"There have been a lot of ups and downs, like every season. There have been some things that we wish would've been different, some things that were out of our control. But I've been very pleased and very happy with the way that, regardless of the outcome of the game, our team has come back to work each week. We haven't based how we prepare or how we work on the outcome of last week's game. Our players have bought into that and I think they've been ready to play each week and I think they'll be ready to play this week, too."
On his team's emotion each week:
"I think it's more about enthusiasm for competing. Emotions are how you feel. You can't really control how you feel sometimes. But I think just having the competitive enthusiasm to go out and compete against an archrival in an environment where there's a tremendous amount on the line for our football program and our team. I think it's more of an enthusiasm for competing than an emotion. Because emotion goes up and down from week to week and you can't count on that."
On what type of game to expect this weekend:
"I'm sure that they'll be ready to play, but I think that we'll be ready to play. I think it will be a great environment and a great rivalry. I think it will be a great day to be a college football fan Saturday in Wallace Wade."
On North Carolina's improved play over the course of the year:
"I think they're taking care of the football, I think they're gaining confidence and I think they have a lot of talented players, too. A combination of all three of those things has them playing really well right now."
On his team's leading the ACC in turnovers caused:
"It's something that we work on every single day in practice. That's something that we work on because it's such an integral component of football, your defense being able to gain takeaways and the offense not giving the other team turnovers. I think it's an emphasis, but it's a matter of our players going out and executing and taking advantage of some opportunities and then at the same time, making some opportunities."
On his use of trick plays:
"We've onside kicked, tried some fake punts. We're not afraid to roll the dice and take some chances, especially when we need points. We've always got some of those saved up. But this week, it's not going to come down to trickery and all that. It's going to come down to blocking and tackling, like most football games do. Who can take care of it and who can get it back from the other team."
On kicker Matt Brooks:
"After the UConn game (when Brooks missed a potential game-winning field goal) I told him, `Hey, you're going to have another opportunity this year to win a football game for us, in a situation just like this. Keep your head up, keep going. Don't let this get you down. You're a good kicker, so keep working.' Everyone makes mistakes, it's just that when a defensive lineman loses a gap or a defensive lineman misses a block, those things aren't magnified. When you're out there and you're in front of everybody and you have a limited number of opportunities, mistakes are magnified. Confidence is such a big thing and I didn't want to see Matt lose his confidence because our team certainly hasn't lost confidence in Matt. I think that says a lot about him and I think it's a microcosm of our team. Just keep coming back to work. He did and he had his opportunity and he took full advantage of it."
On Kenny Stanford's status for this weekend:
"I certainly hope he'll be back. I'm cautiously optimistic."
On Deonto McCormick switching back to defensive back from wide receiver:
"I wasn't surprised at how he performed. I was pleased. He had some history there, it's the position he used to play. And he didn't bat an eye when we talked about moving him. He just wanted to do whatever he could to help our football team. And I think that's the attitude of most of our kids."
On his relationship with North Carolina Head Coach John Bunting:
"I have a lot of respect for him. As a matter of fact, when Micah Harris died, he was the first coach to call me. I really appreciated that and respect that. I don't keep up with a lot of the stuff in the media, and the North Carolina people certainly know their situation better than I do, but I think he's a really good football coach who's done a wonderful job over there. But my focus is on Duke football."
On the Victory Bell:
"What it represents is a victory in an outstanding rivalry in college football. When you look at all the great coaches and all the great players who have participated in this game, it's an honor and a privilege for our players and our staff to participate in this rivalry and one that we hold in very high esteem."