Notes from Duke football scrimmage
Duke held its second preseason scrimmage Friday at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are five quick takes:
1. Braxton Deaver is back – The redshirt senior tight end appeared in his first full-pad, full-contact scrimmage of the season. He missed the first week of practice while being held out for disciplinary reasons.
Deaver didn’t disclose what happened, but admitted he made a mistake and is in the process of making up for it to his teammates and coaches.
“I made a mistake and I’m thankful to coach Cut and his program for being my family and taking me back so I can make strides,” Deaver said. “I owe it to my team. Every time I walk on the field
I want to make the play for this team regardless of circumstances. I definitely feel I’ve really got something to give to this team and I want to be that guy and give that much leadership and that energy to the field every single day.”
2. Helton comfortable at MLB – After all-ACC linebacker Kelby Brown was lost for the season to a torn ACL last Monday, senior David Helton was moved from weak-side (Will) linebacker to middle linebacker (Mike).
Everyone, from coaches to teammates to Helton himself, came away pleased with how much it will help the Duke defense.
“David is very intelligent,” Duke linebackers coach Jim Collins said. “David is a 3.75 student at Duke. This is not first rodeo. He has numerous starts and almost 2,000 snaps that he’s played. So he’s seen a lot of football. I’m not concerned at all now with him moving in there because a lot of the fundamentals that happen with that position I teach them both to play it anyway.”
3. Freshmen influence – A number of true freshmen are getting playing time in scrimmages with most of the repetitions coming at cornerback, linebacker, running back and wide receiver.
In the secondary, cornerbacks Zach Muniz and Alonzo Saxton were on the field with hybrid groups of first and second-team defenders on Friday.
The same was true at linebacker for Zavier Carmichael and Tinashe Bere. Brown’s injury means they’ll have opportunities to play this season.
At running back, Shaun Wilson has done enough for Duke coach David Cutcliffe to say that he will be part of the running back rotation this season with senior Josh Snead, junior Shaquille Powell and redshirt freshman Joe Ajeigbe.
Wide receiver Chris Taylor saw some important action on Friday as did quarterback Nico Pierre.
4. Patrick still out – Projected starting left guard Lucas Patrick remains sidelined while being treated for concussion symptoms after he took a blow to the head.
Patrick, a redshirt junior, is expected to step in to replace David Harding at left guard. Harding completed his career last season.
Cutcliffe said he is at the mercy of the medical staff as to when Patrick will be able to return to practice. He has missed both scrimmages and has not taken part in a full-pad, full-contact practice this season.
As he did on Monday, redshirt junior Cody Robinson worked with the first-team offense at left guard in place of Patrick.
5. Quick hits – Powell took part in the scrimmage after sitting out last Monday’s scrimmage due to concussion symptoms. He was cleared medically to return this week….Tanner Stone and Casey Blaser shared repetitions at right tackle with first-team offense. One of those two will be the new starter at right tackle following Perry Simmons’ graduation….The coaching staff did a lot of mixing and matching at defensive line with the first-team defense. Jonathan Jones, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, Dezmond Johnson and Britton Grier shared time at defensive end with the first-team defense. In the middle, Mike Ramsay got some looks at defensive tackle along with veterans Jamal Bruce, Jamal Wallace, Carlos Wray and A.J. Wolf.