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Quotes: Duke 38, Memphis 14
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 09/22/2012
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Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
On the victory and the second half:
“A much better [second half]. You know I wasn’t very happy at halftime. And the biggest part of it is my job. I thought our discipline in a few things wasn’t what it should be number one. We’re not taking care of the ball. We’re minus four in the turnover department for the game. We left plays on the field and we didn’t execute again on third down and giving up another big kickoff return. Isaac [Blakeney] isn’t going to catch everybody. But I think our players took it personal when I explained the game to them. I’m going to do my job better in helping people understand that taking care of the football, that running routes, that throwing when and where we’re supposed to do and doing things precise is not an option. Now let’s turn to the positive. Wow did we play hard and with energy and enthusiasm. Probably the best defensive game we’ve had in quite some time. 500 yards to 150, somewhere in that range, that’s domination. The kicking game got better. We were able to fake a punt successfully. We were able to recover an onside kick. We squandered the opportunity. Ross [Cockrell] continues to get better and he doesn’t have to. He’s got to forget trying to be perfect. Kicking off I thought we had some nice improvement in that regard. And third downs, I’m finally going to say something positive. How about 8-of-9 in the second half? You don’t have to be 8-of-9 on third downs, but it was great to see us convert some third downs.”

On which players stepped up tonight:

“There’s no question that we got a little spark from both running backs, 25 [Juwan Thompson] and 23 [Jela Duncan] picked a good time. I would start with 19 [Sean Renfree]. 2 [Conner Vernon] and 3 [Jamison Crowder] are always there, 19 [Renfree] played with a little edge that we want to see. How about him with a run at a critical time for a conversion and a big play on a drive we needed to score a touchdown. He can do those things and I liked the edge. I liked it a lot. Defensively, our defensive front took something personal. Their little quarterback is hard to hem up. He’s quick and quick-handed. I thought we were just tremendous all night over there. And then our secondary, no matter how hard they tried us, they didn’t really get much done there. Ross [Cockrell] and Lee Butler and I’m really worried about Lee, he’s got a lower leg injury so we’ll see that is, but we don’t need any more of those. I hate to see Josh Snead [get injured] and we’ll have to evaluate that. I’m excited that you just saw something different about this team in the second half. A totally different edge and that’s what it’s going to take for us to win in the ACC. We know what we’ve got in front of us. It’s not going to be easy, you know that.”

On being 3-1 and heading into Wake Forest:
“Let me first say, Anthony [Dilweg] including yourself, that it was great to see a lot of former Duke football players back. Homecoming, celebrating the 100th season - that meant a lot to me and last night I spoke to a group and there was a pretty incredible energy in that room. It was great to see four former head coaches back, a couple of them very young in their 80s. I said this last night, but Coach Red Wilson, Barry Wilson, Fred Goldsmith and Tom Harp, thank you for coming back. And if a former Duke head football coach looks that good when they retire I have a chance. Thanks to you all for all that you do. It meant a lot to our players to have so many former Duke football players around and it created a great atmosphere so thank you. For what we have to do to get ready, we have to take correcting mistakes seriously. The little things, the exchange of a center snap. We had two [turnovers on the snap]. Getting the ball secured on the exchange is not a big deal until it’s a big deal. So that’s the kind of Sunday I want and then we’ll worry about Monday and Tuesday on Monday and Tuesday. But we need to have a good Sunday to get ready for taking on what’s going to be a very challenging schedule with the ACC games left in front of us.”

Duke RB Jela Duncan
On how the team can carry this momentum into ACC play:
“We just want to get better as a team. Heading into ACC play, we’re just trying to get better week in and week out.”

On the transition from high school to college football:
“The speed of the game – I had to get adjusted to it. It was pretty fast in the summer, but I feel like I adjusted to it pretty well. Guys like Juwan [Thompson] and Josh [Snead] just showed me the way.”

On the importance of building the running game:
“We’ve got to try and get the running game started so we can feed off the passing game. Coach stressed that we have to get the ball downhill, keep on running it outside whenever we could. We just tried to establish the run.”

Duke DE Kenny Anunike
On starting the year 3-1:
“It’s been a while for Duke to have such a great start. Undefeated at home – it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that since I’ve been here. It’s a great feeling but we want to maintain it. We’re getting used to winning, which is a whole new mentality for Duke, which is great and we want to keep that rolling all the way through the season.”

On wins being indicative of the program’s progress during Cutcliffe’s tenure:
“This is a new Duke program. Coach Cut[cliffe] has now definitely settled in to our program. We’ve definitely all bought in. We have a mature team now. We went into the locker room and we all knew what to do. We went in there and there wasn’t too much hootin’ and hollerin’. We knew that we had to come out and show them that this is our house. We wanted to maintain the fact that we were undefeated in our house and nobody’s going to come in here and take that from us.”

On Duke’s maturation on both sides of the ball:

“Look at the offensive weaponry that we have, the defensive guys from the front all the way to the back safeties and corners. We just have a really versatile team. And when the offense is not clicking, the defense definitely picks it up, and then we definitely rally for the whole team. And then that also brings the offense along. And if the defense is not clicking, the offense is, so we’re working a dynamic duo. But we want to make sure that moving forward, we’re learning from these past three games that we need to make sure we’re all clicking on the same page at the same time. Because if we’re doing that, who knows what this Duke team – what new heights we can take this team to.”

On limiting Memphis’ offense:
“When you can hold a team to that few yards, that’s definitely a statement, starting from your defensive front, knowing that we are run-stoppers and you’re not going to penetrate us. And then also if the ball gets airborne, we’ve got guys that are defending passes and locking down coverage and they’re going to take care of the ball any way they can.”

Memphis Head Coach Justin Fuente
On the loss:
“Well it’s hard to win a game when you get handled like that on one side of the ball. It’s obviously not good.”

On special teams play:

“They’ve been great. The kids are playing hard on special teams. They’re doing what they’re coached to do. They’re playing physical and fast and tough and smart – for the most part. They’ve given us a chance. They’ve given us inspiration and life. We just haven’t been able to come all the way through. It’s three or four games now our kids have given us a chance in the second half. Heading into the locker room with a legitimate chance to win and we haven’t been able to get over the hump.”

On the third quarter:
“The defense just played a tremendous amount. Until we get better offensively, that’s going to continue to just be a deal breaker. We’ve got to find a way to maintain a running game and possession of the ball. If you think back to, you had a big kickoff return and then a quick score and a punt deal and we scored and they’re back on the field. Those are all excuses and I’m not going to make excuses. Duke thoroughly dominated us - their defense versus our offense, it’s pretty evident. It’s just hard to win when you get handled like that on one side of the ball.”

On fumble recovery in the third quarter:
“We took a couple shots and didn’t get them execute d and couldn’t get it out of there. Had a tight punt situation, we just had to put the defense right back out there. The defense fought their tail off the entire day. They just showed heart and guts. The bottom line is it’s not going to say the offense lost and the defense won. The Memphis Tigers didn’t get it done. If it’s holding them to zero points to win, then that’s what we’ve got to do. If it’s running the ball 50 times in a row and holding the ball and scoring three points to win, then that’s what we’ve got to do.”

On offensive rhythm:
“Rhythm comes when you make first downs. Early in the game, you guys see us, we kind of hunt and peck around there and move the ball pretty well then kind of get stagnated there. The rhythm comes when you are making plays and pitching and catching and running the ball and making people miss.”

On the bye week:
“We have a bye week not an off week. We’ll have several practices. We’ll look at some young guys to get them some reps, some guys we’re planning on not playing. We’ve got to go get better. We can’t afford to take a week off. We’ve got to go get better. There will be a select few guys that we’ll monitor but we’re going to go get after it.”

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