DURHAM, N.C. – David Cutcliffe has disliked yellow jackets ever since he was eight years old.
“I was out cutting grass, one of my early cutting grass days in Birmingham,” Cutcliffe said. “Had a big old place to cut, and I ran over a nest in the ground of yellow jackets...They got after me, and I was mad. I went and got some diesel fuel and I put it in a sprayer. I went back on the attack. I nailed them with the diesel fuel, and went and got a match and there went the yellow jackets.”
“It is not that easy with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets,” Cutcliffe added. “They are a little tougher than that.”
The Blue Devils (3-1) will travel on the road this weekend to battle with Georgia Tech (3-1) for their first contest away from the friendly confines of Wallace Wade Stadium, with the Yellow Jackets being the toughest opponent the Blue Devils have faced up to this point in the season, Cutcliffe said.
Cutcliffe plans on learning more about his team over the course of this week than at any time so far this season because of the looming challenge of traveling to a hostile environment this Saturday.
“We do a pretty good job of keeping our routine as near normal both at home and on the road,” Cutcliffe said.
“I want them to get settled in well Friday night. Get to sleep the same way we have been...I like going on the road. It is just kind of like a business trip, you kind of band together and that’s the way I like it.”
Junior linebacker Vincent Rey, who is second on the team with 38 tackles and leads the team with 12 tackles for a loss, said that great tackling will be needed to take down the Yellow Jackets, which run the same option type offense as Navy but feature better athletes.
Senior offensive lineman Fred Roland and Rey both said that there is a comfort level that everyone feels while playing at home, but are looking forward to just playing this Saturday.
“Opposing crowds are never an easy thing to deal with, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it is harder from a playing standpoint so much,” Roland said. “Being away from home doesn’t really change much for us.”
“I love playing at home, but I know we as a team just love playing together and having fun,” Rey said. “We had fun here, and we are going to go down there and have fun after we work hard these next two days.”
Roland, who hails from Hephzibah, Ga., just two hours away from Atlanta, will have his family in the stands for the Georgia Tech game.
Even with a winning record, quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and the rest of his teammates are not letting the early success go to their heads.
“We hear guys talking, and you don’t even hear them talk about we are 3-1,” Lewis said. “They talk about the opportunity next week to get another one, and then get another one, because we have the opportunity. You see guys’ hungriness to continue to win and not just being satisfied with being 3-1.”
Lewis believes they are ready to take the next step, and get their first ACC road win in their last 16 tries with the outcome of the game being solely determined by their play on the field.
“We have to go out there, play hard, match their intensity, execute and make plays,” Lewis said. “Coach can scheme up everything in the world but at the end of the day it is up to us, the players, to go out there and make plays. If we make plays and execute then we can come out on the winning side of this game.”