Duke prepared for Troy, Alabama heat

Welcome back to Three and Out, readers. Duke will head to Troy on Friday, ahead of the 7 p.m. kickoff time Saturday. And in a testament to coach David Cutcliffe’s thoroughness (a trait of most successful college coaches), the Blue Devils’ schedule for Saturday is mapped out, the result of years of trial and error. A wake up time that’s not too early, but not too late, time for a few meals, time to relax, etc.

Speaking of thoroughness …

The Blue Devils go through a seminar on hydration the first day they report to preseason camp. That way, the hope is that the team’s hydration habits are set on a solid foundation and there doesn’t need to be any last-second freak out before a game like this.

“(Strength coach Noel) Durfey always stresses to get your gallon of water a day, so I try to always drink a gallon a day,” quarterback Thomas Sirk said. “My biggest thing is drinking a glass of water right when you wake up in the morning. That’s something I’ve always done, right when I wake up, first thing I do is drink a glass of water.”

“I cringe a lot,” Cutcliffe said. “That’s what I was getting ready to say. I would much prefer him to run like a quarterback than run like a fullback. That doesn’t mean he has to be soft. I’m not talking about getting down on the ground. He’s just got to be smart; he has got to be behind his pads. He’s a big, tall guy. I don’t want to take his competitive edge away from him.

“But I want him to remember that you can be fast and tough, so play fast. Use his speed a little bit more than using his power.”

“That position, if you look at what we do with them, they essentially play fullback, they play tight end, which puts you almost playing like a tackle They play wide receiver, they go in motion, they block on the perimeter, they block inside,” Cutcliffe said. “If you’re going to be a successful tight end, at any level, you’re going to play more like a tackle than you do a receiver. Six catches a game in 12 games, 72 catches. How many tight ends had 72 catches in collegiate football? Maybe one or two or three. If you play 50 snaps, the rest of them are without the football. I would rather them play like a tackle.”

In case you were curious, just one tight end caught more than 72 passes last year – Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, who caught 106. UNC’s Eric Ebron was second nationally with 62 catches.

“If you’re a young corner, you better have good enough feet to get yourself out of trouble,” he said, “Because you are going to get yourself in trouble.”

True freshmen Alonzo Saxton II and Zach Muniz both fit that bill. They are the second pair of true freshmen corners to play at Duke in as many years (Breon Borders and Bryon Fields did last year).