Third-year Duke head coach David Cutcliffe has operated with morning practices during the fall and spring semesters since taking the Duke job.
The morning practices are a different approach than the afternoon sessions he ran as the head coach at Ole Miss from 1999-2004.
Cutcliffe views morning practices as a big advantage for his players. “If I can help it, I’ll never go back to practicing in the afternoon,” Cutcliffe stated.
“I think the biggest thing coaches look at is attendance. When you get into academic conflicts in the afternoon, you have certain guys late for meetings, certain guys having to leave early for night classes."
“You’d like to have your entire squad for that period of time. By going in the mornings, you can do that. What I have found is that it creates a time management game for them. I’ve always worried about our freshman.”
Instead of a schedule that can become a rush and tiresome with afternoon pactices, Cutcliffe believes the players benefit by becoming true "students" once football is finished in the morning.
“In the morning, they get their football work, then the rest of the day, particularly here it’s suitable, they are students. They get an earlier study table. They aren’t coming off the field tyring to study (while) worn out. We have seen a significant improvement in our academic performance. That’s extremely important to us, so we measure it in a lot of way. If I can help it, I’ll never go back to practicing in the afternoon.”
You can listen to Cutcliffe's post-practice interview here.