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Quotes: Duke 48, Miami 30
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/16/2013
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Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
On all the answers Duke had in the win:
“Our guys are feeling a next level mentality in what it feels like it and that’s what you do. If you become a team that is fighting for something and you’re preparing that way you don’t give in easily. When Miami did something well we found a way to answer it. Our defense had a big tough mismatch challenge. One of those where the matchup wasn’t great, yet we kept finding ways. That red zone defense … critical. Offensively, just unbelievable that we ran the football like we did and as consistently as we did. We intended to do that coming in and thank goodness we did it as well as we did. The kicking game was timely so it wasn’t just the offense answering with scores. Everybody answered Miami’s big plays in a different way.”

On the dual quarterback threat of Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette:
“I told Kurt [Roper], ‘You know we really don’t like having “two quarterbacks”, but we really do.’ I mean we’re sitting there lying to say we don’t and I think they complement each other well. They’re both special young men. It’s rare that you have two unselfish people like Brandon and Anthony that can team up so well. That’s a big part of it.”

On the Shaquille Powell touchdown play on 4th and 1:
“We ran a zone play and they blitzed. When you blitz – and our offensive front picked it up beautifully. We cut a gap off and if you leave one gap open there is nobody there and Shaq knew exactly what to do and I’m real proud of that play. I made that decision right there to go for it on fourth down. It was the right decision. We were playing to win the football game and I think our players responded to that.”

On what has made this team know how to win games:
“This is a process. I think we have enough veterans in the right places. The way they practice and you practice over four or five years like this. We call on them at the end of practice and [getting] better as practice goes on is one of the principles I believe in strongly as a coach. You finish at the highest level that you can find. You do that and you do it every day for so long and this particular team bought into it quickly in spring practice. We had one of the best springs I’ve been around and you knew I was optimistic and I had reason to be. I really felt like this team understood what it takes to play four quarters. We have to continue that because to be quite frank with you we’re not good enough physically to not play that way. That’s what we have to do.”

On the senior class:
“I think the lesson for people who work with young people is the reason they believe in our program and what we do is that we believe so strongly in them. Young people want structure and discipline, but they also want people who believe in them. Even when they’re not good ‘in the public’s eye’ you still believe in them if they’re doing everything you ask them to do. And these guys have been doing that a long time and nobody has quit believing in them and that pays dividends.”

Duke Redshirt Junior QB Brandon Connette
On becoming one of the top rushing quarterbacks in Duke history:
“You never put forth individual goals when you first get somewhere. The first thing you want to do whenever you get to a school is you want to play and that was one of my goals. It’s a great individual honor and I can’t say enough to the offensive linemen and the coaching staff and the receivers and the quarterbacks that have been with me through the years. It’s a special place here … Just the unselfishness on this team is unbelievable and so a lot of that award goes to the offensive linemen, the running backs, the quarterbacks and the rest of the team.”

On the first series that got Duke’s offense going:
“You obviously always want to answer … We know throughout the season any time we’ve been down, we’ve never given up. When we are down, no one on our team ever second guesses what’s going on, never has doubts at all. We’re a really good team when we’re playing from behind because we have a desire to go down and score every single time until we’re ahead. And once we get ahead, we want to stay ahead. It went back and forth a little bit and we just kept on grinding it out. And we ended up on top. Just the mentality of this team is unbelievable.”

On the play of the offense in the fourth quarter:
“You can look at all the games we’ve played this year and a lot of them have been really close. In quite a few of them we’ve been down in the fourth quarter. And just even last week against NC State we were down in the fourth quarter. We put a drive together and scored and the defense made some good plays. This week in the fourth quarter, it was close … Just that back and forth, it’s something that we love because we love competition. We love the process of what’s happening here and playing and practicing. That shows up on the field any time it’s a close game. We love winning in the fourth quarter. We know we’re not always going to be able to win in the first, second, third quarter. The fourth quarter is where you’ve got to win ballgames and I can’t say enough about our play in the fourth quarter.”

On the dynamic between him and Anthony Boone:
“We played unbelievable between the two of us. We didn’t need to throw the ball that much so the passing yards may not be where you would expect them to be. But we passed efficiently and what we did very well today was we hung on to the ball. That was a big point for me and Anthony going into this week – not to give the ball away to the other team. Today no turnovers was huge. That really helps your offense out and it helps your defense out too.”

Duke Redshirt Junior OG Laken Tomlinson
On paving the way for Josh Snead’s performance:
“One thing we want to do better is run the ball. All summer long we worked on all inside zones and running inside zones back-to-back and getting to push on big linemen. We have great scout team players and just having those younger guys stepping up and having great practice tempo allows us to be able to run the ball better. It was obvious tonight that we’ve been working hard.”

On creating openings for QB Brandon Connette:
“I feel opposing teams are a little bit worried about it because Brandon Connette is a fabulous runner. He’s a very physical and very powerful player. And when he comes in, that’s when we’re like, ‘Okay, we need to get some more push. We need to keep going.’ Then again, that’s for everybody – Boone, Snead, the younger guys.”

On the linemen’s work after initial contact:
“We tried to get low, tried to drive them out and create holes. Miami’s defensive front is pretty big. What Coach Latina likes to teach us is to stay low and have physical fundamentals and great technique – just the basics of football. That’s what got us the win today.”

On what the win means to him:
“This game means, to me, what Coach [Cutcliffe] has been preaching about for the four years I’ve been here. He recruited me and told me that he was creating a program here and I believed him. I had 100 percent confidence in my coach that we would be here one day. Now we’re finally here. It’s just part of the plan. We’ve still got to finish the month of November.”

Duke Redshirt Sophomore Safety Jeremy Cash
On the matchup with Miami’s offense:
“You can’t be shook by what the media says or what you see their stats are. You’ve just got to go out and play the game. At the same time, we know what they’re going to run so it’s all about stopping it. I believe that we did exactly that tonight.”

On giving the quarterback different looks:
“If you sit there in one formation, any good quarterback is going to pick you apart. Just to be able to mix it up and change little things, he doesn’t know what’s coming at him.”

On the growing confidence of the defense:
“We still remain humble and know that we still have to come together as a team no matter what. We have to pick each other up and bend but don’t break … We believe in one another. Our coach harps on the fact that it’s a team sport and maybe one play may go wrong, but you’ve got to go to the next play and believe your brothers are going to pick you up.”

Miami Head Coach Al Golden
On Duke’s interception, trailing 17-7 in the first half:
“You could say the momentum changed there. It was unfortunate because we had a chance for a completion, and they got the ball with some good field position. There were so many other things that we did wrong. It’s my responsibility. The penalties. We didn’t tackle well enough. We didn’t get enough red zone stops. It was really disappointing.”

On Miami’s re-evaluation of coaching defense:
“I think it’s fair to say we’re evaluating every component of [the team], every step of the way. That includes defense. There’s enough blame to go around in this game. We didn’t punt the ball well. We weren’t good on kickoff returns. We had too many penalties. We didn’t answer. We needed to answer them on offense, if it was going to turn into that kind of game, and we didn’t do it. It’s all three phases. The buck stops with me. I have to get it fixed.”

On commonalities through the last three Miami losses:
“I don’t know. Obviously we’re giving up too many points. That’s changing the way we play the game on offense. We had more penalties in the first quarter today than I think we had the last two weeks. We’ve been punting the ball well, but we didn’t punt the ball well [today]. There’s too many explosive runs. Too many missed tackles. We have to dig deep and look at everything and see what we can do better, and see what direction we want to go here, starting tomorrow.”

On the defense allowing 358 yards rushing:
“Disappointing, for sure. No excuses. Too many explosive plays on the ground. They weren’t throwing the ball very much. We didn’t make enough stops. They got into too many third-and-shorts and converted them.”

On Virginia Tech’s loss earlier in the day:
“Somebody mentioned something. That’s not going to change anything we do. We didn’t execute well enough. Give Duke credit. They played really well. They’re playing really well right now. We have to get back to work and improve … I think maybe the players were aware. I don’t know. I don’t know if they saw a score, or announced it, or what. I don’t know what happened. It’s immaterial. It’s really about executing, and we didn’t do that well enough. Duke did.”

On Duke’s two-quarterback system:
“In terms of them staying fresh, that was difficult. I don’t think there was much difference when each was in the game. They’re both running the ball well. Obviously they used a lot of running backs, and ran the ball well, and we didn’t tackle well enough and they wore us down.”

On Miami’s preparation coming into the game:
“We started well. We just aren’t doing a good enough job of answering on defense. When you get into this kind of game, you really need to be perfect on offense. We weren’t, they were. We had one turnover, they didn’t have any. Obviously we aren’t generating enough turnovers right now. We’re not creating short fields. There is no excuse. It’s my responsibility.”

On coaching methods to use following three consecutive losses:
“Obviously it’s the seniors’ last home game. I think it’s important to rally around those guys. They’ve been through a lot. It’s important that we respond. Virginia will be coming off a week off, so they’re going to be fresh. We need to get our guys healthy. We have a lot to play for. Obviously this team has not been able to go to a bowl game the last couple years. We have to get our minds right and finish the season. That’s my responsibility to get them focused and recentered and get going.”