TDD Practice Notes -- Early Returns

The Blue Devils kicked off the 2005 season with the first practice of the season on Monday night in Durham. With so many questions surrounding the team heading into head coach Ted Roof's second full season, TDD had several eyes and ears on and around the practice field.

The Big Man On Campus

Many of those covering the Blue Devils for the first time this season had a chance to get their first look at super freshman Vince Oghobaase. Unfortunately it was without pads as the 6'6, 330lbs Texan was held out of most exercises as he continues to recover from early spring surgery. However, "VO" was able to jog around the track and seems to be getting stronger and stronger. The unofficial word still suggests that he'll be available in Greenville.

Injury Bug Bites Early

John Talley, perhaps Duke's top defensive player, has a dressing on his left arm after being dinged up in the early seven on seven drills. Despite the "look of the injury", he's not expected to be out any appreciable length of time. This injury is not expected to keep him off the field, nor out of the starting lineup, when Duke meets East Carolina.

The Injury Bug Is Swatted

After rehabbing, Phillip Alexander looks to be rounding back into form. Now tipping the scales at close to 280lbs, the fifth year senior looks to be thrilled to be back on the field. Alexander's final surgery, to clean up any lingering problems took place over the summer and seems to have made all the difference in the world. While still not 100%, he is expected to work himself towards full strength as the preseason continues.

Me and Mr. Jones

Coming into school, it was rumored that Marcus Jones would get a look at a number of different positions including receiver and quarterback. On Day One he was throwing and taking snaps with the QBs and showed some mobility. Most notable was Jones' ability to step back and punt the ball, something that could prove useful when Duke decides to use a bit of trickery at various times, since Jones is elusive and possesses a strong arm to go with a good looking leg.

The Freshman "Catchers"

With the loss of Chancellor Young and Corey Thompson, the Blue Devils are once again back to square one when it comes to wide receiver. Eventually you may see Jones move from passing to catching, which would continue to build on the theme of the Duke receiver – be tall, be quick, and have soft hands. Throughout the practice we observed many onlookers who were very impressed with the young grouping under the guidance of Coach David Kelly. One of the lasting comments was: "Man, those guys look good. It's like the kid from Clemson last year – they are really tall and strong."

Kicking It

Freshman kicker Joe Surgan looks to be as advertised. He's a big kicker (6'4, 210) and he gets all that size behind him when blasting the ball. From the first day it doesn't look like he'll have much trouble getting the ball off the ground and through the top of the uprights.

Guess Who's Coming To Visit

California prep TE Will Yeatman was on campus Sunday and certainly looks the part of an early impact player. The 6'6, 255lbs Rancho Bernardo High standout toured the campus and the visit reportedly went very well. A notable quote was regarding just how big Yeatman is: "This kid is able to look VO in the eye, and he's wearing size 16 shoes.". Duke isn't finished hosting big time recruits either. Pennsylvania fullback Brandon King is on campus Tuesday with his family.

Fryer Returns

As noted on The Roof Top, TDD's premium football forum, Aaron Fryer has returned to the Duke program after an absence. Early word seems to suggest a redshirt will take place, though nothing has been set in stone, and Fryer could certainly change those plans with a strong preseason.

Rolling the Tide

Duke will in fact begin a series with the Alabama Crimson Tide next season when Duke will travel to Tuscaloosa for the first leg of the series. A return game will be played with the Blue Devils hosting the Tide at a "neutral site" that has yet to be determined.

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