DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke football team kicked off spring drills on Wednesday morning, working out for nearly two hours in shorts and helmets at the Brooks Practice Facility. The session marked the first of 15 total practice dates for the Blue Devils, with the annual Spring Game set for Saturday, March 26 in Wallace Wade Stadium.
“We had a good first day, especially with our energy,” head coach David Cutcliffe said following the workout.
With 14 redshirt freshmen roaming the field on Wednesday, several on-lookers needed a roster to match numbers to names. Once practice begins in August, Duke will have 57 of its 85 scholarship players entering just their second season of eligibility.
“The freshmen we redshirted had a good fall; they’ve understood what we’ve expected from them,” said Cutcliffe. “Now the stakes are higher. One of the intentions we had today was to throw them right into the fire, and they handled themselves.”
Due to the graduation of Abraham Kromah and injury to Kelby Brown, practice repetitions at both of Duke’s linebacker slots are open for the taking. On Wednesday, rising juniors Austin Gamble and Tyree Glover played primarily with the first defensive unit while redshirt freshman C.J. France and redshirt sophomore Kevin Rojas took the gridiron with the second team. In pass skeleton drills, both Glover and France displayed a knack for the big play – Glover with an interception on a deep pass down the middle of the field and France with a diving grab of a tipped ball near the line of scrimmage.
With his transition from wide receiver to cornerback, Tony Foster now wears jersey number 31, replacing his original number of 80. In addition, senior cornerback Johnny Williams has reverted back to jersey number 37, the numeral he donned in both 2008 and 2009 when he caught 61 passes as a wide receiver. Williams sported jersey number 3 last fall after moving to the defensive secondary.
Duke is scheduled to the practice field on Friday morning. Season tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at www.GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-375-3853.