Duke Tight End Noah Gray Tuning Out Distractions


Tight end Noah Gray was one of the bright spots on a Duke offense that struggled at times last year. Gray was second-team All-ACC after catching 51 passes—second most among Power Five tight ends—gaining 392 yards and scoring three times.

The offense will likely have a different look this year, with head coach David Cutcliffe taking over the play-calling responsibilities.

Gray isn’t concerned about how his role might change as he heads into his final season.

“I’m just being the best teammate I can possible,” he said. “Doing what the coaches are telling me, practicing hard, doing what I’m being asked to do. I’m not trying to change anything.”

The new offensive coordinator is just one of many potential distractions this preseason. But Gray is focused on the job at hand and tuning out all the other issues.

That includes the COVID-19 pandemic, which has altered the schedule as well as the look of practices.

“I believe that our coaches, our athletic training staff, as well as our equipment and weight training staff are doing the best they can to insure our safety and allow us to get back into the flow of things: playing, practicing, getting us into condition,” he said. “They’re all doing a fantastic job.”

There’s also uncertainty at quarterback with three candidates competing to replace the graduated Quentin Harris.

“The quarterbacks are playing really well right now,” he said. “It is a competition. They’re doing really well under the circumstances. Gunnar (Holmberg), Chris (Katrenick) and Chase (Brice) are all doing great. Chase has really fit in with the guys. We love having him around, love his ability. We love the other guys too. I’m going to leave that up to those guys to figure out. They’re playing great and doing really well so far.”

Then there’s the player involvement in social issues, both the protests that have taken place across the country since June and the Let Us Play movement to try to save the upcoming football season from cancellation.

“We have not had any conversations,” Gray said. “We’re here to play football under great medical advice we’re receiving. There are no conversations.”

Gray is tuning out all the potential distractions in the hope that it will help revive the Blue Devil offense.

“Wait and see,” he said of the unit’s improvement. “I don’t have the answer to that. We’re just working hard as and offensive unit to come together, execute our responsibilities as best as we possibly can. Hopefully, by the time our first game comes around, everything will click for us.”