With a fresh canvas, Duke refocuses on Wake Forest

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) There’s a fresh coat of paint and new carpet in the visitor’s locker room at Duke. All signs of Carolina blue spray paint are gone.

The Blue Devils have wiped away all reminders of that loss to North Carolina.

The focus is squarely on Wake Forest.

”You have to move on,” receiver Jamison Crowder said.

The locker room situation made for an interesting Tuesday because that’s where Duke (8-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) holds its weekly interview sessions.

After North Carolina’s 45-20 victory, the Tar Heels spray-painted the Victory Bell – as is the tradition when it changes hands – but sections of the walls and carpet also were damaged and the letters ”UNC” was written in at least one location.

”It’s a little upsetting because you never want your things to be damaged,” Duke defensive lineman Dezmond Johnson said. ”But we’re kind of overlooking that – that’s not in our mindset right now.”

North Carolina officials said they would pay for the cleanup, and by the time the Blue Devils arrived Tuesday, there was no visible signs of physical damage.

Now the work continues for Duke to clean up the damage an untimely two-game losing streak has done on the collective psyche of a team that in six days went from comfortably leading the Coastal Division to allowing the berth in the ACC title game in Charlotte to fall to Georgia Tech.

”We’ve got to get back to where we were, paying attention to the small things,” running back Josh Snead said. ”I feel like we got away from that. … Other people may have gotten relaxed. `Oh, we’re 8-3, 8-2, we’ve got Virginia Tech and UNC coming in, they’re winnable games.”’

They weren’t.

And now Duke must prepare for Wake Forest (3-8, 1-6), which is coming off a victory over the same Virginia Tech team that beat the Blue Devils 17-16 on Nov. 15 to start this late-season slide that sent them tumbling out of the national rankings. They had climbed to No. 19 – their highest perch in two decades.

Coach David Cutcliffe says getting mad won’t help the situation – but getting better will.

”I’m not interested in anger,” Cutcliffe said. ”You can be mad all you want. That doesn’t fix anything. Great habits, great effort, great technique, great focus, great attention to detail will fix a lot of things.”

Now they must prepare for a Wake Forest team that, for the first time in first-year coach Dave Clawson’s tenure, is coming off a victory over one of the sport’s brand-name programs.

There weren’t many offensive highlights in it – the Demon Deacons’ 6-3, double-overtime win was the first Bowl Subdivision game since 2005 that ended regulation with no score – but Clawson’s rebuilding program is in no position to look down upon victories of any kind.

”It certainly makes this week a lot better,” Clawson said. ”After a win like that, guys are excited to play again. I expect to have a great week of practice. It’s nothing but positive.”

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