Cutcliffe promotes ex-Duke player Jeff Faris to WR coach

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 07:36 PM

In what has become a familiar move for David Cutcliffe, the Duke coach is turning to a graduate assistant coach to fill a full-time opening on his staff.

Jeff Faris, a former Duke safety who has been a graduate assistant for the last two seasons, is Duke’s new wide receivers coach, Cutcliffe said Thursday.

Faris played for Duke from 2008-11 before his two-year stint as a graduate assistant.

“Jeff is qualified in every area,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s going to be an outstanding coach and outstanding leader. We believe we have the finest young recruiter in all of football in Jeff Faris. We are very excited about Jeff’s talents and what he brings to the staff.”

It’s the second year in a row Cutcliffe has made this type of move with a former player and graduate assistant. Re’Quan Boyette, a Duke running back from 2005-09 who was a grad assistant in 2012, become the team’s running backs coach last year.

Other former grad assistants from Cutcliffe’s time coaching at Tennessee and Mississippi have been full-time assistants for him at Duke. They include Marion Hobby, Kurt Roper, Zac Roper, Matt Lubick and Derek Jones.

“It’s something that’s been very good to us,” Cutcliffe said.

Faris’ promotion is part of Duke’s task of replacing offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who left to become Florida’s offensive coordinator in January. Cutcliffe promoted wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery to replace Roper as the team’s offensive play-caller.

During spring practice, which began Feb. 7 and concluded this week, Faris worked with the wide receivers.

His ability to coach all positions, Cutcliffe said, goes back to his playing days. Cutcliffe remembers Faris, who routinely worked on the scout team that mimicked the opponent’s defense, asking if he could sit in on the quarterbacks meetings.

Faris told Cutcliffe he wanted to learn all aspects of football, not just defense, and he also wanted to give the current quarterbacks deeper insight into what the defense was thinking.

Cutcliffe said that impressed him, as did the work Faris did during his grad assistant tenure as well as during his stint with the wide receivers during spring practice.

For Faris, Thursday’s promotion is the culmination of a well-planned journey.

“I am thrilled with this opportunity to represent my alma mater as an assistant coach,” Faris said. “During my time at Duke, both as a student-athlete and coach, I have been surrounded by tremendous mentors — most notably Coach Cutcliffe — who have taught me not only about the game of football, but also the importance of impacting young people. I am a proud Duke man and the tools I have acquired from this great university and football program will allow me to pursue excellence every day. I look forward to helping our players make the most out of the myriad of opportunities that this world class institution provides.