‘We will attack the problem’: Duke football gets off to 0-2 start, but not out of it yet

Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Not many expected Duke to beat Notre Dame in their opener. The Blue Devils showed serious grit keeping it as close as they did in the first half.

What’s surprising is the same mistakes that did them in at Notre Dame also cost them the game against Boston College at home.

“We will attack the problem,” said Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe. “We’ve never run away from any issues since we’ve been here and we’re certainly not running away from this one.”

The biggest issue is one that has frustrated college coaches since they started intercollegiate athletics. It marks the difference between amateur and professional players.

The problem is consistency. In the Blue Devils’ case consistency under center. Chase Brice is still in his first year at Duke. With the way COVID-19 has stifled practices, it’s safe to say the quarterback transfer is still picking up the nuances and getting comfortable with this brand new offense.

Brice has shown flashes of what could be throwing for over 200 yards in both games. Registering six passes of 20 or more yards including a season-best 55-yard completion to wide receiver Eli Pancol shows he gets it.

Coach Cutcliffe is looking for that just a little more often.

“The first job a quarterback has is to make the other 10 people around him right and so along with his ability he has to make plays,” said coach Cutcliffe. “We’re looking for consistency but he certainly has had some really positive plays that have impacted our team to this point in a positive way.”

An extension of the coach on the field when Brice sizes up a defense he should see the same threats and holes they do. When everything is clicking as it should it’s just second nature.

It’s not quite there yet which means more work on progression.

“The biggest thing is a quarterback should never surprise you with his decision-making,” said coach Cutcliffe. “Everybody has to be on the same page and part of a quarterbacks job during the week is to communicate. He is the functional part not only with me but with receivers and getting people where they need to be. Finding that consistency, being in a new system is always a bit challenging.”

The Blue Devils have another shot at a win Saturday when they take on the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville.

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