To each his own I suppose.
Actually this turns out to be a good hire for Duke and a good opportunity for Cutcliffe who is credited with coaching both the Manning brothers. Cutcliffed, as you may recall, was an assistant at Tennessee until 1999 when he became the head coach at Ole Miss, went 44-29 including a few bowl games and was promptly fired for his troubles. Cutcliffe returned to Tennessee while Ole Miss is on their second head coach since Cutcliffed, that being none other than Houston Nutt. So coaching at Duke with the expectation level being such as it is must be like living in Alaska compared to Mojave Desert like atmosphere of the SEC. Cutcliffe also knows that his choice of head coaching jobs are limited so to some extent this might be more, “Duke? Sure, why not.”
Generating some level of success at Duke really comes down to attaining some cooperation from the administration as it pertains to admissions. This is why I found this Joe Alleva’s comment in the press conference so amusing:
“You remember I said I wanted to find a coach who could score some points,” Alleva said. “I think I found someone who can score some points.”
That is all well and good, but if you do not give Cutcliffe the opportunity to bring in some offensive talent then Cutcliffe’s offensive genius will likely be wasted. I am pretty sure Cutcliffe can improve the offense with the players in house. Thad Lewis is a good QB and the offense showed an ability to score points. It could very well be Cutcliffe can do what guys like Paul Johnson have done and figure out the best way to maximize the fairly low level of talent on the roster to produce some wins. However if Duke is serious about football, then they have to sit down with Cutcliffe and figure out the best way to allow him to get at least a handful of talented prospects to close the gap between other schools in the ACC. Outside of that, Cutcliffe is facing the long dark blue night of futility that has been a staple in these parts for over a decade.