November 16, 2010 Press Conference Quotes
"You know November, which is obviously a great month in college football; we all have so much to be thankful for. Our team, as I've said, is a special group of young men. I'll just mention the fact that they took a collection up amongst themselves, for Eric LeGrande. He's a youngster at Rutgers who suffered an injury against Army and was paralyzed. They took a collection, and made a contribution in the name of Duke Football. So I was really proud of that, and we talked a lot about all that we have to be thankful for, and certainly our health and our families. We have a lot to be thankful for with this team. I'm very thankful as we close two games with our seniors I think they've done an incredible job of changing the expectations of Duke Football. They certainly are changed in my mind. I think our players, young and old, have different expectations of what we expect of ourselves on a week to week basis. It's been disappointing to lose ball games, but not disappointing to continue to see us get better and grow as a program, and play really excellent football is most all phases a big percentage of the time. Now is the opportunity to take that next step. We're playing a really talented Georgia Tech team, on the road. It's a challenge and we're looking forward to the opportunity. We had good work today. It's going to take a lot of good work, as you know, to prepare for that offense. They do a tremendous job, and they know what they're doing with it. They tend to hit on all cylinders. I have great respect for Al Groh and all the problems he causes defensively. Should be a fun challenge getting ready all week and a great ACC challenge in Atlanta."
On Navy, and defending the option
"Well, I thought we got off the spot extremely well. Part of the issue is to diagnose what they're doing, the blocking schemes, the recognition, would be a better word to use. So our recognition was excellent, and we got moving in a hurry. You're never going to be perfect. You're going to get blocked some. We also got up off the ground, and we took great angles to the ball -- all the things you have to do to give yourself a chance to be successful against that option."
On progression from last year's game against Georgia Tech to this year
"We've had a lot of carry over since we've been here against the option. You go back to the first year we played Navy, we played Army last year, we played Georgia Tech the last two years, we played Navy again this year obviously, and Army again. So we've seen it a lot, and I think that's a plus. We have a tremendous amount of carry over and I see us getting better. I think a lot of people are getting better the more they see the option in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But we're the ones that have seen it the most because of Army and Navy. Georgia Tech is a little bit of a different problem. Number one, Paul Johnston does a great job with that offense. Number two, they have some big time players. They've caused a lot of problems in that regard. So you have to defend not only the offense, but you have to defend good players when you play Georgia Tech. it's going to always be a challenge. We haven't played very well against them yet. Down there two years ago we played pretty solid for a while, and then let it get away from us in the fourth quarter. So we're looking to try and go play a complete game against them it will take it to be in the ballgame."
On quarterback decisions with Sean Renfree & Brandon Connette
"Down and distance. Schematically what we're trying to do offensively. We certainly use it in short yardage. We use it in the red zone, which has been a tremendous help to us. We missed a couple of reads in the Boston College game. I think it would have been extremely successful. Any time you do and you change, as I've said, it takes great youngsters to do that first. Sean Renfree has a great attitude, it doesn't bother him. Brandon Connette, the same way. We're all trying to win ballgames, which is the critical thing that we have to do right now obviously. So most of that is pre-determined, and if we're struggling protecting the quarterback or playing our standard offense, then obviously it gives us a second alternative if we're in the ballgame."
On the team's attitude after losing bowl game eligibility "I'm not concerned about attitude. All of us are suffering some hurt; all of us in a season like this have some frustrations. We're human. But our motivation, our energy level is high. We're not built to shut down or to back off our intensity level. We'll be ready to play."
On Conner Vernon
"Conner is just stronger. He certainly has more knowledge of what he's doing and what we're doing and knowledge of defensive football. He's such a fierce competitor. He's willing to take on anything and he's willing to take on multiple positions, which we do with him, which makes it a little bit harder for people to find him. He will play two to three positions in most every game. So as a true freshman, that was a little more difficult for him to do. It's all still in front of him. He's just going to get better and better and better. He's the most productive receiver in the ACC, without a doubt."