Duke Archive


ECU’s Smith, Duke’s Cofield in camp with Redskins

williesmith+takobycofieldWillie Smith and Takoby Cofield grew up less than an hour from each other in eastern North Carolina. Now they’re on the same NFL team.

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.

Click to see a video story on the two.

Source: WITN


Duke: Cold Tub Chronicles – Part I

Part One of Three During Fall Camp …read more

Source:: GoDuke.com


Duke fortunes likely to rise or fall with new quarterback

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 […]

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.



Fourth knee injury ends Duke LB Brown’s collegiate career

Duke redshirt senior linebacker Kelby Brown’s will miss the 2015 season after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament last Tuesday. …read more
Duke rallies, holds on to top Wake Forest, 28-21

Duke redshirt senior linebacker Kelby Brown’s will miss the 2015 season after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament last Tuesday. …read more


Undrafted: Duke’s Cofield signed by Redskins; ECU’s Carden by Bears

Takoby Cofield.

Takoby Cofield.

Now that the NFL draft is over, those who went undrafted are being made offers from teams as undrafted free agents. Several in North Carolina have already been signed including East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden (Bears) and Duke’s offensive tackle Takoby Cofield (Redskins).

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.


Skins get a character guy in Crowder who will make impact this year

Jamison Crowder.

Jamison Crowder.

Duke’s Jamison Crowder is planning on being a wide receiver in the NFL but he’ll make an immediate impact returning punts, and possibly kickoffs, for the Washington Redskins in 2015.

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.”


Syracuse wins as Duke comeback comes up short in lacrosse finals

Kevin Rice.

Kevin Rice.

Third-seeded Syracuse overcame a slow start and held on late to beat fourth-seeded Duke, 15-14, to claim the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Sunday at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

With the Orange leading 15-12, Thomas Zenker and Myles Jones scored for Duke within 24 seconds to make it a one-goal game with 2:32 remaining. The Syracuse defense then kept the Blue Devils from scoring the late equalizer as the Orange won its first ACC title in its second year in the league.

Kevin Rice, Randy Staats, and Nicky Galasso led the way for Syracuse (11-2) with three goals apiece.

Rice was named the Most Valuable Player after tallying seven points on three goals and four assists on Sunday and two goals and two assists in the semifinals on Friday.

“Playing two games in three days against top six teams is sort of what you will see in the Final Four,” said Rice. “To know we can go in and win a game the first day, get our preparation in quickly and get our bodies back and win another game at the end of the weekend is good to know moving forward.”

The 29 goals scored equaled the championship game record, set in each of the last two years. It marked the sixth time in league history that the title game was decided one goal.

Jack Bruckner posted five goals and Myles Jones chipped in with a hat trick to lead the Duke (11-5) offense.

The Orange converted on 3-of-4 extra-man opportunities, while Duke did not score on four attempts, including two in the fourth quarter.

“I think we understood who they were,” said Syracuse head coach John Desko on his defense against Duke’s man-up offense. “I give Bobby Wardwell a lot of credit for the saves that he made today. I was surprised with the numbers, the amount of situations and all over play. He saved us today.”

After giving up a goal less than a minute into the game to Nicky Galasso, Duke strung together five straight to grab control in the first quarter.

Syracuse opened up the second quarter with its own 5-0 run to take the lead, 7-6. Orange goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell made four saves in the frame to help Syracuse get back into the game.

“We did a better job with our possessions,” said Desko on the turnaround after the early deficit. “Especially in the first quarter, we had a lot of turnovers on the offensive end of the field and gave them the ball back. Every time we got a faceoff with Ben (Williams), I think that gave us a little spurt in those situations too. I think we got on a little bit of a roll and figured out who they were defensively and what they were doing.”

Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats scored the final two goals of the first half to give Syracuse a 9-7 lead heading into halftime.

Duke’s Jack Bruckner scored less than a minute after halftime to pull the Blue Devils to within one goal, but Syracuse answered with tallies from Rice and Galasso to push the lead to three, 11-8.

The third and fourth quarters saw back-and-forth action, with the Orange unable to pull away and the Blue Devils unable to tie the game.

Duke fired four shots in the last two minutes after pulling to within one goal, but could not get the last score needed to send the game to overtime.

“Defensively, we haven’t been overly outstanding over the course of the year,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “We are playing so many young people in so many new positions. For our guys, it’s not so much a matter of preparing for your opponent as much as it is trying to get better ourselves and working on what we do.”

The Blue Devils outshot Syracuse, 43-35, and both teams grabbed 34 ground balls. Wardwell (11-2) made eight saves for the Orange in the victory.

Led by Kyle Rowe, Duke was 21-of-32 on faceoffs.

With the victory at PPL Park and the 9-8 sudden victory overtime win in the women’s tournament, Syracuse becomes the third school in ACC history to sweep the men’s and women’s titles.

All-Tournament Team

Kevin Rice, Syracuse (MVP)
Bobby Wardwell, Syracuse
Brandon Mullins, Syracuse
Nicky Galasso, Syracuse
Randy Staats, Syracuse
Jack Bruckner, Duke
Case Matheis, Duke
Kyle Rowe, Duke
Myles Jones, Duke
Chad Tutton, North Carolina
Nick Ossello, Notre Dame


Duke upsets ND to earn trip to lacrosse finals vs. Syracuse, winners over UNC

acclaxDuke upset Notre Dame while Syracuse upset North Carolina to set up a Duke-Syracuse ACC lacrosse final Sunday.

Fourth-seeded Duke jumped out to a big lead and withstood a late comeback attempt to defeat top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, 13-8, Friday night in the semifinals of the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

Second-ranked North Carolina came from down by three in the second half to tie fourth-ranked (third-seeded) Syracuse 8-8 in the fourth quarter. But, while the Tar Heels had held the Orange scoreless for almost 25 minutes, Syracuse’s Kevin Rice wrapped around from behind the goal to score with 1:48 left to give the Orange a 9-8 victory.

A controversial offsides call on UNC’s Chad Tutton, who had scored two straight goals to tie it at 8, ended any chance the Tar Heels had to come behind in the last minute.

“I thought it was a great call myself,” Syracuse coach John Desko said with a wry smile. “I didn’t really see it.”

Case Matheis led the way for Duke with four goals on seven shots, with Justin Guterding adding three goals in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA National Championship game. With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 11-4 and avenged a 15-10 regular season loss to the Irish on April 4.

“It’s awesome,” said Matheis on reaching the championship game. “In my first two years we lost in the semis. Those games are turning points in that they were losses. This time we won and it’s another turning point in building our confidence and building our team dynamic.”

UNC-Syracuse box score


UNC tennis edges Duke to advance to ACC semifinals

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

With a spot in the ACC semifinals at stake, the fourth-seeded North Carolina men’s tennis team edged fifth-seeded Duke 4-3 on Friday in a marathon at Cary Tennis Park that lasted longer than four hours. The Tar Heels dropped the doubles point but battled back to tie the match at 3-3, setting up sophomore Jack Murray for his match-clinching victory on court four in a winner-take-all third set.

Carolina improves to 21-9 with the win, while the Blue Devils fall to 22-6.

Doubles play got off to a promising start for the Tar Heels, with Murray and fellow sophomore Ronnie Schneider notching an 8-5 victory over Duke’s pair of Raphael Hemmeler and Daniel McCall. However, the Blue Devils would take control on courts two and three to secure the point. At the No. 2 spot, senior Esben Hess-Olesen and sophomore Brayden Schnur rallied from down 6-3 to force a tiebreaker, but the duo ultimately fell to Duke’s Josh Levine and Jason Tahir 8-7. With the doubles point up for grabs, Carolina’s 39th-ranked pair of junior Brett Clark and freshman Robert Kelly dropped a rare match at the hands of TJ Pura and Bruno Semenzato, 8-6. The loss snapped Clark and Kelly’s nine-match win streak that dated back to Feb. 20 at Texas.

Singles competition did not disappoint for the UNC fans that ventured out to Cary Tennis Park. The Tar Heels were able to tally four wins – including three in three sets – to steal a win from its archrival.

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Saturday at 10 a.m. against top-seeded Virginia in the semifinals. The Cavaliers are 2-0 versus UNC this season.


Cutcliffe talks about Duke spring football

David Cutcliffe.

David Cutcliffe.

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: As Mike mentioned,
February 28th we had our spring game. We
started immediately after national Signing Day in
recruiting. So we were pleased. Obviously, the
big questions were replacing a big defensive front.
Four of our starters are gone. Lose two
outstanding longtime starters
on the offensive line.
And then replacing Anthony Boone and
Jamison Crowder and David Helton, very
productive players for us. David leading the ACC
in tackles the last two years. Anthony, the
winningest quarterback in Duke football history.
And Jamison Crowder, who has caught more
passes than anyone other than Conner Vernon in
ACC football history.
So that’s our focus. We like our team. We
like their work ethic. We just have to go see what
we can do on the field at this point. Our guys are
working hard in the off-season, which is a great
thing to see.
I’ll take your questions.

Q. I know that it’s kind of off the
football field, but the Penn relays this weekend,
you have a few guys, and I know you like your
fast guys to get faster, so DeVon Edwards,
Ryan Smith, just what you can say how
important it is to have some of these guys do
track and field before they go to football?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: It started early in my
career at the University of Tennessee when Stan
Huntsman was our track coach. We had a lot of
people — Willie Gault, Sam Graddy probably being
the most well-known that were extremely
successful in both sports, and they go hand in
hand, and I like our speed.
We have more guys that
can run, but also they love it, and one of the things I do is I make
sure they’re doing every other thing right before we
let them do it, and DeVon and Ryan continue to
earn that opportunity. And DeVon Edwards is
probably our fastest player on our squad, and I say
probably because it would be a good race.
But I’m happy for them, and I think it’s
great for Duke track and field. Those guys — last
year we had a full group run 400 meters, and they
almost set the school record the first time out. So
I’m happy for them. It should be fun.

Q. And then as far as the spring, just
what you were able to take away, maybe some
of the leaders that you saw step up for you
coming out of spring, some of those guys that
really have meant something to you as far as
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: I think on the
defensive side, it was very evident, starting with
Jeremy Cash, the entire secondary. DeVon
Edwards, who we already talked about, Deondre
Singleton, Bryon Fields, Breon Borders. We
returned our entire secondary, and those guys
have great energy and tempo.
We’ll just flip quickly over to the offensive
side, Matt Skura, our fine center. Lucas Patrick,
the returning guard, that are both seniors that just
really do a tremendous job. Shaquille Powell is as
good a leader as I’ve been around, our starting
tailback. And Max McCaffery out at wide receiver.
So I thought our habits, our work habits all
spring were outstanding, really based — and Carlos
Wray, I should mention in our defensive front.
Those guys really did set a tempo along with the
returning of Kelby Brown and Braxton Deaver, who
are back, thank goodness, for sixth years. So you
really like this team’s temperament and work

Q. I wanted to ask you about the
defensive front. Since you’ve had a couple of
months now since spring practice ended, what
have you seen from your film review of spring
ball and the way that group got their work
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, I was really
pleased with our starters, really good spring. A.J.
Wolf solidified himself starting alongside Carlos
Wray, and he has just become more and more
powerful and has done a nice job of improving
himself. And he’s played a lot of football, but he’s
ready and showed that.
Kyler Brown had a great spring. He’s
comfortable at defensive end. Britton Grier is
coming into his own. Both of those guys played a
lot of football, but they
played like seniors.
And then I was pleased what we have with
our young people inside, Mike Ramsey, Quaven
Ferguson, Edgar Cerenord, Keilin Rayner. And
then on the outside, we moved Allen Jackson
outside, and I thought he had a really good spring.
Deion Williams finished strong. Marquies Price,
who is a midyear guy, got a ways to go, but he
could be as talented as anybody we’ve ever had.
So just a lot of positives about our
defensive front, and the more we study it, the more
we like what we’re seeing. And then I think,
obviously, we do believe we have some guys
coming in here this summer to join us that could
impact us. So I think that’s another great part of
what we’re looking at from a depth standpoint.

Q. One followup. You mentioned Kelby
and Braxton. I know they didn’t work out in
spring ball, but how are they coming along with
their injuries? Do you expect any drawbacks
for them come the start of practice?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: No. They’ll be full
speed. They’re close to that now. There’s no
benefit in rushing them out there. Their rehab is
going outstanding. Both of them feel good. Their
presence, their leadership presence was felt all
They did a great job of being out on the
field, basically coaching, encouraging, challenging.
It’s like having, instead of
9 assistant coaches this
spring, it was like having 11, seriously. So I
thought they impacted our spring practice in a big

Q. Just curious the last couple years
with your guys’ recent success, how much
easier, how much more receptive, have you
seemed to notice a difference on the road in
recruiting and going out on the road? How
much difference is it for you guys?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: I can go back to
pinpoint all the way back to playing Texas A&M in
a great slot, national television slot on New Year’s
Eve, where so many people saw us. I think that
was a turning point in recruiting because people
view you differently, and they do view us
differently, thank goodness. So it’s helped without
We’ve always had great name recognition.
I think people know that and believe that we do
things the right way, but kids want to win. When
you win, it certainly impacts everything about your
program. Also, the other part of it is, when you
win, you have a lot of continuity within your staff,
and I’m very pleased with our coaching staff. I
think we have as fine a coaching staff as there is in
the country.

Q. Obviously, Thomas Sirk got a head
start because he’s got game experience, but
have you seen anybody step forward in the
quarterback race this spring? Where does that
situation stand?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Right now Thomas
Sirk is our number one. Parker Boehme is our
number two, and Parker had a great spring. I’ve
just gained more and more confidence in both of
them. I trust both of them in every aspect of who
they are, which is fun as the coach. They’re
talented. They throw it well.
They will be the pair, and then you throw
Nico Pierre is number three. As a threesome,
they’re the best running quarterbacks we’ve ever
had, but these guys can throw it. I thought
Thomas Sirk had a great spring throwing the
football. He’s a big guy, 6’5″, 220. He’s got touch.
He’s got great arm strength, and then he can
create as well as Parker.
So it’s just going to be an interesting
continuing battle, but it’s obviously one of the
things we like to do is play multiple quarterbacks.
You just mentioned it. I believe these guys are
going to allow us to do that.

Q. Just out of curiosity, how much
bump, or do you get one at all for what the
basketball team did last month?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: It’s awesome. Love
it. People think Duke, they think winning. It’s just
an all around positive impact for our university, and
Duke basketball has been for a long time.
We won the championship back in 2010
and we felt it. You’re in the public eye, and we
have already felt it again. So we are thrilled for
them, proud of them, but we certainly benefit from

Q. Good afternoon. Obviously, you
lost a very talented receiver, as you said, you
lost a couple of receivers and a couple of
offensive linemen. How do those positions
look to you coming out of the spring?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: We had veterans,
Cody Robinson and Tanner Stone, competing for
that right guard spot. Our left tackle spot, we have
a sophomore, Gabe Brandner, that ended up
number one.
I thought he had a great spring. I feel
good. I feel better about our depth. We have
some good young talent, and some of them have
now played some. So really not backed up in
many places where people haven’t played in the
offensive line, which I think is important.
I thought our receivers had an exceptional
spring. I thought Jeff Faris, our receiver coach, set
a great tempo. You lose Jamison. You lose Isaac
Blakeney, who were two of our starters. We got
Max McCaffery and Johnell, who we considered
starters, Johnell Barnes. And our young people
really got better. Ryan Smith really got better.
We got a receiving corps, and I think that our depth
is better, and we will be able to play more people.
Again, I thought from practice habits and overall
drill performance, which is a lot of what spring
practice is, our receivers led the way for our team.
So I was pleased with their work.