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Opening statement:

“Let me first say that our crowd was really into it. Folks that didn’t come missed a lot of fun. Just ask anybody that came – our students, our great people that support us – they had a lot of fun so I’m very appreciative of the crowd. Also I can’t say enough about the resiliency of our staff, defensively and offensively. It’s been incredible how they’ve worked each week to get our team better and adjust as our team changes. And then our guys, I mentioned to you at halftime, I challenged both lines of scrimmage pretty good in the locker room. It was fairly positive, but a pretty good challenge and wow did they take it. Two yards rushing in the second half? A lot of intensity, a lot of consistency, a lot of really fine execution on both sides of the ball.”

On quarterback Anthony Boone’s play:

“There is no question [I am encouraged by Anthony Boone’s play]. It pays to have your backup gain experience. Nobody likes to come out of a game that is a quarterback, but I’ve always felt this from Coach [Bear] Bryant. One of the reasons Coach Bryant went to the wishbone was to play more quarterbacks. If a youngster deserves to play, play him, quarterback or not, so that’s why I’ve used him in red zone or short yardage. Anthony didn’t play like a rookie. He was very confident and went out there and played well, played really well.”

On the fourth-down stop by Walt Canty in the third quarter:

Walt Canty is one of the better football players that I’ve ever coached. He is a football player. He has a great knack, a great understanding of the game. He does a lot for our team as a captain. You just see him make big plays over and over again. He kind of defies things. He’s a pretty beat-up youngster. Everybody talks about who is out, but they don’t realize how many of our guys that are playing that are hurt. I don’t know what you can do to keep Walt out, he just keeps ticking.”

On the psyche of the team and the confidence heading into the back half of the season:

“Each game is its own thing. I’ve told them and I’ve told them the truth about this. Every week is going to get a little harder. The schedule is set up that way for one, but number two you’re not sneaking up on anybody. You have to prepare yourself to play better when you’re playing good. I don’t know if people really understand what I just said, but only special people win consistently. I always used to hear people talk about you better learn when you lose. To me, winners learn more when you’re winning and I hope that’s what this team embraces. We’ve got a lot of things to correct, a lot of things we can continue to grow with. We’ve got a lot of people contributing. Every class – true freshman, redshirt freshman right on up to redshirt senior. Look at what Tony Foster did today. A receiver turned defensive back. It shows what a fifth-year senior can do. I was really proud of him. I gave him that pitchfork that we give a player before the game to lead us out of the hotel and I told Tony ‘I’ll follow you anywhere.’ He’s an amazingly unselfish, quality young man. A great student, a great person from Burlington, N.C. and I know there is a proud mama over there in Burlington, N.C. and I hope she’s listening. Her son is quite a young man.”

On WR Conner Vernon:

“I can’t say enough [about Conner]. I just hugged his mama. His mother and father have just become really great friends [of mine] like so many of our parents have. They’ve been very supportive of the program and very supportive of Conner. Conner is a true elite athlete and a true elite person. He takes care of his business in every aspect. Conner’s never been on a [negative] list for anything, academically, socially, and he’ll take your rep on the football practice field if you let him. He loves to practice. That’s who you want to be your record breakers and I’m very, very happy for him and his family.”

On Virginia Tech:

“Virginia Tech has been the cat’s meow in the Coastal Division and there’s no question that’s where it all starts. We’ve tried to play them well. Sometimes we have, sometimes we haven’t. They will be a very physical and difficult matchup for us so if we think we’re going to beat them without playing better than what we’ve been playing we’re wrong. But you know what the great part is is that we can play better. There is another level, we just got to keep pushing and striving to find that level.”


On preparing for Virginia’s offensive attack:

“Virginia is big, physical. They run the ball extremely well. It took a little bit for our guys to get used to it, particularly all the motions and shifts, which we had to prepare them for, but it’s a little bit different when it happens in the game. We struggled a little bit the first half but made some nice second-half adjustments. I’m really proud of our guys because they played as hard as they possibly could.”

On the performance of safety Walt Canty:

“He made a few of them. We gave him some leeway – you probably saw we started sending our safeties up inside to puncture some of their running game. He had some leeway and he took it, but we talk about players stepping up and just making the decision that’s time to get off the field and he did that on a number of occasions. He just took the onus on himself and said, ‘I’m going to make the play.’ He just shot in there and made it.”

On defending Virginia QB Phillip Sims:

“We really started to mix our press coverages and backing off pretty well, and we got him into a little bit of a mix where he had to hold the ball somewhat. I’m so proud of our corners. Lee Butler was semi-hurt today but he came in in special situations. I thought Tony [Foster] and Ross [Cockrell] did an excellent job and you can’t forget about Dwayne Norman out there as a true freshman and Walt [Canty] and Jordon [Byas]. I thought our [defensive] backs really mixed coverages well and they responded to it.”

On younger players seeing minutes:

“We know that as a defense, and particularly with the amount of injuries that we have, we’ve got to keep playing a lot of people because it’s a long season. We’re starting to believe in ourselves and that’s infectious. It goes over to the young guys, and they want to get in there and get a taste of the action. It’s good to give them a chance to play.”

On limiting Virginia’s running game:

“I told these guys we were creating history. We have three games with under 100 rushing, which hasn’t happened since I think ’65 around here. I want them to be able to leave a legacy, particularly at home now. We’re 4-0 at home and they know they’re going to bring their kids back here someday. We’re always going to have a great offense that scores points and does its job. We need a defense that steps up, that people can be confident in when they take the field and say, ‘We’re going to be okay,’ and they’re starting to believe in that.”


On getting a win in his first career start:

“It was a big thing for me. I had a little jitters at first, but once I calmed down and settled in, I feel like I executed pretty well. The offensive line and the receivers helped me out, the running game was there. They just did a really good job up front protecting me and giving me time to read the coverage. My receivers, they’re really good – I can throw just about anywhere and they would catch it. They have a lot of faith in me, so I have a lot of faith in them.”

On making a couple of deep passes to WR Conner Vernon:

“Conner’s a big-time receiver, and he may not catch the ball like everyone else, but he finds a way to come down with the ball when the ball’s in the air. I feel like when I have one-on-one matchups, and Sean [Renfree] does too – when we have one-on-one matchups with Jamison [Crowder] or Conner, in their mind, it’s their ball and we believe the same thing.”

On learning from QB Sean Renfree:

“I talked to Sean all week, just in case I had to get the start. He’d go through what he would think about and what he looked at. Sean’s a very smart quarterback so I took into account everything he accounted. A couple three-and-outs I had, I went to the sideline and asked Sean what he saw and what he thought I should do, and he’d tell me how fix my protection and who to look for and who to look off. Just little things like that that Sean’s really helped me out with and just being around an older guy who understands the game and who is very studious of the game is a big thing for me right now.”

On being a threat to run:

“Just a couple zone reads – my job is basically reading in and getting 30 yards, that’s four or five yards. I got lucky – I got a couple 10-yard carries. Basically, I try to help open up my backs by removing two players by faking and running the opposite direction, or if it’s there for me I’ll pull it.”

On the potential of this Duke team:

“We’re very hungry. All these guys here have been part of these losing seasons. First class with Coach [Cutcliffe], it’s a weird mentality. We talk about it, but it’s more known than us verbally saying it. We all know that we’ve worked so hard and it’s our time to show people that we want respect and we can play football. That’s kind of our mentality in the locker room right now.”

On the third quarter:

"Nothing. Nothing happened in the third quarter. They scored too many points, we didn't get any points. It was frustrating on both sides, I'm talking about offense and defensively. We've got to carry the momentum of halftime and our lead, and they moved the ball on us and ended up scoring points and we didn't answer. We didn't respond."
On the end of the first half:

"We scored 14 points in the first quarter and didn't do anything in the second quarter to make you feel like we were going to get the ball back and drive it back. So we were on the road, get back in the locker room and regroup and go again."
On the quarterback play:

"While I haven't seen everything, I know there are two interceptions. [Sims] threw the ball pretty well in the first quarter. The first half we were doing some catches and runs. It just seemed like on the long balls, they were just over the fingertips or just off the hands. Last week, guys were making those long ball catches."
On the running game:

"The running game was 184 yards in the first half, moving the ball, finding those spots defensively. We had to do that because of their eight-man front, bringing those extra safeties down. Using the long passes, trying to get behind them, but we just couldn't connect on those so the running game picked up a bit, but I was disappointed when there was a third-and-two and we couldn't get that. Again, statistics look nice but in the end all that matters is what it says on the scoreboard."
On the running game:

"A lot of times you like your quarterbacks to have an awareness of the sticks, where it is. You tell your coverage people on the back end to stay in coverage, looking to see if he could pull it down and run that's one thing. I know he took some shots out there, had the knee brace on. I don't know, again, trying to create by moving the ball and threatening the line of scrimmage and throwing it is something that he did but obviously I look at the statistics and we are 4-of-16 [in third downs] and 0-for-3 in fourth down situations."
On the team's effort:

"I thought the effort was good but you have to have 11 guys with great effort. The guy that has got to close down and take the dive has got to do that. If he doesn't do that, if he misses the call, doesn't get it, it hurts you defensively. The long passes that were thrown, our defenders are right there but they made great catches. On the other side, the balls were just out of outstretched hands. So the effort I thought was good but it just didn't result in any points or any dynamic plays like we had last week."
On the difference between Duke quarterbacks Sean Renfree and Anthony Boone:

"[Boone] is obviously more of a running quarterback, more of an option threat with the dive and then the pull read that they have with him. They use the speed option look with him as a ball carrier so with him it's a different look. Renfree would run the offense, wouldn't run as much. They did a good job with their plan to get this quarterback involved with the running game and come up and defend him, bring the safety down and there was a play action pass behind it."
On Duke's second-half defense:

"Defensively, and offensively, as you go back and look at those situations that allow you to move the ball and move the chains, we weren't getting off the field. We weren't getting opportunities to get off the field or stay on the field and extend the drive and then have opportunities for scores."

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