Upgraded Swag is the term defensive end Kenny Anunike used to describe Dukes new helmets at the annual Meet the Blue Devils day this weekend. But, really, that term could be applied to the way the Blue Devils feel about the program.
I think weve really turned the corner, Anunike said. This is it, this is it for us. Coach (David Cutcliffe) has done everything he could All the pieces are falling into the puzzle. All we have to do is go out there and play.
Playing and earning wins is easier said than done, especially with a schedule that will feature Top 25 teams Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Stanford and two others that received votes (North Carolina and Georgia Tech).
But even though Duke hasnt been to a bowl or turned in a winning record since 1994, excitement surrounding the program is building. More than 1,500 fans came to meet the team, the largest crowd in at least 25 years.
A real Duke football fan has got to go up at the top of the ladder of the most loyal fans in all of college athletics, Cutcliffe said. Its in my heart every year that, for so many people, you want to be successful because so many people deserve that.
Anyone searching for signs of a bright future doesnt have to look further than the pair of freshmen running backs, Shaquille Powell and Jela Duncan. Powell led Duke in rushing in both scrimmages and Duncan turned in a nine-carry, 29-yard performance in his most recent action.
Cutcliffe expects both to contribute this year.
Im not afraid to use either one of them going into the first game, he said. Laura Keeley