Oct. 30, 2007
On the atmosphere at Duke: “I think all you can go by is history. In the last 25 years, we’re 13-0 here at Clemson against Duke and we’re 6-4 up there. I think Coach (Danny) Ford took a seventh-ranked, 4-0 team up therein 1989 and lost. Those statistics obviously mean something. It has been a stadium in which we have had trouble over the years.
On replacing Jacoby Ford: “We only have two really fast guys on the team (C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford). Now we only have one. So we’re going to have to structure our formations and terminology a little bit. I think the team will move on.
“He’s got a great personality. He’s pretty lively during practice with keeping an upbeat tempo, and I’m sure we’ll miss that as well. If a lineman gets hurt, we’ve got our third tackle trained and we wouldn’t be that far off, but we don’t have anybody as fast as Jacoby other than C.J. (Spiller), so we are going to lose something that we can’t replace. We have to elevate our level of play to make up for our loss. I think we may move Tyler Grisham to his spot and then move Rendrick Taylor (back into the rotation).”
On motivating the team: “Duke’s last conference win was against us (in 2004). So I think you throw that on the table, but again you have to hopefully have your maturity level at a point where you can go up there and play your ‘A’ game regardless of the environment and regardless of who has been hurt.
“I’ve been fortunate to have that (go undefeated) happen once in my career where you have the personality, chemistry, and demeanor of a team where they say that it doesn’t make a difference who or where you are playing. They know what they have and what the goal is. But obviously, that doesn’t happen very often. We talk about our record up there, so hopefully when they walk 150 yards around those pine trees and see 16,000 people, it won’t make a difference.”
On the team’s maturity: “I liked how we played against Central Michigan. We had two weeks to soak in a loss and then we were behind in the game 7-0. Then we threw an interception. Then, we came back and scored 70.
“Against Maryland, it is a tough place to play with a talented team and good coach. We missed our first field goal then they go down and make theirs. Then we rattled off 30 straight points. I like that. It tells me a little bit more about the team every week.
“So now we have an environment that is going to be challenging so we’ll see. But I like what has happened the last two weeks with our team’s ability to focus and not get distracted.”
On wide receiver Tyler Grisham: “He’s been a tough guy. He’s caught the ball well and been a consistent player. He had some nice skills coming out of high school. He played as a true freshman. He caught three balls versus Miami (FL) as a true freshman. So, I think the most impressive thing is when he had that poor Georgia Tech game, he responded the following week in the Virginia Tech game with 11 catches. That told me the most about him as a person with his toughness, character, and perseverance.”
On offensive guard Barry Humphries: “He played well at guard against Maryland. At this stage in his career, I think he feels most comfortable at guard than he does at center. He played about 76 snaps at guard (last weekend against Maryland). He played really well. I hope there was a disappointment (after losing his starting position), because you want guys that want to be first team, not second team. But, you also want guys to understand their role, and I think Brad Scott (offensive line coach) has done a good of helping him understand his role. But he responded well to the change. We’ve been pleased with his progress. He understands he is second-team center, but maybe after Saturday, he might be co-starter at guard.”
On quarterback Cullen Harper: “Last week, he started out a little slow. I think the wind effected him. His first couple of throws into the wind were not very good, but he responded like you would hope he would. Compared to Matt Ryan (Boston College quarterback), he’s ahead of him in many categories, including passing efficiency, completion percentage and touchdown passes. There’s a guy that might win the Heisman Trophy, and our guy is ahead of him in almost every offensive statistic, so it’s hard to find anything other than a little management problem during the game. There is just not much that he is doing poorly.”
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