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Cutcliffe hoping Andrew Luck continues to grow his beard

David Cutcliffe is heading into his fourth year as the Duke head coach and encouraged about the future, but Cutcliffe is beginning to get tired of, “We’re close.”

Fortunately, the Duke roster has evolved from just 91 players (2008) to a current total of 112, which will finally allow Cutcliffe to practice with way he was accustomed to practicing at Ole Miss or Tennessee.

Cutcliffe told 620 The Zone this morning, “Here’s the thing I know. And this is the part that encourages me the most. We’re much better physically and our guys, this is the truth, are working as hard as they can possibly work to prepare. They have learned how to compete in the off-season. I can’t ask for anything more.”

“People get tired of people saying they’re close. Saying your close is saying you’re just not getting it done. We’re at a point where simply need to do or we don’t. If we don’t, we’ll shut our mouths and come back and go to work.”

This season, Jim Knowles takes over the defensive coordinator role. Knowles coached with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss in 2003 when the Rebels tied for the SEC Western Division title with LSU, then defeated Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

“Defensively, we’re still too young, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse. We can run and if you can run, then you have a chance. We’re not very big. What we do have at defense is competition at every position. Jim Knowles will make a significant difference in his leadership of our defense.”

Cutliffe also singled out co-offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Matt Luke for his day-to-day approach. Cutcliffe said, “(Matt) is one of the most consistently upbeat people. If you’re in a bad mood, just get in the car and go ride an hour with Matt. You’re gonna laugh and have a good time.”

Duke opens the season by hosting Richmond. A week later, Stanford comes to town. Cutcliffe joked, “I hope he (Andrew Luck) keeps his beard and it grows over his eyes, so he can’t see.”

The Heisman Trophy isn't the only award Luck is in contention for this season. Reportedly, the Stanford signal caller is in the running for the Geico Award...even a caveman can do it.