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Quotes: Pitt 58, Duke 55
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 09/21/2013
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Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
Opening Statement:
“That was a bizarre game. A couple of different things occurred. The first thing that came out of my mouth is the incredible energy, effort and resiliency that the staff displayed, the players displayed. There was never a moment that you thought that the team was ready to shut down. Coming off of a tough loss and we didn’t start well. There were a lot of questions answered in that regard. I like this team. I’ve liked this team since January and I’m not going to change my tune. We have a lot of people that can make plays. I’ve told you that time and time again. That’s very obvious to the naked eye when you watch this game. The parts that hurt and the parts that you can’t quite put your finger on is why we struggle in areas of execution that have kind of just crept in. That’s my responsibility. We have to play clean. We can’t give up big plays. All we have to do is execute what we do and what we want. That’s my area of responsibility. We have to take care of the football and execute flawlessly on offense and that’s my area of expertise and my area of responsibility. This team has to play really well in the kicking game. I’ve said that time and time again and I know we can. We’re doing well, but I think there’s another consistency level we’re looking for in all three phases. We can’t work harder. This team works as hard at practice … Our staff works as hard and is dedicated to each other. There aren’t a lot of me people around this program. Every team is a little different, you have to stir it until you find the right mix of what we’re trying to accomplish. I’m far from frustrated. I’m disappointed for our squad. You make tough decisions during the week. You make tough decisions – the fake punt – during the ball game. You anguish over decisions sometimes of who you’re playing. But you just have to make decisions and move forward. It’s not for the weak. I can promise you we’re not going away. This team is not about to go away. We have too many things to build on and unfortunately too many to correct, but they’re correctable. I can’t really tell you too many more particulars until I study this game. There are so many bizarre parts to it. Why they ran the ball better than we thought they would, why the big plays. We’ll look at that and what brought about some of the turnovers, etc. etc. This is a game we’ll need to remember, not only as a team, but as a program because we’re better than what we played and somewhere along the way it’ll be good for us to remember this one.”

On the team’s talent and team’s resiliency:
“I am happy with the resiliency and I’m proud of the resiliency. We also would not have been able to come back if we didn’t have good players. We’ve got people who can make plays on both sides of the ball and they’ve just got to find all the ways to do that on a consistent basis. The football could bounce funny, a call goes the way here, one there, one decision you make works, one doesn’t. You have to decide whether you’re going to return the punt, block the punt or fake the punt or go for it with the offense or whatever, but you just keep mixing and stirring. You don’t die with those things. The thing I want to do is the consistency. That’s a little bit of a mystery for me. That’s not how we practice. You saw our defense in the second half – stymied them pretty well. There’s something there and we’ll look at it and it will be something – not just rah rah energy – but something physical, something we’re doing better. We have a lot of opportunity in this season. That’s kind of the message in the locker room. We are going to move forward."

Duke Redshirt Senior Cornerback Ross Cockrell
On the talent of the Duke squad:
“We have a ton of talent. One of the things that we preached during the summer was that we just have to finish. We have to finish games. That got us into some trouble last year. We’ve got talented players that came out and played hard, and we finished the game as well as we could.”

On bringing energy on the sideline:
“We’re a unit. We’re a family. That’s one of the things that we talk about all the time. We want to stand behind each other 100 percent, no matter what’s going on, no matter how the game is going. Like I said, we’re a family and we’re going to stick together no matter what.”

On adjusting to Pittsburgh’s run game:
“It’s pretty tough. You’ve just got to play your responsibility. That’s something that we had a problem with against Georgia Tech and we could’ve done better today, giving up some deep passes. So we’ll go back and work on that for next week.”

Duke Junior Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder
On his touchdown run that was called back:
“After that play, it was devastating going that far and not having the touchdown stand. But what our coaches always say is to play the next play. So I came out a couple plays and had to regain my breath. And just wanted to come back and make another play.”

On the reception from Brandon Connette caught over his back shoulder:
“When I have deep routes, I always want to just run. A lot of times, guys will look back for the ball maybe 10 yards down the field and the ball isn’t ready to be thrown yet. I just want to run as far as possible looking straight ahead and look up in the air and try to find the ball. I was able to do that even though I was a little bit late finding the ball. But I was able to do that and catch the ball and I was able to score.”

On the punt return touchdown:
“I got a great block right there at the end from Josh Snead. He came to the sideline and he was like, ‘You saw my block? You set it up good.’ A lot of times you want an initial burst to get past the gunners and once the cover guys come at you, I want to see which way I want to go. Like I said, I got a great block from Josh Snead and I was able to hit the sideline and score.”

On supporting the defense during third down plays:
“We’re a family. We’re going to stick together. In practice, days may get a little heated but on Saturdays, on gameday, we’re just one big unit. We definitely had to pull behind the defense today. We’ll continue to do that every down – third down, second down, whatever it is. We’re just one big family and we want to support the defense.”

Pittsburgh Head Coach Paul Chryst
On Pittsburgh’s offensive play:
“I thought offensively, we certainly made some plays, but we need to be better at closing out games.”

On his team’s defensive play:
“I thought last week we did a better job of assignment football. When they take a defense and they spread it apart [with the spread offense], and when one guy’s off on his thing, whether his eyes are wrong or doesn’t defeat a block, we’ll see it on film and fix it.”

On Duke’s offensive play:
“They made some plays. The one long touchdown, we have the linebackers undercutting it and they made a good throw over the top. I think they have some guys that can certainly make some plays.”

On momentum swings in the game:
“There’s an emotional part of the game that’s hard to take yourself away from. The swings in momentum in a game can be so powerful. If you can learn to play with a short memory, good or bad, you need to keep playing. Momentum is a real part of the game. It’s a real thing.”

On Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage:
“I thought he did some good things, absolutely. There’re so many different variables and components to a game. I think you embrace each week and game. I liked the way he’s approaching it and working. He made some throws, none bigger than the one going to [Kevin Weather]spoon, and Spoon made a play. I think he did some great things, I really do.”

On Pittsburgh’s effort:
“We certainly appreciate the guys’ effort in getting the win. As you come on the road and compete like heck, the whole purpose of the game is to try to win. We found a way to win and we found a way to make it close … I thought we had a lot of guys that did spend themselves … That’s what you appreciate as a coach. You really appreciate guys that just keep giving themselves a chance, and when it comes their way, they take advantage of it … I liked the fact that there was a lot of adversity on both sides and guys just kept playing and found a way to win the game.”