DURHAM — Duke’s second scrimmage of fall camp had an interesting twist Friday: Daniel Jones, not Parker Boehme, was at quarterback with the No. 1 offense.
Jones, a redshirt freshman, responded with a pair of touchdown passes, first hitting Anthony Nash in the left corner for a 30-yard score, then later connecting with T.J. Rahming for a 13-yard TD in the deep right corner.
Quentin Harris, another redshirt freshman, had the third TD throw of the scrimmage at Wade Stadium. He hit wide receiver Sayvon Sampson on a short slant and Sampson outran the defense for a 73-yard score.
Safety Phillip Carter and defensive tackle Brandon Boyce, each suspended the first three games of the season by Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe, both participated in the scrimmage. Cutcliffe later said the suspensions were for disciplinary reasons.
Asked about the possible impact, Cutcliffe said, “It’s never ideal, particularly when they’re experienced players. Both when you do (suspend players), you’re not worried about depth, you’re not worried about your team. You are worried about young men.
“People get misconstrued on what discipline is. Discipline is caring, discipline is making them realize this will affect the rest of your life if you don’t correct any behaviors or bring consistency to your behavior. … I’m very close with both of those guys. I expect them to respond great. And they certainly have done that to this point.
“We’ll see. Hopefully, it is three games. And we’ll have people step up.”
With redshirt senior quarterback Thomas Sirk again held out of the 65-play scrimmage, the Blue Devils’ offense did not have a turnover after several in the first scrimmage. At the same time, Cutcliffe liked the tackling of the defensive units, a sore spot in in the first scrimmage Saturday.
“Every phase we got better in tonight, as it went,” Cutcliffe said.
Cutcliffe said not to read too much into Jones running the No. 1 offense ahead of Boehme, a redshirt junior.
“We gave Daniel Jones a good shot,” he said. “There’s a point with quarterbacks you have to put them in with units to see how they respond. So we’ll continue to work at that.
“It doesn’t mean any statements. You do these things as we move forward to see where we are.”
Jones finished 6-of-10 passing for 55 yards and Harris was 4-of-8 for 89 yards. Boehme completed 4 of 7 throws for 26 yards.
Cutcliffe said he did like what he saw of Sirk in the pre-scrimmage work as the Devils’ most experienced quarterback continues to slowly progress from a ruptured Achilles tendon in February.
Jela Duncan led all rushers with 41 yards on six carries, and freshman Brittain Brown had 38 on 11 carries.
Offensive guard Tanner Stone, coming off back surgery in April, was able to line up with the No. 1 offensive line and get a lot of snaps.
Cutcliffe said the defensive secondary was outstanding, even though cornerbacks Breon Borders and Bryon Fields were beaten on the TD throws to Nash and Rahming.
Cutcliffe said when he watches the scrimmage video he expects to see “great effort, which is important to me. For the most part we were every disciplined. We took care of the ball. … I think we’ve got a lot of things to look forward to.”