Some thoughts and observations on Duke’s 49-6 win over N.C. Central in Saturday’s season opener:
— Losing Thomas Sirk, a senior quarterback and starter, was a gut punch for everyone in the Duke program but Daniel Jones has eased whatever fears David Cutcliffe might have had. Jones knows the system and knows how to run it. Only one game for the redshirt freshman, but a good one.
“He will learn a lot from that first taste,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s going to get tougher before it gets easier.”
— The newlook and renovated Wallace Wade Stadium — official name, Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium — is impressive. The Blue Devil Tower has all the bells and whistles. An elevator operator announced “presidential suite” on one level. When the doors opened it looked like the lobby of a Ritz-Carlton.
— Nice honor Saturday for Bob Harris, longtime radio voice of the Blue Devils. It was “Bob Harris Day” and Employee Appreciation Day at Wallace Wade, and Harris left the booth after the first quarter to go down to the field and be recognized, receiving a loud ovation from the crowd of 35,049. Pretty sweet it was.
— Interesting to see Duke play eight true freshmen in the opener, said to be a first for Cutcliffe at Duke. That didn’t include touted signee Scott Bracey, the four-star guy out of Richmond who has been dogged by a hamstring pull in fall camp. Seven freshman were used on defense.
— Cutcliffe has said one emphasis this season would be on ending games better. Duke didn’t do that Saturday as Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils lost concentration in the second half. Of course, they led 49-0 at halftime. It happens. “Tale of two halves,” Cutcliffe said.