Press Conference: Duke coach David Cutcliffe

dukelogoInterviews with Duke football coach David Cutcliffe and Duke players after the Blue Devils’ 20-13 win over UVA on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.

 

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
On the defense stopping Virginia after a first down on the pass interference call in the third quarter: “I was surprised a little bit by the call and I told them after the fact ‘Well I’m glad after the fact that that one didn’t matter.’ It was an incredibly good job. I thought Jim Knowles did a great job of keeping us in a position to compete with his calls, and I thought our players did a phenomenal job of just bowing their backs. How many broken up passes there were in the game, I don’t know, but think about it this way…They were successful throwing the ball. He didn’t miss many targets. We had to knock the ball away to create an incompletion. That’s really hard to do as often as we did.”

On the offensive line play in the game, specifically in the second half: “We challenged [the offensive line]. Shaquille Powell was also part of that. All of our backs are good backs, but he ran with an incredible purpose today, almost possessed at times. I was so happy for him with all that he’s got going on with his personal life back home. That was as good of a story as there is in football. Anthony [Boone], even wavering a little bit and missing some throws, just all of a sudden out of nowhere was able to right the ship. That’s a veteran player doing the right things. And if you look at this game, it was about as total a team victory with everybody playing a part in a really close football game that enabled us to come away with a win.

On how becoming bowl eligible is just another stage in the Duke football season: “I was asked by television afterwards about being bowl eligible. I hadn’t even thought about it and that’s as honest as I can be. In my mind it’s a huge ACC win and I’m totally focused on ACC football and that’s all I really wanted to think about. It was one of those circumstances that you get in in that every game that you play is going to be bigger as you go forward. We’re open [next week]. We again have got to get some healing done and get better and get some growth in certain areas because we’re getting ready to play, from what I’ve seen on Pitt and the little I’ve watched them on tape and what I’ve seen on TV, we’re getting ready to play maybe the most physical team. Boston College might argue with them, but you start looking at physicality, and they’re as physical as anyone in our league if not the most.”

Duke Quarterback Anthony Boone
On the performance of the offensive line: “They did a great job of handling a good defensive front, handling all the twists, handling all the junk that they threw at them. And our receivers did a good job of understanding who was hot, when to get open, getting their routes quick so I could get the ball in their hands. It was great teamwork on offense.”

On how a strong offensive line boosts his confidence: “They change the confidence for everybody – for me, for the receivers, knowing that they can run routes and get open, and then for our backs, knowing that they could run the football. When it was time to shine for our backs, they ran the ball very hard and very effectively.”

On the defense getting the ball back for the offense: “That’s the personnel they have developed over time. Those seniors up front – Jamal Bruce, Dezmond Johnson and Johnathan Jones – those guys do a great job of just setting the tempo. It’s a mindset. Then it carries back to [Jeremy] Cash and C.J. France and those guys. They’re sending their leaders out to fly around. It’s a whole mentality to not be the weakest link – we don’t have a weak link on this team. That’s good to show that all of our units clicking and we kind of play off each other.”

Duke Defensive End Kyler Brown
On the defense coming up with stops when it needed to: “We’ve made ourselves known as a fourth quarter team. We know when it’s time to crank it up and be able to give it our all. Sometimes that’s just what it takes, giving it everything we’ve got.”

On chasing down Virginia QB Matt Johns:
“It really comes down to reading the play because if he’s running out like that, normally we have to read it to see if he’s going to be pulling out to the side. A lot of times we’ll end up chasing it down and being in chase mode. But we do like to see it from right away. The quarterback out there today was really good. He was doing a really good job of getting out of the pocket and giving himself some space.”

On the team’s fourth quarter mentality: “That’s what it’s been like for a while now. I think the summer is a part of it, pushing ourselves through conditioning or our practices or whatever we’re doing out there really helps. It also comes down to our great coaches preparing us for it and then just our teammates giving each other energy and intensity while we’re out there.”

On brother Kelby Brown supporting the team from the sideline: “He loves the game. You saw him out there jumping around and trying to get everyone riled up. He knows what it means for this team and he’s still a part of it. He really enjoys it.”

Duke Running Back Shaquille Powell
On getting rest during the Georgia Tech game and the first half of the game today: “[Virginia] came off a bye week so they all had fresh legs, and they were dwindling them down and getting them tired throughout the game. Coming into the second half I had fresh legs from not playing the last game and the first half, I think I made a difference. We play such a fast tempo in our offense and we have such good stamina on both sides of our team, and I think it really makes a difference.”

On the running back by committee approach: “It could be frustrating, but that’s who we recruit to play running back – you have to have good character. Part of that character is being selfless and doing what’s best for the team. So I think just having that mentality makes us all play better. We always love to see each other score touchdowns and get long runs. I was very happy for [Josh] Snead when he had a 100-yard game last week and when Shaun [Wilson] had the 200-yard game. It makes me proud to be a part of this stable.

On Duke running the ball better in the second half: “We have the mentality that we run our offense the way we want to run it and not having the defense dictate how we’re going to play football. That’s the same thing Coach Montgomery talks about – just do what we can do, control what we can control. I think having more confidence in us and not being one-dimensional helps us out.”



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