Spring does not officially begin until March 20, but Duke head coach David Cutcliffe does not follow your silly calendar. For Cutcliffe, Spring 2014 begins on February 7 when his Blue Devils begin Spring practice Friday. Seriously.
It has been only 38 days since the Blue Devils’ season ended with a loss to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and just two days since national signing day, but Cutcliffe’s team will hit the field almost a full month earlier than it did last season. The 2013 squad started practice on March 4.
“I think our squad is loving it,” Cutcliffe said of the early start. “It allows us to finish before spring break. If, God forbid, we had an injury we have a better opportunity to get a player back for August or September.”
The Blue Devils won ten games and won the ACC Coastal Division for the first time last season to clinch the best season in program history. The Blue Devils also competed in bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time.
“I like the momentum of this squad,” Cutcliffe said. “I like our returning squad. I want to see our young people in an environment where we’re not putting a bunch of things in, we’re going to think players, not plays. I want to see our young people compete.”
The Duke Spring game will be held on March 1, which is before most teams even begin practice. For example, the Durham Herald-Sun points out that Duke’s rival – North Carolina – start their spring drills on March 5.
It’s an interesting approach by Cutcliffe to keep the momentum of the program moving forward. The reasoning that players could return from potential injury certainly makes sense, but at the same time, with the extended layoff before Fall practice begins, players might be rusty once the season rolls around.
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