"After looking at the film and evaluating everything, we obviously didn't play well enough to win the football game the other night. You've got to give Duke credit for making the plays when they had to make them to win a football game. [Jamison Crowder] made a really nice catch on the last play as he's getting hit by two different guys. He hung on and they win the football game so that was the bottom line."
Why was Duke able to run the ball so successfully?
"Too many times we didn't get guys in the proper gaps or we didn't squeeze off the gaps the way they needed to be squeezed off. It wasn't one play. It was a couple of different plays that they were actually running. Because of our movement upfront they hit it where we didn't get it closed off and they did a really nice job of it throughout the night."
On the N.C. State game:
"It's a big rivalry game, obviously. That's been pointed out to me since the first handshake when I took the job and, again, like I've said before it's what makes college football so great. It's the fans and the pageantry, the regional rivalries. This is a big game."
What were you told about this game when you took the job?
"Just people from the very first time. That's the game. That's the game you got to focus on. That's the game you got to win. We all know that every game is important, because you don't base your season on one game, but I also understand the importance of the game because of the rivalry."
Does this game take on the feeling of a bowl game?
"For us, we tried to go into this season, because of [not playing in a bowl game], trying to make every game it's like a bowl game, because we only get 12 opportunities and we're running out of opportunities. This is the next one and it's the big one because it's our rivalry game. I can't tell you that we go out and change the way we practice, but it's something that is talked about amongst the team and it's talked about with the coaches and everybody. Everybody understands the importance of it."
Is there any common thread this year in games decided by five points or less? Your team is 1-3 in those games.
"Offensively, we've kicked too many field goals in those games and defensively in two of those games we've given up drives late the length of the field. Somebody's got to step up and make a play and we've got to make a stop so for the football team it's about finishing. It's still getting over that hump and learning how to finish a football game no matter what the situation is, because you got to prepare for both whether it's the offense on the field or it's the defense on the field or it's a game changing play in special teams that has to be made.
"Somebody's got to step up and a make a play in that game to get that done. In the game the other night they made the plays when they had to. When you had to make a play, they made them. I give credit to David [Cutcliffe] and his staff. That's a team that has grown up within their system."
Did you have a chance to look at the play where Shakeel Rashad ran into Conner Vernon?
"Fist of all, I was standing not very far from them when it happened on the field, and yes, I have. I've looked at it very closely and it happened basically the way I thought it happened on the field. First of all, you got to know Rashad. He's one of the nicest kids we have on our football team and I can assure you there was no intention of harming the other player or actually there was no intention on his part to actually even run into the player, but he's scrambling to get out on the field.
"They were in a hurry-up mode and he should've already been out there and as he's scrambling he's running out there on the field and the receiver takes a couple of steps and he kind of gets into him before he thought he was going to get into him and he started to turn his shoulder and he ran into the guy. There was no intention whatsoever on his part I assure you to actually run into the guy. If he would've been more athletic he probably could've missed him, but also I don't know exactly what he was looking at as he was running out there. I know this. He was in panic mode, because he was supposed to be on the field and he wasn't out there and they were fixing to snap the ball. There was none of 'hey let me run into this guy and that will stop the play before it gets started.' There was no malice at all."
On the play where Tim Jackson was injured:
"It's unfortunate because it was away from the play. I'm sure that the guy had no intention to harm him either, but as the play was ending he ended up cutting a guy and it's put him out for two or three weeks."
Have you sent that tape to the league office to review?
"I'm sure they're reviewing it. They review everything and then anything that we think was a questionable call or something we would like them to take [a look at] we make sure we send in. We sent in quite a few plays actually. There was the one where 20 seconds ran off the clock that I think needed to be looked at to see why. I tried to address that on the field. We sent in quite a few things actually."
What stands out about N.C. State?
"To start off, defensively for them, they're really big upfront. They're athletic upfront. They're leading the league in sacks so they've done a great job getting pressure on the quarterback. You know they're going to play extremely well against us and secondary-wise they've got some skill back there. Big corners that can run and they do a really nice job. They're linebackers were young or inexperienced I should say, but they've really come on. I wouldn't say they're inexperienced now. They've played eight games so I wouldn't say they're inexperienced now. They're coming into their own and they're playing very well on defense.
"Offensively, it starts with the big guy, [Mike Glennon]. He can spin it. He can really spin the ball. He's got some good receivers and offensive line-wise they're doing a nice job. I think they're pretty balanced in what they do as far as run - pass. I don't think they're trying to dominate one way or the other. I think they're just taking what they give you and taking advantage of what you give them. They're very sound in the special teams. They don't do anything fancy. They're pretty much base and they're very good at what they do so they're a well coached football team."
How often does this game come up when you meet with fans and boosters?
"I cannot tell you how many. I couldn't count them. Probably if I meet somebody new I can tell you it's everyday. It's something our fans have made it aware to me what they would like to happen."
Have you been part of a rivalry where one fan base is actively trying to find incriminating evidence regarding the other school?
"Oh yeah. I've seen it. I've seen it that way. Whether you're in the Big-12, the SEC or any of the major conferences, I promise you it's like that everywhere. The other side doesn't want to ever see the other side do good in anything. That's part of a rivalry."
On N.C. State colors decorating the team locker room:
"It ties in with everything. We have stuff in the locker room each week on teams, but, again, we do things to motivate our players I'm sure just like everybody else does. I don't know if that's a big deal or not."