Roof's Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Coach Roof met with the media monday afternoon in preperation for the upcoming game against Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils will travel to Blacksburg to face the Hokies on Saturday, September 16 at 12 p.m.

On the team's attitude following the Wake Forest game:
"I think there was a lot of progress. The shame of it was that it didn't result in a win but it just continued to hammer home with our players the fine line between winning and losing. For us to be a good football team, we've got to be opportunistic. When we have opportunities, whether they're given to us or whether we create them ourselves, we've got to take full advantage of them and we've got to convert our scoring opportunities. As far as the attitude and the morale, our players have bought in. There's nobody that's jumping off the ship. You're right, it is excruciating but that's life. You've got to go back to work and we went back to work this morning getting ready for Virginia Tech, which is a very good football team. We've got to continue to build on the positives and build on the improvements and accentuate those, and at the same time get the negatives corrected so we can take another step."

On Duke's improvements between games one and two:
"The old adage, ‘you make your biggest jump between the first and second game,' well, the results speak for themselves as far as that goes, but as far as having a defining moment in practice or something of that nature, there wasn't one. What we try and sell to our players is that what we build on the practice field are habits, and Saturday is going to be a reflection of your habits. When you make plays during the week on the practice field, it's funny how it works out, you make plays on Saturday. We needed to find a way to make one more play. But at the same time, everyone focuses on the last play because that twists it and makes it gut-wrenching, but throughout the course of the ball game, it was one more play in any area, but because of the nature of the game and the way it unfolded, everyone focuses on the last play. There are a lot of details and a lot of other opportunities that we all had to find a way to make one more play and at the same time, you've got to give Wake Forest credit. It was a great play by him, and sometimes that happens, but I felt that with missed opportunities, it shouldn't come down to that."

On Thaddeus Lewis:
"We knew he had ability and he's a lot of fun to coach. He comes to work every day with a great attitude and handles everything the same whether you pat him on the back or provide him with constructive criticism, and that's what you want out of your quarterback. The intangibles of playing quarterback, I think Thaddeus has those intangibles. Of course, we're talking about one game now, and a true freshman, so he's got a lot of improving to do and a lot of growing to do, but I think he's got the capabilities within himself to do that. The thing that we've got to work with him on is to make sure he's making good decisions and taking care of the football and at the same time, not harnessing his confidence or his ability to see things and make plays. There's a fine line between that. You don't want to take a kid like that and make him a robot, but at the same time you just don't want to allow someone out there not taking care of the football, and he'll get better in that regard because he works at it and it's very important to him. He's a competitor."

On recruiting Lewis:
"Well, we identified him very early. I went to his school in the spring of his junior year and watched him practice, watched how he ran the huddle, watched how he handled his teammates. His ability jumps out at you. Getting back to those intangibles, letting somebody lead your offense, lead your program. We're not ready to annoy him with all that, but you want to make sure that guy has those characteristics before he jumps in your huddle and the rest of your team is counting on him. He was a very highly recruited kid. Every week after his official visits to different schools, he did a diary for the Miami Herald. He had a lot of recognition and a lot of notoriety down there as a high school quarterback and he committed to us, I think, the day before signing. It was very, very late. He was the last kid to commit to us, and we're very glad that he did."

On Lewis' decision to come to Duke:
"I had a good feeling after his visit here because he really felt comfortable here with our players and felt comfortable at Duke University. I think he made the decision for the right reasons. He knew he had opportunities here, but at the same time, understood what Duke could do for his future and what type of family he would be joining when he joined the Duke family. He has to keep working to get better, but I thought he played well Saturday."

On Lewis taking hits:
"Well if he's in the pocket, out of the pocket, left, right, yeah that's a concern. You don't want to get your quarterback hit, but we've got to do what we've got to do to move the pocket, change the launch point and in football you're gonna get hit some. We've got to do what we can to take as many hits off him as we can and our offensive line and tight ends and running backs have to take pride in it."

On Division I-AA teams being closer to the Division I-A than they used be:
"I think with scholarships reductions, when they cut 10 scholarships from 1A football, it closes the gap a little with a lot of teams, especially with a team that has a lot of experience like those [Richmond] kids did."

On Virginia Tech's kicking game:
"They're very aggressive; they've got great speed and good schemes. As far as what we do differently, we've got to make sure we're taking care of the fundamentals and don't focus on that, but making sure that we're assignment and technique-perfect and not let all that get us out of our game and things of that nature. You've got to go back to your fundamentals and what you believe in, and you've got to execute. You've got to make plays because if it all sets up with their punt-block team, and they block the punts to hold up. It's certainly a challenge; they've got great special teams. If you look at what's happened so far with their season, they've blocked a punt in both games and set up a lot of scoring opportunity for their offense, so it's a great challenge."

On the punting team taking a step forward this past week:
"I thought [Alex] Feinberg responded to the challenge and I thought he punted the football better. I thought our coverage did a good job and I though our kick off coverage did a good job, with Joey, when you kick it out of bounds. Statistically, that's like a 35-yard return because it's all based on the net, but once again they'll be challenged this week. I think our coverage through the first two weeks has improved and now we've got to continue to improve at the punter and kicker position."

On Saturday's final kick:
"Well, he hit it solid, but it was more of a driving kick than one that jumped out; if you looked on the tape, the kid puts one hand up, and it was heading right down the middle of the goalposts, but it was more of a driving kick that would've been good, but the kid made a great play on it."

On possible plans for a new kicker:
"Joe's our kicker. We have some kids behind him that have worked hard and do a good job, but right now, Joe Surgan's our kicker."

On the running back situation:
"We lost [Ronnie] Drummer and [Justin] Boyle against Richmond very early in the game. Drummer didn't play last week and Boyle played some and was re-injured, so we've got to find a way to spring those guys. A big deal for us is how many yards are we getting after contact. We were better in week two than we were in week one, but we've still got a lot of work to do in that area."

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