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Duke football press conference quotes

Posted Friday, September 23, 2005

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Durham, NC - Duke coach Ted Roof sat down with the media during Duke's weekly press luncheon to discuss last weekend's VMI game and the upcoming Virginia contest on the road, set for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff from Charlottesville, Va.

Coach Ted Roof

Opening Statement

“Obviously, it was great to get a win for our kids and I certainly understand that there will be some people who say that because it was a I-AA this, that and the other. But I want our players to be proud of their effort and what we accomplished because they did what they were supposed to do. They came out, they played well early, and won convincingly. I understand all of the ramifications of the game but at the same time I want our players to feel good because they did what they were supposed to do. You see examples all over the country of I-AA schools beating I-A schools, so I want our guys to be proud that they did what they were supposed to do. A lot of people look at that as a no win situation, but the win is if you go and do what you’re supposed to do and we did. On to another top-25 team in our league, it seems like every team in our league is in the top 25. I am certainly excited about the challenge and the opportunity that playing the University of Virginia brings this week. We know that we are going to have to improve and go back to work on the practice field to play well and have a chance to win.”

On the team morale after beating VMI

“Well, I know this, Saturday afternoon was a lot better at my house then last Saturday afternoon was. It is a sickness but when you work 16 or 17 hours a day, it’s hard to separate how you feel about yourself as a person as opposed to what happens to your football team on Saturday afternoons. You know that’s not the right thing to do win or lose, but when you put that much into it, it’s hard to separate the two. I guess we can just say that there was much more levity around my house, but yesterday was back to work. We had a lot of mistakes we had to correct and the approach is the same no matter who we play. We’ve got to make sure that we correct Duke and get Duke ready to go and we started with that yesterday. It was nice to be able to play so many people. We’ve played 15 true freshmen this year so far and eight redshirt freshmen. We’ve played a total of 70 players this year, which is good for morale. It’s good for those kids to understand that their preparation means something and that when they get in the game they have a chance to perform, so some good things are going to come out of that. It’s great to watch Greg Meyers go in there and kick an extra point. That’s neat stuff and it’s neat for our team as well. There are a lot of examples like that that happened Saturday. Those are good things.”

On the team’s depth at the running back position

“You know the defenses in this league and you know that there’s a lot of football left. I feel good that we have some depth at the running back position so when we do lose one, because most every team loses a tailback at some point during the season just because of the nature of the position and the quality of the defense in the league, that there’s other capable, quality players to go in and make something happen. I thought Cedric [Dargan] was steady and Justin [Boyle] had a good game, ran physical, got good feet and could find the creases. I thought Re’quan Boyette showed up and [I’m] real excited about him and where he’s going. Clifford Harris did a good job too when he went in there and carried. It’s good to see a guy like Re’quan or Clifford get in there and take advantage of the opportunities and get some game experience. It was fun to watch a lot of those freshmen run out on the field Saturday and make things happen and see the look on their face when it was the first time they went out there. And I thought a lot of them accounted for themselves really well.”

On the offensive improvement

“I think we’ve gotten better. I’m pleased with the way we’ve run the ball. We’ve got to take care of the football. We’ve got to get focused on making sure we’re not laying it on the ground, but taking care of the football. We need to continue to improve, obviously.”

On the team’s offensive production on the season

“We’re not as far along as we wanted to be, obviously, in that area. Some of it you can attribute, statistically, to the Virginia Tech defense. They had something to do with that statistically, but we tried to go back to the basics last week and focus on the basic fundamentals of football and the basic premises of our offense. We threw it for a higher percentage last week and it’s got to get better, but that’s why we practice and that’s why we all put in the hours that we put in and the hard work and the time.”

On the impact of Curt Dukes’ injury

“Curt wanted to get his knee healthy and unless we sat him it was always going to be one of those nagging things each week and [we] made the commitment to sit him down and let him rest, let him get healthy, because there is a lot of football left this season. Because we went out and took care of business early we were able to play a couple of those young kids and I thought they did pretty well.”

On the play of freshman quarterback Zack Asack

“I’m laughing just because I’m picturing him on the sidelines when I said ‘Are you ready to go do this?’ and he said ‘Oh, yeah, I’m ready coach,’ and just went out. He’s got a confidence about him and I think he’s got ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ is, I think he’s got ‘it’ and has got some confidence because when you correct Zack on the practice field the message goes in the left ear, he processes what you’re telling him, and then the rest of the stuff goes out the right ear. He doesn’t let himself get flustered or anything like that and he’s got some real leadership ability and I think he’s got a bright future.”

On the young talent at quarterback

“Mike [Schneider]’s our quarterback and it’s his ball. I think for our future we certainly need to bring along those guys and at the same time not forget about Curt Dukes and what he brings to our offense.”

On sophomore tailback Ronnie Drummer

“He’s one of our big play guys. It’s amazing if you catch him, especially early in a football game, what it does for your football team. I’ve been pleased with Ronnie, and we need to continue to find ways to get him the ball and get him in space and let him use his athleticism and his speed. But he’s really grown as a football player and a person too.”

Jim Moravchik

On His Father, Who Recently Passed Away

“It has definitely been a hard time. I think about my dad a lot and I think about how good of a life he lived. He was an extraordinary person. Whenever I think about him, I smile. My dad was an unbelievable family man. There are nine children in my family and I don’t think he ever missed a sporting event or an event for one of his kids. His entire life was about making other people happy. He made plenty of sacrifices in his work just to be with his family.”

On His Teammates

“They’ve been great. The first day I came back after the funeral, they were all welcoming. I got plenty of hugs from the guys. There are a few guys I can talk to if I need to. My teammates have really been there for me.”

On Coach Ted Roof Attending Funeral

“It really meant a lot to me. I know how busy Coach Roof is and for him to take time out his work schedule was unbelievable.”

On Football Being a Release

“Football is my release. I think about my dad more when I’m doing nothing. He and I would always talk about the Packers. I got out of film yesterday and didn’t know how the Packers did and I thought about calling my dad to see how they did but obviously I couldn’t do that. When I get around the guys and play football, I don’t think about my dad as much.”

On Offensive Line

“I think we’ve progressed rather well. Our chemistry is the highest it’s ever been since I’ve been here. We pretty much all know what we’re going to do on each play and we know where the guys next to us are going to be. We trust in each other and that’s the highest thing you can get as an offensive line. I think we’ve gelled pretty well. We’re all good friends and we have fun playing together. It’s a lot of fun playing next to the guys I play with.”

On This Week’s Opponent Virginia

“We know Virginia is going to be tough and they’re going to be physical and we have to match that. We know what Virginia brings to the table. Last year, we moved the ball pretty well against them and I don’t see why can’t do that against them this year.”

On Different Running Styles of Duke’s Tailbacks

“I like the way all of our running backs run. There are different styles but I don’t notice them, I just block. That’s all I’m focused on.”

On Improving the Duke Football Program

“Even small steps keep you striving towards getting better. I came into the season wanting to leave a legacy. I think that should be the focus for the upperclassmen. We want to leave the program better than it was before you and I think my class has done that.”

Chris Davis

On feeling a sense of relief after win

“From a team standpoint, it’s a lot of pressure when you lose, and you still have to get up the next day and do your workouts and go to class the next week. I think we can kind of walk around with our heads up this week and feel great about our work over the weekend.”

On defense

“I think the defense has been doing pretty well. We’ve been putting in some new schemes with Coach Azzinaro. I think we’ve let down execution-wise, but just from a physical standpoint, we’ve been a lot more physical, and we are trying to continue to get better.”

On limiting VMI’s yardage

“On the field, we weren’t really thinking they have a certain amount of yards right now. We were just playing and having fun, and that’s what you have to do on defense. You can’t worry about what happened last play. We just executed our scheme, and it ended up that they didn’t have any yards after that. It was just a fun day for us.”

On being more effective on third down

“Coach Roof tells us to try to keep their offense on a schedule. You try to limit them to a certain amount of yards on first down. On second down, you try to get them to a third and long. We were able to do that this past weekend. Once we do that, we bring in the nickel package, and we were able to just go after them, and that was very successful for us.”

On Virginia Quarterback Marques Hagans

“He’s very versatile. He can get out of the pocket. He can scramble around. He can throw it and run. Everyone just has to play their own role - keep your guy contained, make sure he doesn’t get outside. We’ve been working on our defensive backs staying with our men when the quarterback is scrambling because when we played Virginia Tech, we knew that Marcus Vick could do that. We’ll just stay with our guys until someone tackles the quarterback, so we won’t worry too much from a defensive back standpoint about him getting out of the pocket.”

On VMI win being over Division I-AA team

“Like Coach said, we were supposed to beat those guys, and we did. We just needed a win to go ahead and get this thing rolling off. We went into the East Carolina game pretty confident and got kind of let down after that game. But we went back and watched the tape, and we just didn’t really play like we had been practicing throughout the summer and everything. So we got a win, we needed it, and that was good.”

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Duke football press conference quotes
Duke head football coach Ted Roof
photo by Gene Galin

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