Cutcliffe: FSU the most physical team

Head coach David Cutcliffe says his team will face the biggest challenge of the year on Saturday as Duke heads to Florida State.

On the challenge presented by Florida State:
"We're playing a very physical team. We're playing the most physical team that we've seen; we're playing the fastest team that we've seen if that tells you anything. That puts a premium on our practice, our preparation and we've got to continue to move that forward as quickly as we can."

On the team's contribution to breast cancer research:
"Our team decided – and I thought this was commendable – rather than spending the money on so many different wristbands and different pink items, our players are making a contribution themselves. They collected it and they're making a $1,000 for cancer research to the Duke Cancer Center. I thought that was pretty cool on their part so I'm proud of them for that."

On the injury suffered by Florida State RB Chris Thompson:
"I truly hated that for Chris Thompson. He's one of the finest players in our league. I think he has fun playing football. When we were preparing for Wake Forest, I watched him, and just, ‘Wow.' What a show he put on in that ballgame – it was terrific. And when I first heard that I felt really bad for him. Florida State, like all really good programs, is going to be deep. They've got outstanding backs that gave us problems last year. We've seen them – we know how good they are. But none of us like to lose a good player and that's frustrating to them but they're a good program. He should be encouraging his teammates to move on. It doesn't change our preparation – it's not going to change their offensive system at all."

On playing in a hostile environment in Tallahassee:
"We started the week off addressing that. I told Dr. (Kevin) White this morning, we had crowd noise up. When it started, I looked at my watch hoping that Dr. (Richard) Brodhead and his wife were awake because we were pumping some serious noise. We talked and worked on that before obviously, but not as well as we should have or could have. So it is a serious topic that started on Sunday amongst the staff and carried right through to the players. You don't have a prayer if you don't go do those things on the road. You cannot let the road affect you. That's part of winning on the road. So you take the challenge – we can't afford those kinds of mistakes, they're too big. Any time you're on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference, that's going to keep you from winning if you make those kinds of road mistakes."

On the play of the offensive linemen against North Carolina and the challenge they face in Florida State:
"It's a challenge, but these are the same guys that went against each other last year. That's kind of an interesting thing. We got Brian Moore back – he was out of that game. We had kind of a different combination. Perry [Simmons] and Dave Harding and Brian and Laken [Tomlinson] and Takoby [Cofield] to some degree have all felt what those guys are so they're preparing, they understand the challenge. I think most good competitors, if not all, want to measure themselves against the best. This is what you compete for. I think they're excited, honestly. I don't want Florida State's defensive linemen to read that as an insult because it's not that at all. I think they're excited because of the challenge – quite the opposite. I think they're excited because we have veteran players but they know they're playing against the very best that's out there."

On the value of having players from the state of North Carolina in the rival game:
"Geography has always been the number one factor in recruiting. It's not ever going to be moved from number one – there are other things that come into play. I've recruited in the state of North Carolina my whole life as an assistant coach successfully, so I have a lot of relationships that made it an easy decision. But secondly, that's how you build a fan base, that's how you sign people that rival games mean something to. You saw those young men after that ballgame – it meant something to them. And look at our league – right here we have Wake, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Literally the furthest one away is an hour and 20 minutes. It's pretty incredible. And they also understand the league. We had eight guys on our roster from North Carolina when we came, and I still haven't checked it because I've been too busy looking at other people's rosters to have time to check it, but we have a lot of good football players out of the state of North Carolina. I'm a big believer in our high school football here, I always have been. We're going to always start right here in the state of North Carolina for obvious reasons."

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