Duke coach realigns staff, gives up play-calling duties

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 15, 2021

DURHAM (AP) — Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is giving up play-calling duties amid multiple changes in responsibilities for the Blue Devils coaching staff following a two-win season.

Cutcliffe took over play-calling last season as the Blue Devils sought an offensive spark, but said Thursday he needed to return to taking a broader program overview.

“I increased the (difficulty) for me, and I don’t think that it allowed me to be everything that I needed to be for our team,” Cutcliffe said Thursday in a video call with reporters.

Duke improved its total offense (379.4) last year from 2019, but still ranked near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils also saw their scoring dip slightly (24.8) while losing a national-worst 39 turnovers.

The school said Jeff Faris would shift from coaching tight ends to quarterbacks while taking over as primary in-game play-caller. Faris was named co-offensive coordinator along with Re’quan Boyette, who is moving from coaching running backs to receivers.

Cutcliffe said he decided to shuffle responsibilities after cornerbacks coach Chris Hampton left to become Tulane’s defensive coordinator, saying that “realigning” the staff would create “new energy.”

Other changes included adding Calvin Magee as running backs coach, deputy head coach Zac Roper overseeing tight ends after four seasons coaching quarterbacks, and receivers coach Trooper Taylor moving to cornerbacks coach.

Duke (2-9, 1-9 ACC) missed a bowl for the second straight season after going to six in seven years.