Cutcliffe Press Conference Quotes

Head coach David Cutcliffe met the media this week to talk about the season finale

Opening Statement
"I am really proud of our seniors and the contribution that they have made to this program over three years. I was asked earlier today by someone, ‘How do you measure where you've improved?' It's not about statistics. We have some decent, solid statistics, but I really don't pay a lot of attention to statistics so it's in our consistency playing good football. Those seniors have been in the forefront of that, and how you practice. The consistency of preparation, the consistency of expectations. When a youngster comes and joins this program, those older guys who are teaching those expectations, so the contributions of this senior class are far too great to just put a price tag on so to speak. As they say, priceless. So it's very evident that the culture has changed quite a bit surrounding Duke Football, and the reason for that are those young men that have been with us for the last three years. They have been tremendous. We will miss them, and again, we appreciate all they have done for us."

On recruiting in North Carolina
"I think that that's been, obviously something from day one, that we've stated and done. We have long-standing relationships in this state. I started recruiting here, in this state, as a young coach, and as you might can tell, I'm not a young coach anymore, so, long-lasting relationships with many coaches. North Carolina has always had good high school football, and I've always respected the guys in all the areas. We've grown as a state. We had a tremendous population burst. We're trying to uncover every stone. You can't take every player in the state that may be good enough. We may miss some on occasion, but we're trying to go in and be aware of every school in the state. That's going to pay dividends for us. We won't back off of that. We still believe that that needs to be the heart and soul of our recruiting effort."

On facing North Carolina last year
"Well, a year ago we go into the fourth quarter down, 9-6. We have an opportunity at that point in time, which you can tell by the scoreboard, to find a way to win the game. We really got muscled in the fourth quarter and didn't hold up very well. I think the thing that's been different about this team, is that this team, even though we've lost some heartbreaking games, we've been able to play four quarters better than any team we've played. So as we go into this ballgame, knowing that it's going to take four quarters of good football against North Carolina, at this point we've proved that we can do that. You have to go do it. But I think our players understand, we can play four quarters of good football. That's something we had a difficult time against good football teams doing in the past. So hopefully we can break that trend."

On North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates
"Well you know, experience is a great teacher. They've done a great job with him; they have a tremendous offensive system. He understands it; he gets the ball out quickly. He's got veteran players around him. He's got a run game balance to go with some real threats in the passing game. He uses his people and he uses them well. But getting the ball out on time is helping him a bunch."

On North Carolina running back Anthony Elzy
"He looks tremendous, I tell you. He's been tremendous as a receiver, obviously, in the screen game and otherwise. He's a physical back that's hard to tackle. They've got lots of talent. There's no doubt they look very good on tape."

On what this game means
"We've invested a bunch in this whole year. Certainly the last month has been very emotional to our seniors, fighting to try to become bowl eligible. This game kind of separates itself when it's the last ballgame regardless. I think both teams are kind of emotionally charged to play this football game knowing it's the last regular season game. Obviously it's the last game for our seniors, so I don't know if there's any emotional edge either way."

On what this win would mean
"Well, you can imagine the thing that comes to focus is our seniors. What it would mean to them would be enormous. There's no question about that. Our responsibility to Duke and this rivalry is to make it one. You've got to compete and win some of those games, and we haven't done that very well over a long period of time now. That would be an enormous accomplishment for our seniors to leave with. But as I said earlier, they also know it's a big task. We've playing an extremely talented football team."

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