Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Duke coach readies for Luck
By Kevin Gemmell
David Cutcliffe knows quarterbacks.
Duke's head coach mentored both the Manning boys, Peyton at Tennessee and Eli at Ole Miss, and said Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is cut from the same cloth.
"He's a little different than the Mannings, but he's got all of those tools, being you start with how you play the game," Cutcliffe said. "And it's not just the physical gifts. He plays the game really well to avoid sacks, pocket movement, awareness of the game, throwing the ball away when you need to and minimizing errors. He does that as well as any I have seen."
Stanford heads to Duke Saturday coming off a 57-3 win over San Jose State. Duke, meanwhile, is trying to pick up the pieces after dropping its opener to Richmond, 23-21. It's the third time in six years Duke has lost to the FCS school. It's also the second straight year the Blue Devils will be hosting a Top-10, nonconference team. Last year they fell to No. 1 Alabama 62-13.
Despite the loss, Cutcliffe said his team had a spirited practice on Sunday and the players took Monday off.
"We're going to prepare and prepare well," Cutcliffe said Monday night. "Unfortunately, we're dealing with a lot of adversity in that regard, but we've never done a poor job preparing. I think we let Alabama beat us twice last year. But we're not going to let that happen again.
"We're already out of the tall growth and have the wind at our backs again and we're going to practice in the morning and practice well."
Naturally, Luck is a major cause for concern. Not just for what he can do with his arm, but also his feet.
"He's certainly a physical specimen," Cutcliffe said. "He's a good, physical runner. I've talked to some people who have not only coached against him, but played against him, and they said when you hit him he's like a rock. He's just a physical guy and that's one of the reasons why he's so difficult to sack.
"As everyone knows, he would have been the first player taken last year. I'm certain he's headed toward that path again."