It’s that time of year when everyone is chomping at the bit for football season to start. In Durham, preseason practices have started and feedback from the coaching staff and the team is starting to surface.
“I thought our effort [on Monday] was exceptional,” said head coach David Cutcliffe. “I thought we finished. I would like to see less errors on both sides of the ball—it wasn’t bad, but for us to be as good as we can be, I want to see a significant difference. I think part of it is anxiety of the first day. I think we kind of got confused between the difference of being quick and being hurried.”
Cutcliffe was impressed with how things went on the first day. The first day is generally the rockiest. Coaches aren’t always sure what to expect from their athletes on day number one back in the grind.
“I could not ask for better energy,” said Cutcliffe.
Preseason practices for the athletes sometimes can be an unwanted burden, but not for the Blue Devils.
“I enjoy it. I believe we all do,” said Dezmond Johnson. “A lot of guys are just excited to get back on the field. We all want to get better.”
The feeling remains consistent with another leader of the team.
“The mentality as a team is that it’s a grind we are looking forward to,” said Jamison Crowder. “It’s nothing that we despise or that we wish was over.”
Once it’s over, the season has officially begun. There isn’t much time left once preseason practices start to when the ball gets rolling. Every player, even at this early stage in the game has goals that they want to accomplish for the year.
“I just want to be able to go out there and have a similar season to last year,” said Crowder. “The main thing for me is doing whatever I have to do to help my team win ball games and the ACC Championship. Whether it’s catching 100 passes again, I’m good with that, or if it’s catching 60 passes and that’s winning the championship I’m fine with that as well.”
So far, there aren’t any injuries, but there’s always going to be something that happens, even if it’s minor.
“We have depth, a lot of depth everywhere,” said Johnson.
With that depth in mind, Duke has a lot of options to work with when they’re at full strength. They’re going to need that strength, because this season they’re the team who everyone wants to beat.
“Every team in our division is good,” said Johnson. “Every team in our conference is good.”