Duke looks for first ever bowl streak
Posted July 23, 2013
The Duke Blue Devils are coming off their first bowl appearance since 1995 and just the program’s ninth in their 117-year history.
David Cutcliffe, the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year, is entering his sixth season with the Blue Devils and believes his team is ready to be the first to appear in consecutive bowl games in school history.
At the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, Cutcliffe said he was happy that he doesn’t have to answer the question about ‘when will the program end their bowl appearance drought.’
Last season, the Blue Devils earned the right to play in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte where their campaign came to an end with a loss to Cincinnati, 48-34.
Duke lost two key offensive starters to graduation from that team, Sean Renfree and Conner Vernon, but Cutcliffe believes the team has enough leadership returning to have a chance at another successful season.
Notable returning offensive players include redshirt junior quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette to go along with Biletnikoff Award Watch List wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
Boone, who is the projected to be the starting quarterback, will replace the Atlanta Falcons’ 2013 seventh round draft pick and three-year starter Renfree. Boone has thrown for 829 yards, six touchdowns, three interceptions and owns a completion percentage of .534 in 22 career games at Duke. The 6-foot signal caller has also rushed for 211 yards on 70 attempts with six touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Duke returns redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell, who was named to the 2013 Thorpe and Nagurski Award Watch lists.
Cutcliffe said he has tried in the past to play young, developmental quarterbacks when possible in certain situations. He added it was crucial to play backups in key situations in order to “help youngsters for the future.”
“I feel good that we have two quarterbacks that have played a lot,” Cutcliffe said while joining Mike and Mark on The World Strongest Morning Show on 620 The Buzz Tuesday morning. “This goes back to my raising with coach (Bear) Bryant in a different era. He was going to play more than one quarterback. He played more than one unit because he had the luxury to do it. He was a believer in ‘you’re only as good as your two’s.’”
Cutcliffe said that even after last year’s success, however, his football program is still in the growth stage.
“We are going to constantly change and get better,” Cutcliffe said. “Everything we’ve done, we can’t consider good enough.”
The Duke football program has a 3-6 all-time record in bowl games with their last victory coming at the 1961 Cotton Bowl Classic against Arkansas, 7-6.
Cutcliffe, Boone and the rest of the Blue Devils begin their 2013 campaign against in-state rival North Carolina Central University Aug. 31 at Wallace-Wade Stadium at 4 p.m. The team’s first ACC matchup comes Sept. 14 at home against Georgia Tech.