Cutcliffe: We need to be hungry

Head coach David Cutcliffe spoke to the media today as his team prepares for NC Central on Saturday

Opening Statement:
"What's been on my mind since I woke up this morning is September 11. I don't think we should let this day go by without thought and without prayer and without feelings about what occurred. So many innocent people and so many lives and there were certainly Duke people involved with that and all people. We all remember where we were. It hits me particularly because I go back to preparing for a football game. And Mike MacIntyre had gone in where the TV was and came back into the staff room and said, ‘Coach, something's happened in New York.' And we all got up and went in and stood in front of the TV, and suddenly football disappeared. So that hits me every year in that same way to keep things in perspective."

"I'm excited about this week. I'm mostly excited about it because I love our community; I truly do. I'm proud of Durham. I take a lot of pride in trying to know a lot of the folks in Durham and a lot of the areas in Durham. I've done that since we've been here, and I'm very appreciative of this area. It's a great place to live and raise children. I know it's the Bull City Classic. I like to think of this as the Bull City Celebration because we're actually able to bring so many people together in this venue and I hope it's 35,000-plus. The weather has called for being good. It was not good, if you remember, in 2009 and we still had a very good crowd. There will be a lot of good football played. Just all of the festivities surrounding the ballgame, so we certainly want to encourage people to come early. I've watched North Carolina Central improve from game one to game two. Neither one of us had the results we wanted in game two, but I watched them get better. And I watched them get better as that game went on. I know we will see a well-prepared, hungry football team. We're on a mission for North Carolina Central to come against a well-prepared, hungry football team, but that's got to be a work in progress. Everything we need to do isn't solved in just a day or two days, but good work today. Needs to be better work tomorrow, and that's the way we've got to approach it. I'm looking forward to practice. Right now, my mind's turning. I just watched most of the practice tape and have tons of notes. My mind's turning with all of the notes that I need to follow up on. So the most important thing we're going to have is a great Wednesday and get prepared the rest of the day to do that."

On injuries to the Duke secondary:
"It's not easy, but Ross [Cockrell] can play all five positions in the secondary. Lee Butler can as well. We've just been hit consistently from the injury bug at the same position. At times in the past, it seems like it just happened to us up front. This year, it's happening more in the secondary. I think that Jim Knowles and Derek Jones do a great job of teaching those guys all the skills necessary to play in the secondary – not just in the position, but the skills to play in the secondary so we're able to mix and match. It's the same type of thing that you like to do with offensive linemen. You don't ever want to be caught without a center. The tackles need to play guard, the guards right and left, and centers tackles and tackles center. That's why we work those kids in rotations quite often. I call it ‘contingency planning.' Tight ends as receivers and receivers as tight ends and backs as receivers. We do a lot of that in spring practice, and as you see, Desmond Scott has made a good transition. And that's a product of putting those guys in those environments. So I would say the biggest thought I have is I'm really appreciative of the job our coaches have done preparing those guys to do that. And then the willingness of our players to do that."

On the play of Ross Cockrell:
"I said it when he was a freshman, when he was fighting for his life, someone without much pass rush. I never backed off that Ross Cockrell was a good player, and the reason I never backed off of it is because he is a good player. He's put on an island a lot, and he responds a lot. It's not ever going to be perfection. If you watch football on Sunday, there's actually great corners – and they'll get beat some. You run against that and you take the risk. What I love most about Ross Cockrell is that he never loses his edge. I've never seen him lose his edge. He's one of those guys that the next play is always the most important one to Ross. There's a reason he is a captain as a junior, and it's because his teammates see those same qualities."

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