Duke-Virginia: No love lost
Duke Football Notes from Tuesday press availability:
No love for Virginia – Virginia’s decades old tourism slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers.” That emotion definitely doesn’t apply to Duke’s trip to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend to face the Cavaliers.
“We don’t like Virginia and I have a suspicion they don’t like us very much,” Duke redshirt senior right tackle Perry Simmons said Tuesday.
Duke junior Jamison Crowder was so bold as to compare the game with Virginia to another game that’s always at the top of a Duke fan’s list – in any sport.
“There is an edge,” Crowder said. “It’s something that’s kind of turned into a little rivalry. A lot of people on the outside don’t really know about it. It’s something that, UVa week, we get up for it – almost like Carolina. The last couple of years we’ve been able to beat them. Hopefully this year we’ll be able to go up there and do the same thing.”
Duke All-ACC cornerback Ross Cockrell, a redshirt senior, agreed with the UNC comparison.
“It’s up there with the Carolina game,” Cockrell said. “There is a lot of back and forth between the players during the game, whether you are on offense or defense. It’s one off the more intense games we play each year.”
The Duke players said that propensity of trash-talking from the Virginia players has escalated ill feelings.
“My freshman year UVa had a couple of players that were kind of jawing back and forth at our sideline,” Crowder said. “That got us jacked up a little bit. So last year we were able to take care of business. So hopefully this year we can go up there and do the same thing.”
Duke beat Virginia 42-17 last year at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Devils (4-2) enter Saturday’s game against Virginia (2-4) having defeated the Cavaliers four of the last five years.
“Sure they can come out and talk, but it’s whatever is on the scoreboard,” Duke redshirt junior right tackle Laken Tomlinson said. “That’s what matters to us.”
Connette back to work – Duke coach David Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils had two healthy quarterbacks with starting experience in practice on Tuesday.
Redshirt junior Brandon Connette returned to work after he missed last Saturday’s 35-7 win over Navy with a sprained ankle. Connette had started Duke’s previous three games while Anthony Boone was recovering from a broken collarbone.
But on Tuesday, Boone was working with the first-string offense with Connette as the No. 2 quarterback.
“Having Connette working today was a plus in that regard,” Cutcliffe said.
Singleton available – After missing the Navy game while serving a one-game suspension, freshman safety Deondre Singleton will be available to play for Duke at Virginia.
Singleton, a reserve who started one game for Duke this season, was suspended for leaving campus early on fall break and missing two academic obligations.
“He did what I would have expected him to do in regards to the discipline,” Cutcliffe said. “He did everything I asked him to do. He’s ready. I think that will be the last time that occurs.”