Sun, 29 Nov 2020

Hafley makes Boston College coaching debut at Duke

Field Level Media
16 Sep 2020, 06:55 GMT+10

Duke has something to build on going into its second game of the season. Boston College looks to put the first pieces of a new foundation in place.

The teams meet Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.

It will be the opener for Boston College, which is under the direction of new coach Jeff Hafley.

"My job is to coach them as best as I can and as hard as I can, and I want them to be as safe as they can," Hafley said.

Hafley, 41, will be in his first game as a head coach after a stint as co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

Duke (0-1) opened the season with a 27-13 setback at then-No. 10 Notre Dame on Saturday. It marked the Blue Devils debut for quarterback Chase Brice, a graduate transfer from Clemson.

Duke hung tough for much of the game, though Notre Dame converted on a couple of fourth-down situations that proved crucial. Yet Duke coach David Cutcliffe sensed a spirit from this team that he liked.

"This is a pretty fierce group. This is a confident group," Cutcliffe said. "I think they're going to get better and better and better."

The Blue Devils need to iron out some wrinkles, particularly after two long drives stalled and resulted in field goals.

"I think as we get more comfortable with who we are and what we're doing, we've got enough weapons on offense to be effective," Cutcliffe said. "There were times that we were outstanding. We just have to (work on consistency). Putting 60 minutes together is going to certainly be the goal."

Cutcliffe said Brice's first game with Duke provided "a lot to hang your hat on. ... We've got a quarterback who'll make a lot of plays for us."

Brice completed 20 of 37 throws for 259 yards and rushed for one touchdown in the opener.

Boston College has two quarterbacks sharing the top line on the depth chart. Phil Jurkovec is a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Notre Dame, and Dennis Grosel is a redshirt junior who started seven games last season when the Eagles finished with a 6-7 record.

"We've gotten a ton of great work in, but now we know we can't slack," Jurkovec said of the preparations. "Knowing that (the season is) here, that it's happening."

Last week, Boston College welcomed defensive lineman Luc Bequette, a graduate transfer from California, to the team. He started 38 games across the past three seasons.

The Blue Devils are trying to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2011.

In home openers, Duke has won eight straight, though it has been 15 years since its first home game came against an ACC opponent.

Boston College and Duke weren't scheduled to play this year, though that changed with the revised schedules put in place this summer. This is the latest date for a season opener for Boston College since 1981.

Duke won the most recent meeting with a 9-7 decision at home in 2015.

--Field Level Media

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