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November 14, 2012

David Cutcliffe

DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Huge, huge challenge.  Georgia Tech is playing their best football, one of the hottest teams, certainly, offensively in the country and always cause a problem.  They play highly motivated and very good as a team.  Dangerous in the kicking game.
I don't know that I've seen a team that's been hitting on all cylinders like they are right now.  A threat to score so many different ways.  We have our hands full.  But as I've said all week, I this I our guys are excited about the big challenge, and it certainly will be one.  With that, take any questions.

Q.  Obviously against Georgia Tech you have a lot of concerns in stopping their fullback and stopping their quarterback.  When they are able to get the ball outside on a pitch to a guy like Erin Smith, what kind of pressure that does that put on the defense?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, he's exceptionally fast young man.  He's tough, he's experienced.  He's been a good football player down there for a long time.  They do a good job of getting the ball to the perimeter in a lot of different ways.  They can certainly toss it to him in the sweep and he can get the pitch on certain option plays, and of course they throw the ball to those guys.  He's a big threat, just like many of their guys are in a lost different ways.

Q.¬† After you look at what they were able to do last week, I don't know that anybody‑‑ well, maybe Oregon, 68 points, two weeks in a row, what do you do to slow them down?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, just don't sleep after you watch that.  You go to the store and try to talk to the pharmacist out of some Ambien is about all you can do.
When they are hitting on all cylinders like that and as I said, not just offensively, but their return game and their kicking game is outstanding; so many weapons offensively, big passes, big runs, they can hit you with a fullback.
They have two quarterbacks playing very well, they are a little different, the two quarterbacks, so you have to prepare for that.  It's pretty nightmarish.  I think the thing that you have to do is just be consistent and like any time if you're playing a good offense, if you don't tackle well and you don't play good technique, you have no chance.
So I think you have to focus on your team, playing fundamentally very well, and hopefully we can do that.

Q.  You guys have done your part in turning the Coastal Division race upside down this year.  What's your perspective on how unpredictable the division has been and how much fun it's been to be a part of that this year?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, it's been great fun to carry our season into November would mean a significant things.  It's something that I'm used to and I enjoy.  I call it, the tournament.  We are in the tournament now.  People that win the tournament, or a playoff as they like to call it, we are in it right now.
It's interesting.  Our league has got a lot of good football players.  I think we have a number of outstanding coaches, programs.  Certainly Virginia Tech has been very dominant.  They still have a great program and a great football team but it's a year that the schedule has been tough for a lot of us.  They have had a tough conference schedule.  We certainly have.
Anything can happen.  You know, there's a lot of parity in our league and I'm just glad we are a part of it.

Q.  Do you take offense, and no offense intended with this question.  But do you take offense to the perception that because Duke is in it, and you guys can win the Coastal Division, that it might be a down year for the league?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:¬† No, I don't take offense to that.¬† I wouldn't take‑‑ I really wouldn't.¬† I chuckle at it, I do, myself and we kind of find that a little bit of fun.
This business is hard so you might as well make it fun and it does make me chuckle.  We have a good football team but we are not great football team just yet but we have a good football team that can play in all three phases.  I think anybody that plays us will tell you that.
Now, we have not played well in three ballgames.  Part of that is the opponent and part of that is we didn't play well.
We are a work‑in‑progress, and as I said, we are just very proud and happy to be part of something in November that's meaningful.

Q.  You said part of that is the opponent and part is you; on your end what does your defense need to do better than it has in recent weeks?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, it's been tough.  First of all it's health we are still battling but we have given up way too many explosives.
If I have to focus on one thing, we were not giving them up early and then it's become a nemesis and it was a nemesis a year ago.  We may have played well two or three downs or even four or five downs in a row and then we finds ourselves giving up a big pass or a big run and it just turns the game upside down.
So consistency, one; two, that will lend itself towards not giving up so many big, explosive plays.

Q.  Can you talk about the recruitments and what you remember?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:¬† Sure, I'll start with our quarterback, Sean Renfree. ¬†Sean was committed to Tech on Chan Daly (ph), and I had recruited Sean when I was at Tennessee.¬† When we got this job, Shaun was a fifth year senior‑‑ he came here with us.
When I got this job, I immediately re‑cranked up the recruiting of Sean from our perspective at Duke and with the coaching change and the style of offense changing, put us right in the middle of the hunt for Sean and we are proud that he came and he's had a storied career here on and off the field.¬† He's been a tremendous asset to not only our football program but to Duke University.
Vad Lee is a youngster that I would say, the relationship went beyond recruiting.  We really were very close and still close.  Have great respect for Vad and I always expected him to do extremely well at Georgia Tech.  I just don't want him to do so well when he plays us.
You know, he's a fine young man, fine family.  And I'll be honest with you, I'm very proud of Vad and what he's accomplished.  He's a good youngster.

Q.  You said your relationship went done recruiting and football; how does that happen and what do you believe?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Vad was over here a lot.  The school is not very far away.  Just used to sit and talk.  He was around and in my office and around the university a lot and he had former teammates that are on our team.
We had three Hillside products on our team that were teammates of his, so we were just close, and it wasn't all about recruiting.  Not that kind of a relationship.  We did recruit him but it was just different and again, I respect him a great deal as a young man.
I have to say I'm very proud of who he is and what he's done, and you know, I just hope he doesn't do it so well like he has been against us, but more likely, that's what he will do.

Q.  Were you recruiting him at Tennessee?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  I was at Tennessee and started recruiting Sean Renfree a little bit there.

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