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Duke notes: Scott will start at tailback

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DURHAM – Sophomore tailback Desmond Scott, who led Duke’s rushers with 262 yards last season, has earned the starting nod against Elon on Saturday because “he’s a player that’s good in every phase,’’ coach David Cutcliffe said.

“Whether that’s running screens, whether he’s a route runner or running the football – he’s got a nice knack of running the football,’’ Cutcliffe added Tuesday. “Maybe he’s not the fastest one, but he certainly finds a way to find seams and cracks, and he’s been the most consistent guy at gaining 4 and 5 yards, minimum, per carry. … And he’s taken care of the ball.”

All of those attributes will be key for the Devils, who averaged only 2.2 yards per carry and 762 rushing yards total last season, and relied heavily on its passing game.

“I don’t think we would call what we saw a year ago a ‘running game,’ so the first thing is to see one, period,’’ Cutcliffe said, laughing. “I think we have a collection of backs that are interesting, and bring a lot to the table. … When you complete passes, it’s hard not to want to throw 70 balls a game and stop running. But we’ve got to run the ball to make ourselves better as a team.”

KICKER STILL UNDECIDED: Kevin Jones will punt, and Will Snyderwine will kick off. But Cutcliffe, as of Tuesday afternoon, still hadn’t decided between between Snyderwine, a redshirt junior, and senior Nick Maggio as starting place kicker.

Snyderwine made 17 of 20 field goals last season, but has been inconsistent since the spring.

BRIEFLY: Cutcliffe said four true freshmen will likely play against Elon: running backs running back Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson, wide receiver Brandon Braxton, and backup quarterback Brandon Connette. “Still evaluating a couple circumstances on defense, that I’ll make a later decision in the week,’’ Cutcliffe said. … Wide receiver-turned-cornerback Johnny Williams is not listed as a starter on the depth chart, but will play in “numerous situations.” … The team voted for three permanent captains: Center Bryan Morgan, cornerback Chris Rwabukamba and  linebacker Abraham Kromah. Coaches each week will vote for an addition game captain; Saturday, that will be tight end Brett Huffman.

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About the blogger

Robbi Pickeral has covered ACC sports for The News & Observer since 2003. She can be reached at robbi.pickeral@newsobserver.com.
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