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October 8, 2014

David Cutcliffe

COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I know our team is ready to get back playing coming off of a loss and then an open date.  It seems like forever since we played.  I think our energy level is good, going to have to be.
We are playing a really outstanding Georgia Tech team, I think a Top‑10 team in my opinion.  They take care of the ball.  They play defense.  They play offense, they score points.  They play great in the kicking game.
It's a huge task that lies ahead of us.  But I am glad that we gotten energy and good health, and it will be a big challenge.  But that's what it's like to play in the ACC every week.  So with that, I'll take your questions.

Q.  Seeing Georgia Tech and everything they do running the ball, over 300 yards last week, defeated Miami doing so, what can you say about how your defense can go up against their offense and their rushing attack and how you really try to develop to be ready for that?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Well, you've just got to keep playing.  It's going to be hard.  It's going to be physical.  You have to be patient.  You have to be tough.  Any team that's committed to running the football like they have been and like they are, it's the way they are built; you've got to know going in that it's going to be however many snaps you've got to play, you've got to keep competing.
The only way you're going to win those battles is to compete at a high level every snap and you try to get stops when you can.  They don't help you.  They take care of the football, four turnovers in five games, pretty special.  So I think you've got to know in your mind, you're getting ready for a long, physical, tough afternoon and embrace the challenge.

Q.  What makes Georgia Tech's triple option so tough to defend?  Is it the blocking schemes that make them very difficult to match up against?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I think it's a combination of things.  First of all, Coach Johnson is the best in the business at designing and running and managing calling this offense.  They have really good players.  They have speed.  They have got an offensive line that comes off the football and they know what they are doing.
They have a quarterback in my opinion that is a true option quarterback, outstanding.  He is surrounded by good skill.  He's got threats at receiver.  They can effectively throw it when they want to.
So it's just a big combination of things that they do very, very well.  But I think certainly I would say Coach Johnson, and then I would say they have quality personnel, really good football players and then the scheme is certainly a good scheme.

Q.  I know it's only your second ACC game, but is it too early or late to start concerning yourself with the division race?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  No, I think we are concerned for Georgia Tech and I really don't get that we've played one conference game.  We have a lot of football left to be played, so our focus is totally on trying to play as well as we can in Atlanta.
Win or lose, you have to go back and prepare on Sunday for another new challenge, and if you start getting in your mind, you start thinking about too many things right now as a player or a coach, you're making a big 'ole mistake.  I've done it way too long.  And so that's not coach talk.  That's reality.  I totally get consumed in what we are doing this week.
If you get later in the year and the picture becomes clear of what you've got to try to do to get to Charlotte, then you tell your team.  But right now, what we've got to do is try to figure out how to win our first ACC game.  That's where our focus has got to be.

Q.  You said in Greensboro you could turn the predictions upside down and could be more accurate‑‑ do you remember talking about that?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Absolutely, I remember, I said pick your topic, pick the coastal division, put it in a drawer and turn it upside down and see what looks best at the end of the season.  It's going to be a fun ride for fans, coaches, players.  Just go out there and compete.

Q.  Scoring ten points in your last game, what did you do to need to get the offensive production level back to where it was before that?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  The obvious would be we had five false starts.  We had three turnovers.  We had three botched snaps and 29 incompletions.  I was pretty happy that with all that, we scored ten, honestly, you know what I'm saying.  We've never had anything like that happen to us before.
So from every aspect of execution, it's got to be better.  You cannot waste possessions.  I mean, 29 incompletions?  Think about that.  Never had that in my career.  Never had five false starts.  Occasionally unfortunately three turnovers, yes.  But three bad snaps in one game?  No.
So we have to eliminate all of those things to have an opportunity to score points and compete and win.

Q.  I saw or read your comments about Georgia Tech and the challenges.  I don't know if you meant it as such but I interpreted it as a backhanded compliment.  Could you clarify the point you were making?

Q.  You were commenting about challenges in recruiting.  I kind of got what you were saying but they were interpreted as a backhanded compliment and curious if you wanted to clarify or maybe talk further about what you were getting at.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I don't make backhanded compliments.  I make a compliment, and I think certainly anybody that knows football knows what I'm talking about.
We're dealing with young people today that think about the NFL, talk about the NFL, and so any of us that are a little different, we have the same circumstance here in who we can recruit and do recruit.  They recruit people that fit their system.  It poses challenges at Duke to have limitations.
But I think young people today, and you go across this country and anybody like I said that knows football, like I was saying, it's a different type of offense.  We're different.  We're not a pro‑style offense or defense.
So what it does, and certain kids‑‑ I think Coach Johnson would tell you the same thing.  Certain kids don't like to think about playing in that type of system.  So I think that clarifies it just fine.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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