Duke football practice report: Blackwell, Hamilton ready for 2020
“I feel like the only thing that we would lose is team cohesion a little bit on the field,” Blackwell said when asked about dealing with delays and the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think we all got our individual work at home. It kind of kept us in it. I think physically, we’re still where we’re supposed to be. But the one thing that I would say that was kind of off at the beginning, especially with the COVID situation, was the team cohesion.”
In 23 games, 15 starts, Blackwell has 57 tackles, 13 pass breakups and one forced fumble. He owns two-plus tackles in 15 games, including a career-high six stops against Wake Forest in 2019.
Back in 2018, Blackwell set the Duke bowl game record for pass breakups with four against Temple in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl.
Hamilton, who joined the team as a graduate transfer from Stanford, spoke with the media about where he thinks he’ll best be able to help the Blue Devils this upcoming season.
“I’ve been working at tackle both with the ones and twos,” Hamilton said. “Coach (Greg) Frey said we don’t have a depth chart yet so we’re just going out competing every day and playing football. I’m definitely looking forward to playing tackle again. But it’s been great in the past to play every single position except center just to show my versatility. But like you said, my skill set is definitely tailored toward playing tackle. I’m excited to get back to that.”
Hamilton has seen action in 27 career games, making 10 starts on the offensive line. He comes to Durham a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honoree and helped the Cardinal compile a 32-20 overall record, three bowl game appearances and a pair of national top-20 rankings in the Associated Press final poll during his four seasons.
“I’m super excited about this group this year,” Hamilton continued. “We got guys returning with experience and we got young guys coming along as well. Like I said Coach Frey doesn’t have a depth chart yet, so there could be a combination of five guys out there that you know nobody has seen before. But I think we’re all coming together well. All the guys are helping teach the younger guys the playbook, techniques, fundamentals, and things like that. And then you know as much as we can off the field, we’re still trying to build that chemistry. It was a little difficult for me at first coming in, being the new guy, but you know since camp has started and we’ve been spending more time together the chemistry is definitely growing. I’m excited to see what we do this year.”
The Blue Devils’ amended 2020 schedule has them scheduled to kick off their season on the road at Notre Dame on Sept. 12.