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Duke football coach Ted Roof's press conference

Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006

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Durham, NC - Duke football coach Ted Roof sat down with the media Monday along with linebacker Jeramy Edwards and devilback Ronnie Drummer to discuss Duke's game at Alabama, set to kickoff at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Roof also discusses the Virginia game and the rest of the season

Head Coach Ted Roof

On what the goals and the attitude of the team are:
“We had a good practice this morning and right now our goal is to win period one of Tuesday’s practice. That’s our goal. And when period one is over, then we’re going to look at period two. And then at the end of that day, we’re going to move on to Wednesday. To get better, eliminate the miscues and the self-inflicted errors so we can really have a focus on not beating ourselves. And the ball security issues ... because whatever style of offense or defense, it’s a game of take away, turnovers and field positions. It was an atrocious field position on Saturday and when we play a game of field position like that, we’re not going to beat anybody. But when we take care of the football and when Duke plays a game where we have some good field position, then we’ll have chances to win. And that’s our focus this week.”

On being surprised about the outcome:
“I think that’s the reality of life. There is no perfect football game. We have to correct things each and every week, each and everyday, each and every period. Number one, when you practice all week and you don’t see the miscues on the practice field and then they show up on the game field, you wonder and have to find out why and how. Then you have to address them and talk through some of those things, and get them corrected. That’s what we intend to do.”

On the injury status of Chris Davis and Jomar Wright:
“They’re both kind-of day-to-day. They both were in black jerseys today. They certainly have to prepare like they’re going to play, then we’ll see what happens towards the end of the week.”

On Ronnie Drummer:
“I didn’t want to bring him back too quickly and play him 50 snaps and then lose him for five or six more weeks. I kind-of wanted to get him back in there and get him wet a little bit, and then get him ready to go this week.”

On Thaddeus Lewis' performance against Virginia:
“He certainly didn’t perform as well as he did against Wake Forest. But then again, it’s not an excuse; it’s just a fact. When you have a true freshman quarterback, there are going to be some growing pains. We’re going to make some mistakes. But I’m certainly not laying blame on him, or anything like that. There’s a growing process that occurs. We went through it last year with a true freshman quarterback, and we’re going through the same thing this year. But he learns from each experience, and doesn’t get wrapped up in the negatives and get all bogged down. We just have to continue to work and grow. And we have to use everything as a teaching opportunity, and eliminate things and get better. That’s all I know to do. There is no magic potion or magic bullet that all of a sudden comes down from the sky and you can sprinkle all over your football team. It’s a work in process. And that’s what our coaches and our players are doing.”

On the team’s offense:
“We have a ways to go. There’s no question about that. But am I seeing good things? Yea, I see good things at times. Am I seeing mistakes? Yes. And we have to get better. We have to get better, and we’re working on it. That’s all I know to do.”

On motivating the team:
“I think as a coach, you try to motivate your use whatever. Whether people are for you or against you, you can use that either way. What I care about is our team, and playing and fighting for each other, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On Casey Camero and Eli Nichols emerging as leaders:
“I think that Casey Camero and Eli Nichols - our seniors on defense - have done a really good job. The leadership is what gets us through these times and keeps us going and keeps us on track. That’s what leader players do; they keep us moving down the track. I’ve been really pleased with both Casey and Eli, and really all of our seniors on defense and the job they have done for us in that regard.”

Ronnie Drummer

On his injury’s recovery time:
“I knew how long it would take; I actually started practicing way sooner than I thought I would be. But it definitely feels really good because I didn’t see this coming and we all had been working hard over the summer to prepare for the first game. So to get hurt on the first play of the first game was definitely a set back.”

On the team’s mood after the loss to Virginia:
“Of course on Saturday, people were bummed out. We’re a very resilient team so we all bounced back and stayed pretty positive. We still approach the game just like we did in the beginning of the season. So we’re staying positive and we know that we all have to stick together.”

On correcting mistakes:
“We’re a team that has minimal room for error. When we watch film, we realize that it’s not the team that’s causing the problem it’s us that’s causing the problem. If we can just correct the simple mistakes like a fumble here and there or a bad snap, that’s something that’s simple and we can do that.”

On Thaddeus Lewis’ play:
“I think Thaddeus played his best and I think he’s getting better every weekend, especially after that hit. I know it’s hard to bounce back, but he did it and I give him a lot of props for that. I think he’s playing really well and the only thing he can do is get better.”

On the team’s goals for the second half of the Virginia game:
“We came out a lot more aggressive in the second half than we did in the first half. We never gave up and had to depend on each other to correct the mistakes that we made in the first half.”

On playing at Alabama:
“This is really exciting, because this is playing Alabama in front of 90,000-plus people so it’ll be a really exciting atmosphere. I really don’t see the crowd, so it doesn’t matter if it’s in front of 90,000 or 20,000. I really just tune it out, so the atmosphere isn’t too big of a factor.”

On sitting on the sidelines when mistakes are made:
“All of our mistakes, they’re our own mistakes and we can correct them. It’s not them doing it, it’s us doing it. So when we do that, we can’t pout or yell at the players tell them to concentrate. We need to remember the goals; execution and to do things with precision and detail.”

On the effect of injuries to the team’s results:
“I think it would be better because we all complement each other. So, when we have a player that helps the team who is not playing and another that is so-so, then we are not complementing each other any more. We knew that with only two quarterbacks the running backs would need to carry the load, but with two hurt it makes it more difficult for those who are playing.”

On Ted Roof’s response to results to date:
“He’s been stressing that we shouldn’t worry about the outsiders, we’re all one family and a family never breaks apart. We all have to stick together and we have to come out to practice and do everything in extreme detail.”

Jeramy Edwards

On the team’s mood following Sunday’s loss:
“It’s a new day. We started off with a positive attitude. Practice went well today. I think we all got the past out of our minds and have our minds set to tomorrow’s practice.”

On using anger as motivation:
“You build off that. That’s something that’s really big. Yes, the team was frustrated. It was a tough loss. We felt that we were really prepared for the game and we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to. That idea of anger, yeah, you can build off that but just staying together as a team is my main goal in everything.”

On correcting mistakes:
“We’ve made mistakes in the past and it’s a process that, if it doesn’t go your way, you know some tend to quit and some tend to give up on it, but as a team I think we’re extremely motivated to progress as a whole. The team definitely has this idea of togetherness and I think we’ve built off that a lot. The only way we’re going to improve is by doing that each and every day.”

What was the mentality of the team during the loss:
“That’s something we learned early in the game is just not to look up at the scoreboard. It can take a lot out of you just to dwell on the score. It can take a lot out of you just to dwell on what the score is; it’s something where you just have to play the next play. You can’t dwell on what already happened. You’ve got to move on, you’ve got to play the next play and that can turn out in your favor. You just don’t dwell on the score. I mean, you see a score 27-0, that’s when players start to lose hope. You think, ‘Man, we’re getting crushed now, what do I have to play the next play for?’ But it’s something you can’t do. You have to live in the present. You can’t just focus on a score that says 27-0 and hope it’s going to change. It’s an idea that you don’t want to lose hope or lose any kind of will to fight for the next play, when you see the score not in your favor.”

On the role he takes as a senior:
“I just lead by example to be a positive role model. Just being there for [the younger players], when times are rough, that’s when you need each other the most, I think, on our team. The whole idea of being together, that’s when you really have to press in as a leader.”

On this year’s defense being a better tackling team:
“It’s a team that runs to the ball a lot better. It’s a team that is a lot harder-working. Every player is on the ball. It’s not like we’ve got to hope on one guy making the tackle. If he misses, the next guy’s there, and the next guy’s there, and the next guy’s there.”

On playing at Alabama:
“Intense. It’s an intense environment. It’s something you wish to play for as a Division I athlete: playing in the toughest environment and having all those fans. It’s what college football is about. I’m excited to go play there, anywhere where you have that intense emotion.”

On Coach Roof encouraging the team to stay positive:
“This idea of a team, we’re a family and you never give up on anybody in your family. It’s this idea of togetherness that he’s really hit home. You live day in and day out with your teammates, so it’s something we have to deal with as a team and keep together and keep our inner circle really tight.”

On whether or not the season is salvageable:
“Yeah, we’ve got eight games ahead of us. It’s a long season ahead of us but we play it one day at a time, starting with tomorrow’s practice. You can’t really dwell on what happened in the past, you’ve just got to play now and play the next play.”

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Duke football coach Ted Roof's press conference
Duke football coach Ted Roof.
photo by Gene Galin
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