can move, he can get out of the pocket and he can make the big time throws we know he can.”

For a quarterback that averages 240 yards through the air and defense at Virginia Tech that gave up just under 250 a little more time might be just what the Blue Devils need to get off this losing skid.

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