David Cutcliffe on Duke's Defense: "I'm Excited About That Side of the Ball"


Duke’s defense should be the strength of the team this season, and David Cutcliffe was enthusiastic as he broke down the position groups.

“I’m excited about our planning, defensively,” he said. “The meetings that we’ve had. I’m excited about our personnel.”

Duke returns one of the top edge rushing prospects in college football in Chris Rumph, with Victor Dimukeje lined up opposite him.

“I like the fact that if you look at us up front, we have disruptive people that are going to be difficult to deal with,” Cutcliffe said.

Linebacker will be in transition, after last year’s leader, Koby Quansah, graduated. But there are plenty of talented candidates to step up and replace him.

“We have speed—the best speed we’ve had at linebacker—and actually, size,” Cutcliffe said. “The two starters—Brandon Hill and Shaka Heyward both—they can fly, and they’re big 6-foot-3 rangy guys.”

The secondary returns most of last season’s contributors and adds a familiar face from the past in Mark Gilbert, who missed all of last season recovering from injury.

“With Mark Gilbert returning, and he practiced well in the spring, I have no reason to believe he’s not going to start well this fall,” Cutcliffe said. “I think it’ll be the best secondary group that we’ve had and quite possibly the deepest. We’re going to be an aggressive defensive football team. I like what our coaches have put together. I like the fact that we’ve been able to have some meetings and got a lot of our install done. Our players have retained well. They’ve been really into it. I’m excited about that side of the ball.”