Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Devils need to up physical ante vs. Deacons

Duke coach David Cutcliffe acknowledged Tuesday that for his program to continue to move forward, the Blue Devils are going to have to end their 10-game losing streak against Wake Forest.

And to do that, they're going to have to up the physical ante against the Demon Deacons. Cutcliffe said he was happy with his defense's effort in Saturday's 41-27 win over Elon, but the Blue Devils made too many mistakes. They'll have to fix that and face a far rougher and tougher opponent in Winston-Salem on Saturday.

"If we don't, we're in trouble," Cutcliffe said. "We had a high-contact practice this morning. You can't get ready for (Wake's) running game without doing that in practice. ... There's no hiding behind records and streaks. Ten is a row is a big streak, a pretty serious one."

Cutcliffe also expressed his pleasure in Thad Lewis making the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster, noting that while he has coached many NFL quarterbacks, the short period of time he had to work with Lewis as well as Lewis' personality and character may have made their experience together the most satisfying of Cutcliffe's career.

Asked if his work molding Lewis into an NFL quarterback in only two years together might help recruiting, Cutcliffe chuckled.

"If you're a quarterback and you're not smart enough to see what we can do with a quarterback, I don't want you," Cutcliffe said. "I'm not being cocky. That's just a fact."

-- Chip Alexander, News & Observer