Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Duke hopes depth will aid 0-for-November drought

Duke is 0-13 in the month of November in David Cutcliffe’s three seasons, which gives you a good indication of the lack of depth in the Blue Devils’ program. Duke has some talent on its front line but lacks the back-ups that strong programs have, which is why the Devils get worn down as the season progresses.

This year, Cutcliffe believes Duke is better equipped for the rigors of the year.

“We’re much better,” Cutcliffe said Wednesday. “There’s no question, the last two Novembers we’ve come a part a little bit at the seams. There were a lot of reasons. Our people performed at a high level but there was a lot of pressure on a few players. It takes its toll. It’s like a baseball pitcher who throws a lot of pitches.”

Duke returns nine starters on offense, six on defense, and 40 lettermen overall. The Blue Devils aren’t saying they are Alabama or anything, but Cutcliffe did say he plans to play a total of about 40 players on offense and defense in Saturday’s home opener against Elon.

Last year, he said, Duke played only 14 on offense and 16 or 17 on defense in the opener against Richmond. Last year’s preseason was a bizarre one, with the team struggling with swine flu, but still, he said Duke would have played only around 30 or so players in the opener even if fully healthy.

“We’re getting competition at certain positions and we haven’t had that,” Cutcliffe said. “And that’s going to do nothing but continue to improve.”

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