Blue Devils pick up the pace

laura.keeley@newsobserver.comAugust 19, 2013 

— Duke head coach David Cutcliffe doesn’t tote a can of Red Bull. But he’s all about playing fast.

“I’m a torried pace guy,” Cutcliffe said earlier in camp. “We call it tempo, and I’m always going to be a tempo guy. I don’t believe in dissertations on the practice field. When you’re on the grass, its’ about work. We have meetings. We have to go to the next play. That’s my impatience.”

Duke has run a no-huddle offense for several seasons, and last year the Blue Devils set a new high in the Cutcliffe era by running 990 offensive plays. That’s an average of 76.2 per game, third-most in the ACC (Clemson tops the league with 81.7 plays per game, and N.C. State is second at 80).

There’s not a strong correlation between plays per game and wins – Florida State, for example, ran 67.2 plays per game, 11th out of the 12 ACC teams – but it does indicate that the Blue Devils are coming closer to running Cutcliffe’s ideal offensive system.

Duke’s up-tempo offense does demand players to be in optimal shape, which can make the adjustment tougher on incoming freshmen.

“It’s a big challenge with our offense, with how fast it’s going and how conditioned everyone has to be,” said senior running back Juwan Thompson. “We’re going to need depth.”

Cutcliffe has said several times that this Duke team’s summer workouts in preparation for this season were at a new, higher level than previous teams.

“This was the most conditioned team we’ver put out here, which was good to see,” he said. “And it’s what you would expect with as much time as we’ve invested into this.”

Laura Keeley

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