Monday, Duke athletics announced they will begin their fall sports season without spectators at home events.
“To be sure, our venues will not be the same without our passionate, energetic fan base,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “Given the unique and challenging circumstances, this determination was reached with the health and safety of our fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff at the forefront. As this evolving process continues, it is imperative to be both adaptable and compliant in anticipation of hosting fans in the near future.”
Other than the obvious energy fans infuse into a team on game-day, Duke quarterback Gunner Holmberg, says they’re mindful that it may be easier for opponents to hear their calls.
“You have to consider that teams might hear you calls,” Holmberg said during a Zoom conference Tuesday. “That’s one big thing we’re thinking about and coming up with different words so teams can’t catch on to what we’re doing.”
“A lot of our stuff is signaled, so for the receivers I don’t know if that will be a big issue,” Duke wide receiver Jake Bobo told reporters. “The problem is up front. A lot of their calls and communication between the line and running backs is verbal. So it will be interesting to see how we combat it. One way we could do it is have multiple calls for the same thing.”
Despite the attendance constraints for football games, Duke will offer fans the opportunity to support the team at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium with a “fan cutout” of an individual(s) or pet(s). Images placed in the seats will help replicate the game-day atmosphere in the stadium as well as provide an enhanced visual presence for the television audience.
The Blue Devil football team opens the home portion of the 2020 schedule against Boston College on Saturday, September 19.