Cutcliffe Weekly Press Conference

Transcript from this week's press conference with Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

Opening statement
"We had a good practice this morning. I'm really anxious to get back and play. It seems like forever since the Maryland ballgame. Last week it looked a lot like spring practice around here. I get asked a lot, "How do you handle open date?" We try to get live work in kicking, and live work defensively and offensively. We condition a great deal. Because in the absence of a ballgame, you don't want to back your conditioning up. We went out today and we were ahead of schedule, as far as our work towards Miami, and that's good. We've got a huge challenge physically. I think Miami is as gifted a team as any in the country. They have everything that you need from a skill standpoint. They control both sides of the ball, and have powerful linemen on both sides. I'm anxious to go see our kids compete, and to see how much better we can be than where we've been."

In reference to the off week
"Coming off some disappointing losses, you're healing physically, but I think there is some mental healing to that. I think confidence has suffered to some degree. Confidence is never given, confidence is earned. So it gave us a chance to get back our confidence, and hopefully we've done that."

In reference to previously facing Miami
"It's been two very frustrating games with Miami, my first two years here. Our guys have played very well, and we had leads going into the fourth quarter in both of them I think. To their credit, they have won both fourth quarters in a big way. Whether it's the mentality of a program that's used to winning or whatever the circumstances are, that's one of those tests we need to endure. It takes 60 minutes to be in a ballgame. One of the things you have to look at to see why we are 1-4 is that all the factors have contributed that. The things that win ballgames, we haven't done. It doesn't mean you have to whip everybody you play, it just means you have to play well in all three phases, and you have to play well for 60 minutes."

In reference to two weeks ago at Maryland
"I can tell you one series at a time. We didn't finish blocks very well down there in the run game early. We had unbelievable opportunities; plays that should have scored. We had the right decision, and the right plays called, we just didn't finish. The other part of it was not handling pressure as well as we could have. It just comes down to simple execution."

In reference to Will Snyderwine
"I'm very pleased that Will pushed through a poor performance in the spring, and an early poor performance in August. I like the fact that Nick Maggio was trying to take advantage of it, which shows you what healthy competition does. There was certainly healthy competition there. Close to the opening game, Will made a phenomenal push. He refocused himself and found his rhythm. So I'm very pleased with what he has done to this point."

In reference to Jacory Harris
"He's just big, smooth, fluid, fast, has a tremendous arm. He's got great vision down field. He puts the ball in these incredible spots and just seems to see those big receivers on eye level. They are the only ones on the field that are that tall. He has great poise and is an incredible athlete. He had the best, if not one of the best, high school teams I have ever seen."

In reference to what goes into redshirting players
"You have to be fair to your program. When you are five or six games deep, you don't like to do that. Unfortunately, with scholarship limitations, and injuries bugs, you can get so low in a position, you don't really have a choice. You take a private school like we are; we don't have an enormous number of walk-ons. So you can't fix it with a walk-on. Times in the past, I had 100-150 players, but we don't have that luxury. Most young people realize it's a team game, so you have to make some team decisions. It's not one that's fun to make, and hopefully we won't have to do that here, but I hate that for young men."

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