DURHAM, N.C. – Duke assistant coach Jeffrey Faris enters his sixth season on the Blue Devil staff for the 2017 season. Faris joined the Duke staff in July of 2012 and served as a graduate assistant coach, working primarily with the offense, for the 2012 and 2013 seasons before being promoted to assistant coach in March of 2014.
This fall, Faris’ wide receiving unit will return three of its top four targets from 2016 as T.J. Rahming, Johnathan Lloyd and Chris Taylor are back in the fold. Earlier this week, Faris spent time with GoDuke.com.
GoDuke.com: A little more than halfway through the spring season, how do you think your wide receivers have performed so far?
Jeffrey Faris: I think we have done a pretty good job. We are not where we need to be, but we’re on our way. One thing I’ve been pleased with is the number of guys contributing and pushing the guys near the top of the depth chart. That is always good. We have more guys doing that now than we have in the past. I think we’re going to be able to play more guys and have more earning the right to play this year than in the past.
GoDuke.com: How do you instill the competitive nature you and Coach Cutcliffe are looking for within the group?
JF: All our guys know that every single thing they do is evaluated – every single rep and drill. We’re trying to make everything we do as competitive as possible. Every explosive play we make we’re dunking that football into the explosive play bucket. We’re having fun out here. Guys know if they don’t bring their best, they’re not going to be a starter the next day. Or if they’re in the second group, they’ll go to the third group because a No. 3 is going to bring his best and move up. The competitive spirit has brought the level of play up for everyone. I’ve been pleased with that.
GoDuke.com: Who has developed as a leader among wide receivers?
JF: Without a doubt that’s Johnathan Lloyd. He leads by example on the field and in the meeting room every single day by the way he works. He can also get on guys; he’s a vocal leader as well. He has done a tremendous job this spring.
GoDuke.com: Which younger receivers have made an impact this spring?
JF: I think Aaron Young is coming along. Scott Bracey has also done a good job. Keyston Fuller may be the most improved receiver from the end of last season to now. I’ve really been pleased with his progress. Keyston did a great job with the time he wasn’t on the field due to his knee injury last summer and early fall. He studied the play book and was attentive in meetings. Now that he’s 100 percent, he knows it as if he was going full speed all last year. Now you can tell he has earned confidence in that knee. He has looked as athletic as ever. He’s an explosive athlete who we will have to find ways to get the ball.
GoDuke.com: How do you feel Duke’s offense as a whole is progressing this spring?
JF: I think we’re becoming a more physical team and playing together. It has been fun to watch the guys compete every single day as one unit on offense. Today it may Aaron Young making a play. Tomorrow it may be Johnathan Lloyd. Everyone is working his tail off and pulling in the right direction. I’m really excited about this year.