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Duke assistant Collins bridges gap of gridiron success

Posted December 5, 2013
Updated December 6, 2013

— The Duke football team will work out in Durham Friday before heading to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game against Florida State. And as the Blue Devils reach uncharted waters, there is one person in the program that can best bridge the gap from the past to the present.

Linebackers coach Jim Collins is on the sidelines for Duke this year, just as he was under then-Duke head coach Steve Spurrier in 1989.

“It has been a very rewarding year,” Collins said in a one-on-one interview with WRAL-TV’s Jeff Gravley. “It takes me back to 1989 in so many ways because it has been so similar to that year.”

In 1989, the Blue Devils won seven in a row. Not to be out done, this year’s team has won eight straight as the head to the conference title game.

“This might be a much bigger accomplishment because of the difference in the league,” Collins said.

Similarities between the ’89 and ’13 Blue Devils continue as each played a two-quarterback system and each boasted strong ground games. A key difference however, is at the helm. In 1989, the Blue Devils were led by the up-and-coming Steve Spurrier. This season, the seasoned David Cutcliffe is guiding a Duke team that continues to turn heads,

“They accomplished the same thing, they just did it in different ways,” Collins said of the success each team had in their respective years. “That doesn’t make either one right or either one wrong, they just go about it in their own different way.”

Parallels to the 1989 team continue. Last Saturday the Blue Devils rang the Victory Bell as they walked off the field in Chapel Hill having clinched the ACC Coastal Division. Over two decades ago, Duke marched off the field in Chapel Hill ringing the same bell having clinched a tie for the conference title.

The image of that moment in 1989 that lives in the halls on the Duke campus was taken by Collins’ wife, Geri. Unfortunately, no such image was captured this season. “We didn’t have our photographer,” Collins lamented. Geri Collins lost her two-year battle with cancer a year ago this month.

“David Cutcliffe was just a pillar for me. He was just unbelievable," Jim Collins recalls.

So Collins will now head to Charlotte and the ACC Championship game without his most important player, wife Geri. “I will feel some emptiness because my partner is not with me. But you know, really, she is. She is enjoying this without a doubt.”

Collins followed Spurrier to Florida where he was a part of seven conference title games, winning five. He said that he would like nothing more than to win one more.

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  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 6, 7:51 a.m.

    sorry for the loss but go Noles!

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCSU 79
JVU 43
 
Final
ECU 92
VULYNCH 51
 
Half
DUKE 7
UNC 28
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAR
3rd
MIA 51
LAC 65
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
CHI
3rd
WVU 10
KST 20
 
Half
DUKE 7
UNC 28
 
9:30pm Tonight
TXST
ARKST
Final
AKR 66
USC 46
Final
UCONN 65
COC 57
Final
MIAMI 66
DREX 46
Final
BC 69
NMU 65
Final
CHAR 106
PSU 97
 
Final
MICH 71
DET 62
Final
WMARY 100
BFLD 57
 
Final
USCU 107
BOBJONES 41
 
Final
UCF 76
ECKERD 59
 
Final
PURD 82
GRAM 30
 
Final
NCSU 79
JVU 43
 
Final
RFLSH 102
KEYSTONE 69
 
Final
VCU 106
MDES 66
 
Final
PROV 88
NAVY 51
 
Final
BRY 72
UNH 63
 
Final
PETE 59
NIAG 61
 
Final
STET 96
PBAT 85
 
Final
WAGN 83
SUNYWEST 49
 
Final
IOWA 57
TEX 71
 
Final
TENN 70
TXSOU 58
 
Final
SHU 54
MLOWELL 57
 
Final
ECU 92
VULYNCH 51
 
Final
TENNM 115
CBC 29
 
Final
MD 66
FORD 50
 
2nd
WVU 84
GMAS 57
 
2nd
RAD 47
HOW 39
 
2nd
MURST 81
BRESCIA 45
 
2nd
VILL 49
BUCK 45
 
2nd
TENST 50
FISK 42
 
2nd
HARV 62
FATL 43
 
2nd
MINN 88
FRANKPRCE 47
 
2nd
TULA 69
MVSU 40
 
2nd
TCU 72
NO 48
 
2nd
NW 48
UNF 52
 
2nd
LSUALEX 52
NWST 60
 
2nd
IND 53
SMU 52
 
2nd
UAB 44
SFLA 46
 
2nd
EILL 56
UCD 52
 
2nd
SAV 28
WINT 30
 
Half
NIOWA 29
MRGST 30
 
Half
MISS 37
SOUTH 15
 
2nd
SCAR 37
CORN 24
 
1st
VANDY 23
LIP 8
 
1st
ARST 24
LMU 11
 
1st
ALA 29
SMISS 24
 
1st
GRCN 14
TXARL 19
 
1st
NILL 0
IDAHO 0
 
9:35pm Tonight
CAL
SYR
10:00pm Tonight
GAELS
DEN
10:00pm Tonight
NARZ
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
PACU
 
10:30pm Tonight
SDST
CALST
11:00pm Tonight
UCLA
NICST
 
2nd
PHI 1
MIN 1
 
3rd
OTT 3
NAS 2
 
3rd
MON 3
STL 1
 
3rd
TOR 4
TAM 1
 
2nd
WIN 3
DET 2
 
2nd
DAL 0
ARI 1
 
1st
CAL 2
CHI 2
 
1st
COL 0
WAS 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
ANA
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAR
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
FLA
2nd
OAK 14
KAN 3