Some thoughts and observations after Duke’s 13-6 victory Saturday over Army at Wallace Wade Stadium.
▪ On a day like Saturday, any win was a good win. Ask Dave Doeren. Duke didn’t open up its offense against Army but didn’t need to after taking a 13-0 lead. Hurricane Matthew made it a day for defense.
▪ Good move by Duke coach David Cutcliffe to take his team out in the rain Friday for a practice session. He kept telling his players how much fun he had as a kid playing in the rain. He said, “We had a great time and our spirits were high.” It showed Saturday.
▪ Statistical oddity: Duke linebacker Ben Humphreys had 10 tackles in the first half, including 2.5 tackles for losses, then was not credited with a tackle in the second half. Who wants to bet the Duke defensive staff finds a few more after fully digesting the game video.
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▪ It’s tough to win the time-of-possession fight with a good triple-option team, but Duke did with roughly 33 minutes to Army’s 27. The Blue Devils also had 66 offensive plays to Army’s 54. Late in the game, the Blue Devils held the ball for more than six minutes on two possessions to run down the clock.
▪ Duke has two straight wins over Army and Georgia Tech, who run similar triple-option offenses. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is doing a lot of things right schematically, and as safety Deondre Singleton said, “A big thing was playing with our eyes and discipline the whole game.”
▪ The Blue Devils did some offensive line shuffling after center Austin Davis went out with an injury, with Zach Harmon moving from guard to center. In addition to losing Davis, Duke also had running back Jela Duncan go out with a leg injury. Duke needs Duncan and Davis.
▪ It’s a bad time to have a short week before a game, with Louisville next on the schedule this Friday, but that’s Duke’s deal this week. Cutcliffe, in big-picture mode, says it’s “one of those great opportunities to find out something about yourself.” Good or bad.
▪ This is a good opportunity to point out Duke basketball guard Luke Kennard was a pretty good high school quarterback at Franklin (Ohio) High. Kennard, who throws a football right-handed, said he received recruiting interest from Louisville but loved hoops more and wanted to play at Duke. And Louisville managed to find another quarterback.