Duke defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase and tight end Kenny Anunike will miss the rest of spring practice after suffering injuries in practice Wednesday, coach David Cutcliffe announced.
Coach David Cutcliffe broke with recent Duke recruiting strategy earlier this month by signing nine players from North Carolina in his second recruiting class with the Blue Devils.
Cutcliffe made the Blue Devils competitive inside the state when they have often concentrated elsewhere for recruiting in the past. Durham Hillside running back Desmond Scott was among the in-state prizes Duke landed.
Duke's decision to release the news of football coach David Cutcliffe's contract extension on Sunday at about noon provides some insight into how college sports information departments today use timing to maximize impact — and perhaps minimize scrutiny.
At that time of day on a Sunday, Dec. 21, a day after Wake Forest's football team won its bowl game in Washington, D.C., the Duke, UNC and N.C. State men's basketball teams all played (Duke and UNC on the road) and the Carolina Hurricanes lost in Boston, it was a pretty good bet that area reporters were either traveling or Christmas shopping when the Cutcliffe news broke, forcing them to scramble to respond.
Art Chase, Duke's sports information director, says the extension agreement was actually reached during the previous week, but he decided to hold it, in part because he didn't think it would be "played" as prominently with so many games scheduled Saturday.
From his point of view, Chase's tactic worked.
"ESPN News had it. The bottom-line ticker had it on ESPN yesterday, where sometimes it can get lost in the shuffle," he says. "From reading the region papers, I thought it got good play. For Sunday's paper, No. 1 North Carolina had a basketball game, N.C. State had a basketball game, Duke had a basketball game, and those were going to be your three major stories in terms of college athletics just in our region. I think waiting a day proved beneficial.
"Just look at The News & Observer. I don't believe the Cutcliffe extension would have gotten on the front page [of the Sports section] on Sunday, whereas we waited one day and it got on the front page of this morning's paper."
Despite the timing, Chase says, members of the media had the same access to athletic director Kevin White and Cutcliffe that they would have had on any other day. But it's doubtful that most reporters had as much time to report the story as they would have had on a weekday, which is why schools often release news about contracts, firings, suspensions and other potentially delicate topics after 5 p.m. on a weekday or sometime during the weekend.
"Yes, sometimes that is a factor when distributing news that could be perceived as negative," Chase says.
After coaching Duke to its highest win total since 2003, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season, athletics director Kevin White announced Sunday.
Financial terms of the contract were not released and are not available to the public because Duke is a private institution.
In his debut season in 2008, Cutcliffe coached Duke to a 4-8 record, equaling the team’s win total from the previous four seasons combined under predecessor Ted Roof. The Blue Devils faced the second-strongest schedule in the nation according to the Sagarin computer rankings.
DURHAM — Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday his favorite times of the year are Christmas and football recruiting season. The latter picks up on Sunday, after Duke hosts North Carolina in the 3:30 p.m. season finale. That contact period runs through Dec. 20th.
Actually, the hot recruiting time for football is the holiday season. After Dec. 20, there's a dead period (no contact, no evaluation) from Christmas through the New Year, then another 4-5 days that allow contact, then another dead period for the football coaches annual convention.
DURHAM — Duke coach David Cutcliffe announced Tuesday that sophomore defensive back Eddie Morgan has been dismissed from the team for "violation of team standards."
Duke can't afford to lose another body in the defensive secondary. Junior starter Leon Wright was lost for the season due to injury several weeks ago and Morgan had been a serviceable backup as well as a special teams performer before getting kicked off the team.
Morgan started one game and, over his two years with the program, made 23 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup.
DURHAM — Listening to Duke coach David Cutcliffe talk about how hard it is to play at Virginia Tech on Tuesday, you'd think he had a case of both home-crowd and recruiting class envy.
“Obviously, not many people go in there and win, and the reason is two-fold," Cutcliffe said during his regular press conference.
DURHAM — Duke junior QB Thaddeus Lewis is still day-to-day after injuring his ankle in Duke's loss at Clemson on Saturday. Junior backup QB Zack Asack, took his place during Duke's weekly press conference and said he hadn't been told who would start at Virginia Tech later this week.
Lewis has started 33 straight games. The only other time he missed time due to injury was when he got knocked out of the Virginia Tech game at Lane Stadium two years ago. Marcus Jones, now the starting strongside linebacker, replaced him then.
DURHAM —Duke coach David Cutcliffe is so desperate to get his Blue Devils executing at a higher level than they've achived this season that he had the team practice in full pads on Sunday. That means it was a full-contact practice and increased the chance of someone else getting injured with three games left in the regular season.
Cutcliffe was taking the chance because Duke ranks dead last in the ACC in red-zone offense (scoring on 25 of 36 chances) and plays Clemson, the team ranked fourth (25 of 29) in Death Valley on Saturday. Here Cutcliffe breaks down Clemson's and Duke's red zone play.
DURHAM — Duke coach David Cutcliffe worked in the SEC a long, long time so he has a gazillion stories. He opened his press conference on Tuesday with this one about his close encounter with the Mike V, the Bengal tiger who served as the LSU mascot from 1990 until his death in May 2007, in Baton Rouge as the Ole Miss coach in 1999.
You can listen to Cutcliffe tell the story in the audio clip below. Duke (4-5, 1-4 ACC) plays another set of Tigers, from Clemson (4-5, 2-4), on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised locally by Raycom.