Coming off Saturday's loss in Winston-Salem to Virginia Tech, Wake Forest (4-2 overall, 3-1 ACC) is looking to get back in the win column in conference play with a matchup against in-state rival Duke in Durham's Wallace Wade Stadium.
The following are quotes from Wake Forest's Jim Grobe and Duke's David Cutcliffe discussing Saturday's game.
WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH JIM GROBE
On bouncing back from the loss to Virginia Tech..
"Our kids know that we have tough games every week. The rest of the season, we don't have an easy game. We have to play well every Saturday, and we didn't play well enough this past Saturday, but there's nothing we can do about it now."
"It's behind us and we have to go forward. I do have to give Virginia Tech a lot of credit. I thought their guys played really well. We didn't play as well as we are capable of, and we have to do that to have a chance to win."
On the in-state rivalry with Duke…
"We're so similar. Two good academic schools playing in a big-time league. There's always a lot at stake when you play an ACC game, and probably a little bit more if you're in-state because you're butting heads with guys that you probably played against in high school. We have a bunch of North Carolina guys on our tam, and they do too, so that makes it a little bit more interesting."
On winning 11 straight games against Duke…
"Well quite frankly we've been lucky a few times - a field goal here, a late pick in overtime, things like that. Whenever you get into crunch time down at the end of the fourth quarter, a lot of times the ball just has to bounce right, and we've been very lucky that we've had some things go our way. But all that is history. We're starting all over again on Saturday."
On the Duke offense…
"Well I think with Coach (David) Cutcliffe, they've always been really good on offense. They've flat worn us out a few Saturdays with a lot of points and a lot of yards. They're just continuing to improve. On video, they scare you to death. They have receivers that can run and catch the football, and their quarterback is playing really well. I like what their offensive line has been able to do protecting the quarterback."
"I think they have some very capable running backs, so they have a lot of
weapons and a great scheme, and they do a great job of taking what you give them."
On whether practice is different coming off of a loss…
"Well you know I thought we practiced pretty good last week. I wasn't enamored with our practices the week of Florida State, but we played really well. Last week I thought our practices were pretty good preparing for Virginia Tech, but we came out and didn't play very well. So they've got me confused."
"I'm not sure. I do think we have a team that is probably a little bit more focused and a little bit more serious right now. I think any time you go on a winning streak, it's a little easier to relax and not remember what got you there. I think we have a football team that will practice well this week."
DUKE HEAD COACH DAVID CUTCLIFFE
On Wake Forest:
"We're playing what I think is the best Wake team since we've played them at Duke. They've done a nice job of revving this team up. On defense, they've got five redshirt seniors and four redshirt juniors and a redshirt sophomore and a redshirt freshman, which tells you a little bit about what they've done. And it pays off. Those guys are playing like veterans. That's a bunch of fourth and fifth-year players on the field."
"In their offense, they've got a real quality receiver and others, outstanding running backs and their quarterback playing well, which gives you a chance to play extremely well. They've balanced that with a good kicking game like they always have, and we've got a challenge."
"We can match the same type of play if you look at our team, other than being very young for the most part on defense, we're similar in a lot of areas. It's going to come down to execution. It's going to come down to how well you prepare, how consistent you are in practice and how consistent you're going to be in the ballgame. I'm excited to see our team accept the challenge."
"They have picked themselves back up. Nobody's giving anybody any time to feel sorry for themselves, so it's all about Wake and it's all about preparation and it's all about consistent preparation. I was pleased with the start this morning. We're going to put the same type of practice together tomorrow and then build toward the weekend."
On the series with Wake Forest:
"It's a good rivalry. It's similar institutions; similar settings; an annual opponent. I think it means something to our players. This is the last chance for our seniors to beat these guys, so it's a big football game in that regard."
"I think both of our teams play incredibly hard. I think Wake Forest's players plan incredibly hard, and are committed to the process. I think Duke football players right now are committed to our process and they play very hard. I'm proud of that fact. But you've just got to lay it on the line and go figure out how to win a game. It's our turn, if we can play well enough."
On Wake's improvements since last season:
"They've got the right people in the right roles. They're a three-down defense; they've committed to that a little bit more than they were last year. They've just got guys playing really well. Fifth-year seniors and fourth-year juniors tend to start doing that. They're growing up. They're good in the secondary."
"They've got the redshirt freshman (Merrill Noel) who's playing well at corner. He's a difference-maker. The rest of those guys and particularly the front people are very physical and they're playing a lot of people up front who have played a lot of football."
"You develop those guys through three, four, five years, you hope you really end up with something special. Jim Grobe's team has matured defensively - they're
fourth in the conference in total defense. They've earned that."
On avoiding giving up big plays against Wake Forest:
"We know they're going to try. They made a bunch of big ones against us last year. They threw it over our head, trick plays and otherwise. (Tanner) Price has got a good, strong arm, throws the ball on the run, a lot of bootleg, play action stuff that they go down the field to Chris Givens. They've done that extremely well to this point."
"You just play your assignment. You don't get caught napping. We have techniques, and those techniques have to be played. You have to be disciplined in coverage."
"If you're in man coverage, stay with your man. If you're in zone coverage and you're in the deep zone, keep things in front of you. If I'm a run-first guy, I play run first. If I'm a pass-first guy, I play pass first. Sometimes you have to be so disciplined that you can't believe your eyes, which is a real challenge at times."