Belk Bowl Notebook

Blue Devils to have usual contact drills; Bearcats plan light day of work

Blue Devils will go through their usual contact drills

CorrespondentDecember 26, 2012 

— Cincinnati and Duke will have vastly different practice plans for the final day before Thursday night’s Belk Bowl.

While the Bearcats (9-3) plan a light day at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Devils (6-6) will have a 45-minute, full-contact scrimmage.

“We’re in a little bit more of the Olympic model regarding performance,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday before practice at Charlotte Latin. “Most Olympic athletes – whether it be sprinters, distance runners, whatever – believe that’s the way to go.

“We just believe in heating ’em up, get them a good sweat. We think that’s the best way for our guys to be at their peak for game day.”

That’s the formula Duke has followed since Cutcliffe took over as coach five years ago.

It has worked, with the Blue Devils posting their best record and making their first bowl appearance since 1994.

“Because it is our first bowl game, I wanted to stay in our routine,” Cutcliffe said. “This is routine to our guys. They expect it, and they love it. It makes them feel right.

“We believe it’s the best way to handle the jitters, the best way for them to get a good night’s sleep before the game.”

That’s the opposite approach Cincinnati interim head coach Steve Stripling will take with his team, which has its walkthrough at Bank of America Stadium after Duke.

“It’ll be really light,” Stripling said after practice at Charlotte Country Day.

“It’s supposed to rain (Wednesday), so we’ll take them over to see the locker room and set-up so come game day it’s not new to them. We’ll take them out on the field, and if the guys want to put their shoes on to see what it feels like, they can.”

Cockrell’s ’do

When Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell began the season, he sported a long, thick mass of hair.

To get the picture, think of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu – he of the Head and Shoulders commercial.

When the Blue Devils began practice in Charlotte this week, Cockrell had a significantly shorter hairstyle – like almost none.

“It was just time,” said Cockrell, who graduated from Charlotte Latin and has been a three-year starter for Duke. “I’m getting older now, so I felt like cutting it. Nothing special or anything – it was time to let it go.

“I didn’t have to change my helmet size or anything, though. Whenever I’d put my helmet on, it just compacted everything.”

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service