Charlotte, NC – Duke football coach David Cutcliffe sat down for media interviews during the 2017 ACC Kickoff. Here’s a bit where he discusses team meetings, tardiness, recruiting, social media and the annual football game against North Carolina Central.
David Cutcliffe: Like we got a problem, team meeting?
Reporter: Yeah, like we show everyone here tomorrow at…
David Cutcliffe: I’m trying to remember because I really haven’t had many of those instances. I’ve done it generally not anything to do related to football. It would have in that case been related to some form of behavior. Because that’s just me. I’m not going to push panic buttons on the football end of it and I’m not really going to push panic buttons, but there’s a time that you bring everybody in and say … The first one I did at Duke was pretty funny. They didn’t know I had some tech ability. So I was able to get into all of their Facebooks and their posts. I’m just taking over and so I set up a nice little slideshow and called a team meeting and I popped slide after slide, eyes got bigger. And I said “get your asses out of this team room. You’ve got 30 minutes to clean all of this off or you may not be a part of this program moving forward.” You’ve never seen people move faster. That’s a pretty good team meeting.
Reporter: I was trying to trick you. Brian said his very first meeting of his very first fall camp a veteran player showed up late.
David Cutcliffe: Oh, I did that. That’s a behavior thing.
Reporter: And you waited for him to come in and everyone sat there and then you told him to come back at 4 am the next day.
David Cutcliffe: I can go volatile on behavior. People ask all the time, because we’re a morning practice team, what do I do if they’re late? And I said, rarely are they dumb enough to be late.
We’ve had a great summer of everybody on time. That’s one of the things I ask our strength staff. We did some work with them as coaches in June, which you can do agility. They averaged eight minutes early. I measure teams that way too. That may be so stupid and so old fashioned but that’s me. You know what I’m saying?
I think it tells you something about your squad. But if that were to happen again, the same result would happen. It was ridiculous. Come on, they’re smart guys. They wouldn’t be at Duke, right? Don’t tell me you didn’t know. Don’t even go there. I don’t ever want to hear that. You didn’t know? Really? We got a Duke, former Duke player Zach….
Reporter: I was about to say that’s impossible now.
David Cutcliffe: It’s impossible. This is Duke for Duke, man. You can’t do it.
My phone. I gave my phone away today because I didn’t want to be distracted. That’s fun by the way.
Do you ever just set your phone aside all day long? That is so much fun. I thought I felt it buzz in my pocket a minute ago and then I realized it’s not there. My body just has nerves buzzing now.
Reporter 2: Do you prevent your players from any type of social media or are you just careful about…
David Cutcliffe: Inappropriate social media.
Reporter 2: So basically nothing that your mom should be embarrassed about reading.
David Cutcliffe: That’s exactly right. I’m not ever going to prevent them from using social media. The day I have to do that then I realize that I don’t have the relationship with our players that I should have. That’s not the way it has to work.
Reporter 1: You had a player that you’d been recruiting really really hard and he comes to your camp and you see stuff that you didn’t know and you’d stop recruiting?
David Cutcliffe: It happens. Those are difficult times because they’re young people. Recruiting happens too fast. Not to get back on that bandwagon, but we’ve got dangerous legislation. You can hurt young people. You can hurt their families. They can hurt you, they can hurt … with no intention.
But how do you know enough about a kid that has actually maybe five semesters in high school. Whether you’re offering or not offering or accepting a commitment or not, you understand what I’m saying. So we have gotten the cart in front of the horse. And when other sports have done that you’ll listen to some of the Olympic sports that kept moving that model up.
Talk to our women’s lacrosse coach, they’re moving it back the other way. There’s a lack of maturity involved in that. I don’t want to have to offer Steve Weisman fall of his sophomore year and then have him in camp two years later and realize he’s not what we thought he was as a person or a player and now we’ve got to retract. But what’s better, retracting or taking someone you don’t want? You understand what I’m saying? That’s complex.
Reporter 1: If you were the NCAA czar and you could-
David Cutcliffe: I wish I was.
Reporter: And you could say this is the way it is without going through committees and all that stuff, how would you structure the [inaudible 00:05:48]?
David Cutcliffe: I don’t have time to answer that because that is complex. But we would not be moving the calendar up. We would be restricting more of the early approach. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with unofficial visits where people come visit and one of the things they talk about, people can’t afford to do it.
Well if you can’t, you don’t need to be traveling all over the country looking at schools. That’s not restrictive, it’s really not. That’s been going on forever. What was wrong with that? If you looked at Ohio State’s roster under Woody Hayes where do you think most of the players would have come from?
David Cutcliffe: Is there anything wrong with that? No.
Reporter: He did quite well.
David Cutcliffe: So we’ve got to come to grips.
The other thing, we want to protect players emotionally and physically. We’ve got to be able to have people making decisions that understand the emotional parts. Goes back to whoever asked me about transfer. That’s dangerous to a kid. They’re still kids in graduate transfers. You understand what I’m saying. So it’s pretty complex. I am a trustee on the AFCA board. I was a member of the Football Issues Committee before it was … there’s only one coach on the Football Oversight Committee. If you look at those things as a football coach, we should have the interest of the student athlete more dearly at heart than any other [inaudible 00:07:38].
Reporter: So that’s something you have in common with your basketball coach, you’d both like to be commissioners of your respective sports if there was such a position nationally?
Reporter 3: I bet every coach wants to be.
David Cutcliffe: Well and when we have a head coaches meeting at the convention and I try to listen as a board member what the majority wants and we vote, the majority in a big way did not want these early visits. We keep hearing that it’s a compromise. What are we compromising with? We’re compromising health and welfare of the game if we’re not careful.
Reporter 2: What’s your assessment of the football game between Duke and NC Central?
David Cutcliffe: Well, Mose Rison was the coach and I approached him, just thought it would be a healthy thing for Durham, a healthy thing for both institutions. I certainly hope it has been. I wanted to build some community in that regard. That was really important to me. I felt like I’d come in, right when I came in there was some strain between the Durham community and Duke. Maybe even Duke athletics. And I think it’s worked to a large degree in that model and something that I would continue.
I love the fact that it’s called the Bull City Classic. I’m very proud to be a part of the Bull City, I think we have a great community. I drive by Central a lot, see the improvements of the institution. It’s not a mistake maybe that they’re winning championships in their league and it’s probably been beneficial being a part of the Bull City Classic. I feel good about it.
Reporter 3: Sounds better than City of Medicine was.