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October 3, 2012

David Cutcliffe

MIKE FINN:  We now welcome Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe.  We'll bring on coach, ask for a brief opening statement, then go to questions.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  All right.  This is obviously a big game for us every year, being a rival game, obviously same division.  A very talented Virginia team.  A well‑coached Virginia team.  They're always big, physical, athletic football team.  They're going to play hard in all three phases.
They've got a lot of weapons on their offense.  Put up 625 yards a week ago and a lot of outstanding players on defense.  One of the best linebackers in our league.  But a big, powerful defensive front.
I think they do an outstanding job with their kicking game.  So it's a team every year that gives you a lot of problems.
With that, I'll take your questions.

Q.  David, do you see any possibility for another 55‑48 game like two years ago?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  You know, I don't know (laughter).  I don't predict those things.  Every time somebody says like that, it ends up 10‑7 or something like that.
You just don't know.  All of that ends up being about matchups.  That's part of that when it can happen.  The other part of it is, it seems to me that each game somehow, some way takes on its own personality.
We know this:  it's going to be a hard‑fought ballgame and they've all been really good football games.

Q.  It's likely Phillip Sims will start against you.  As your people look at the film, is it pretty much the same offense or do you feel you have to prepare for him any differently?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  No, I think it's the same offense.  They have a system, a very versatile system.  Any coordinator will call something to the strengths of a player, but not outside of their system.  It's the same system.
You have to remember, if he's been the number two guy, he's getting the number two reps at practice.  Your number two receivers and linemen are repping the same things that the ones are repping because if they have to go in, they have to know what to do.  Systematically, it will be the same.

Q.  Coach, I was wondering if you had any update on your own quarterback, Sean Renfree, whether he'll be able to play this weekend?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  We do an injury release on Thursdays.  We'll update it at that time.

Q.  I want to ask you about one of your players, Jamal Wallace, moving from end to tackle.  You had an injury there.  How is he holding up inside?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Jamal has done really well for us.  He's a lot bigger than he was.  He was kind of growing in the direction anyway.
He's been our starter.  He's really an athletic guy.  Was actually a hurdler in high school on the track team.  He played at about I guess 250, 255 a year ago.  He's in the 275 plus range now and still moves well.
This team ‑ and he's an example of it ‑ has been willing to do whatever we ask them to do from a position change or even a side‑of‑the‑ball change to adjust through all these injuries we've had to deal with.  I'm very proud of Jamal in being unselfish in making that move.

Q.  I was looking at the numbers.  Perry Jones had an amazing game for Virginia last Saturday.  What kind of problems does he present with his ability to catch and run the ball?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  A lot of them.  I think he is just a tremendous football player.  He's given us problems every year.  He'll give you problems again.  I mean, he's going to get yards.  He's going to be involved.  He's going to catch all sorts of pass routes, not screens, not any one type of route.  He's very capable of being split out.
I think he's a heck of a ball‑carrier.  He runs the power play very well.  He runs the stretch play well.  I don't see anything he doesn't do extremely well.  I think he's one of the most versatile players in our league.

Q.  It's not very glamorous, but this game is going to feature the two top kicker/punters in this league.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I think you win with the kicking game, there's no question.  I think when you get into conference games, teams that you play every year, the kicking game, it's not just the fact that if they hit a good punt, kickoff well, place kick well, whatever, but the punting game is all about field position, all about coverage, all about returns.  So whoever plays the kicking game best in these close conference games has a darn good chance of winning.

Q.  Anthony Boone played the fourth quarter against Wake Forest.  If he were needed to see extended action in a game, what could we look for from him?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Just like I mentioned about Sims a little while ago.  We have an offensive system.  Anthony Boone has been taking the number two reps all fall camp, all during the season to this point.  We're running the same offense, whether it's Sean or whether it's Anthony or whether it was Brandon Connette.  Again, there are minor things that you play to the strength of a player.
But I think the beauty of our team, and I said this going in, I hate that we had to use it, but if something happened to Sean, which it did last week in the ballgame, we have very experienced, capable football players.
One of the things I noticed on the sideline when Anthony had to step up and play, the other players didn't bat an eye.  I mean, they're used to him playing.  It's why we've always played quarterbacks, backup quarterbacks, in situational roles if they're good enough.  Certainly Anthony, Connette, those guys have been good enough.
We won't change.  Disregard who is at quarterback, we're going to be who we are.
MIKE FINN:  Coach, I think we're done for the day.  Thanks for being with us.  Good luck this weekend.  We'll talk to you Wednesday.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  All right.  Have a good week.

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