DURHAM -- With the football season approaching, GoDuke.com sat down with defensive end Kenny Anunike, who will participate in his sixth preseason camp as a Blue Devil. Granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA, the Galena, Ohio, native has played in 40 career games at Duke while amassing 81 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 quarterback sacks.
GoDuke.com: Do you still get nervous for the beginning of preseason camp?
Kenny Anunike: There’s always going to be that slight nervousness, but I’m pretty used to it by now. The nervousness for me comes from more eagerness. I’m ready to get going and help take my team to the top.
GoDuke.com: What is your best advice for the freshmen about preseason camp?
KA: When it comes to football, just keep your nose in your playbook, listen to your coaches, take care of your body, get sleep, be where you’re supposed to be, don’t be late for meetings and go out there and give 110 percent effort.
GoDuke.com: What three words best describe preseason camp?
KA: Intense, tough and a blast.
GoDuke.com: What are your individual goals for preseason?
KA: I’m a student of the game and I’ll always be a student of the game, so just to continue to get better at what I do, continue to up my game in pass rush, continue to learn the game inside and out – learn offenses and continue to learn defenses. And strive to do everything that I’m doing better.
GoDuke.com: What did the team accomplish during the summer workout sessions?
KA: We really came together as a defensive unit, as an offensive unit and as a whole. Also, everybody just got stronger across the board. You can see guys’ bodies changing physically. The mindset has definitely changed. Guys are hungry. I don’t see too many guys wearing their bowl rings anymore because we want another one and we want to win this time. The Belk Bowl was awesome – it was a great stepping stone for this university, getting to a bowl game. But we’re ready to get another one and win.
GoDuke.com: How will the high number of experienced players help the defensive line unit this season?
KA: It’s really going to take a lot of pressure off of our back end because we’ve got a lot of young safeties and corners. Obviously we’ve got some veterans back there like Ross Cockrell. Up front, getting to the quarterback, putting pressure on the quarterback and not allowing plays to develop is really going to be big for us.
GoDuke.com: Being a part of the entire David Cutcliffe Era at Duke, how would you describe the changes in the program over the past five years?
KA: It’s remarkable. He took a program that was completely on the bottom of the barrel and is bringing it now to be a top ACC contender. We went 3-5 in the ACC last year – that’s not great, but it’s definitely a testament to Coach Cut’s ability to coach and change the entire mindset and the entire mentality of a team. He’s really switched this thing around. Going to a bowl game was huge – it’s not an accident that he got ACC Coach of the Year. Obviously Coach Cut is an awesome guy, awesome coach and he just brings the mentality of winning to a team.
GoDuke.com: What three words best describe Coach Cutcliffe?