Cut: "We have to have a great week"

Coach Cutcliffe says the Hokies present a number of challenges for Duke this week

Opening Statement
?“Virginia Tech has been open and I’m sure has gotten a little healthier. That’s one of the bigger issues they’ve had to deal with all season. They’ve had a rash of critical injuries that has been tough on them, so I expect to see a healthier team that is going to be highly motivated. Looking at them, you better be prepared to be physical. This is a physical football team. They have good elements in every part of their game. I think everybody knows, defensively, they’re one of the most effective units in the country every single year. And I haven’t even gotten to the kicking game part of it. We all know that Virginia Tech makes you do everything well, and when you do everything well, that puts you in a form where you have a chance. If you don’t do everything well, they will expose you. I think that’s what they do such a great job of and I have the ultimate respect for Coach (Frank) Beamer. There’s a reason he’s the winningest active coach in college football at our level. We’re going to have to have a great week and I’m glad we’re back home. I’m excited about that and I know the players are excited about that. There was a lot of energy on Sunday looking forward. We have to put great practices on top of that and be prepared for a tough football game come Saturday.”

On what he attributes Duke’s recent success on special teams to
?“I think the first thing is people giving DeVon (Edwards) a chance. Think about how many touchbacks we’ve had. We work hard on it year-round. We worked hard on it in camp. I thought coming out of camp we were going to be special. The punt return, again, a lot of that is people are being very cautious with Jamison (Crowder). They’re either punting it high and short or punting it over near the boundary. I think we’ve done a better and better job of altering a few schemes that have helped us down the stretch. Hopefully that’s something that will continue to really help us try to be successful in November. It’s been a big part of the last two games. It’s a shame that DeVon didn’t get his second return. I think he’s without a doubt a first team All-American as a kickoff returner. I wish that would’ve stood. That was a great run. Not a good run, a great run.”

On Duke’s special teams compared to Virginia Tech’s
?“I look at Virginia Tech and I know the athletes they have in their return game and I know the athletes they have on their punt team. I’m looking at big, physical, fast people. Their kickoff coverage is a little unique and different with a lot of twists and movements. They are flying down the field. It’s relative sometimes to the game and the circumstance you’re in, but we also know that we’re a unique team in the fact that we have a very experience and outstanding snapper, an outstanding placekicker, an outstanding punter, an outstanding kickoff man, and two really outstanding return people with a lot of experience. I think if we look at it, that’s one of the greatest strengths that this team has and maybe one of the greater strengths I’ve ever been around in 39 years of coaching. That unit is as good as I’ve been around. They’re pretty special.”

On Virginia Tech’s defense
?“They know exactly what they’re doing. Their coverage skills are great; they’re aggressive and their linebackers can run. Their interior people are physical and big and hard to move and their ends create issues. This time of year when we’re playing them, I always get amazed at how their kids cover for each other and understand the scheme. And then his (Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster’s) adjustments. He is extremely systematic. He knows the answers. He can plug in things better than anybody I’ve seen in football, defensively. I can’t even put a measure to it how good I think he is at putting together a defensive system.”

On Duke’s two starting cornerbacks, Bryon Fields and Breon Borders
?“We have two two-year corners that are really starters from last year. They played so much. And Breon has a knack. I’m surprised he hasn’t had more (interceptions) to this point. He has great, great ball skills. He can catch anything. I think he is just touching the tip of what he can ultimately end up being for his sake.”

On Kelby Brown and Braxton Deaver each being granted a sixth year of eligibility
?“I’m thrilled for them. I don’t know if it has hit me yet, because I’m dealing with this team, what it’ll mean for us. The thing that has been so pleasing is we went through the process with both of them about what they wanted to do with their futures. I am thrilled for them because it was a joyous decision to apply for it and even more joyous to the young men when word came in. I’ve never seen anymore any happier than those two. When I told our squad, the applause was incredibly loud. That’s what it means to have them coming back. You should’ve heard the squad cheer when I announced it. That’s pretty special and a great statement for those two young men.”

The Devils Den Top Stories