"This is the final game of the season, and it's an opportunity for us to continue to grow this young football team and to play well. We've had some very close ball games, and the emphasis is obviously to get over some of the things that have not allowed us to win. It's a challenge every week with this team, and certainly this week against Duke will be no different.
"When we started breaking film down and watching Duke, you have to have great respect for the quarterback, their wide receiver and they've got a big offensive line that allows them to run the football, and defensively, they play very aggressive, very similar to Georgia Tech. They give you a lot of negative plays."
What was the most important thing that you wanted to accomplish when you first took this job?
"The most important was the assistant coaching staff. We were fortunate in getting some really, truly great quality guys to come here. I think their value – certainly last year in recruiting and then this year on the field and in trying to lay a foundation from a football perspective – has been very important.
"I think the second most important thing has been creating a culture and an environment of trust with the players where, regardless of the outcome of the game on Saturday, that they're looking forward to coming in and looking at the film on Sunday, with the coaches helping them to grow and mature and to create a football environment where they truly start to buy into accepted responsibility for their performances."
Have you seen evidence of that happening?
"Pretty much so. Early on, it wasn't there. We talked to the players after the first couple of weeks that they really needed to start taking ownership of the program with the NCAA rules only allowing 17 hours of preparation and access to your players prior to the game on Saturday. For a young football team, 17 hours is clearly not enough. They've got to come in and they have to watch the film on their own and they have to take some DVDs back to their dorm room and watch some cutups in their free time.
"And I think their meeting together, just talking about football and talking about the opponent – once we started doing that, we started playing better and we were fortunate to win the game against Miami and play a tough South Carolina very close. That's been one of the big things, just getting our players to buy into how much you really have to [work]. Because they didn't know --- there's 51 players on this that had never played in a college game in their entire life."
On if Duke should be replaced with another team as the season finale:
"I don't have a feel for that – this is my first year being here. I think that given the fact that it's Thanksgiving – I really don't have any idea. I know all we're trying to do is to prepare as best as possible to try to win the game."