On Thaddeus Lewis' play in the last few weeks and what to expect from him in a "homecoming" game in Miami:
"I've been pleased with his performance in the past couple of weeks. I've seen him grow and get better and develop as we expect him to. In order for us to have a chance to win, Thad has got to play well because he's a good player. I think when he's protected and has time he can get in a rhythm and he can be very efficient, which has what he's been the last couple of weeks. Part of that is a team thing. It's not just Thad -- it's the guys protecting him, the guys catching the football and those types of things. I've been really pleased with that and at the same time not mistaking ‘pleased' with ‘satisfied,' because we're not satisfied. We're pleased that we've made big strides but we're not satisfied where we are."
On how the current kickers are dealing with the situation:
"Both of those kids aren't going out there trying to miss kicks. They put a lot of time and effort and hard work into it. They're more disappointed than anybody. At the same time, they have a job to do, and when it's their call to do their job, just like with any position, you've got to do your job."
On whether trying for the two-point conversion is a better option:
"It's a game-to-game thing. You'd like to think that you can run out there and kick a PAT, and we can, but when you're a team that doesn't have a large margin for error you've got to make those things."
On what the team needs to improve on in the coming weeks:
"If you look at something that's a real big factor for our football team right now, we're giving up about 5.8 yards per play and getting five yards per play, so roughly .8 of a difference. What's happened is on the average the opposition is running 80 plays a game and we're running an average of 60. So when you do the math it's 100 extra yards of offense, and that's seven to 10 points and that's been the margin in a couple of our football games. We've got to do a better job on third down both offensively and defensively. Offensively possessing the football longer and defensively getting those teams in third-and-long, not third-and-short. [On Saturday against Navy] there were several times we had them in third-and-long and didn't get off the field. That was a big factor in the football game. That's another area of emphasis we have to get a lot better at along with finishing a football game in the fourth quarter. If you look at the quarter-by-quarter breakdown, we're a little bit behind in the first, a lot ahead in the second, a little bit behind in the third--- so in the first three quarters of the football game overall we've scored a lot more points than the teams we've played. The fourth quarter has been something we haven't performed very well in. We've got to find a way to close the football and play the fourth quarter."
On what the team learned from the 46-43 loss at Navy:
"We hung in there and it came down the last second before they made the field goal. Basically, when we have the opportunity, we just have to set forth and we've got to win it."
On the improved play of the defense:
"This past weekend, we were really technical. We really developed our hands and feet, and learned that we have to follow that. I felt like that it was good that we relearned our fundamentals last week."
On his reputation of giving all-out effort on every play:
"God blessed me with a motor. If I'm playing, I'm gonna be running."
On freshman defensive end Wesley Oglesby, who will fill in for Ryan Radloff:
"For a young guy, he's stepped up and done an incredible job over there. It's been impressive what he's been able to do. I really enjoy having him on the opposite side of the line of me."
On how the last four games have prepared the team for the upcoming ACC schedule:
"I think they have prepared us well. Each week, I think we've gotten better and better and better. As a whole, I think after each week, we're going to develop as a team."
On how to handle the balanced and athletic Miami offense:
"We just have to make sure we do our assignments. Their two backs are incredible players, but we just have to tackle them."
On the improved play of Duke's offense:
"One thing coach emphasizes is going to watch film. As you can see, us going out on the field and making great strides is because we go back and watch film, evaluate ourselves and try to limit the mistakes we've made the week before. Our coaches tell us to make plays, and now you see these guys stepping and accepting that challenge. You see the wide receivers, offensive linemen and running backs making plays, as well as the defense giving us the opportunity to go out there as an offense and get as many drives as possible to score. The whole team has stepped up to the challenge and I think that's the cause for the great offensive explosion."
On returning to his hometown of Miami this weekend:
"Just to play in front of your peers, the people you grew up with and the coaches who taught you the fundamentals of football to get you to this level, just to go back and play in front of people like that is a great thing. To take this team out there and know that we have a great opportunity to win and get our first ACC win is big."
On playing against his friends and high school teammates on Miami's squad:
"I have two teammates from high school on the team, Antonio Dixon and Chavez Grant, and a couple of friends like Kenny Phillips who is from Miami and played for our rival high school. There's a couple more guys on that team from Miami, so we know each other. Those guys are going to play hard and I'm going to play hard as well. I talked to Kenny Phillips last night. He called me and told me good luck and congratulations on all our accomplishments. He actually complimented this team and said we look good, and told his guys down there that we're not gonna be pushovers, that we're coming and playing. We know that they're not gonna be pushovers either, so hopefully it's going to be a well-fought battle."
On last year's game against Miami in Durham:
"I came out and threw three interceptions early, but didn't let that rattle me. I put us back into the situation to win the game, but I wouldn't want to be in the same predicament again. If we get the opportunities we had last year to put the game away, we have to put do it so it doesn't come down to the last play. But even if it does, we'll probably be better prepared for it."
On what to expect against Miami:
"They just line up and play hard-nosed football. They feel like they can match up their athletes on anybody. They're going to press and make us block, and make the receivers win on the outside. They're going to be an aggressive team, but we have to go back out there and be an aggressive offense. We have to run the right routes, be aggressive with the defensive backs, the line has to block, the running backs have to run and me and the receivers have to hook up on the pass routes. There's nothing particular we have to do to beat those guys except execute."