For the past four years, Duke offensive line coach John Latina developed the Blue Devils’ front into one of the strongest in the ACC. Strong play from the line was the foundation for 33 victories, including an ACC Coastal Division championship and a Pinstripe Bowl win.
Going forward, the Blue Devils will have to try to continue that success without Latina. On Tuesday, coach David Cutcliffe announced that Latina is retiring and will be replaced by Marcus Johnson, who has been on staff for the past five years. Johnson spent the past three years as an offensive quality control assistant.
“The bottom line is, the head coaches John worked with – and that includes me – became better coaches and better men because of his knowledge and dedication to the coaching profession,” Cutcliffe said in a statement. “His impact over the past four seasons here at Duke is easily defined – 33 wins and four straight bowl games are two of the greatest accomplishments in the history of our program.”
Duke had seven all-ACC offensive linemen under Latina – Casey Blaser, Takoby Cofield, Dave Harding, Lucas Patrick, Perry Simmons, Matt Skura and Laken Tomlinson. Skura was a second-team all-American this season, and Tomlinson was a first-team consensus all-American and first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2015.
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Johnson played under Cutcliffe while he was the coach at Ole Miss and was a second-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2005. He played five years in the NFL.
“Without question, Marcus has emerged as one of the brightest young coaches in college football,” Cutcliffe said in a statement. “He obviously played at the highest level, and now has taken advantage of the opportunity to shift his passion to teaching, motivating and leading young men. I know our current and future players will love playing for him, and he’ll continue to be a huge asset to our entire staff.”