Cutcliffe: We should play well at home

Cutcliffe: We should play well at home

The Duke head coach met the media on Tuesday afternoon to talk about his team's upcoming game against Clemson at home.

Opening Statement
"November football at night -- that is the first thought I have. I like that. I had someone tell me this is the first time Clemson and Duke have played a night game. November football at night means television. Television means meaningful football games, and that is a very positive thing. When you are playing meaningful football games, it means you are playing good teams. I've said that before. Big challenge; Clemson is an ACC championship team. They have players who have performed at that level and who continue to perform at that level, but with all of those challenges are huge opportunities. We are going to prepare well, and it is good to be back in Wallace Wade (Stadium). I am anxious to see another great night crowd; I urge our students to come have a great time. It should be a tremendous atmosphere with two really good football teams. We are really looking forward to this challenge."

On the Duke Brand Being Affected Last Week
"We didn't play well. Reverting back to why did we not play well, I do not think it was a case of flat. I know it wasn't a case of not preparing, it was a game where every portion of our team did not play well: kicking, offense, defense, and the players there within, nobody really had their game, so yes what people saw wasn't very impressive. We aren't discouraged, we aren't embarrassed by that fact, it is just a fact, we didn't play well. Disappointed, you better believe we are disappointed that we didn't perform well on a big stage, but the most important part about it is not the big stage, the most important part is us not performing well." On Clemson's Offense
"Play with 12 or 13 (defensive players) -- that would be the best approach. They have as many weapons as anyone in football. They can run it, they have great receivers, and their quarterback has played at a high level for quite some time now. And they execute. You are not going to stop a team like Clemson, you have to minimize the damage. We have to minimize some of the big plays we gave up last week. We can't afford to let that become a theme. As I have said before, it would be great to have a game offensively where we try keep them off the field which we couldn't accomplish. The way we win, and the reason we are a good football team is that all three phases are capable of playing pretty darn good, and we need all three of them to play well for us to win."

On Playing Well at Home
"I don't think it's anything magic. Everybody should play well at home; that's what we are striving for, but we have players that it is important to them to play well in Wallace Wade. I really like that. Don't think for a second that it is not important to Sean Renfree and Walt Canty and Connor Vernon and Desmond Scott; I could go down the list of these seniors and juniors. They have invested a lot in Duke Football and they are really proud of our stadium and they are proud of our university."

On Clemson WRs (Hopkins and Watkins)
"Really big, really fast, great ball skills. You can't mimic those kind of guys in practice because of the size and speed. I did read and notice Coach Grobe's comments afterwards, and he plays them every year, he said he is just shocked at their speed. They are fast, and kids improve and obviously those guys have. You just have to prepare yourself for that shock, and have to compete with them every snap. You go to sleep one snap or take for granted that this isn't a deep ball or this isn't a post or this isn't a play where they are going to throw a screen to them , you have to be mentally tough enough to play every play that you are in the game. That sounds easy, but if you have played sports, that may be one of the most difficult things to obtain in sports."

On Narrowing Talent Gap Between Elite Teams
"There is no question we have narrowed the gap. Florida State would tell you the same thing as well. Not where we want to be, not where we are going to be, but much closer. That is the disappointment. Our players would be the first to tell you, they didn't feel like they were on the wrong field. I have been there before as a player where you feel like ‘Oh, this isn't going to be much fun'. That wasn't the case, our performance wasn't good, it wasn't a total mismatch."

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