Q. On the dismissal of Terrance Alls, Johnell Barnes and Chris Holmes:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Without a doubt, the most difficult thing a team and coach faces is dismissals of players. With that, I’m going to announce that we have had to dismiss three players – Terrance Alls, Johnell Barnes and Chris Holmes. This is not a reaction to anything that has occurred just recently, or even in the last couple of weeks. This has been something that we have worked really hard with these young men to help them understand what is expected of them in regards to being a Duke football player.
We have standards in this program that we are deeply committed to. When we’re recruiting, which we are now, and when we recruited these young men and others that are their teammates, we let them and their parents know exactly what the standards are here. We feel very responsible to the parents and players that are currently on our team, and we are going to uphold those standards and really work with every young person we have to give them every opportunity to be successful. That’s the goal of the program.
With this circumstance, it had reached the point where it was in their best interest, and certainly in the program’s best interest, for them to move forward somewhere else. We appreciate and thank them for their contributions to the program. We wish them well in whatever they choose to do. The wide receiver position will certainly be affected this week. Starting for us outside will be – it’s not anything new – [Anthony] Nash and T.J. Rahming. It draws Chris Taylor, who is coming off of injury, in to the mix and Trevon Lee, who is coming off another injury, but they looked good today and are running. Of course Ryan Smith, Quay Chambers and Max McCaffrey can do a lot of things. No real over-reactions.
Q. On resigning his position with the National Football Rules Committee:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: “I have resigned my position on the National Football Rules Committee. That is effectively immediately. I really have great respect for the leadership on that committee and what that committee does and means to football, but I just made a decision in the best interest of the committee and the circumstances for me that I wouldn’t be able to do as good of job as I needed to, based upon all the people I would need to work with in that role. I’m letting the role go and they will certainly find an able replacement, but again, I appreciated the opportunity the short time while I was on there. The people at the NCAA and the people on that committee are very serious about their work and do an exceptional job. I was very impressed.
Q. On the last three games:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: We are well-aware that it has been frustrating – not frustrating, it’s been difficult – to deal with three losses in a row. We all have theories. We all look. We all judge. Most importantly, we have to watch the tape. I’ve talked about each loss, and it’s not unique in any indication as to what’s happened and put us in position to not let us win a game. We have addressed a lot of these critical areas in every way and will continue to do that. I expect results. I expect results immediately because they’re all correctable things. Does it mean you’re going to turn everything around immediately? No. You have to make plays. You have to make tackles. You have to make blocks. Plays have to be made. We’ve looked at a lot of tape, worked a lot of drills and worked a lot of teamwork. We had a great workout with good against good today, because we need some of that, as well as preparing for the Virginia looks.
I’m excited about the position we’re in. I’m excited to see what the response will be. These are the times that growth occurs in a program. Trust me, I’ve been in them here. I’m so proud of the young men that we work with here. Nobody is panicking. We’re 6-4. There are a lot of folks in this country who would love to be 6-4 in a competitive circumstance, but we do know that it’s a test.
It’s a test of your fortitude and it’s a test of your ability to focus. All of those things help grow a program to where we are now. I’m looking forward to seeing how everybody involved takes this challenge.
I don’t know why, but I’ve always been able to embrace these challenges without wavering. I think I know exactly what to do. I said it this morning in an interview I was doing; I try to stay as far away from my candid people that say the sky is falling on them all the time. You do something about things that are real. If you’re a realist, you understand what the issues are but you address them. You always address them from the inside-out. That’s what we’re asking our team, our staff and our entire program to do, and we will continue with that path. That’s why I’m telling you I’m excited to see how we respond Saturday.