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One (Not So) Secret Of Duke Football’s Success

Those guys are in absolutely superb physical condition

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NCAA Football: Duke at Georgia Tech
 Oct 13, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Duke Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones (17) and tight end Davis Koppenhaver (81) celebrate after a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as defensive back Christian Campbell (10) looks on in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After a football or basketball game we really like to take a peek at what the opponent’s local media has to say.

With Duke’s win over Georgia Tech, that means the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and guys like Mark Bradley, sort of a thoughtful guy who usually writes like a depressive (who didn’t cover this game), and in this case, Steve Hummer, who poses this question: If Tech can’t beat Duke (in football), what’s left?

With respect, that’s no longer a fair question.

David Cutcliffe has turned Duke into a real football program. The Blue Devils still usually have less talent than a lot of elite teams but it’s no longer a complete mismatch. Duke has talent deep into the roster now and it’s intelligent talent too.

You could probably characterize Cutcliffe’s teams with just a few words: spirited, daring and superbly fit.

Don’t underestimate that last one.

When Cutcliffe got to Duke he took one look at his new team and called it the most out of shape team he’d ever seen.

He challenged his first team to lose a collective 1,000 pounds, which it did, and since then, the Blue Devils have been an incredibly fit bunch. You can tell this because under Cutcliffe, Duke has become a tremendous second half team.

We can’t say for sure that that had anything to do with the three consecutive fumbles that Tech made in the third quarter Saturday, but we have no doubt that it helped Duke to recover those fumbles and then to score three straight times.

The better questions now are these: could Georgia Tech do better than Paul Johnson? Can it close the gap that David Cutcliffe has opened between the programs?

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