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Coaches Teleconference Quotes

Duke's David Cutcliffe and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson met the media on Tuesday for the conference's coaches' teleconference. Here's what they had to say ahead of Saturday's match-up.


OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously excited to start ACC play and we start right off the bat with a Coastal Division foe and the defending Coastal Division champions. When you come off a loss, it’s always a little challenging to go back and get your energy and emotions where they need to be. I think we’ve done that starting Sunday because it is an ACC game. Obviously the focus is on doing things better than we did last week – that we didn’t do well enough, building on things that we did well and, as you know, getting ourselves ready for a Georgia Tech team that’s not easy to play against. They’re a team that plays really well on defense, they blend in with what they do on offense, they are outstanding at the kicking game and that’s what makes them so difficult to beat. This will be a huge test, a huge challenge and I’m anxious to see how we respond. 

Q. On the offensive line: 

COACH CUTCLIFFE: We can get a lot better and have to get a lot better [on the offensive line]. We’re not as veteran as maybe we’ve been at times, but we’ve got to play consistently there. We also need, and it’s very evident that we’re not playing with five guys really, with Cody [Robinson] being out, we’ve got to see our people in practice, our backups, give us some relief and get better. It’s a combination of those things. Not just those five, you’re working 10 or 11 all the time. I’m anxious to see what we can do to improve that entire group. 

Q. On sustaining offensive drives vs. Georgia Tech 

COACH CUTCLIFFE: If you play Georgia Tech, if you can run the ball, if your offense can stay on the field, there’s no question you have a better chance at being successful. Georgia Tech’s going to have something to say about that. We’d like to put together drives that keep their offense off the field. When you’re playing Georgia Tech, you can’t have penalties. You cannot have plays that put you behind schedule, so to speak, down and distance. That’s a big part of it. In football every week, I’ve always told offensive teams, you’re not only competing against their defense, you’re competing at this level against that offensive team. We’ve got to win first downs. 

Q. On improving the offense: 

COACH CUTCLIFFE: Right now, we just think there’s things we’ve got to continue to address offensively to grow. No better week than this one if we can get much better. 


OPENING STATEMENT: Well, looking forward to getting into conference play this week. Clearly, we were disappointed with the way we played in the last game, so as soon as we can play again, it will be a good thing. I think that having a chance to open up conference play is a good way to try to put the last week behind us. And certainly that is one of the goals of our program, to try to win our division in the ACC. And it will start this Saturday in Durham. I think they have got probably the best defense they have had since I have been here. They are giving up about eight points a game and less than three hundred yards a game. So it will be a big challenge especially considering the way we played last week. 

Q. On if effort was an issue along with missed assignments: 

COACH JOHNSON: No, effort was not an issue. It was the first time on the road for a lot of guys in a pretty hostile environment and I think some of them thought ‘Oh man, I am playing at Notre Dame.' And it does not take much because they have got a good football team now. I mean, you are playing a top-10 team on the road and all you have to do is go the wrong way a couple of times, turn the wrong way, and next thing you know you get to punt seven times. 

And, we are just so accustomed to it not being that way. I just watched the Duke/Northwestern game and one team punted 10 times and the other one 12. But, we are so accustomed to almost if we do not score 35 plus, then the roof fell in. And that's a good way to be. That is certainly the standard you want to have. We have to get better. We have to play better. If we do not, we will not win anymore games.” 

Q. On if there were any positives from the Notre Dame game: 

COACH JOHNSON: I thought in spots, I will emphasize spots, we played okay defensively.?

Okay. We gave up too many big plays and some huge third downs. But, I thought in spots we showed we have the ability to play. 

Q. On how he will approach this week coming off a loss: 

COACH JOHNSON: It is the same thing as when you win. You go in, you cover it, you cover the mistakes, you talk about it and then you flush it. We will finish it today and then you will not ever mention it again. I won't. Just like I don't when we win. You put it behind you and move forward and get ready for the next game. It is what you do. 

Q. On Jeremy Cash and Duke's defense: 

COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, Jeremy Cash, I think he is a really good player. He is very productive for them. I think that they tackle well in the secondary. [DeVon] Edwards, the safety, is a good player. And [No.] 93, Wolf, is really good. I think he is a good player up front. He is a disrupter. So, I would say those three guys kind of stick out, but they play really good team defense. They do a good job of not beating themselves. 

Q. On what's different from Duke's offense this year: 

COACH JOHNSON: Well, they are probably a little more run-oriented, but I do not know that it is a whole lot different. There is a little more option-stuff incorporated. Probably more zone-read stuff, maybe. But pretty much everything they are doing they have done in the past. The quarterback is probably the best runner they have had, big guy and a strong arm. They have got pretty good speed on the outside. But, it is not a whole lot different from what they have done in the past. 

Q. On Brad Stewart's blocking against Notre Dame: 

COACH JOHNSON: I thought he came in and was physical, for sure. He cracked a couple of guys, knocked them off their feet. One time it was not his guy, but he knocked a guy off of his feet. And he was flying around. I think the more they play, the more they will relax. They have got to figure it out that nobody is going to be dead perfect, and just go play. Know your assignments and go play. And not get so hyped up that it is impossible. 

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