Quoting ACC Football: September 26, 2012
Sept. 26, 2012
"We've got the Clemson Tigers coming in. Obviously a very talented football team. We're happy to be having them at home...They got a lot of weapons and they pose a lot of challenges. As you alluded to, at all the skill positions, big-league wideouts, tight end, running backs. They got it all, they know how to use them. It's a tremendous challenge. Once again, there's always things you can do. It's about executing them. So we got a game plan, but we got to execute it."
"This is a big challenge for us, going up to Chestnut Hill, a tough place to play, a place we've only won one time. I have a lot of respect for Coach Spaziani, the way he does things there, just their program as a whole. Look forward to the challenge. They've had an open date to get ready for us, so I know we'll definitely really have to play very, very well to have a chance to win this game. Very impressed with what they're doing offensively. They got quarterbacks throwing the ball for almost a thousand yards in three games. Big arm, very efficient, knows their offense, is operating it very, very well. Big up front. Two pounders at running back. Got a couple of wideouts that are really capable of making some big-time plays. So it's going to be a real challenge for our defense. Then defensively, Boston College has always been outstanding on defense. Their scheme is challenging. They know exactly what they're doing. They are who they are. They play to their strengths. Last year, last couple years, they've had (Luke) Kuechly up there. He's gone. Now he's gone, you look up, three of the top four tacklers in this league, the top two tacklers in the nation, are at Boston College. They know what they're doing on defense. This is a game we're going to have to execute on high levels in all phases. They are very good in the kicking game as well. Big challenge for us to get back on track and find a way to win up at Boston."
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe on beginning conference play against Wake Forest:
"I think our team is excited about starting conference play. Non-conference games, obviously they all count, they're all important, but there's nothing like playing in your league against opponents that you play annually. Certainly this game has been very competitive in our world over the last four years, but haven't won it. A big challenge to our squad. It will be a big challenge. A typical Wake team, a Jim Grobe coached team. They're running the ball well right now, don't make mistakes, play good football in all three phases. So a huge challenge to start our conference play for us."
"I think there was two significant plays. There were a lot of significant plays in the game. Two times we responded extremely well, the game was 28-14, Kelvin (Benjamin) took a shuffle pass and went down the sideline for about 60 or 70, set us up for another score, we punched it in. Clemson responded 31-21. Then we responded with a big kickoff return to get us back to the 10. We were able to punch both of them in for touchdowns. Clemson was hitting us hard. We responded back, got the game back. Our defense, that's when they started getting their feet on the ground and started getting stops and then we were able to take the ball back and take the lead. Those two plays were significant plays in the game answering big punches by Clemson. We were fortunate to get."
"We've got a Middle Tennessee State game coming in, they've scored some points and have some momentum winning their last two games. So a chance for us to get back out there and play again, and do some of the things better that we didn't do last Saturday...I think they're similar to a lot of people. They have some good players and they have a good scheme. I don't think they'll come in here intimidated. They've played plenty of BCS teams and schools. They have a lot of kids from Georgia. Historically when we play teams outside our league with a lot of kids from Georgia, they really get up when they play here."
"I think the thing is, knowing Perry (Hills), you could see it was coming because of the fact his demeanor, how he approaches everything, how passionate he is about doing well. And I thought as the game went on against West Virginia, standing on the sideline, I could almost see the game really starting to slow down for him as opposed to the other games. I don't know why, but it just seems to happen. That's just the way it is. All of a sudden it just clicks. So I think the game's going to get slower and slower for him, which is a good thing. Again, he's seen so many different things in four weeks, really four different kind of defenses and everything else. But I just think it's going to slow down for him and he's just going to get better and better. Experience is a great teacher. He's had a tremendous amount of experience. The thing is, he's taken some shots. He's gotten hit way too much. But you don't see him backing down or shying away. That just tells you about the mental and physical makeup of the young man."
"We're excited. What a great opportunity, excellent football team coming in. Obviously, really fond of their staff and their head coach Tom O'Brien, one of the best in the business. Clearly the trademarks of a Tom O'Brien coached football team. If they don't beat themselves, they're number one in the ACC in time of possession. They protect the ball really well in taking it away. I think they have nine takeaways over the last three games and given up only three, averaging about 29 points a game, but really balanced on offense. 150 rushing, 250 passing. The three inside guys, the center and two guards, (R.J.) Mattes, (Camden) Wentz and (Zach) Allen are over 90 starts between them. I know Coach O'Brien is an old offensive line coach, and that is always his baby, and I know they're big, averaging about 318 pounds and a lot of seniors there. Got a great trigger man in (Mike) Glennon who has been phenomenal in the last three games. Five T.D.s, zero interceptions. Their core group of running backs, we'll see a number of them. (Sharach) Thornton played an excellent game last week with 145 yards and just a number of receivers that we'll see. (Bryan) Underwood, a T.D. in four straight games. (Tobais) Palmer, (Quntin) Payton, so it's a good group on offense. On defense, what can you say about them? They're getting off the field 25%. Holding their opponents to 25%. They led the country in interceptions last year, and they have six alreadyexperienced safeties. Really, experience where you want it at is the safeties. 37 starts. They're big, strong and physical up front. They have the biggest defensive ends we've seen all year at 281 and 290. And (Brian) Slay's got 17 starts, and I like their linebacker. Strong, physical, downhill guys. What can you say about the corners? They're long and (David) Amerson is as good as advertised. The kicking game, just what you'd expect from Coach (Jerry) Petercuskie. Fundamentally sound. Excellent in coverage. Just did a tremendous job in all the little things. Their kickoff coverage unit is phenomenal. I think their placekicker has hit something like 57 PATs, and they have a vet as a punter as well. So this is an excellent team coming in. Obviously going to be a great challenge for our program."
"I'd like to see great energy level throughout the entire game for 60 minutes. I'd like to see us play a complete game. Improvement made from last week in each of the three phases of the game. I think we're slowly getting better each week, and overcoming some of the problems that we've had I'd like to see improvement. If we can keep building and put one brick on top of another, we'll eventually have that wall built."
"What happened is last Sunday we had no healthy running backs. He was the only one that was healthy. As a freshman, pre-season camp you could see some signs. He got much better by the third scrimmage. When we gave him the opportunity to play in a scrimmage just before the end, when we scrimmaged basically the young guys, he really had taken a step forward. It was kind of necessity that we had to play him, but he certainly was ready to play and did a great job on Saturday night...I've always said about injuries, one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. He made the most of his opportunity. Going forward, he's going to be able to play."
"We're always evaluating what our players are doing, particularly Michael (Rocco) and anyone else that goes into the game. Eyes are always on the guys that handle the ball 100% of the time. It's no different. Michael will have the opportunity to play and start this game out and hopefully there is an opportunity to get them in the game. Everyone understands how we distribute the ball and move this team how we move, how we set ourselves up for scores is always important. That's why you practice. I think both players right now are having a good week of practice, understanding that they have to play well. Mike understands he has to play well. Phillip (Sims) understands if he goes into the game, he has to play well. At that this time last week, we were in the same situation, 2-2. The last five of our eight games are at home in our place. So I expect the execution of the offense to improve. It has to be done. It has to start with the guys taking the snaps...They're two different types of players in the standpoint that Phillip is understanding a system he's coming from to where we are now. Mike's had three years of learning. Phillip's had months of learning. There are some things that one can do better than the other, but you go back, and the other guy can do some things because of balance of the offense and things like that that the other guy doesn't know he's improving on. So both of them played in the pro-style offense, and as we continue the learning curve of one, the other one understands that he's got to play better and execute and everyone's embraced the challenge. On game day Saturday we'll see who rises to the challenge."
"I don't know who is home and away. I don't know if that makes any difference. I think how you play on the field will determine the ballgame."
"We thought he was a really good player. The thing that I think everybody was looking at was whether he was big enough. He's not a really tall kid. He's put together really well. Actually, we've used him some as a running back. I think he'd be a really good running back for us, but at the slot position we can get him the football a little bit more. So I think he jumped out at us on film. I don't think there was any doubt that the guy was a really, really good player. I think the thing that kept some people off of him was his height."