In being opening game for 3 straight opponents, Blue Devils will set odd record at Virginia


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Duke football is about to set a record that may never be broken, and it’s all due to COVID-19.

Boston College was supposed to open its season against Ohio, but the Mid-America Conference canceled its season because of the pandemic. The Eagles failed to get another opponent scheduled and hit the field for the first time against Duke.

The Blue Devils’ next opponent, Virginia, had a similar problem. It was to open the season against the Virginia Military Institute then play Virginia Tech. VMI canceled and the matchup with the Hokies was rescheduled for Dec. 12.

Duke will be a season-opening opponent for another team for three straight weeks.

“I don’t like openers. Period,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe in his Monday press conference. “I think it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been through. I doubt this has ever happened in college football.”

There definitely hasn’t been anything like it in recent memory. There are a few cases in which a team played in two openers. But, if anything, football coaches are among the most prepared people on the planet. They also don’t like surprises, though. Without a regular-season game or even spring football to get tape from, Duke is at a loss.

The Blue Devils aren’t going to Charlottesville blind, but they do have one eye closed and the other one is blurry.

“We know a lot about Virginia, but you’re still not looking at the 2020 version of Virginia. Any changes that they’ve made, we don’t know exactly what they’re going to be,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s been challenging. Our players are a little irritable about it to be real honest with you. It’s a unique setting. It’s what we’ve been given. We have to deal with it and just move forward.”

Football coaches don’t make big changes to offensive and defensive schemes. The staff at Virginia has been in place for years, so it’s a good bet Duke will get some familiar looks from the Cavaliers. Still, preparing for the unknown is always tougher.

“They are very multiple defense scheme. They look to confuse you, and so not having any film of them from the 2020 season is tough as an offense,” said Duke wide receiver Jake Bobo. “I think our staff has done a great job of compiling some stuff from last year. It’s irritating but it’s not necessarily the end of the world.”

Not the end of the world, but it is another week of the Blue Devils keeping their heads on a swivel.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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