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November 7, 2012

David Cutcliffe

COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Open date came at obviously a good time for our team.  Ten weeks into the season we've been able to get work, and at the same time try to get a few people a little more healed than what they've been.  We had a lot of people play pretty banged up.
So a good time for us.  The focus has been on just purely getting better after not playing as well as we can play over the last weeks.  We've looked forward to the open date, getting some good out of it.  Look forward to returning back to play next week.  With that I'll answer your questions.

Q.¬† I guess obviously you saw early in the week Ross Martin was named semifinalist on the Groza Award.¬† He bounced back after probably his one weak game of the year at Florida State and came back and played very well at Clemson with two 47‑yard field goals.¬† Can you talk about what he's given you and how much potential he has?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:¬† It's a difficult transition to be a true freshman kicker, going from kicking off a block to kicking off the ground, to handling the kickoff duties so ably.¬† Ross is a mentally tough guy, a hard worker, and now he's been beyond‑‑ I knew he was going to be really special.¬† But he's been really blonde any dreams you might have for a true freshman.¬† Best part of Ross Martin is you haven't seen his best yet.¬† There is more to come without a doubt.

Q.  Your other freshman kicker had been just lights out going into Florida State and had a tough game there.  He didn't bounce back as strong against Clemson.  He was good, but not at the level he had been at before.  Is there a concern there, or do you think the week off will help him?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:¬† He'll be fine.¬† Will Monday's a big‑time player.¬† He's one of them that's kind of, to be honest with you, gone through week to week trying to get through being a little banged up.¬† This week will help Will.¬† He had a great day today.¬† It looks like a little time off has helped him.

Q.  With the dismissal of Coach Phillips at Kentucky this week and rumors around other programs starting to Heat up, your name is already being bounced around for potential openings.  Do you have a message for your team or a planned message for those guys to avoid distractions with your name being out there?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I don't really have a planned message.  I haven't to this point felt the need to bring it up to them.  But we're totally focused on what we're doing at Duke, and have no interest in talking about anything else otherwise.  I think our players trust me in that regard and know that's a sincere statement.  So I would leave it at that.

Q.¬† Is it the same message for prospective student‑athletes that are interested in coming to Duke?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Sure.  We love where we are and what we're doing.  We have an incredible relationship with what we hope our potential players are in the future.  So we feel very strongly about that.

Q.  You've had among your injuries guys in the secondary in particular seem to have been bitten by that bug.  But Walt Canty seems to have played consistently for you back there.  Can you talk about the season he's had and playing through injuries?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:¬† Yeah, he's played through injury.¬† He's been non‑contact in practice the last four weeks.¬† He wills himself out there.¬† He's a captain.¬† He's performing like an all-conference performer.¬† He's not going to not miss a practice.¬† He's just limited a little bit in his running.¬† He hasn't been able to do tackling drills and different things.¬† Just a few days¬í rest, he told me not long before this conference call how much better he felt.¬† He started to feel like Walt again.¬† That's good news for me.

Q.  What are the attributes he brings to playing back there at safety?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  He's a safety man.  He obviously has a great nose for the ball.  He's an incredibly savvy football player, an intense football player.  He's one of those guys that gets three steps in before everybody else does, because he senses where the ball is so well.  Then he's a guy that can defend the pass.  He's just been one of our more consistent football players for four years now.

Q.¬† Usually turnover margin is crucial.¬† Last two weeks you struggled, but you had an 8‑0 turnover margin.¬† Have you ever seen anything like that?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  No, and I told our squad that.  I said I'm going to start a new lecture circuit, turnover ratio doesn't matter.  It's an amazing statistic.  To go plus four in two games that we basically get blown out.  There are a couple of things there.  One, they occurred and it wasn't as hurtful.  People weren't turning it over backed up.  The other is it proves the old action.  I don't mean to make the breaks, but when one comes your way, score.  And we haven't been able to score off turnovers.  So it's not the turnover itself, it's what you do with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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