“I think our guys are excited about getting back to work. It is kind of unusual feeling the second open date but I think it was welcomed,” Cutcliffe said. “We’ll have most of our guys back to work. I think we are excited about the challenge and looking forward to going back to work.”
Duke was able to use the week off to heal as guys like cornerback Ross Cockrell and linebackers Kelby and Kyler Brown appear ready to go. However, wide receiver Brandon Braxton is doubtful for the upcoming game against NC State, but Cutcliffe said he doesn’t have 100 percent assurance that he won’t play.
In his absence, Ryan Smith and Johnell Barnes could see additional time. Cutcliffe singled out Issac Blakeney as a guy that is flexible and could play in place of Braxton in the slot and he singled out Anthony Nash as a new face that could make an impact.
“Anthony Nash has grown in my opinion in the last two to three weeks,” Cutlcliffe said. “So I think it is a good thing that we’ve got some options.”
In the off week since the Blue Devils have had a bit of buzz around them and the talk about them being in control of their own destiny has been circulating around fans and media alike. Cutcliffe, however, is more interested in his team focusing on NC State and getting better.
“I rather see them have a great Sunday night and not get past that,” Cutcliffe said. “What I did tell them a while ago is the only thing we do control is how much better we can get. And teams that continue to get better have an opportunity to win.”
“Its pretty evident by as you get late in the year teams are going in one direction and we want to be a team that is certainly getting better and I think that is where our focus needs to lie.”
“Our execution in the passing game was not what we wanted obviously. We worked extremely hard in that regard. Defensively continuing to try to limit explosives play, be in good positions consistently. We spent a lengthy amount of time in all six phases of the kicking game.”
“We got some NC State work done. We did manage to get a good bit of our game plan in.”
“They are going to continue to get better with Brandon Mitchell’s health. Their run game has been outstanding. They are averaging over 400 yards per game. They’ve got playmakers at receiver, tight end and running back. Then they’ve got an addition of a quarterback who has run for 100 yards in a ball game. They are very multi-dimensional that makes them hard to defend.”
Saturday is another huge game for Duke despite NC State’s poor record. Please come out and support your Blue Devils.