Where are they now

After seeing almost no time in the first half of the season under former Duke Football Coach Carl Franks, Chris Dapolito entered the mix under interim Head Coach Ted Roof and played a critical role in many key games. Heading into his final year at Duke, Dapalito looks to new Head Coach Ted Roof to take him and the Blue Devils football program to the next level!

TDD: There must have been a lot of uncertainty when Coach Franks was let go in the middle of last season. How did that feel and when did you guys fully embrace your new identity?

Chris Dapolito: The whole attitude and structure of our practices changed the week before we played NC State. The new structure had us working much harder, and with more intensity. That was when everything started to change.

Prior to Coach Roof coming in you saw almost no action at all, and then when he emerged as Head Coach your role become much bigger. What made him give you a chance?

Part of it was because Mike Schneider was injured the week before and could not play. Additionally, I guess he felt I added a different dimension and he wanted to give me a chance to prove it.

What changes made a bigger difference under Coach Roof, the mechanical changes employed on offense and defense or the overall motivational things he did to bring the team together?

Definitely the motivational things he employed. Coach Roof really got us playing together as a team. The X and O changes were a good thing as well, but we really relished the motivational tactics he used.

Everyone seemed impressed with Coach Roof's motivational tactic before the Georgia Tech game when he secretly contacted every player's parents and had letters sent in for you guys to read before the game. Can you tell us about that?

When we were at the hotel before the game, Coach Roof told us their was a surprise waiting for us back in the locker room. None of us had any idea what it would be. When we got there, we had a letter in our lockers from our parents. It was great. Many of the guys got teary eyed reading them and we were extra motivated as a result.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I really like playing the guitar. I have had a guitar for a long time, but it was not until Micah Harris taught me how to read tablature and worked with me on it that I started grasping it. I love listening to Bruce Springsteen, I also like Toby Keith and Tim McGraw.

Did you go see the Boss when he played his concert at Keenan?

Yes I did, it was amazing. He played an awesome set list. He went back and played some stuff I hadn't heard in a long time. It was great.

Did you transfer from Rutgers to Duke just to be like Dahntay Jones? (joking)

(laughs) No, but that is funny. You are the first person who has actually said that to me. Dahntay was already at Duke when I got to Rutgers. I don't really know him, but I know who he is since he is such a great player. I left Rutgers due to a coaching change.

Did you do any sports besides football in high school?

Yes, I threw the javelin in track and field and I played basketball and baseball. I was a catcher in baseball.

You guys have potentially four players who may play quarterback for you next year. Adam Smith, Curt Dukes, Mike Schneider and yourself, how does it feel with all the competition at that one position?

As an NCAA athlete, you worry about keeping your job every year. I am more anxious to first find out who our new offensive coordinator will be and see what type of offense we will be running. As the Spring Semester and Spring football unfolds, we will know more.

Where will you be spending the Summer?

I will be on campus working out and I will also be taking classes.

What is the hardest thing about being a quarterback?

Playing quarterback isn't harder than any other position in football. It is more mental and less physical. The hardest thing about being a quarterback in NCAA football is probably balancing academics and football and making sure I can get all my work done.

Does it take long to learn the playbook? Or is it like riding a bike? Once you have it, it just stays with you?

Learning the play book takes a long time. There are a lot of plays and a lot of formations. Applying it to the different defenses can get tricky. We have to constantly go back and find out what options may be needed due to the different defensive approaches we face from week to week.

What ACC team do you enjoy playing the most?

I love playing at Florida State. They have such a great program and stadium. They are a Top 5 team every year. It is always fun to play there.

How do you feel about the ACC expansion?

I am excited about it. Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College are all great teams. I played against those Big East teams at Rutgers. To play them again will be great!

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

No I'm not very superstitious. Sometimes I will go into the weight room and throw on a cd and just stretch out. A lot of the guys are real superstitious and I have seen some guys do some real weird stuff before games. But I have never been that way.

What cd do you put on in the weight room?

Bruce Springsteen, of course!


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