Thursday, March 25, 2010
Duke spring game set for Saturday
By Adam Rittenberg
There has been no shortage of question marks this spring at Duke, and fans can get a glimpse of the team's progress Saturday as the Blue Devils hold their annual spring game.
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET at Wallace-Wade Stadium, and admission is free. The game will feature four 12-minute quarters.
Duke's running game will be front and center after it ranked last nationally in rushing average (63.5 ypg) in 2009. Head coach David Cutcliffe told The (Raleigh) News & Observer that fans will see "faster, fitter backs" in the spring game, and the coaches might unveil some new rushing schemes.
Sophomore Desmond Scott, who led Duke with 262 rushing yards last year, is competing for carries with Jay Hollingsworth, Patrick Kuruwune and freshman Josh Snead.
"I want to see our level of competing in front of a crowd,” Cutcliffe said, according to a news release. "I want to see how well our defense attacks taking the ball away, as opposed to how well our offense protects it -- that’s been a big emphasis this spring. So that’ll be a culmination of a lot of work in that regard. If the offense goes without a turnover, then it’s obvious we didn’t get as much done defensively as we needed to or vice versa."
Duke conducted a 45-snap situational scrimmage Wednesday, and both Scott and Hollingsworth scored touchdowns. Quarterbacks Brandon Connette and Sean Schroeder combined to complete 8 of 17 passes for 150 yards. Connette and Schroeder are competing for the starting job after the departure of four-year starter -- and Heather Dinich's favorite player -- Thaddeus Lewis.
"I like the personality of the team, but the fact is that we're young," Cutcliffe said. "Facts are that we've been consistently inconsistent. It doesn't surprise me. But we've also really shown flashes of excellence in a lot of areas, and we have a lot more athletes on the field -- that’s evident to anybody that’s watched us play this spring."