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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 12, 2012


David Cutcliffe


COACH CUTCLIFFE: I am happy that our team is taking it serious. We talked about not forgetting what happened out west and why. I do believe that our team has taken it seriously on the practice field. So I think we've gone about our business to get better. Rome wasn't built in a day. We can't correct everything we did poorly from a blocking and tackling standpoint but I do like our intensity and our focus.
So we've got a big game this weekend, but because it's the Bowl City Classic about Durham, it's about two great close institutions that are five miles apart, we're very proud to be a part of it. With that, I'll take any questions that you have.

Q. Coach, you were briefly at Notre Dame, and the guy you worked for was the AD at Notre Dame. I just wonder your reaction to them coming into the league, and what you think it will do for the conference.
COACH CUTCLIFFE: I don't know much about the whole circumstance, so it's hard for me, the little bit I heard, I guess they're in the league in all other sports besides football or something.

Q. They're committed to play five games a year in football.
COACH CUTCLIFFE: So I didn't say anything I shouldn't have said. But anyway, I certainly think it can be a good, high profile program. We all know that. A national following, which we have some great programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference that have that type or similar following so it certainly should end up long‑term being a good fit. And Notre Dame is an outstanding academic institution that falls in line with who we are in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Q. I wanted to ask you since you've been at Duke, recruiting NorthCarolina has been a priority and you've had a lot of success. Playing this game this week against Durham's other college, I mean, does it help you locally? I mean, Duke's had a problem historically of sometimes being a part of NorthCarolina and making it more part of the community and maybe helping you in the long run recruiting local kids?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, I do I think this is a game that the community really does take to heart. When I say a celebration of Durham, it truly is and you know that. People cater‑‑ all the high schools in Durham and local area people are very aware of this ballgame, and we have local products on our team and they get to display their skills in front of their communities. So I'm convinced this is a great thing in every area for us and we're going continue to recruit the state of NorthCarolina very hard. They have tripled the number of players on the team form the state of North Carolina, and I'm very proud of that.

Q. Can you declare whether Blair Holliday will be attending the game on Saturday? If he is, what will that mean to you and his teammates?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Right now their plans are to come in. I don't think anybody can just say confirmed because when a guy is in therapy like he is, that's obviously a little bit of a day‑to‑day situation.
I know when I went down there two weeks ago on Wednesday, it lifted my spirits incredibly just to be with him, to sit and talk to him. His friends haven't seen him and talked with him in quite some time other than by text or by phone and there is nothing like face‑to‑face contact. Regardless from a football standpoint, it wouldn't matter. I.
Just think it's people that would do great things for our squad. Again, I hope that can happen, but we've got to understand the circumstance. That is their plans right now, but that's where it is.

Q. Want to ask you about your running attack. You've got five guys that have seen some action. Do you see any progress this week or taking a look at somebody about to break out between those guys?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: We've got good players back there. One of the things we're addressing is trying to use those good players more. I don't think we're far enough into the season to see anybody break away. I love all of them in different ways. Obviously the two most experienced in numbers of carries are really Juwan and Josh Snead, and then of course desmond Scott has taken the unselfish approach of going to go out and play receiver, but he can also move in the back field and has a lot of experience.
But our two youngsters, Duncan and Powell are extremely excited. We've got to find ways to grow our backs more into our system. Part of our running game, receivers take part in all of our screens, et cetera, et cetera. But I want our backs more involved. So we've worked hard this week to try to get them more involved in the ballgame.

Q. Wondered if you could evaluate how Kenny Anunike is playing?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: There you go, Al. That's the one that stumped you. Anunike, Kenny has played well. We're limited his snaps. He's still in a circumstance where he gets a little tender and a little swelling with overwork. We have to manage a little bit the number of snaps right now. But he's had some good play, you know.
The thing that I'm most encouraged about is as the season goes and Kenny gets healthier, you know, and I'm going to think really positive thoughts for Kenny as he gets healthier and stays healthy, that you're going to see his chances to make plays continue to increase.

Q. You also talked in the spring about Dez Johnson maybe making a leap and really improving things. Have you seen that pay off on the field yet?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Not as much as I would like, but he's going to get an opportunity this week. There is no question it's all there. Dewalt‑Ondijo is making a return. You got to remember, he hadn't practiced until the week of the opening game. So I see our entire defensive front hopefully continuing to grow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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