Sept. 25, 2007
Press Conference Audio
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head coach George O'Leary met the media on Tuesday in the interview room at Bright House Networks Stadium for his weekly press conference. The fourth-year coach discussed the Knights' C-USA opening win vs. Memphis and the challenges his team will face against Louisiana-Lafayette in this Saturday's game.
Kickoff for the first night game at Bright House Networks Stadium is set for 6 p.m. UCF holds a 3-0 advantage in the series with Louisiana, including a thrilling 24-21 victory in the last meeting in 2005.
Below is a transcription of selected comments from the press conference. A complete audio file is available on-line at www.ucfathletics.com.
"Probably, in all my years coaching, I do not know that I have had any team as efficient, seven possessions and seven scores, really with the first team. I thought that the game mushroomed from there. Offensively, the first offense played well. The second offense, I think moved the ball. I think turnovers in the third quarter hurt us there. We have to make sure that is corrected. Defensively, I think was the key of the game. Taking them out of their game early in the first half and giving us the opportunity to get the ball and possession. Anytime that we can have possession time, I think that is what our program is built around as far as possession opens up everything for us offensively. The kicking game improved. So, I thought all three areas did some good things. The one big thing is that we came out of the game fairly healthy, really with no injuries."
How focused was the team heading into the Memphis game?
"I have said during the week that I thought we have practiced better each week. I think that we still have a long way to go. We still have some young players out there making some mistakes at the receiver and db [defensive back] position. We have to make sure that gets corrected, but I saw improvement each game from NC State to Texas to Memphis. Areas of the game that needed to improve, I thought did from cohesion with the offensive line, a little more stoutness with the defensive line creating some tough situations to run on, and then closing the coverage with our defensive backs from the Texas game. I thought we did a better job with that. The kicking game is getting better, that is one thing that I was concerned about going into the year with a freshmen punter and just the year [Michael] Torres had last year. I think with Jake Howard coming in and helping us out with the kickoff as far as coverage goes, has added to being a better special teams unit, probably getting more athletes on the field using some freshmen with those groups out there. I think overall we are more athletic on the field and have more team speed than last year."
How do you make sure that the team does not become too confident heading into the Louisiana- Lafayette game?
"I think that is the coach's job to keep them there. I think that it is hard because Sunday night I said that we were playing a team that has not won a game. We were in that same situation a couple of years ago and we did not quit. In some areas, we were just not good enough yet and I think the same thing goes with any team you play. They have scholarship athletes like we do. I do not get concerned about what happens in the football program, per se. I think that they understand that it is another season, the fourth season and we play one game at a time. I have always preached that ever since I have been here. That fourth game, the next game is the only thing that we are talking about. What I look at is how much film they are looking at. I asked today how many have been in to watch film already, besides what they do with their coach and I would say a good 90 percent of the team had been in already. They have to turn in a film evaluation by Wednesday night for their position, so they have to get in to look at some tape. They were all into it. Normally, if their minds were not where they were supposed to be, they would be hanging around waiting till tomorrow, but they have been practicing well. Again, there is enough competition at all the positions out there that if they are not, they know they will be replaced. That is what I think is the good thing about depth, when you get some depth is that every day you cross that white line, its game time and they understand that you can make some mistakes, but after awhile, they are not mistakes, it is a problem. I am going to replace problems. "
Will the versatility of Michael Greco bring a new offensive scheme?
"I do not know if he is going to give them different looks, but he will give them quicker looks. It is pretty much the same offense. I think that there are things down the road if things keep working the way they are then maybe we can advance a little bit. To me, he is still a freshmen at quarterback because he had not played for the whole year. There is a lot of fieldmenship and a lot of stuff going on that the average fan does not see that I do where Kyle is way ahead of him in that stuff as far as huddle discipline, fieldmanship, on the field checks and audibles, which I think are important. Michael is getting a lot better with that stuff. Raw talent wise, Michael is a great talent and we will keep utilizing him as much as we can. But there is no set pattern for when he goes in or when he does not go in. It is Kyle's team and his job to move the ball and put points up.
How has the team stacked up against your expectations?
"Well, I think that we have improved defensively from a tackling standpoint. I think that we are a much better contact tackling team with a lot more guys around the ball. Offensively, I think the key of the game last week was those two third down plays in that first offensive series. They were critical, especially when we had a substitution and a motion penalty. You cannot do those things and he got us out of the hole, which a good quarterback has to do. I thought those were the keys to the game giving us the opportunity to put points on the board with the first possession.
"Defensively, I think that they are playing better, reacting better. We are just starting to get healthy with [Cory] Hogue and [Chance] Henderson coming back too. The freshmen that have played [Lawrence] Young and [Derrick] Hallman are basically still getting their reps, but you cannot have enough depth at those positions. I think that has helped from a standpoint of keeping kids on the field and we are rolling eight guys up front on the defensive line. There is a lot of guys getting playing time up there."
What about Louisiana-Lafayette's offense brings the most concern?
"The quarterback, they are the sixth best rushing team in the country right now. He is the leading rusher and they run a good offense that breaks you down to responsibility on defense as far as you know much like the old Wishbone attack, dive, keep and pitch. I think that anytime people can do that, all it takes is one breakdown and the ball is going down the sidelines. They have rushed against everybody they have played and have done a good job with it. They are sixth team in the country in rushing the ball. The quarterback, I remember two years ago when we went over there. He came in because we had knocked the other guy out. I wish we did not knock the other quarterback out, he came in and we could not catch him. He is a talented athlete that really understands the offense and they have speed where they need it as far as receivers and running backs. They move the ball offensively and defensively, they are a pressure team. Anytime they have that combination, we have to be really sharp in what we are doing offensively and really accountable on defense from assignments. "
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