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Coach Cut: "Army is a complete team"

Ahead of his team's game against Army, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe met the media on the weekly conference teleconference.

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: You just said it all right there: Army is a complete football team, a lot of experience, an offense that's executing at a high level. Coming off obviously where we need to spend a lot of time working on Duke and some things we need to do better, we certainly have had to dive right in, do preparation for Army. When you're playing an option offense, obviously it's different, circumstances are different, so we've got a lot of work to do on that side.

Defensively they are really playing at a high level, and they're very multiple. It's been a busy week of preparation, and it's certainly going to be a challenge.

Q. I just wanted to ask about Army has obviously been better this year. Where has the big improvement come? Is it just experience or is there something else going on?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: No, I think they're continuing to grow as a program. They've got not all of the same players, but they have experience. I think they're athletically better. They're faster. I think they're stronger, more effective in their offensive front than they've been, and I think the same would be true of their defensive front. Their linebacker play is exceptional. They play a 3-4 scheme and play a lot of people in a lot of configurations. They're just a good football team, and that staff up there is an outstanding staff. They are excellent coaches, winners wherever they've been, and as they stay there, they're going to continue to get better in my opinion.

Q. The fact is they had a week off last week to get ready for you guys; how big of an advantage or disadvantage is that to have that extra time when the other team doesn't?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, I like open dates for multiple reasons. Certainly it is somewhat helpful preparation- wise, but when you start getting into this part of your season, we're halfway through this week, and we're pretty beat up as you're well aware of. They will have rested and repaired a few bumps and bruises and I'm sure put a few wrinkles in for us, so we'll just have to adjust to that on the run.

Q. Obviously you go from winning in South Bend to losing at home to UVA. Where does the kind of consistency have to come from in terms of getting what you want week in and week out from your guys?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Your practice habits and your mindset and everything that you do as a football player and a football coach during this time of year affects the outcomes on Saturdays, so it's all about quality habits and some time for the young people. It's a little harder than we would like it to be, but that is our challenge, and that's what we're required to do as coaches.

Q. Is consistency the right word? How do you explain --


DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Yeah, I think we've been consistently inconsistent, whether it be turning the ball over or giving up too many explosive plays. As I've said all along, that falls right square on my shoulders. That's what coaching is about. That's particularly what head coaching is about is that your team has consistent habits. We're certainly not sitting still. We're striving, but it's either you do or you don't, and the bottom line is we have got to get to a point where we do have that to be a consistent football team that's capable of beating any given opponent on any Saturday.

Q. Forgive me for imposing on you; I know 100 percent of your attention is on your team and Army. Can I get a quick impression of the Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert and particularly his ability to pass on the run?

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Yeah, I thought he played great. I thought he had throws that were not necessarily just on the run but under distress, being rushed. He stood in the pocket versus zero coverage and made accurate throws through accurately scrambling downfield. He's got an extremely strong arm, so I don't know what his exact range is, but you have to stay disciplined in your coverage against a player like that. He played really well against us. 


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