Last year, Duke had Senior Day on Thanksgiving weekend, and the team ended up losing to Wake Forest 59-7.
Should that be treated as an outlier, or do changes need to be made with how the team prepares during Thanksgiving week? David Cutcliffe has been hard at work deciding that.
“I don’t think it’s an outlier,” he said. “I think it’s a challenge. I didn’t do a good job a year ago preparing us. It’s something we’ve already talked about, and we’re going to be fine with whatever the circumstances are.”
Cutcliffe acknowledged that it can’t be just like any other game week, since the players are virtually alone on campus, with most students home for the holiday.
“It can't be the same week,” he said. “We'll bump practice back a little bit because there's no class. That sleep will benefit them. Not a lot, because we have a staff to think about too, you have a routine with your staff. Thursday we will practice as we always do in the morning, and then we will all have a great meal together. After that meal they are free until Friday morning. Some of them that live really close go see their families. A lot of them get together. Certain parents are in town that may take a group somewhere. Some of the coaches have them over at their house that evening. You know, myself, I'll have family in town. It's okay to have some time. I'm happy that people are going to be with their families.
"Friday morning, it's back to business. What we'll do Friday we’ll occupy a bit of their time. We'll have practice and then we'll go to the hotel like we normally would. I've done it a lot of different ways. The best way is to realize that after we practice on Thursday. It's okay to celebrate family, our own, us, as a team, and then certainly their own families.”