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Cutcliffe Teleconference Quotes

Ahead of the game against Boston College, Duke head coach met the media for his weekly teleconference obligations.

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, the first thing I would tell you, if you like good, solid football, you can separate from having to play them as a veteran coach, it's fun to watch Boston College play football. They play a great brand of football.  

It's the best defense I've seen in a while, a long while. It is a team that can run the football, and they finish everything they start in that regard in the run game, and they have threats. They have a big offensive line. They have a very physical, big -- very strong defensive front, so it all starts there for them, and then they play as hard as anybody will play this year in the kicking game.

First thing I would say is that Steve Addazio and the Boston College staff have adopted a style of play that they believe in, and you'd better buckle your chin strap. This game will be interesting to watch the weather, interesting to watch kind of what unfolds. We've got to play disciplined, physical football to stay on the field with this team. We've got to become a more consistent team. We've done some things really well in all three phases at times. We need to put together a 60-minute game.

I'll take your questions.

Q. Going into this game, you talked about obviously the respect for the defense of Boston College, but for your defense, in condensing the option of Georgia Tech in that last game, how has that kind of lit a fire under your defense and given them some positivity going into another punch-you-in-the-mouth game in this one?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, we've played well all season defensively, and I think a big part of that certainly is the leadership of Jeremy Cash and others, Carlos Wray and some of our fine upperclassmen. We're a little more physical. Jim Knowles has done a great job. So as you play a season and you play well, you should gain confidence. You should gain energy. But this defense has been like that since last spring. Been very pleased.

The thing that you know, you've just got to be able to handle adversity. It's going to be physical. They're going to come right at you, and it'll be a great test for a defense that's playing really well.

Q. And as far as respecting the run that's going to be against you, what can you say about your running back on your side, Shaquille Powell? It took him a little time to get into the end zone, but he did it a lot in this last game. What can you say about him at this point?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, Shaquille has been a really good player for us. He's a fourth-year senior, had a difficult summer with the loss of his seven-year-old brother, and I just see that he is really gaining momentum. He is a tough, very tough, physical competitor, and he took advantage of an opportunity Saturday. I thought Georgia Tech played physical defense, and he took advantage of the opportunity to -- he likes a physical game. Well, he'll get all of that he wants this week.

Q. It appears that Flutie will be the starter for BC this weekend. Your thoughts about the redshirt freshman?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, yeah, I think they're going to play both of them. They're able to change gears. You know, it's interesting, the name Flutie, he's very -- you can tell, he knows what he's doing. He's what I call nifty. He's hard to hem up. He's a good runner. He's a good scrambler. He's throwing the ball on time. He understands their route concepts and looked to me like they're well-coached. They're on the same page with their routes. He's really great with the ball. He's a ball handler. That's one of the reasons that the run-action fakes work so well for them, and then they can change gears and almost go to another offense. It's another young man that can throw it, a true freshman. But he is so fast, it scares you to death.

That ability to play two quarterbacks and almost put themselves in two different offenses is quite challenging.

Q. Do you know much about Don Brown and do you see his fingerprints all over this BC defense?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Oh, absolutely. We played against him when he was at Maryland. Does a great job, just absolutely great job, and it's not just -- when people say a coach does a great job, it's not in just schematically. He does a great job within a very aggressive, multiple scheme, but within the scheme there's two things that are obvious. One, they compete and they play relentlessly hard. The other thing is that from a technique and knowing what to do, knowing where their help is, knowing how to fit, it's about as good as you're ever going to see.

I've been doing this a long time, and there's just a few guys that are special you come across, and he's one of them. He really has done a great job up there. 

Q. Is your defense any better in any certain areas than you thought it might be going into the year?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Yeah, I liked our defense all spring. I think it's been -- we have a lot of young players playing well. I think after losing Kelby Brown, which really just kind of shocked you for a couple days, I thought it would be difficult with the transition of a safety to linebacker and then freshman, basically, and our linebackers have played really well.

But it's helped that they've had a better front in front of them.

Overall, we knew we had a really outstanding secondary, and of course now we've lost a corner in Bryon Fields, but I just think our front is being more productive than it's been since we've been here.

Q. What impresses you the most about the BC defense as you look at them on film?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, maybe everything, but I just answered a question that, first of all, they're schematically -- they do a great job, and they know what they're doing. They just don't make mistakes. They fit right. They're always in good position in the secondary. They've got speed, and then along with a very, very strong front. You just can't do much with their front four. They're big, but not only big, they move, and their physical strength is present on every tape.

Q. Can you talk about Jeremy Cash's performance last week when he at many times single-handedly disrupted the option and talk about how big of an asset he is to be able to line him up anywhere on the field and he can still make an impact?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, he's the most versatile defensive player that I've been around. He can certainly cover people man-to-man, he can play deep safety, he can play in the middle, which we've put him some as a linebacker, he's a pass rusher. He played outside linebacker in the game against Georgia Tech. I don't know that there's a better defensive football player from a production standpoint in the country. I'd have to see him to believe it. He has had an impact, and all the while, being a spark off the field. He is an excellent captain to go along with all of that and an excellent person, a guy that's getting a graduate degree where he will finish with two degrees from Duke, and a pretty amazing football experience. I don't know if there's one better.

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