Tue, Sep 10

 N.C. A&T head coach Sam Washington on the Duke game: “It didn't turn out the way we would like, but I feel the guys didn’t quit. They continued to play. We could’ve played better, much better. I thought Duke played well. We knew to go in that they would be bigger, stronger, faster and all that cliché stuff. We thought we had a good chance to win the game at halftime, but it slipped away from us at the three-minute mark halftime. The team that makes the fewest mistakes is the team that’s going to win, and we made too many bonehead mistakes at that critical moment that shifted the tide in their direction. We couldn't recover from that but that’s football. Hopefully, it's a learning lesson, and we can grow from it.”


Washington on Charleston Southern: “They are a good football program. Right now, they are struggling a little bit. They are mad right now. They got beat 72-10 (to South Carolina) and it seems like we are always getting the teams coming off these SEC defeats. They are a little upset but this week we’re mad too. We lost too. I’m looking forward to the ballgame. They have a new coaching staff and they have grown from Game 1 to Game 2. The coach has those guys on the right track, but we don’t want them to get on track against us. We are going to do everything we can to keep them off track.”


Washington the key to a win over Charleston Southern: “Their quarterback is the key to their success. He’s a run threat and his legs are more dangerous than his arm. He has one receiver who is 6-foot-3, 220 that can go get it. All-American type of guy, but they have had trouble getting him the ball recently.”



Washington on what A&T’s defensive strategy will be: “Everyone has been doing their base package against them, and we are going to do something similar. We possibly may play a few more zones. We often play a lot of man. But we need to keep an eye on the quarterback. We sometimes will spy him.”


Washington on the positives he took away from the Duke loss: “One is that we were right there. Also, they can’t make critical mistakes. Those are things they learned and that's what they should take away.”


Washington on the overall morale of the team after the loss: “Disappointing is the one word to describe where everyone was because we knew we didn’t do our very best. That's all I ask my team is to do your best. That's what I will accept. We didn’t do our best.”


Washington on the dangers of playing an 0-2 team at their place: “I think it's dangerous playing any zero-and-something team. They are hungry and thirsty, and they are just waiting for that opportunity. We understand that and it's a bullseye on our heads and our back. We are up for the challenge.”


Washington on whether there are any moral victories from Saturday’s loss: “Ain’t no moral victories. Those things don't work. They don’t go in the W column.”


Washington thoughts on Elijah Bell’s tweet about the Duke loss being on him: “It shows his character and how much he cares. But I don’t want him to put the burden on himself. This was a team loss. It was a turning point (Bell’s fumble in the second quarter) in the game but that's not why we lost.”


Washington on injuries: “We came out of fairly decent, more than expected honestly. The one that concerns me is Darius Graves who suffered a knee injury. It could be season-ending. We don't know for sure. He’s in our prayers, and if you would pray with us that it is not season-ending.”


Washington on the possibility of Mac playing this weekend: “There's a chance. It's a pretty good chance. The third game was the target coming into camp. We wanted to get him back this week. I doubt that he will start, but we look forward to him playing in some capacity.”


Washington on Amir (McNeill) playing with a cast on defense: “Yes he has a few damaged fingers, but you don’t need those to play football.”


Washington on Ron Hunt injury: “His injury is a little more serious. He has a hamstring injury. It’s very sensitive right now. He will be out for a while.”


Washington on Duke’s 21 points in three minutes: “It wasn’t all on the defense. The first touchdown was a drive for 61 yards. We had a couple of opportunities to get off the field, but we failed. They converted on third down and the quarterback broke out twice on third down to keep the drive going. We also had a break down in the secondary, and we preach don’t give up anything deep. Keep everything in front of you and make them drive the distance. Then we came back with the turnover.”


Washington on Duke going on fourth down in their territory: “It makes me want to play them again. I found it very peculiar why you would do that, but I know. I’m just not going to say. We are going to play them again. That’s what my boss told me.”


Washington on the players' mindset going into Charleston: “I haven’t met with the team. We give them Sundays off. Our first meeting would be in about two and a half hours. We have a three o’clock team meeting, and I would be able to answer that question then.”