Postgame Q&A: WFU Players

Alphonso Smith

Q&A from Wake Forest players following WFU's win over Duke.

Brandon Pendergrass
On fighting through an injury and helping the team...
"It felt good. It felt real good. That's what you want. You want to be able to get into the game and gut it out the whole way fighting through little injuries. You want to be able to fight. I mean that's my dream. Just to keep fighting and grinding through the pain to help the team win. It felt good."

On the offense having a big game...
"As an offense we knew we had to step it up. Pretty much all season we have not been putting up many points. We had to score some points and take some pressure off our defense. We put a lot of pressure on our defense this season and we just needed to put up some points."

D.J. Boldin
On if this game can kick start the season like the '06 Duke game...
"We knew that Duke was going to play us hard tonight. At the same time we knew we needed the victory and some help from a few other teams to stay in the ACC title race."

On the inspiration he gets from his brother...
"He is a big inspiration. He has been more of a counselor to me this year. He told me to just be my own man. I'm being my own man and stepping out of his shadow a bit. When he got hurt a few weeks ago that was the scariest moment of my life. But to see him come back strong just shows he is a very strong willed guy. I try to bring that myself to the football field."

How did you get in the endzone on the touchdown and two point conversion?
"I knew how bad we need the touchdown and two point conversion to make it a seven point game. It was mind over matter, will, and just everything that was in me to get in the end zone. I told myself I was too close not to get in and we needed it."

Shane Popham
Is the pressure off now?
"No it has kind of just begun. It's a liitle more pressure now that they have seen I can do it (laughing). I've just got to keep myself prepared and keep kicking the ball well.

Did making the first field goal give him confidence for the game winner?
"I lined up for the first one knowing it was going in. You have to have confidence. I just lined it up and hit it well. It was a bit of a relief to see it go through the uprights."

On being a big contributor to the team...
"I knew going into this game I was ready for it. I had some opportunities and it was time for me to come through and contribute to the team. I didn't have the type of warm up I wanted to have today but when game time came I knew I had to step up."

Alphonso Smith
On the defense creating turnovers…
"That's our type of football. Coach Grobe always says before the game; Offense take care of the ball, Special teams play great and defense create turnovers and we will be fine. If the defense is creating turnovers and the offense is not turning the ball over and we are flawless in special teams 9 out of 10 you win those games.

How did it feel to go after a few punts?
"It felt great. I tried it last week against Miami and got leg whipped a few times. When I first lined up I was like I think I got this guy because he looked a bit confused. He was probably use to seeing me back returning. Coach Knorr just gave me a chance to block one. Actually when Coach Billings brought it up he asked if I could block one. I said yeah and he said "no you can't." I told him "watch, this week I've got you." I was fortunate and had a chance to block a punt."

What did you think when you got that last pick?
"I wanted to take it to the locker room but you have to appreciate your fans and celebrate with them (laughing). I was aware of the situation and wasn't thinking about running it back so I ran out of the back of the end zone. I tried to keep the ball but someone stole it from me."

Aaron Curry
On his leadership on defense…
"I just need to find a way to get our defense motivated and stay motivated. I have got to find a way to get everybody on the same page."

On the defense against Duke…
"I think we just showed up. I don't think we played we just showed up. Duke is a good team but we made so many mistakes on defense that led to touchdowns. We also had too many penalties. We have to come out and practice better next week. We were not disciplined on defense today."

On being a senior…
"I can see it coming to an end and I feel like I haven't done everything I want to do here. I've always wanted to be a great senior leader. I may be playing well but I don't know if I am doing enough verbally.

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