Q&A with Duke head coach David Cutcliffe
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach David Cutcliffe has a folksy drawl, an excess of Southern charm and, at 58, the dust of countless football sidelines on the soles of his shoes. As he's wound his way through the SEC -- he had extended stints at Tennessee and Ole Miss -- before his final act at Duke, Cutcliffe has remained one of the game's straight shooters. And he's in the midst of a stunning and underappreciated revival in Durham, one that can be best judged via the streaks being broken. He snapped a 12-game losing streak to Wake Forest, brought Duke to its first bowl game since the 1994 season and last weekend had a Blue Devil selected in the NFL draft (quarterback Sean Renfree, in the seventh round to the Atlanta Falcons) for the first time since 2004. Now, he's planning to continue the program's recent climb. "We're capable of beating everybody on our schedule," he said in a lengthy interview in his office last week. "When's the last time you could say that without really being laughed at at Duke? But it's a fact."
This should be a fascinating season in Durham. Walk into Cutcliffe's office and there are Tennessee and Ole Miss jerseys signed by Peyton and Eli Manning, his prized protégés. But Duke is set to morph into a full-throttle spread team this season under new starter Anthony Boone, who resembles a young David Garrard. "We've produced pro quarterback after pro quarterback, but we're trying to win games at Duke," Cutcliffe said. "And you don't need to let your ego get in the way of that."
In a wide-ranging interview with SI.com, Cutcliffe touched on his Knowology degree from Alabama, his mastery of making homemade blueberry ice cream, Duke's recruiting uptick and why college football is "close to being governed by television."