Coach Cut: "Syracuse is an interesting team"

The Duke head coach says his team is currently in the middle of a good week of preparation ahead of Saturday's game at Syracuse.

Opening Statement
?“I was really interested in seeing how our team would approach the week. Going back to Sunday, I thought we’ve had a really good week. I think our focus has been on preparation. Syracuse is an interesting team. They’ve got a lot of veteran players in the locker room. They’ve got some depth and they play a lot of people in a lot of areas on offense and defense. They’ve got some people that can run; this is another big, physical offensive and defensive front. They pose matchup challenges. I think they’re extremely well-coached. I’m impressed by what their coaches are getting done in every aspect. They’re good in the kicking game; they’ve got good specialists. It’s one of those games that I look at it and our team looks at it that you know you have to focus on Duke and our preparation. That’s what we have to get done.”

On practicing indoors to prepare for playing in the Carrier Dome
?“I’m keeping our offense in. We’ll do some work with the defense in there, as well. It’s just that depth perception and vision are different. That’s a fact. I’m very thankful that we have a place to somewhat simulate that. We have the ability for our kick catchers and punt catchers to catch balls that we can shoot out of a Jugs machine that get up against the ceiling.”

On fundamentally sound football being key to Duke’s three-game winning streak
?“I’ve always believed this and I heard it when I was young: football is an interesting game -- more games are lost than they are won. I have always liked to go through and look at box scores before I know the score. It’s just a little thing that I’ve always done to see if I could figure out who won. That was kind of my way of finding out what seemed to be the best ways to win games. I’m not saying the best way to win is to keep from losing. I don’t want to play to keep from losing. I said more games are lost than they are won. Unforced errors is the way you would say it in tennis. In football, you have to work hard to avoid them. You’re going to have mistakes. We’re not going to go crazy over a turnover because the defense can cause a turnover. You just can’t afford to have unforced errors.”

On the passing game being focused on the running backs and tight ends

?“That’s just how coverage designs itself. It can depend upon how people play you, where they put their emphasis, how deep they drop linebackers, etc. Whether they’re playing man or zone. You can’t call the defenses for them, so what we do in the passing game is that it’s all built in. Being able to respond to coverage that dictates where the ball is going. That’s where we go with it.”

On if this year has the feel of another special season for Duke
?“I’m not a real believer in luck or being charmed. I am a believer in hard work and putting yourself in a position to be fortunate. Good fortune happens to people that do position themselves well. We just have to trying to position ourselves and take these games one game at a time. I think part of the real secret to success is just trying to figure out how to win that day. That’s where our focus has to be.”

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