During George O'Leary's weekly press conferences this season he's had a lot of positive things to say about this year's squad. He's pleased with the effort his team has shown, he's pleased with the way the Knights have prepared for each game and of course he's pleased with the squad's undefeated record in conference play.
UCF (6-2, 4-0) became bowl eligible after last week's convincing win against Marshall and continues to control its own destiny in Conference USA. Confidence is one of the many reasons the Knights have accomplished everything they have this season and O'Leary sees confidence and energy flowing through all of his players during practice.
"I think when they practice well they know they're going to play well," O'Leary said. "They've been practicing better than I thought. We're banged up a little bit, but I think they're going after each other in practice and they're competing, which I think is the key... Sometimes you start not competing and you get relaxed in some things."
The Knights have been confident all season with the success they've had, but O'Leary feels the team's confidence has gone to another level after UCF's 54-17 blowout win against the Thundering Herd in Huntington, West Virginia last weekend.
"I think the big thing is when you get a game like that I think it's great for the locker room and great for morale," O'Leary said. "Again, they treat every game like it's a one game season and that's what I like about this squad. They're not talking about anything, but SMU right now."
The Mustangs will be the first team from the Conference USA West Division the Knights will face this season. UCF is still just one game ahead of the Pirates in the East Division for first place. In order for the Knights to continue to control their own destiny and earn a berth in the Conference USA Championship game they will need a win against SMU this weekend.
"It's a very big conference game because of the implications with losses," O'Leary said. "East Carolina is still sitting there with one and we have to control our own destiny each week. Again, it will be a big game as far as we're concerned."