Re'quan Boyette: It's been great so far. We just finished our 10th practice, I think, and we've got a few more. Overall the morale of the team is very good and we're all just trying to learn and improve. We're looking for players to step up and become the kind of playmakers we need to compete. There are a lot of players with that potential and it's essential that they continue to work hard. We're really focusing on special teams as well. We need to be sound in that area of the game to put points on the board on Saturdays.
You mentioned the search for playmakers, who has stepped up to date?
Defensively the guy is probably Jordan Byas. That guy is so quick and big, and he hits hard. He's always playing with intensity and he's going to be very good for us. I would also add in Matt Daniels at safety and Damian Thornton at linebacker.
Focusing on you for a bit, how is the knee?
It's fine and rehab is going well. We're in the middle of practice so it's aching and sore at the moment. It's been a year and I'm continuing to get back to full speed. This summer is when I'll really have a chance to go to work and get it all back. I am able to cut on it without hesitation though. It's just sore because I haven't put this kind of stress and strain on it in a while. But I don't have any hesitation to do what I used to. It's healthy in that sense.
What all did rehab entail?
For a while I was in it all day, every day. Eventually I've reduced that to just three times a week with the trainers. The other two days I just ice it down. Right now I get treatment on it three times a week.
Most experts question the offensive line heading into the season. From where you sit, what's the situation there?
We need to get better at blocking as a team. That includes the running backs, the receivers, and the tight ends. As running backs we need to get better at blocking in the passing game, and we need to make the O-line look good by finding the holes they open and hitting them hard. I think they are making a lot of progress and if the skill players continue to work hard and learn the offense and how/when to block, we'll be able to be successful.
If you were a fan, which player would want to watch play the most?
I'd say the whole team. This year Duke football is going to have a lot of new faces. All of them can make plays all over the field. With so many weapons, I think the fans are really going to see a new look from Duke Football this year.
That seems like a big difference from your first year. Is the improvement in the program your class' legacy?
I think so. But it wasn't just us. We are seeing it happen, but the guys a few classes ahead of me were the start of this turnaround. They did a lot of heavy lifting when it came to stopping the bad momentum and we began going the other way. Now, I'm here to see it through.
So what is the major difference from where you sit between year one and year five?
We are just in better shape and we are so much more focused. We know what we need to do to get better. We know what it takes to play at this level. You have to put in all kinds of work - but the reward makes it all payoff.
What are your personal goals for the season? Team goals?
The personal goals aren't really that important. I really just want to help the team be successful however I can. I don't care what role Coach puts me in. I just want to help us win. As a team we need to be consistent every time we step on the field. We need to be locked in and we need to make plays.