Duke's David Cutcliffe: 98 Percent of Our Players Arrived In Shape


David Cutcliffe was more than happy to get back to work on Duke’s first day of preseason practice.

“This is the most fun that I’ve had since March,” he said. That’s when the pandemic interrupted Duke’s spring practice after just three days.

“There was a lot of spirit on our field today,” he continued. “I thought our habits looked good. We did not go very long. We re wanting to gauge where we are. We’re worried about soft tissue injuries, mainly muscle pulls and strains. We’re going to measure the needle and start moving the needle. We’ve got time. We’re 36 days out before we’re going play a game. We’re focused on Duke.”

Cutcliffe thought his players were ready to go, both in attitude and physically.

“There was a lot of sprit on defense,” he said. “A lot of spirit on offense. I loved our kicking game work today. We have a lot of young players and very good veteran players on this team. The energy was absolutely outstanding.”

The team was able to start farther ahead than he expected thanks to the work the players put in on their own at home.

“Restarting everything, we’re fortunate that we do have lot of veterans in certain places. I’m very comfortable with them,” he said. “The first thing I would tell you, we were somewhat surprised at how good a shape the team came back in when they came back in on July 12. That’s a great sign. It’s important to them. We’ve heard different things around the country. Some of them said it was 50/50, 40/60. Right at 98 percent of ours have done what we expected them to do. That helps. We still have a lot of questions that have to be answered. Obviously, I don’t have a precedent for this. I’m really scratching my head, making different types of practice schedules--how we’re doing this. We’ll use science. We have heart rate monitors, player load monitors. I’m going to study it. I’m going to see how far we can physically move that needle without soft tissue injuries, without overheating anyone.”