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Nov. 21, 2015

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Mike London Quotes

Opening statement:
“First of all, very happy for this football team. Again, Cardiac Cavs, I don’t know what you want to call us. It’s just one of those things where the guys just hung in there again and played a tough game. We played a good team. The game went back and forth. It’s just one of those games where there were big plays, explosive plays, long passes. Things occurred during the course of the game where you could turn and felt the pressure of another close game but the guys have been in close games, as you guys know. We executed and did what we needed to do to win a good football game against a good football team. I’m happy for the players. They were tough and resilient and that is something that we’ve been talking about all year. Now we have an opportunity to win another game, the last game against a very good football team who’s looking for their own opportunities as well. It’s an in-state opponent and all the things that go with that. We’ll enjoy this today, tonight, but go to work tomorrow on the things we need to take care of. My hat goes off to coach [David] Cutcliffe. That’s a good football team in that locker room in there. They played another tough, close, gritty game. We’re ready to move on from there and get better.”

On the unsportsmanlike penalty called against Virginia sideline on last drive:
“A series of things. I thought the ball was tipped. It was pass interference that was called. When the ball is tipped like that, then there is no pass interference. But obviously, replay didn’t have a good shot at the tipped pass and so we argued the call, and it resulted in a penalty on the sideline. So we take responsibility for that and how we handle ourselves. Even though calls may be controversial or difficult to accept, we have to do a better job of managing ourselves, the coaching staff and the sideline.”

On gathering the team to the center of the field after the game:
“You know, it’s tough to win college football games and this season has been, with some of the games that we’ve lost by a touchdown or less, it’s been one of those things that you go through. But I was proud, at the end, of the effort, proud of the game, proud of the way our guys responded. We got out on them early. That’s a good football team and they did some things to come back, and we had a chance to continue our lead. Scoring 42 points, scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter on drives, touchdowns not field goals. Freshmen, Olamide [Zaccheaus], Juan Thornhill, David Eldridge, guys having good games and stepping up for some of these seniors. It’s good to see the maturation process when you’re playing a tough game and to come out on top of that. Those are some of the things you talk about, resiliency, grit, and determination. These guys showed it today and we need that to continue on and we’ll have another opportunity next week.”

On Matt Johns’s development:
“It was very important for Matt to continue his growth. The maturation process of a quarterback is only developed when you’re playing, when you’re in the fire. There were some things, you don’t want the turnovers or some decisions that he might have made. When you’re a guy that touches the ball 100 percent of the time, I thought Matt did a good job again of just moving the football team, making some throws that were right on the money, decisions that might get us out of plays because they’re showing us a certain defensive look and he has to continue to keep playing better. He is a guy that our players follow. He’s a leader. He’s gotten better the last few games here. We’re going to need him to play his best football next week, for sure.”

On offensive troubles in the fourth quarter:
“They did a good job defensing us. They did a good job of stopping some things that were working earlier. We have to make sure we find ways to continue moving the ball. But that’s a good football team and they came up with a way to play the running lanes and we didn’t execute the way we needed to. In the end, we made the first downs, we made the catches that we needed to win this football game. I think we were 50 percent on third downs. Matt had a career day passing. Yardage wise, there were some things running the ball that we did well. A lot of guys were involved in this production in this offensive day. We won the football game. That’s the major thing. Obviously we look at things that we need to take care of watching film in the morning. But again, I’m proud of the effort.”

On Olamide Zaccheaus:
“He’s a good football player. He’s a guy that has a lot of skill. The skill set for him is that you can put him out as a receiver like we did. You can have him as a running back, punt return, kickoff return, he does a lot of things. He can catch the ball out in space. He’s such an added bonus to our offense. He’s a great young man even more than that. We’ll continue to try and find things that he can do to touch the ball because he was very productive today.”

On the offensive game plan:
“I told Steve [Fairchild] just to call it and let’s go. There’s no holds barred on this. We’ve had those plays in the arsenal for a while, and sometimes you just have to call them. The guys executed a lot of the plays we practice over the course of the season. They did a good job in practice and we said ‘Let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s play to try and win a football game.’ We executed well those first few possessions that we had. We did some good things as the game went on. But again, I’m happy for the team.”

On importance getting a win before the Virginia Tech game:
“It’s always important to have a measured amount of success. This was a win. Offensively we did some good things. It’s always important to have the mindset going into your last game with a positive mindset. Having played a lot of football games, we’re getting ready to play a team that’s a really good football team. It’s important that we end it on a positive note. We talk about the positives and we’ll talk about the things that we need to get corrected, and we’ll move forward. This is an important game for us and the last for a lot of seniors.”

UVA Player Quotes

Senior OG Ross Burbank

On talking in the huddle afterwards:
“That’s just Coach London being Coach London. He cares so much about the team, especially the senior guys that he brought in. It was his first real class and just a special moment with the whole team and him. We started to retreat to the locker room and then I heard everyone had to go out to the 50. We just ran out there and had a little moment.”

On playing in a win against Duke:
“We talked about playing Duke so tight, and I don’t know what it is between us and them, but we always have really tight games. There is always a lot of offense and a lot of scoring. It was great to knock a team off that we haven’t beaten in a couple of years.”

On Olamide Zaccheaus throwing for a TD:
“It definitely fires us up when we hit a big play like that. It kind of demoralizes the defense and gives the offense and whole team a little bit of spark. It definitely set the tone for the offense.”

Junior Quarterback Matt Johns

On assessing the group’s performance:
“When you get the run game going and you get the pass game going, then you get some jet sweeps, some inside runs, and your passes over the top and underneath. It was just all flowing today and that’s a credit to our offensive line. They were opening holes, protecting me and I give them a lot of credit today.”

On having some of his best games late in the season:
“I’m seeing things more, getting more comfortable and every game presents new experiences. I feel like the offense has really flowed well in the last four games. I put a lot of myself into preparation and I know that when I step my game up the team follows.”

On first quarter and creativity:
“Sometimes if you open up your playbook like that and if things don’t go your way, the scoreboard could easily flip the other way. But we executed today and our defense gave us some turnovers and we capitalized on that. It was about playing team football today.”

On getting conservative in the fourth quarter:
“It’s hard when you’re backed up and up 22 points. You can’t really air it out the way you did before. They are going to bring pressure, you’re going to have to run the ball and that’s just part of the game.”

On the helmet to helmet hit:
“He got me good. I was actually lying on my back with my eyes closed and I woke up and there was Jackson Mateo helping me up. He was the first guy and I looked to my left and there was the yellow flag. It honestly happened so fast. I let go of the ball and he was on me a split-second later. That’s just football.”

Sophomore Linebacker Micah Kiser

On another win:
“A win is a win. We wished we could have put them away a little sooner with a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter, but we found a way to win and we won and we’ll have a good night tonight.”

On close games this season:
“For us, it is frustrating because we are so close every time. We lost at Louisville by six points, we played UNC very close. It feels good to come out on the other end this time.”

On Zach Bradshaw being injured and C.J. Stalker and Kelvin Rainey stepping up:
“That was big-time, Kelvin showing how tough and versatile he is by being able to come down and play linebacker. And C.J. being able to play linebacker as well. He is going to be a good player in the future. It was great having him step in for Zach.”

Sophomore Free Safety Quin Blanding

On the team as a whole:
“I’m proud of our whole team, our defense and our offense. We went out there and fought today and we came out on top.”

On the last drive:
“Things happen in football. That’s the game. We can’t dwell on that. We just have to move on to the next play and make things happen.”

Senior Wide Receiver T.J. Thorpe

On game against Virginia Tech next week:
“We just got to go out and continue to have fun. For all of the Seniors, this is going to be the last time they play Virginia Tech, the last time we play in Scott Stadium. So we just got to go out there and make sure we leave it all on the field.”

On the game as whole compared to previous games:
“We made plays and had the mentality that we were having fun regardless. I think that was the biggest difference.”

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe Quotes

On stopping explosive plays moving forward:
“There are three things that become involved in that. The first thing is you look at technique, and make sure that our technique is as good as it can be. And then you have to look at the entire thing. When you’re having coverage problems, how do you fix them when our four-man rush struggled in a big way tonight? Guys that can hold the ball longer, you’re in trouble. We have to address how to minimize the damage. Do you blitz it every time, and try to tackle it and keep it in front of you? Do you play up closer? Do you play further off? You also look at personnel, and when people lose their confidence, it is very difficult to play over there. You don’t give people confidence, you make them earn it. Again, I start looking at technique, you look at scheme and how we can best help, and then you have to look at your personnel. That’s about all I know. And it’s not just about the back end, you have to look at the front end. Somebody’s got to win a battle occasionally when a guy is trying to hold a ball. That’s true in football. We had some explosive plays offensively. I think we could have had more, but a couple of guys up there won some battles and hit our quarterback. That’s just part of it, you’ve got to win those battles occasionally.”

On the positives taken away from the play of quarterbacks Thomas Sirk and Parker Boehme:
“They’re both fierce competitors, they’re resilient, they both can run the ball, they both have accurate big arms. I want them to be more consistent, more consistent down the field. They know what they are doing. They are well-coached by Scotty Montgomery. It’s a good sign when both of them can do so many right things, and it’s a good sign for the program. We’ve got good players at quarterback and more coming.”

On the play of the wide receivers:
“I’m very proud of Anthony Nash and TJ [Rahming] is healthier. We’re going to be fine at receiver. Max [McCaffrey] is a warrior. I think [Chris] Taylor, and [Trevon] Lee, and all those guys, [Quay] Chambers, they are coming, and I don’t think anyone failed to step up today, and that’s important. The catch Anthony made there to get the ball back down the field, it was a great throw, but an incredible catch as well. Just very pleased with Anthony [Nash] and his growing confidence.”

On the mindset of the coaching staff heading into the last game of the season after four straight losses:
“My job is to coach coaches, and to teach, and talk, and communicate, and my job is to listen, and we do that weekly. I will start that process early. Our staff is really intelligent, very very committed. We have a lot of experience. What I said to our staff last week was simply this: there’s a huge difference in studying football and questioning everything you are doing. In times of trouble and in times of losing streaks, a lot of people that aren’t equipped start questioning everything they are doing. It’s a bad path to take. That doesn’t mean don’t study it. That doesn’t mean get better and learn, but I expect our staff to learn each step along the way, myself included, to try to put our kids in the best position they can be to win. And that’s not always scheme. My job is to make sure we’re doing all of these little things really well. If we had tackled well the first half, if we would have hit our explosive plays, we might be all different feeling right now. We battled to try to win the second half, but we didn’t. We certainly lost the first quarter.”

On play of DeVon Edwards:
“Proud of DeVon Edwards. He’s the best return man in the country. He should be a first team All-American. I haven’t seen anyone better. That’s an incredible accomplishment of what he’s continued to do, and he gave us the spark to get ourselves back turned around.”

Duke Player Quotes

Redshirt Senior Center Matt Skura

On the message in the locker room postgame:
“Coach [David Cutcliffe] emphasized that we be excited for the future, be excited for the challenge we have to finish one game and to really come out and win a bowl game as well. He is obviously disappointed about what happened, that we did lose, but you have to understand this is what happens in football. We just have to move on and be all in for this one game (Wake Forest next week).”

On the comeback attempt:
“I think it shows that we are never going to give up. We are always going to fight. We have a ton of pride in our program and who we are as football players. I think that shows when we have those fourth quarter surges, coming back and trying to fight for the win.”

On his message to the rest of the team:
“We just have to be all in. We have to be together as one. Our attitude has to be positive. We have to learn what it is going to take to win a football game. We have to limit the mistakes, and capitalize on our opportunities.”

Redshirt Freshman Linebacker Tinashe Bere

On the defense’s mentality in the fourth quarter:
“We all have to do our jobs. It is as simple as that. We can’t get mad if something happens, we just have to do our jobs. From there we all have to play our part and go play the play.”

On having to get a stop late in the fourth quarter:
“We never really look at it like that. There are moments where we messed up so we never use that as an anchor. We always think it’s [about] this drive no matter what happened before. We just have to do what we need to do this drive.”

On the defensive adjustments throughout the game:
“We just looked at each other and said ‘we believe.’ We have to take it one play at a time, so that is what happened. We took it play by play and just said, ‘we got to get a stop here.’ That was the big thing. We just said ‘don’t do too much, do your job,’ and we just have to go series by series.” In the halftime talk, Coach said we have to play with more confidence. So we just got everyone to believe it more. Not playing back and being more aggressive was the [goal].”

Redshirt Sophomore Quarterback Parker Boehme

On his performance:
The offensive line blocking their butts off gave me a whole lot of time back in the pocket. Seeing coverage and I think their [defensive backs] bit on a couple of the double moves that we had, allowing us to get outside and throw the ball deep. TJ [Rahming] and the wide receivers did a great job of beating their guys and going up and making plays for me.”

On takeaways from this game:
“This week is a big week for us going to Wake [Forest] as the last game for our seniors in the regular season. We have a lot to prepare for. Basically we just need to keep on working and hopefully we don’t put ourselves in the position that we did late in the fourth [quarter]. I’m really proud of our guys. We showed a lot of resilience, and I’m proud of how hard they worked up until the end.”

On his confidence after the game:
“I think all of us have a lot of confidence for the resilience we showed. We just didn’t execute as well as we could have in the first half, putting ourselves down three possessions late. I think everybody has confidence and we are just going to go through this week, put in a lot of work, and prepare for Wake Forest.”

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