Spring is more than two weeks away. Spring practices have yet to begin at a number of schools across the country. But in Durham, the main event of spring football has already come and gone.
Duke got an early start on its spring season again this year, hoping to keep the momentum going from another strong campaign this past fall. And if Saturday's scrimmage is any indication, the Blue Devils' defense is ahead of the offense at this point.
“The defense definitely won,” defensive tackle Carlos Wray said, according to the (Raleigh) News & Observer's Laura Keeley. “They got behind the sticks (tackled for loss), they didn’t convert a fourth down, they missed the two-point conversion, which is what we call a game-winner, and the referees deemed that the pass over in the left corner of the end zone was incomplete, which gave us the W."
With construction taking place at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke had only a 25-minute scrimmage, which followed 90 minutes of drills. And the results could very well turn out to be a pleasant surprise for a team that has won 19 games these past two seasons.
As colleague David Hale wrote last week, defensive line has been the one big missing piece for the Blue Devils these past two seasons. Wray is the only returning starter to the defensive line in 2015, but the continued growth and development of the unit is a positive sign.
Defensive tackle A.J. Wolf was honored as most improved defensive player this spring, sharing the distinction with defensive back Alonzo Saxton II. Offensively, receiver Terrence Alls and tackle Gabe Brander earned the accolades. Corner Jamie Cockey earned the Blue Devil Heart Award.
Saturday was Duke's 11th practice this spring.
Here are the rest of your Monday links:
UNC will be without Marquise Williams for spring practice due to a hip injury, our Andrea Adelson writes.
Bobby Swigert is back for BC after two years and 11 surgeries, Eric Avidon writes in the MetroWest Daily News.
Dabo Swinney vows to fix Clemson's red-zone offense this spring, Aaron Brenner writes in the (Charleston) Post and Courier.
Former Georgia Tech guard Shaq Mason is learning how to play center before the NFL draft, Ken Sugiura writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Conditioning drills at 5:30 a.m. have given Pitt players chances to make first impressions with new coach Pat Narduzzi, Jerry DiPaola writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Condolences to the Notre Dame family on the passing of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh.