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About to face Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, Duke loses a starting linebacker

Cutcliffe says building depth is one of secrets to Duke program

Duke coach David Cutcliffe explains Duke's approach to depth that has allowed the Blue Devils to start 3-0 despite injuries to seven starters.
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Duke coach David Cutcliffe explains Duke's approach to depth that has allowed the Blue Devils to start 3-0 despite injuries to seven starters.

While Duke’s overall injury situation is improving ahead of Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils have lost yet another player.

Junior linebacker Koby Quansah suffered a broken left foot in practice on Wednesday. He had surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal bone on Thursday and is considered out indefinitely.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe had planned on Quansah starting when the Blue Devils faced the Yellow Jackets’ run-centric, triple-option offense this Saturday in Atlanta.

While Duke normally uses redshirt junior Joe Giles-Harris and senior Ben Humphreys as its starting linebackers in its 4-2-5 alignment, Cutcliffe opts to start a third linebacker in place of a defensive back when facing option teams like Georgia Tech or Army.

With Quansah unavailable, Cutcliffe said Chris Rumph will start along with Giles-Harris and Humphreys against the Yellow Jackets.

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones discusses his rapid recovery from a broken collarbone and his play during a 31-14 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Rumph, a 6-3, 225-pound redshirt freshman, has nearly as much playing time as Quansah this season. Quansah has played in 157 plays, while Rumph is at 154.

Rumph has nine tackles this season but his 3.5 tackles for losses are second on the team behind starting sophomore defensive lineman Victor Dimukeje (4.5).

With Duke starting three linebackers, its starting defensive backs will include safeties sophomore Marquis Waters and junior Dylan Singleton plus redshirt freshman cornerback Josh Blackwell. Sophomore Michael Carter II could be the starter at the other cornerback position if his recovery from the sprained right knee continues to progress well. He’s been able to practice this week.

Elsewhere on the depth chart, the chances look good for Duke to get a number of injured players back this week, including starters redshirt senior Edgar Cerenord (defensive tackle) and sophomore Drew Jordan (defensive end). Redshirt senor Zach Harmon, a starting center who has missed the last three games, should be available as well.

Duke at Georgia Tech

When: 12:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta

TV: NBC

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