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Cutcliffe Weekly Press Conference Quotes: Nov. 24, 2009
Saturday 11/24/2009  -  Duke Sports Information
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Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
On the senior class, which will play its final game at Duke this Saturday:
“This group has endured some difficult times. Thank goodness they’ve been able to celebrate some good times. Their contribution to Duke football will be more significant over a period of time, because it’s not just what you do on Saturday. It’s not even what you do on the practice field alone, and they’ve done well there. But they’ve gotten high marks in their conditioning work, their summer passing work that they set up and organized themselves, and in their commitment to excellence, academically and socially. This group, they have been amazing. They are champions, and they’re champions in many ways. That’s the most significant thing for us this week.”

On the upcoming game against Wake Forest on Saturday:
“This is a big ballgame for lots of reasons. Everybody’s aware that we have a chance to go 6-6, which is significant. I think it’s just significant in so many ways that these guys go out playing well. We’re going to be very challenged by a team that has had an open date and an opportunity to get rested and heal a little bit. (Wake Forest) has played really good football all year long. It’s a big challenge with them.”

On the changed schedule, which no longer has Duke vs. North Carolina as the final game:

“The schedule was adjusted so that we’re not playing North Carolina last, but as they put it together, they put another rival game there. It should generate a lot of interest. From what I understand, they’re calling for about 55 degrees and sunshine, which should be an absolutely perfect day for college football.”

On recovering from the loss at No. 20 Miami:
“I think having a rival game to come back to is huge. We had our head in the sand a little bit after (the loss to Miami), and our seniors handled that. Our practice, I thought it started a little bit quiet. But man, when we started hitting and competing, it finished on a really strong note. I think that has a lot to do with our players coming out and feeling better after a day’s work.”

On Wake Forest’s secondary after the loss of second-round draft pick Alphonso Smith:
“I was really surprised. They’ve got some youngsters back in the secondary that I think have really grown. They’re playing really well, and from a speed standpoint, they may be even better back there.”

On Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner:

“He is extremely accurate. He’s got nice arm strength, and he buys time extremely well, which is what he does as well as anything. He makes you pay when he buys time. A lot of guys buy time and then panic, but he buys time and makes plays. He’s done that his whole career. I watched him when he was young and I was at Tennessee, and I was impressed with him.”

On learning something from Duke’s last three losses:
“That is what growth is about. What you learn is you watch when players are made and when teams assert themselves and win games. Against Georgia Tech, in the second quarter, we missed a chance to make that game 21-17, and then they turned it into a 28-10 game just like that. There are places and times in games that you can win football games. North Carolina did it to us on a long drive in the fourth quarter after we failed to convert a fourth down. That’s a heck of a football game. You see that that’s how football games are won. When opportunities to win present themselves – look at Tiger Woods, great tennis players – when they find a defining moment and a time to win, they go win. That is what we have to learn and define at Duke. I’ve seen our basketball team do it time and time again. I think it’s really something that our players have seen and understood.”
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