Duke

Duke will officially be without a starting player against Florida State

Duke's David Cutcliffe will lead the Blue Devils into Saturday’s game with Florida State missing a starting offensive lineman because of injury.
Duke's David Cutcliffe will lead the Blue Devils into Saturday’s game with Florida State missing a starting offensive lineman because of injury. bthomas@heraldsun.com

As Duke looks to end a two-game losing streak and beat Florida State for the first time ever on Saturday, the Blue Devils will do so without a starter.

Left tackle Gabe Brandner, who left last Saturday’s’ 28-21 loss at Virginia with a hamstring injury, has not practiced this week and will not play against the Seminoles, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Thursday.

“He has not returned to practice,” Cutcliffe said. “We have hope for next week, but we’ll see.”

A redshirt senior, Brandner has started 30 consecutive games for Duke, dating back to the start of the 2015 season. His 2,385 career snaps played is tops among Duke’s offensive players. Redshirt senior center Austin Davis is next on the offense with 1,478 snaps played.

Only redshirt senior cornerback Bryon Fields, with 2,856 snaps played, has more experience among this season’s Blue Devils.

Redshirt junior Christian Harris replaced Brandner during the first half of the Virginia game and has remained in that starting role during practice this week. After being on the field for just 26 snaps over Duke’s first five games, Harris played 63 snaps against the Cavaliers.

“Christian has had a really good week of practice,” Cutcliffe said.

Redshirt senior Sterling Korona and redshirt freshman Robert Kraeling are Duke’s top reserves at tackle.

This will be the first time this season Duke will play a game missing one of its starters due to injury. The Blue Devils have been remarkably healthy compared to most college football teams. Other than freshman offensive lineman Will Taylor being out for the season due to a preseason knee injury, no other players are listed on Duke’s injury report.

The Blue Devils (4-2, 1-2 ACC) started the season with four consecutive wins but enter the game against Florida State having lost to Miami and Virginia over the last two weeks.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC

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