Oct. 22, 2008
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DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke head coach David Cutcliffe met with the media Tuesday to discuss this week's matchup with Vanderbilt.
On Duke's 49-30 loss to Miami and what he can take from Duke's performance in that game:
"At times, we were not good, but excellent, which was encouraging. The discouraging part was we went south so fast. Our inconsistencies are the biggest concern. What I foresee my job to do is, we've got to pick what we're going to do really well and what we can do really well - what fits our personality, not only on offense and defense, but in the kicking game so we can use it as an edge. If we can do that consistently for 60 minutes, if we can find that thing for 60 minutes, we can win some football games. We could have won the ball game Saturday against a very talented Miami team. We just let it go south on us in a very quick sequence. We're going to have to make plays - we don't have to be supermen, but we have to be good for us to be successful. That's the mode we're in. I'm still not pleased with our reaction to what occurred in the game, and that was the biggest concern I had afterwards. That's what I'm most focused on - how we will respond to adversity."
On the penalties committed by Duke against Miami:
"Penalties did play a big part in that game. We can't make mistakes; we can't afford to not know the rules extremely well. We take great pride in teaching that and having our players understand what they can and can't do. So when a call or two goes against you at a critical time, it gets you beat. It's not going to be typical of who we are or what we are. But I'll just be honest with you, there were some real questionable issues involved in that game."
On playing on the road, which Duke will do this Saturday at Vanderbilt:
"I really like road games - I know that's coming off getting defeated 27-0 (at Georgia Tech, Oct. 4). It had nothing to do with being on the road though. I like traveling with the team - it's a smaller group and a focused group. You have them at the hotel, and you're staying there with them. I think it's a great challenge and one of the most fun things about college football. I've always liked going and seeing other venues where people don't like you and think you can't win on the road - I want our guys to feast off that energy. I can't think of a better time to do it than now. As I've said all along, this time of year as we approach November will define this football team. We're not defined yet, and we're not dead by any means. We're not by any means down and out. We have a chance to go compete, and that's what we intend to do - on the road or at home."
On his impression of how his team played against Miami and the improvements the Blue Devils have made so far:
"I saw with my eyes how much better we played in a lot of circumstances. It doesn't take me very long to see the line of scrimmage and know what's going on there. I was really encouraged that our pad leverage was better and our feet were better. We were competing right there back and forth on both sides of the ball against a team with a bunch of talent on the line. It's not just those big receivers and fast DB's and running backs - they've got good-looking linemen who are going to play at the next level."
On the Vanderbilt Commodores and their head coach Bobby Johnson:
"Bobby (Johnson) is kind of a `slow and steady wins the race' kind of guy. Every year I've coached against Bobby Johnson, you just saw his teams get more confident. Now there's more speed on the field, and they've got the best corner in the Southeastern Conference in D.J. Moore. He's a tremendous player. They've just steadily gotten more athletes on the field. It's not just overnight that this has occurred. Bobby knows how to coach. They'll have a solid plan and a solid team, and they've got more playmakers. It's hard to win in any league without playmakers, and what they've done is put people on the field that can make plays for them."