Cutcliffe noted his pleasure with Duke's tailback duo of Re'quan Boyette and Jay Hollingsworth. Boyette, who led the Blue Devils in rushing in both 2006 and 2007, returns to the gridiron for his fifth season of eligibility after missing last fall due to a knee injury. In helping replace the void left by Boyette's absence last year, Hollingsworth became the first true freshman at Duke since 1998 to lead the squad in rushing yards.
"Re'quan looked good; best he's looked since he was injured," Cutcliffe said. "He was full speed in the spring, but he's faster. He and Jay Hollingsworth caught my eye early at tailback."
Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis was impressed with the Blue Devil defensive unit.
"The defense is looking good," Lewis said. "There were guys out there moving fast and making plays. I think they are more confident. I think we'll have some interesting practices every day."
As for Lewis, the Opa-Locka, Fla., native is scheduled to start under center for the fourth consecutive season.
"Thad has come a million miles," said Cutcliffe. "I think he's got some confidence. I never saw tonight him not knowing what to do with the football. He has so much courage and so much presence. Never, never doubt Thad Lewis' courage. He is a tough individual."
Cutcliffe announced that three Blue Devils -- redshirt senior nose guard Kinney Rucker, freshman offensive lineman Dave Harding and freshman safety Anthony Young-Wiseman -- are out of action indefinitely due to injury.
Duke opens the 2009 season at home against Richmond on September 5. Kickoff at Wallace Wade Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 877-375-DUKE.