DURHAM, N.C. – Duke assistant coach Re'quan Boyette heads into his eighth season mentoring Duke's running backs in 2019. He joined the Blue Devil staff in July of 2012 and served as a graduate assistant coach during the 2012 season before being promoted to assistant coach in February of 2013.
A native of Wilson, N.C., Boyette lettered five seasons (2005-06-07-08-09) as a running back at Duke and served as team captain in both 2008 and 2009. Rushing 314 times for 1,202 yards and five touchdowns in his career, he became the 37th player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard mark on the ground. Boyette, who missed the entire 2008 campaign due to injury, twice led the Blue Devils in rushing, in 2006 and 2007.
After Monday morning’s fifth practice of the spring, Boyette caught up with GoDuke.com to provide a spring update.
GoDuke.com: How does having two veteran running backs help the overall group from a leadership standpoint?
RB: “It helps big time, especially from a leadership standpoint, because Brittain Brown and Deon Jackson both have been here. They both have done it and they both have the respect of their teammates. I think that’s where it starts when you are talking about leaders, having the respect of your teammates. Both of those guys have it. They’re older and they’ve played enough. That helps with Mataeo [Durant] and guys who haven’t played as much and had the experience.”
GoDuke.com: What are one or two things that you are focused on, as far as improvement, for the spring?
RB: “You asked for one or two, but we have three goals. The first goal is that we wanted to improve our ball security. We had too many fumbles, in my opinion, last year. We need to clean that up. The little details of ball security, like understanding when you are in traffic, what to do with the ball when you’re not in traffic and where to have it. Also, our pad leverage needs to improve. We’re big and strong, but I thought a couple of times we ran too high. If we run lower, we can get what we call 'dirty yards,' or those yards after contact, a lot better. The third thing for us is everybody being able to play in our empty package, not just one guy. We want to have every back being interchangeable in everything we do.”
GoDuke.com: What have you seen from the quarterback group in the spring that excites you?
RB: “All of them are eager. When you talk about Quentin Harris, he is a veteran who understands our playbook. He has been around, is a leader and has the respect of his teammates. That’s where our leadership and experience as running backs can help, too - just taking a load off of those guys sometimes if they need it. Quentin has done a good job of taking control of the offense, being a leader and gaining control of what we want to do.”
GoDuke.com: What does it mean to you to work at your alma mater?
RB: “It’s an absolute blessing. A lot of guys don’t have this opportunity. I’m just thankful to God. Having opportunities to be here with great people, people I love and people who are amazing is the biggest thing for me. I am around great people. These are people I love and who do great things for other people. I just love it. It’s home for me. True home is only an hour away. You can’t beat that, having family here. Being married now and all of that, we are talking about all different experiences. It’s just fun. You can’t beat it and I wouldn’t want to trade it.”
GoDuke.com: What is one word to describe each of your guys?
RB: “Deon Jackson: versatile.
Brittain Brown: dynamic.
Mataeo Durant: electric.
Marvin Hubbard III: speedster, a home run hitter.
Elijah Deveaux: hardworking.
Ryan Wolitzer: great."
GoDuke.com: How did you spend spring break?
RB: “Hawai'i. The colors are just brighter. That might sound crazy, but they just look brighter. The water was phenomenal. We had a great time because we don’t always get to spend time together. For my wife and me, it was great to spend time together away from home.”
GoDuke.com: Would you rather win an Olympic medal, and Academy Award or a Nobel Peace Prize?
RB: “A Nobel Peace Prize. No question."
GoDuke.com: What is the sound you love the most?
RB: “My wife's voice."
GoDuke.com: If you could be a cartoon character for one week, which one would you be?
RB: “I would be Doug Funnie."