“A simple opening statement - Duke outplayed us. They outplayed us; they out executed us in every phase of the game. They won the game, and they were the better team tonight; that is all there is to it.”
It appeared as though Duke had a lot of success over the middle tonight. What happened?
"We didn't stop the run, nor did we stop the pass. We did a poor job of executing tonight."
Did you feel like Duke took advantage of any specific area?
“It looked like to me that they did whatever they wanted, offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
What did you see as far as your defense's inability to stop the run?
“That’s a good question. From my standpoint, I don’t know. We got somebody out of position or out of a gap, or we couldn’t get out of a block. I don’t know; we are just going to have to look at it on film.”
Do you feel like the team was sleep walking the first three quarters? Do you think there was some carryover from the Miami game?
“No I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I don’t think we had an energy problem at all. I thought our energy was good and that we prepared well. I think we just did a poor job of executing and I did a poor job of coaching tonight.”
How much of the defensive problems due to poor tackling?
“I'd have to see it on film to know that. It didn’t look like to me that there was anybody touching the guy until he was at the second or third level, so I don’t know if that’s poor tackling. I don't know what to tell you that is.”
What made your offense so much more efficient in the fourth quarter?
“If I knew that, I would make sure we did in the first quarter. I don’t know. We just executed a little better in the fourth quarter. There is not one thing that I can pinpoint in the first half or the third quarter that I felt like we were doing well. There were times that we were running the ball well, but we didn’t finish anything. We’d get down in the red zone, get bogged down and kick a field goal. We’ve got to learn how to finish; how to finish a drive, how to finish a play, all the things it takes to be a good football team.”
Tre Boston led the team with 17 tackles. What does it mean when a defensive back has to make that many stops?
"Yeah, it's not good when it's from the safety position, especially if you're not rolling him down into the box all of the time. That's not a good thing. It's a good thing we had him."
Do you think Duke came out emotionally stronger than your team?
“I don’t know. I thought we were fine. I thought our energy level was fine. I thought the way we approached the game was good. I didn’t sense that there was any type of attitude, letdown, anything. I thought our guys approached the game the right way. I thought they went out there and played hard. We just did not execute anything. We will have to go back and look at it and evaluate the tape.”
How did Gio Bernard come up with that fumble?
“That’s the kind of guy he is. It doesn’t matter what his role is, he is going to give you great effort every time. Mookie did a great job, great extra effort but then gets the ball knocked out, which can happen, and then Gio did a tremendous job of getting down there, and he’s hustling. That’s what he was doing. He was giving great effort to get down there and get a block for him, and he was there to get the ball.”
Bryn Renner took a big hit early and struggle for a time. Did he look off to you at all? Did you consider taking him out?
"No, I didn't consider taking him out. I didn't think the hit had anything to do with the way that he was playing, but yeah, I did think he looked off."
What about their rushing game gave you guys trouble specifically?
"How many times did they rush it?"
“53? I’d say probably 50 of them gave us trouble. They just ran it right at us. They didn’t do anything special. They ran us a split zone and ran a power and ran it right at us and we just didn’t do a very good job.”
They haven't run the ball that well all season. Did it surprise you to see them run it that well?
"Yeah, I was surprised. I was surprised by a lot of things tonight, actually. That was definitely one. We go into every game planning on stopping the run and making a team one dimensional. So that was very disappointing, yes.”
You talk about having a short memory and moving forward. How critical is that after a game like this?
"Tonight, I talked to them -- I want them to remember what this feels like. I want this feeling to last all night. It will last until we put it to bed tomorrow and then we'll put it behind us. But I want them to know what it feels like. I want there to be some misery right now. It better mean that much to you. But we'll put it to bed tomorrow night and then move on after that."