Sept. 8, 2007
Virginia Head Coach Al Groh
Virginia 24, Duke 13
Sept. 8, 2007
"We're real pleased about that (the outcome). We were better than we were last week. We're not as good as we need to be next week, but that's for tomorrow. Most of the times we've won around here it has been because we've had more players step up and make good plays than the other side has had. When you do that, you usually end up with more points than the other team has. We had a number of players step up and make real good plays for us today in all phases of the game."
(On Cedric Peerman) "I don't mean this disrespectfully - I love Cedric. He's important to our team. Maybe he isn't going to win the Heisman Trophy, but there are certain backs that have to carry the flag for your team. They do that with their heart as much as with their skill, and that's the great value Cedric has for our team. When he's carrying the ball, he's carrying the flag for the team, too."
(On the quick start) "That was very positive and very uplifting. Obviously, it let us get the initiative on the game. It was pretty apparent that Duke played the game offensively the way we thought they would try to play it. Given the fact we had nine sacks last year (against Duke) and that we had numerous hits on the quarterback last week, we kind of anticipated that the plan would be, 'Make sure our quarterback doesn't get destroyed today.' ... To be off to a lead of 14-0 like that tended to negate that strategy a little bit."
(On the 15-play touchdown drive) "That was a real good drive. It's been awhile since we saw one of those. We did it with third-down conversions. We did it with quick passes. We did it with some real tough running. Then, obviously, Pete (Lalich) and Tom (Santi) hooked up real well on the touchdown. That was real positive, and it certainly gives us good hope here."
(On Lalich's play) He had "very good poise and very good presence. He sees the field real well. That was apparent today."
(On the quarterbacks) "We were going to play both quarterbacks in the game today. I think both players bring some significant skills to the team. I thought Jameel [Sewell] got off to a very strong start. There about the seven minute mark (of the second quarter), the trainer came up and said that Jameel is starting to cramp. We obviously didn't want a situation with those cramps, as we saw last week (against Wyoming), once a guy starts getting into that, it's the next day until it's over with. ... That's what triggered the rotation at that particular point."
(On long-snapping issues) "Those were obviously pretty impactful on the game. It's something we'll really have to keep a handle on here."
(On the play of the secondary and the defense, in general) "There weren't too many completed passes. The rush was good. Chris Long, once again, was outstanding. Certainly he was hard to deal with."
"It was like a great story with a lot of misspelled words. This isn't meant as a finger-pointing thing, but there were three bad snaps that kept us from thoroughly grasping the initiative in the game. If those three snaps are eliminated, then probably we're in a better position. ... But those plays belong to all of us. Those 24 points, they belong to everybody. They're not defensive points or offensive points or special teams points. They were Virginia points. And the 13 points that got scored on us, they belong to everybody."
(On offensive holding penalties) "Upsetting. We've got some veteran players in there. One of the things we emphasize is that every player is responsible for his own penalty. They're the ones out there doing it. Obviously, penalties set you back significantly. ... We definitely have to do a better job on those things."
Duke Head Coach Ted Roof
On Missed opportunities:
"The field position in the second half was about the opposite of what it was last week in the second half to us. When you don't come up with those points and you don't convert those missed opportunities, it ends up costing you, and it did. The way the game started off, our kids kept hanging around, hanging in there, which is what we're supposed to do. We blocked two kicks and recovered a fumble off a kick off; they had a couple of missed chances, and we need to take advantage of those. Like the last scoring drive, you get off the field and put it down. They made a great play, and we really have to execute it. It just rip your guts out."
On going for field golals
"I thought we would change the score better by making a few field goals. Instead of keeping it all or nothing, I wanted to get it down to a one-possession game. It was a missed opportunity."
On the team's effort:
"The effort was good. There's a fine line between winning and losing, and we go back to looking at the chances we had to do it. For whatever reason, in several different instances, it didn't happen. Football is a game of 60 minutes for a reason. Whatever happens, you've got to play through it. We had to do that as the coaching staff - not panic."
On his young players:
"I thought they grew up from last week. I think that they're starting to understand that the crowd doesn't have anything to do with it. Focus on what's inside our box: execute and take care of business. I was pleased today on their job with special teams.
"There were some good, some bad, but we've got to continue to work to eliminate those things that keep you from going backwards.
On next week:
"We've got to bounce back. That's our job. There's a lot of football season left. We came to win and we didn't do it. Virginia had something to do with that, so I give them credit. At the same time, we have to get ready to go back and make sure that our team is ready for Northwestern."
Virginia Player Quotes
Tom Santi, tight end
On his two touchdowns from two different quarterbacks:
"We got both of those guys in there practicing and as you saw today, they both did a good job."
On adjusting the play selection for Cedric Peerman:
"We let the game go the way it went. Sometimes we felt we should run the ball and sometimes we felt we should throw. We didn't focus on the run or the pass we just went with what was there for us."
Jon Copper, linebacker
On his first career interception and if that helped motivate the defense:
"36/36 is our motto, that means 36 turnovers (is the season goal). I think we only had one today. That's something we practice a lot, hopefully we do better with that next week. It gets everybody pumped up."
On the defense's execution:
"It was a victory. We won. Thankfully, we had some guys step up. Chris Long stepped up, Jeff Fitzgerald with rushing the passer at the end so that was good. It's important to finish a game like that. We've got a lot of stuff we have to work on though."
Chris Long, defensive end
On the first win of the season:
"It's huge, a lot of people don't understand how hard it is to just get a win. If it was easy we'd probably be national champs. We've just got to work. We made a lot of mistakes but we saw a lot of positives. We took steps forward. We've got to keep doing it."
On what improvements can be made:
"We can improve on everything we do really. That's not a cop-out, that's just what we try and do every week. Just get better in all facets of the game. We made plenty of mistakes to go around in every area, but we also made a lot of plays in some areas. We're just going to keep working."
On his career-high rushing day
"The offensive line did a great job all day, the tight ends were solid and the wide receivers made a few key blocks down field, and I was able to spring a few big runs."
On the importance of playing in front of the home crowd
"It's good to be back home, but at the same time we know we're going to have to go back on the road. We can't get used to playing at home, but it was defintely good to have our crowd behind us."
On opening with a conference win
"its very important to get off to a good start. A win in the conference is always huge and we're1-0 in the conference right now so we're happy about that, but we're still looking forward to becoming better."
On his first quarter punt return
"We had been working on it all week, and we knew it was going to be a big play. It just opened up and we executed well. I wanted the touchdown bad. I was happy that we had a big play, but I thought we should have scored on it. We still scored though so I was happy."
On the defensive effort
"I think we were better than last week, and that is the most important thing. It was progress."
On progress made from last week
"We made some plays today on offense, and the defense did the job today. That's what let us come out with the W."
On his comfort level being on the field
"I was as comfortable as I could be. We have a great offensive line, so it's not like I was feeling pressure all day. My receivers just made plays for me today."
On having to play on the road next week against North Carolina
"Our house is between the white lines."
Duke Player Quotes
Senior Free Safety Chris Davis
On the start of the game...
"We came out; they quick snapped us a few times. We didn't get lined up and we gave up a couple of big plays early. We fought back and had our chances to win the game. I'm really proud of our effort today. Defense, once we got settled down everything was good; offense gave us a chance today as well. We just lost a tough one today."
On the play of Duke's special teams...
"We got a lot of turnovers. We've just got to do something with them next time. You can't ask for more turnovers than that - getting some blocked kicks and things like that. It was a great day, a lot of excitement on the sideline for both teams. It was a great ACC football game."
On losing another game...
"It's been too long. It's nothing to be proud of. You go out there and give effort anyway. Everybody wants to win. We're going to get back there on Monday and find a way to go to Chicago and beat Northwestern."
On losing a close game...
Maybe for the young guys it's something to be encouraged about, but for the older guys, we've been there before and this game was too close to let it slip away. We have to find a way; that's what we are working on. We've got to find a way somehow. Maybe one of those blocked kicks we've got to return for a touchdown, defense has to get an interception, or we have to return a fumble to score. We have to get a good way on offense. Somehow we have to find a way to win in close games."
On Coach Roof's words to the team after the game...
"He kept it all in perspective but he didn't come here to coach us to lose or to give effort and be proud of that. If you don't get your effort, you shouldn't be playing anyways - that's a given. It was a positive for us to keep going throughout the whole game. We've been talking about playing a full game; we played a full game today, especially the second half; it was a great half for us. We've just got to keep moving forward."
On this week's play...
"This game, especially on the road, is about momentum. They came out, scored early, and the crowd got behind them quickly. It's tough when you've got all those fans screaming down and you feel like you're on your heels sometimes. We just had to get together, put our arms together, and just stand strong. It all worked out, and we came back."
On kicker Joe Surgan...
"To be honest with you, Joe had the best week of practice this last week - just right down the middle all week. We end practice with a field goal, and he was putting them right down the middle. We are a team, and we are going to be behind him. We have to be behind him because he's our kicker. He's going to make some big kicks for us, so we try not to put it all on his hands. We've got to go ahead and score some of those touchdowns instead of putting the pressure on the field goal team. We're going to find a way; we're going to put it together.
Junior Kicker Joe Surgan
"I had a great week, a great preseason, and a whole great off-season. I thought to be able to come in here and not be able to help your team win is gut wrenching and upsetting. My role on this team is limited in some capacities but it still is important I feel as anyone else's. We're here to help the team win, and at the end of the day if you're not able to do that, it's upsetting and I wish there was a better outcome"
On what didn't go well...
"Protection was great and the snapping and all was great. It's all up to myself to get that ball through the uprights. I want to win as much as anyone else on this team. I came here today to win a football game and to not be able to help the team to do that and feel that it was a major reason why it happened; it's not a great feeling. You feel terrible to your teammates; you feel terrible to your coaches because they have a lot of faith in me and to let them down in those situations is not a good feeling.
"There shouldn't be any difference. You practice as if you are in a game. You put yourself in the situations, you practice and mentally you try to prepare for them. Obviously things didn't go right today. I've got to go back to look at the film to see what exactly what went wrong; I wasn't kicking the ball great. You want to go make those kicks and if you can't do it, there's no nice way to put it. There's no way to sugar coat what happened. I want to help the team win and it's a long season. If I wanted to quit, I could have quit last off-season after what happened last season. We're going to keep going; we've got ten more games. If I quit now, it's going to be a long three months.
"I have no choice but to bounce back at this point. I feel like I've had a great off-season, a great preseason, and I feel great coming into this game. I'm going to work hard this week, and feel great going into next week, and we're going to do everything to turn it around then."
Senior Wide Receiver Joman Wright
On losing the game...
"It's very disappointing. We have eleven guys coming back on offense; we should have been able to perform better under pressure and execute when the chance comes. We've got to come back this weekend, find out what's going wrong, and find a way to adjust it because right now we're not getting it done with offense and it's very disappointing because we should be."
On this week's progress...
"We have to do a lot better; we have to execute, we have to protect, we have to catch the ball, we have to run blocks from all positions from receivers to the line. The quarterback has to do better with the line. The whole group has to come back and do better. We keep saying it each week but something's got to change because we are not winning games and we should be."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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