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Duke's David Cutcliffe Draws Serious Praise From Nick Saban

David Cutcliffe high fives fans after Duke win.

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 15: Duke Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe celebrates with fans after defeating the Baylor Bears during a football game at McLane Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

On the basketball court, it isn't unusual for Duke to face a top five team in a non-conference game. David Cutcliffe's Duke football program doesn't often have that chance, though.

That is not the case this year. For Week 1, the Blue Devils draw No. 2 Alabama football.

Cutcliffe has built Duke into a respectable program. He's not unfamiliar with the rough and tumble SEC, though.

He was a long-time assistant at Tennessee from 1982-1998, and again from 2006-07, where he famously coached up Peyton Manning. He was also Eli Manning's head coach at Ole Miss, where he served from 1998-2004. The Manning family maintains a close connection to Cutcliffe.

His Alabama counterpart Nick Saban is certainly aware of Cutcliffe's coaching ability, and had some serious praise for him when asked this week.

From the Times Free Press:

"I've always thought that he is one of the best quarterback coaches in the country," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday in a news conference. "Obviously, his track record has proven that. He has that reputation, so I think a lot of players are interested in playing for him. He does a fabulous job of developing those players, but their system and scheme of offense is so well-conceived, and that gives players at all positions the chance to be able to be successful.

"Their quarterbacks have the consistency that everybody looks for, because their system allows them to make quick decisions and get the ball out of their hands."

That reputation is not uncommon for David Cutcliffe, who famous developed Daniel Jones into a top 10 pick. While Jones wasn't a star at the college level, Cutcliffe's tutelage couldn't have hurt his stock with the New York Giants in the spring.

Duke probably won't be particularly competitive with Alabama on Saturday in Atlanta, but you can be sure the team will be well coached.

[Times Free Press]