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Mike Maniscalco

Spurrier lauds Cutcliffe, Duke as 1989 team is honored

Posted August 30, 2014
Updated August 31, 2014

— Steve Spurrier stepped in front of the media at Wallace Wade stadium Saturday and congratulated current Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe on winning the Coastal Division last season, comparing it to the season his team put together in 1989.

Spurrier said he owes what he is as one of college football’s greatest coaches to his time at Duke.

“Whatever coach I became, I learned everything at Duke University," Spurrier said. "I was here as an assistant three years, head coach three years and been very blessed and fortunate after that.”

Duke honored the 1989 team that Spurrier led to a shared ACC title prior to the season-opener against Elopn Saturday. The team lined up in the end zone in front of the Duke faithful and recreated a famous picture with a scoreboard behind them, commemorating that co-championship.

In that '89 season, Duke was beaten by Virginia 49-28 in the fourth game of the season falling to 1-3 and heading into a match-up with Clemson. Spurrier looked back on that game as the key that put the Blue Devils on the right path.

“That was a big turnaround game, it really was," Spurrier recalled. "Sort of unbelievable how it all transpired. We had a nice little rah-rah meeting the night before. We just said, 'hey, we are going to play are hearts out and and maybe something good will happen. Maybe who knows? If we give it our best shot, just maybe it could happen.'”

Spurrier, in typical Spurrier fashion, recalled the game that put his Blue Devils on a seven-game winning streak. His best recollection was the play that clinched the game.

“I never will forget. It was 4th-and-12, Clemson had their last shot. George Edwards came over and I say, 'George what do you think we ought to do? Think we defend the 12-yard line? No blitzes on fourth and 12,'" Spurrier recounted. "He said, 'coach, we been blitzing them every play, all day why should we change now? I said you’re right, go blitz their butts and lets go.'”

The blitz worked, but for Spurrier, he told his players that returned to Wallace Wade, “It was a nice win, but you know what? You guys won the rest of them after that and got a piece of the ACC Championship.”

He still has special feelings for Duke and he is famous for casting votes for the Blue Devils in the pre-season coaches poll.

“It’s neat to see everybody, and I always vote the in the top 25," he said. "This year, I had reason to, I put them 20 or so.”

 

 

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