Although it’s only the first week of practices for the Duke football team, the offensive unit is already running like a well-oiled machine.
“Our tempo on our offense is going so freaking fast it’s hard to keep up with them sometimes,” junior defensive tackle Carlos Wray said. “We’re going to give ourselves (the defense) some credit, too, but the offense is rolling.”
A big reason why the offense is rolling is the high tempo. Junior running back Shaquille Powell says offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery is implementing more speed in the offense to tire out opposing defenses.
“He (Montgomery) brings a lot more energy to our offense,” Powell said. “He wants to open up our offense. I think he’s a great change up for our offense and what we really need to elevate to that next level.”
Not only will the tempo of practice benefit the offense, but also the defense in its preparation to go up against speed of the ACC.
“We’re in ok condition, but we’re not in game condition yet,” Wray said. “That’s one thing that we’re getting adjusted to. The tempo of the offense is going a little bit faster than it did last year, and everybody else’s offense is going a little bit faster than it did last year.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone has been a driving force behind the offensive success. After finishing last season with the same number of touchdowns as interceptions (13), Boone has yet to be picked off by the Duke defense in practice.
“He’s (Boone) done a lot better with his decision making and trying to increase his accuracy and knowing how to read defenses better,” redshirt junior safety Jeremy Cash said.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ve seen from him that he really needed to improve on the most was his leadership,” Powell said. “We lost a lot of leadership last year, and him obviously being the quarterback, it’s like the field general for the offense.”
Cash noted how the young secondary will be targeted in the ACC this year. Playing against a veteran quarterback and a high-powered offense can only help prepare young cornerbacks like Breon Borders and Bryon Fields for the challenges ahead.
The intensity and competition of the first few practices has clearly set the tone for a Duke team that Wray says will be absolutely ready for opening day.
“Our practice is set up just like a ball game,” Wray said. “It’s as if we’re actually playing a game against our offense. When we get out there on the field against Elon, hopefully these practices pay off that the game slows down for us.”