DURHAM – Few people at Duke are better positioned than junior guard Matt Jones to get to the bottom of the biggest question facing the Blue Devils’ soon-to-be-unranked basketball program. …read more
Source:: Fayetteville Observer
The two offensive linemen are vying for spots with the Washington Redskins.
Smith, who played college football at ECU, grew up Kenly and attended North Johnston High School. He’s played in the NFL since 2011 having spent time with the Raiders and Chargers in between two stints with the Redskins.
Cofield, a Duke product, laced up his spikes at Tarboro High School. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in May.
By Clifton Barnes
Duke’s football fortunes are likely to rise and fall on the shoulders of new quarterback Thomas Sirk.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound redshirt junior whose career was slowed by a ruptured achilles takes over for Anthony Boone, who led the Devils to bowl berths.
Sirk has been known mostly as a runner. He came in 12 games last season and ran 47 times for 238 yards and eight touchdowns. He threw only 14 passes
but managed three throwing touchdowns.
He has stepped up big with a winning running TD against Pitt last season and a winning passing TD against Virginia.
“There is no question Thomas is our starter,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said at the preseason ACC media event in Pinehurst. “He’s a very capable quarterback,” he added, trying to dispel the notion that Sirk is just a runner.
Cutcliffe has reminded Sirk that the first person you’ve got to compete against is yourself. “He sets his sights high and I like that about him,” he said.
The backup at quarterback is redshirt sophomore Park Boehme (6-2, 220 pounds) and he is expected to get some action. In fact, Cutcliffe says he’ll play some in the first game. Boehme only took 15 snaps last season when games against inferior oppoenents were out of reach so expect his playing time to go down as the season progresses – unless Sirk is injured.
The game plan doesn’t have to change drastically with Boehme in the game as he also is a running and passing threat.
While Sirk is a question mark, Duke’s starting running back is expected to be solid.
Shaquille Powell, senior who rushed for 618 yards last season, is on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award given to the top running back in the NCAA.
The Blue Devils running game has improve drastically over the years for a Duke team known for passing. The Devils averaged 182 total rushing yards per game, the program’s highest total since 1977 when Duke rushed for 199 yards a game.
Cutcliffe said it’s “not an accident” that the running game has improved. He said the Devils have recruited well at running back and on the offensive front.
Cutcliffe said even if you are primarily known as a passing team, you’d better maintain the ability to run the football, which is something he admitted Duke didn’t do very well when he first started out as Duke coach in 2008.
By 2013, Cutcliffe had led the Blue Devils to their first-ever Division title and a berth in the ACC championship game, not to mention the first 10-win season in the school’s history.
Duke redshirt senior linebacker Kelby Brown’s will miss the 2015 season after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament last Tuesday. …read more
Meanwhile, NC State was shut out of NFL Draft for the first time since 1996 but Wolfpacker Tyson Chandler, a 6-6 340-pound offensive tackle, signed with the Lions.
ECU’s Carden might be in a decent situation joining a team that went just 5-11 and whose fans booed the starting quarterback, veteraan Jay Cutler.
Carden has the best numbers of any East Carolina quarterback in history with nearly 12,000 passing yards, 86 touchdowns and more than 1000 completions.
Pirate teammate Lamar Ivey, a physical safety, was signed by the Seattle Seahawks.
As for the 6-4, 310-pound Cofield, a Tarboro native, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said this before the draft, “Although guard Laken Tomlinson receives most of the attention on Duke’s offensive line, Cofield started 42 straight games at left tackle and has produced NFL worthy film of his own. He was a steady edge blocker for the Blue Devils, using adequate size, athleticism and constant hustle to get the job done. Cofield needs to introduce discipline to his play style to limit his lunges and improve his anchor to better sink in his stance to survive at the next level. Although he has wrinkles to iron out and his lack of range of physical tools aren’t ideal, Cofield shows promise and has enough talent to grow into a reserve swing tackle in the NFL – worth late round consideration.”
Cofield was a third-team All-ACC selection. His teammate quarterback Anthony Boone was signed by Detroit while Duke receiver Issac Blakeney was signed by the 49ers. Duke defensive end Jordan DeWalt-Ondigo, who was considered a possible draftee, signed with the Eagles.
The two UNC Tar Heel signed so far are cornerback Tim Scott, who was signed by the Cowboys, and tight end Jack Tabb, who was signed by the Saints. Scott impressed scouts with a 4.55 40-yard dash at UNC’s Pro Day prior to the draft but it wasn’t enough to get drafted.
The Redskins chose the ACC’s all-time receiving leader with the sixth pick of the fourth round, 105th overall.
“I just want an opportunity to get in the league, and I wouldn’t want to play for no better team than the Redskins,” Crowder said during a teleconference with reporters. “I’m excited.”
Crowder, at just 5-foot-8 185-pounds, caught 283 passes for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career.
“I feel like I’m one of the top receivers in this draft,” the Monroe native said. “I can go in and make an impact in the offense.”
But Redskins’ coach Jay Gruden sees Crowder as more of a force on special teams.
“We liked his big play ability,” Gruden said. “He can return punts, obviously. He’s going to be instant playmaker for us. That’s going to be a good one.”
The Redskins haven’t returned a punt for a touchdown since the 2008 season. Crowder, an All-America special teams player, returned four punts and one kickoff for touchdowns in college.
Gruden said the Redskins will look at Crowder as a kick returner as well.
“Special teams was something that I had great success with in college,” Crowder said. “I feel like that’s a way I can get on the field and be able to display my talents and abilities in the open field.”
Duke coach David Cutcliffe says the most important thing about Jamison is the type of person he is. “Jamison is another incredible example of a young man who has combined natural abilities with hard work to make his dreams come true,” he said. “Everyone sees his explosiveness and short space quickness, but it is his character that puts him in a very special category.”