Cutcliffe: "I'm Not Going to Pull Them Out" of Slump
Duke has lost four straight games and needs to win its final two to become bowl eligible.
While David Cutcliffe has done plenty of coaching over his career and has a long list of accomplishments, he said he can’t be the one to pull the team out of this tailspin. That job is up to the players, specifically his more experienced ones.
“I think players always have to be relied on in the toughest of times,” he said. “When you have a championship team, they win it. It's them. When things aren't going well, and I've said this, I do own it 100 percent. But to pull yourself out – I'm not going to pull them out of it. I may help get them there. You know, I mean that. I own this where we are right now, but they have to go inside, and nobody is so resilient that they don't need people to help pull with them.”
The older players need to set the example for the younger ones, Cutcliffe believes.
“That's where player and peer—not pressure, peer support—lies,” he said. “That's extremely important for your upperclassmen to be that. If we've trained them properly throughout our program in the time they've been here whether they're fourth-year seniors or fifth-year senior or in Edgar (Cerenord)'s case a sixth-year senior. Let's pray and hope they've learned how to do that before now, you know.”
Cutcliffe still doesn’t want the team focusing on bowl eligibility. The reason is obvious:
“Because we can’t play two games at one time,” he said. “That’s pretty simple.”