Tuesday Media Quotes: Coach Roof

Head Coach Ted Roof met the media on Tuesday morning to discuss the team's upcoming game with Northwestern and how the Blue Devils are dealing with the first two games.

On hiring special teams coordinator Danny Pearman:
"We played against each other, so we've known each other a long time. He was the special teams coordinator when Alabama won the national championship and a bunch of SEC titles. He's been involved with some very good special teams at Virginia Tech and I'd tried to hire him before. It just worked out for both of us this time."

On what Duke needs to improve on:
"At times, we need to protect the passer better, at times we need to run better routes and at times we need to throw better balls. To say that there's the one thing, there is not just one thing – it's a combination of a bunch of things. The disappointing thing is that I would have expected more points Saturday with the field position that we had offensively. All that improves, too; if we just kick a couple of field goals. Then all of a sudden, it's a different deal. That's very disappointing, because [Joe Surgan] made every single kick last week in practice. I use practice as an indicator and I didn't see that coming."

On the status of the kicking game:
"The efficiency of the operation is getting better. We're having a higher percentage of plays in practice where we're going 11-for-11 as opposed to of 10-for-11 and 9-for-11. On the three kicks [Joe Surgan] missed Saturday, they were all wide right. It's like pushing a golf ball; he blocked it out and didn't get his hips squared on impact when he kicked it. We've gone around and around with it and talked to people, and he's gone to places. The bottom line is that when you have an opportunity, you have to make it. That's his job and his responsibility, and he's accountable to the football team for that."

On the improved play of Duke's special teams:
"Kevin [Jones] responded. We had a poor first week and he responded well. I think he averaged 42 yards and some change, and I was pleased with his performance. The first one they returned, and that and the field goals and the rest of the time with special times, we flipped the field with our other units. Jomar Wright blocked a kick, and so did Vincent Rey. Our kickoff cover team got a fumble at about I think the 19-yard line. That's the best, from a field position standpoint, that our special teams have done in a while."

On the play of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis:
"Number one, he sets a very high bar for himself. Nobody wants him to play better any more than he does. But we've all got to do better, not just Thad. Just to single one guy out, that's not accurate. I would have expected us to be more productive offensively than we have been thus far. There are a lot of factors in that, it's not Thad, it's a lot of factors. We're all accountable and responsible for it."

On upcoming opponent Northwestern:
"They have not turned the football over yet this year. They've won the second half 36-7, so they're a second-half football team that made a great drive and scored on a comeback win against Nevada. They're very solid and make you defend the entire width of the field. It'll be a different deal for us. It'll be a night game, a road game, a Big Ten game. The weather is in the 40's or 50's, which is a bit different than how it's been around here. They're a good solid football team, and we have to go play well."

On Northwestern's running backs:
"Their backs are shorter in stature and very powerful, they run through a lot of arm tackles. [Tyrell] Sutton is a guy who has been very productive in a hard-run league like the Big Ten. He presents a lot of challenges. They run through arm tackles and we've got to wrap up. At times, we didn't wrap real well Saturday, but we had enough people flying to the football where it covered itself up at times. Like I said, their offense, because they're so spread out and make you defend the entire width of the field, there's going to be a lot more one-on-one tackling opportunities because of what they do, and we're going to have to tackle well in the open field."

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