DURHAM — Sophomore tailback Desmond Scott, who led Duke's rushers with 262 yards last season, has earned the starting nod against Elon on Saturday because "he's a player that's good in every phase," coach David Cutcliffe said.
"Whether that's running screens, whether he's a route runner or running the football, he's got a nice knack of running the football," Cutcliffe added Tuesday. "Maybe he's not the fastest one, but he certainly finds a way to find seams and cracks, and he's been the most consistent guy at gaining 4 and 5 yards, minimum, per carry. ... And he's taken care of the ball."
All of those attributes will be key for the Devils, who averaged only 2.2 yards per carry and 762 rushing yards total last season, while relying heavily on their passing game.
"I don't think we would call what we saw a year ago a 'running game,' so the first thing is to see one, period," Cutcliffe said, laughing. "I think we have a collection of backs that are interesting and bring a lot to the table. ... When you complete passes, it's hard not to want to throw 70 balls a game and stop running. But we've got to run the ball to make ourselves better as a team."
Kicking game in flux: Kevin Jones will punt, and Will Snyderwine will kick off. But as of Tuesday afternoon, Cutcliffe still hadn't decided between between Snyderwine, a redshirt junior, and senior Nick Maggio as the starting place-kicker.
Snyderwine made 17 of 20 field goals last season, but he has been inconsistent in practice this summer.
Briefly: Cutcliffe said four true freshmen will likely play against Elon: running backs Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson, wide receiver Brandon Braxton, and backup quarterback Brandon Connette.
"Still evaluating a couple circumstances on defense, that I'll make a later decision in the week," Cutcliffe said.
Wide receiver-turned-cornerback Johnny Williams is not listed as a starter on the depth chart but will play in "numerous situations."
The team voted for three permanent captains: center Bryan Morgan, cornerback Chris Rwabukamba and linebacker Abraham Kromah. Coaches each week will name an additional game captain. This Saturday it will be tight end Brett Huffman.
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