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Fifth-year senior Scott Deke saw the first extended action of his career two weeks ago against Connecticut in place of starter Marc Verica. He completed three of eight passes for 30 yards. He had a nice 12-yard run to the 1-yard line to set up Cedric Peerman’s 1-yard touchdown on UVa’s scoring drive early in the fourth quarter.

How much has it helped this team to have an open date?
It’s definitely helped the team a lot. Anytime you have a bye week it’s really helpful so you can work on the team. It’s an opportunity where you’re not rushed into a schedule of week-to-week preparation. It really gives you a chance to evaluate every play of previous games and practices and make sure you’re doing everything right. That way you can go back and make sure that the team is doing what it needs to do to get better. We’re doing that and making sure we do everything we need to do to get better individually before we worry about another team.

It seems like this might be a better Duke team than in years past. Is this game going to be a tougher challenge as a result?
Duke is a really good team. Just because they might not have broken that gap into those solid-win seasons doesn’t mean they’ve not always been a good team. They always put up a good fight. Last yearI don’t remember the score exactlyit wasn’t like we won by a big margin. They’re a very talented team with a great school and they bring a lot to the ACC. This year they’re doing a really good job; they’re 2-1 and doing everything they need to do to make themselves prepared to win. We’re really looking forward to a good game and it’s going to be a good contest.

You’ve had a lot of roles throughout your careerplaying in the spring game, been out on the field, called in the plays. How much just playing the final quarter against Connecticut help your mindset and take some of the butterflies away or wasn’t it that tough?
I don’t think it was ever butterflies. It helped me not be so amped just because I was so excited to be out there. It was a lot of fun, obviously, to get my opportunity. I wish it had come in such a dreary (game). Just like anybody on this team, they take their role very seriously and to do whatever it takes to help the team win. That’s what we’re focused on. I know people out there will do whatever it takes to help this team win just like I will and that’s really all that matters.

You had a nice 12-yard run vs. Connecticut, but you have not been depicted as a running quarterback. How comfortable are you running the ball when it seems like there are opportunities to run when the quarterback gets outside the pocket?
I’m very comfortable. Both Marc (Verica) and I are very capable of being able to run and we feel as though that’s something we can bring to the offense and help out with if we’re needed in that respect.

You said earlier it wasn’t necessarily butterflies, you said you were amped or excited to be in the game. Do you think the next time you go in that kind of excitement won’t necessarily be there?
I was very excited but that wasn’t something that took me away from what I was doing. I think that was just an overall layer, something that would be evident for any player getting in a game. But it just so happened to take me five years. In waiting and putting in that much effort it was even greater for me and it was a lot of fun.

With any player’s first opportunity to do something, once that’s gone and you get settled in and ready for business, that’s what it was for me. After that it was, alright, what do we have to do to help this team win and score,’ and we were able to do that.

During the bye week you said you were able to evaluate yourself. What conclusions did you draw or what does the offense need to improve on?
We need to make sure we establish drives, make sure we keep the ball moving forward. You never want any 3-and-outs in the beginning of drives.

You can’t get too down on yourself. Things are there. There are open receivers; there are holes for running backs to run through. It’s still a learning experience for everybody and everyone is kind of coming along. It’s still the beginning of the season. We’re only 1-2. This is by no means anything that can’t be resolved and a good win can’t cure. We’re really looking forward to that with Duke.

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