Sep 2, 2013
On Duke's defense
"Thank you guys for coming. Our guys are excited. We had a great practice last night at the Liberty Bowl under the lights. Our kids came out and practiced hard and did a great job. I think we've had a really good offseason. We've made really large strides as a program in the last year and a half. We're looking forward to seeing how we measure up. Obviously, statistically Duke dominated us last year. They outgained us in every aspect of the game. We're looking forward to seeing how far we've come."
"Defensively, I think coach (David) Cutcliffe would probably say their front seven are older, mature and good football players. They're almost all juniors or seniors. Their two defensive ends are good football players. (Ross) Cockrell is a marquee corner for them. I think they've taken a long look at what they've done defensively and maybe tweaked a few things to give themselves a bit better chance of success. The thing that stands out to me is their front seven. They're a very strong, mature and tough group."
On Duke's quarterbacks
"When you call a defense, you've got to fit it to the people that are on the field. That's the only information that you have. When you've got a couple guys back there that one's your short yardage power guy and another is your guy that can run around the edge a little bit more, it can cause you some issues."
On what impressed him from the team so far
"I think our guys have done a great job of continuing to battle through. We're still trying to preach consistency and playing smart and limiting mistakes. It was a tough camp. We had some good weather and had some good practices. I'm proud of the way our guys are continuing to buy in to what we're doing and get invested into the program."
On keeping Paxton Lynch calm before his first start
"We won't change because it his first start. We just want the kid to go out and relax and play ball and run the things that he has run eight thousand times since he has been here. He is a pretty laid back kind of guy, so I don't anticipate him being a wreck out there. We will call the game and let him go."
On Jacob Karam being named the No. 2 quarterback
"Jacob's been awesome. Just like you would expect him to handle things, because of the type of person he is. I think he has had some of his best practices since we had that discussion. That discussion wasn't enjoyable for either one of us. He has continued to be the leader that we think he is, and has continued to show the work ethic and the character that we believe he has."
On what he expects from Duke offensively
"I expect them to get the ball to No. 3 (junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder). He is a special playmaker for them. I feel like watching them, that Crowder is their electric play-making kid. Their quarterback (junior Anthony Boone) is a dynamic playmaker. He will carry the ball a little bit, and make some plays with his feet and his arm. A lot of that for them starts up front. They are experienced up front, and they are pretty darn good."
On the depth of the team this year
"It's good. We have good competition, that's the thing. We have been able to hold guys accountable through competition. Whether its young guys or old guys, we don't care. This staff wants to put the guys out there that can do what is best for the team. We have had good competition. I've been proud of the way the older guys have handled that. It's been good to see our guys get out there and compete."
On not playing a game during the first week of the season
"Basically it pushes our schedule back. It's really a misconception to call it a bye week. We just started camp later. We were able to hold fewer practices during summer school which was good so we could finish summer school. We have a whole week of practice during the fall semester. When you have as many young guys on the two-deep as we do, this helps them get acclimated to school and study hall and practice and weights and all of that. So I like that we start later."
On how he feels in his second year as head coach
"I feel great about our kids and their buy-in and their toughness. If we suit out 105 guys, I think there will be 105 guys that know what is expected of them. It's nice to have the entire staff back. It's great for the guys to hear the same voice for two years in a row. I feel better about that part of it. Everybody knows their role."