Tidbits from Duke's Friday scrimmage
Duke displayed the depth it hopes it's building along its defensive front during Friday’s scrimmage, with younger players mixed in with veterans on the first and second teams.
Duke’s first-team defense had redshirt junior Dezmond Johnson and junior Jonathan Woodruff at defensive ends with redshirt junior Jamal Bruce at nose guard and redshirt senior Sydney Sarmiento at defensive tackle.
Joining that group among Duke’s front six were the Brown brothers at linebacker – redshirt sophomore Kyler and redshirt junior Kelby.
Duke’s second team defensive front utilized redshirt freshman Michael Mann and sixth-year senior Kenny Anunike at the defensive ends. In the middle were sophomore Carlos Wray at nose guard with redshirt freshman A.J. Wolf at defensive tackle.
“We’ve got a lot of veteran guys that have been in the program and been the in system that are mentoring these guys,” Anunike said. “Guys like Michael Ramsey, Mike Mann, A.J. Wolf. They are making plays. We are leading them, taking care of them and getting them on the right track. They are buying in.”
Two other veteran defensive linemen, redshirt junior Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo and redshirt senior Justin Foxx, remained sidelined for the scrimmage as they recover from off-season injuries.
In Duke coach David Cutcliffe’s mind, that didn’t diminish what the defensive front accomplished going against players on the first-and second-team offense.
“It looks like our pass rush may have been the best it’s been in a scrimmage so far,” Cutcliffe said. “That was good to see.”
BORDERS GOOD IN SECONDARY AGAIN
In the defensive secondary, redshirt senior Anthony Young-Wiseman worked with the first team defense at safety along with sophomore Dwayne Norman and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Cash.
Redshirt seniors Ross Cockrell and Garrett Patterson were at the cornerback slots. Freshman Breon Borders also received some playing time at cornerback with the top unit.
“He continues to impress,” Cutcliffe said of Borders. “He’s still got a lot to learn. He is young. I want to see him with some consistency.”
Friday’s scrimmage at Wallace Wade Stadium featured around 60 snaps of the top players against the top players with the coaches rotating the people they expect to be in games in and out.
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE
The injuries that have hit Duke’s offensive line have caused the coaching staff to scramble to fill out the depth chart.
Redshirt freshman tackle Tanner Stone is lost for the season after having surgery on this broken right ankle on Wednesday. On Thursday, redshirt freshman tackle Casey Blaser had surgery on his broken right hand and is out indefinitely.
In Friday’s scrimmage, redshirt sophomore Sam Marshall and freshman Gabe Brandner worked at the tackle slots with the second-team offense.
Marshall moved from defense to offense after Blaser and Stone were injured earlier this week.
“We don’t have many 6-8, 290-pounders who move as well as he does,” Cutcliffe said. “I told him we’re not trying to build Rome in a day but let’s see where it goes.”
Like all offensive lineman, Brandner was pegged for a redshirt season this year. That still could happen, but the injuries caused the coaches to give him an extended look.
“We don’t have a choice,” Cutcliffe said.
The highlights on offense from Friday’s scrimmage included a 37-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Boone to Jamison Crowder.
That’s obviously something Duke would like to see often this year. Crowder didn’t participate in last Monday’s scrimmage as the coaches opted to look at younger players.
Boone completed 5 of 11 passes for 93 yards.
Junior running back Josh Snead had a 36-yard touchdown run.
MEET THE BLUE DEVILS
Duke holds its annual Meet The Blue Devils Day on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Pascal Field House indoor practice facility.
Admission and parking are free to the public. Fans will have the chance to to interact with players and coaches for autographs and photographs.
Season tickets will be on sale and buyers will be able to select their exact seat in Wallace Wade Stadium.