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November 25, 2014

Dave Clawson

COACH CLAWSON:  Very rewarding win against Virginia Tech at our seniors' last home game on Saturday.  Really proud of our players.  We've been in a lot of close games this year.  To find a way to beat a good football program and get an ACC win was a great moment for our program, especially our seniors.
But we've got to turn the page and get ready for a very good Duke team that has had a really good run here the last two or three years.  They're an excellent football team.
Their offensive line is very impressive.  They've got really good skilled players.  They have three outstanding tailbacks.  The Crowder player is probably one of the most dynamic players we've seen all year.
Defense is sound, keep things in front of them.  It will be a great challenge for our guys going into the last game of the year to try to beat a very, very good Duke football team.

Q.  What does a win like that do for the confidence of your players and what was the scene in the locker room like for you guys after that?
COACH CLAWSON:  The scene was like winning a championship.  That was a great locker room.  Guys were fired up.  We've been in a lot of games this year.  We had a lead in the fourth quarter against Louisville.  It was 20‑20 against Clemson with 11 minutes left.  We played Florida State tough for a while.  We've been in that situation a number of times this year and didn't find a way to win.
To be in that situation again, even to miss that kick at the end of regulation, have our guys come back again, it was a great scene.
I think it does a number of things.  Number one, it certainly makes this week a lot better.  After a win like that, guys are excited to play again.  I expect to have a great week of practice.  It's nothing but positive.

Q.  What can you say about Weaver being able to put those kicks behind him, nail the winner in the second overtime?
COACH CLAWSON:  It certainly in a lot of ways represents our whole football team for the year.  Things have not come easy but they've continued to play hard and press forward.  That's what he did in that game.  He missed one field goal the entire year before that, that was a 54‑yarder against Clemson.  Here is a guy that won the job, had nothing but success.  The one kick against Clemson in retrospect probably shouldn't even have tried to kick it.  It was a 54 yarder.  He barely missed that one.
He hadn't really missed a kick inside of 50 all year.  For him to miss really four kicks, because he missed a one, then an off‑sides, got another shot, he missed it again.  He certainly showed some backbone.
Again, I think he represents a lot of our football team.  Things haven't been easy, hasn't always gone well, but we continue to press forward, try to find a way.  To get that validation at the end of the game was great for him and great for our whole team.

Q.  What do you see in Duke on film?  They have a good running attack, good quarterback.  What do you see that might give you a problem on Saturday?
COACH CLAWSON:  I mean, they're just an overall good football team.  It all starts with their offensive line.  I think the offensive line is the heart and soul of that team.  Those guys are extremely well‑coached.  They're very physical.  They get after you.  They play with a demeanor and at pad level, they finish blocks.  When you have a quarterback as experienced as Boone, when you have a dynamic play‑maker like Crowder, their other receivers are excellent players, Blakeney, McCaffrey.  Three really good tailbacks.  Their leading rusher isn't even listed on their depth chart, a freshman for them.  On the other side of the ball, they're experienced up front.  You look at their front seven, it's six seniors and one junior.
They're a really experienced football team.  They've won a lot of football games the last two years.
They don't beat themselves.  I mean, that's certainly a sign of a Coach Cutcliffe team.  Don't turn the ball over, don't take sacks.  They lead the ACC in the fewest turnovers.  I believe they're the least sacked team in the conference, certainly near the top.  You have to beat them; they do not beat themselves.

Q.  After last Saturday's game, have you ever been part of any games previously being scoreless in regulation, going in double overtime?
COACH CLAWSON:  Maybe when I played peewee football in sixth great or something like that (laughter).
No, I've never been part of that game like that before.  I think it was a great defensive football game.  Neither offense you could say played well, but I think both defenses had a hand in that.
We executed at a very high level on defense.  They had things blocked up.  Our kids fit runs correctly, hit their blitz pass correctly.  Credit Virginia Tech, they played really good defense, too.  We had a chance to make plays.  They had great breaks on the ball.
I think a game like that, it's easy to be critical of the offenses.
I think credit has to go to both defenses who played at a very high level.  Credit to them.  But I'm really proud of our defense.  That's really hard to do, to shut a team out for 60 minutes.  It turned out that's what we had to do.  We found out a way to get it done.
In the second overtime, when we created two negative‑yardage plays, that was huge, too.

Q.  You'll have a matchup against one of the best receivers not only in the ACC but in the country, Jamison Crowder, what particular problems does he cause to your secondary?
COACH CLAWSON:  Number one, they put him everywhere.  You can't just say he's in this position.  They'll put him as an outside receiver, a slot, a number three guy, they'll motion him.  He's extremely dynamic in the screen game.  If he gets in space, he can make people miss.  He's a home run hitter.
He presents matchup problems.  You have to be aware of where he is in every formation.  So it's hard to say, Hey, you're going to have a corner cover him, because they can put him in the slot.
Really, really good player.  But they also have other good players.  Their offensive line is extremely physical.  Like I said, I'm really impressed with all three of their backs.  They've got three excellent tailbacks.  They might have four or five, but the three who play are all high‑level players.

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