CHARLOTTE — Cincinnati and Duke will have vastly different practice plans for the final day before Thursday nights 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.
Were 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 thats the way to go.
We just believe in heating em up, get them a good sweat. We think thats the best way for our guys to be at their peak for game day.
Thats 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 its the best way to handle the jitters, the best way for them to get a good nights sleep before the game.
Thats 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.
Itll be really light, Stripling said after practice at Charlotte Country Day.
Its supposed to rain (Wednesday), so well take them over to see the locker room and set-up so come game day its not new to them. Well take them out on the field, and if the guys want to put their shoes on to see what it feels like, they can.
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. Im getting older now, so I felt like cutting it. Nothing special or anything it was time to let it go.
I didnt have to change my helmet size or anything, though. Whenever Id put my helmet on, it just compacted everything.