David Cutcliffe on How Duke Handles Injuries at Center

Blue Devils on true freshman third stringer
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Duke is down to its third string center in true freshman Graham Barton.

Jack Wohlabaugh went down with a knee injury in preseason, and backup Will Taylor had surgery this week after injuring his own knee against NC State.

“Will has been playing really well, really, really well,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “Jack Wohlabaugh is an all-conference, if not an All-American type player. Will knew—he is so bright, so smart, so positive—he knew he needed to step up and did just that. He’s been a great leader for us. His understanding of what our schemes are. We’re going to miss every part of that.”

Cutcliffe has confidence in Barton, but there are plenty of options behind him at center.

“I couldn’t be more proud of true freshman Graham Barton, who stepped up in the NC State game,” he said. “Graham never dreamed he’d be starting at center for Duke. He probably dreamed he’d be starting at tackle, one day, but here he is, and he will be our starting center. He’s an extremely talented young man. He has good people around him. Those other guys—offensive linemen are built that way. They know when to step up for another guy. We’re excited about that. Elijah Wroten has been working at center. Addison Penn, who missed time early in the year, we did sign as a center, another true freshman. We’re very fortunate. (Line coach) Greg Frey has done a great job. Maurice McIntyer can play center. Casey Holman can play center. We’ve worked a lot of different combinations because of COVID circumstances. Unfortunately, COVID wasn’t the reason two young men have gone out. It was due to knee injuries.”