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Quotes: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 14
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 09/14/2013
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Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe
On the loss:
“Our preparation was good. I wouldn’t go back and ask our team to do anything differently. I think we were all probably shocked a little by the outcome. The first half, a couple of things bothered me. One I thought they kind of took the fight to us when things didn’t go well. I thought we didn’t play as hard as what I expected us to play. And I told them at halftime, ‘Third downs … we didn’t play a clean game. We had five penalties at halftime, 52 yards. We have to correct all of that. It shouldn’t have been a 24-7 game at that point. And we really were no better in the second half. We probably dropped off offensively. We fought defensively, but we weren’t opportunistic enough. We had some good down and distances defensively, but we couldn’t convert. What I mean by that is that we have got to maintain those down and distances better to force punts. That’s how you beat that team and we just didn’t play a clean enough game. We’ll learn from it and move forward.”

On the second drive and why that kind of running disappeared:
“I’ve got to look at tape and see where some of that went away. We’ve got to take a hard look at that. I can’t say much about the ballgame until I get a hold of the tape in that regard. There are a lot of weapons on this team. This is the same team that we all felt good about all summer and what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. At this point we’ve got to look at what we can do better and build on what we’re doing well.”

On fighting back in the next game:
“You don’t have a choice; that’s what you call life. There’re things that we have to technically fix. Why are we having so much trouble with wheel routes with them on defense? Why are third downs not being as crisp as they could be on offense? Why is our running game hitting and missing and hitting and missing? I mean it was good at times, real good at times. Then it just seems to disappear. Football teams have to be consistent. You have to find what you do well and we’re kind of erratic right now through the first three games in my opinion. What that means is that there are a lot of weapons here and we have to put it all together, and better things are going to happen as we move forward.”

On Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee – a local Hillside High School product:
“He’s a good football player. They won a state championship with him at Hillside. Vad’s always been a playmaker and he made a lot of plays today.”

On Pittsburgh:
“We’ll be back at work tomorrow with the staff and players. I’ve taken a little bit of a look at Pittsburgh. They’re a good football team, a good ACC football team now. But it’s a home game. It’s an opportunity for us to win an ACC game at home, and if we play well we’ll have a good opportunity to do that.”

Redshirt Junior QB Brandon Connette
On aspects of the game the Duke offense could have performed better:
“We moved the ball pretty consistently. Numerous times in the second half we moved the ball a little bit more, too. I’d say the biggest thing that deterred us from moving the ball on a more consistent basis was third-down production, and a lot of that was just me being inaccurate on third down – missing guys that were open and just throwing a little bit behind or a little bit low. I’ve got to be more accurate, more consistent on third downs in order to keep our offense on the field longer.”

On any difficulties with stepping into the leadership role as the quarterback:
“Once you get into the fold of the game, once you get past that first play, you’re not thinking about that at all. You’re thinking about play to play to play to play. So there wasn’t anything like extra juice flowing. I felt even-keeled. I felt pretty good throughout the whole game. There was nothing where I just felt jittery the entire game.”

On the effectiveness of the run game on the first drive:
“The first drive, and I think really the whole game, we were able to run the ball. They kind of bumped more backers in the box and really loaded up the box and starting rolling safeties down to try to stop the run. Once they got to that, they kind of minimized the amount of places we could run so whenever we were running our old plays before, we knew they were bumping into 43 and getting to those calls. We were running plays where somebody was left free so they were able to make a play on us. And then once we figured out they were putting so many people into the box, we got to run ones a little bit more suited for that and that’s why we were able to pick it up a little bit more in the second half.”

On the feelings in the locker room post-game:
“It’s disappointing because we know that we’re better than what we played on the field. It’s not as much disappointing – it’s just frustrating because you know that you’re more capable than what we showed out there and how we played. It’s not really disappointing. It’s just a pressure you feel.”

Duke Redshirt Senior DE Kenny Anunike
On what the team needs to improve upon:
“They came out in new sets – things we hadn’t practiced against, things we hadn’t seen – so we made a lot of adjustments. I think we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to hold them down. We didn’t get it done today. But we’re going to learn from it. We’re going to go ahead and take it to Pittsburgh next week.”

On the blocked field goal:
“I just lined up right across from their guys. Jamal Bruce was right next to me. I said, ‘Let’s just get this guy out of the way and let’s get to that ball.’ That’s exactly what we did. I knew that would be a huge stop for us, keep them from putting any more points on the board and keep us in this ballgame. I just gave it everything I had. I just stuck my hand up right after I got that push. Stuck my hand up and good things happen – got the block. That was a great thing for our defense, something that we need to keep doing and keep doing often. It was great.”

Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson
On first ACC game of the season:
“It’s good to get a road and conference win to start out. I’m not sure we played a great game, but we hung in there. We made enough plays. Duke played really hard. We still have a lot to clean up, though.”

On special teams play:
“Our field goal kicking was a disaster. Really, it’s low kicks. I don’t think it’s protection. We had problems on the kickoff coverage, as well.”

On defensive play:
“I thought defensively we played okay, except for a couple of drops. We played a lot of base defense. We really simplified [the defense]. I know people get tired of me saying that, but that’s what we did. We played base defense, guys got lined up, and we played better.”

On offensive play:
“I thought we did some good things. Offensively, we were too hit and miss. I was frustrated at half time, offensively, and then I looked at the stats and we only punted one time. It still didn’t seem to me like we were in-sync like we need to be. If you can play like that and you can win 38-14, it’s a good thing.”

“We had some third downs because we missed some reads and we did some things that we overcame. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times, but we made plays and overcame them. When you’re up like that at half time, 24-7, and you come out and have an eight minute drive to start the third quarter and score, that’s a pretty good way to start. That’s a pretty good way to set the tempo.”

On Georgia Tech Quarterback Vad Lee:
“He made some plays. He had four touchdown passes, so he made some plays. I’m sure there were a few passes he’d like to have back, but it’s going to be a process. There’s going to be some good and some bad.”

“He made some big plays, but he also missed some that were wide open that could have been big plays. A young guy is going to do that, and that’s why I’m saying, the more he plays the better he’s going to get.”

“I think it’s disappointing at times because we had some chances. The one interception should have been a touchdown pass. He threw it to the wrong guy. We should have hit the guy on the wheel [route]. We dropped one in the end zone, as well. We had another guy early on that we overthrew. We need to settle down and make those throws, and if we do, it certainly helps the running game a lot.”

On Georgia Tech Wide Receiver DeAndre Smelter:
“He’s a good player. I think he’s really going to help the team.”

On the option play calling:
“I don’t know if we ever got into a rhythm. I probably didn’t do a great job of calling plays. I think we jumped around too much.”

On consistent play:
“We have to get better next week. It’s going to get better as we go. We have to ratchet up, and I think our guys can do that. We just need to get into a routine, so we can practice. We have to play better than we did today if we’re going to win our division and go to Charlotte.”