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O'Leary's Press Conference Quotes

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George O'Leary Press Conference Quotes - Sept. 12

Golden Knights host USF on Saturday.

Head coach George O'Leary and the Golden Knights host USF this Saturday at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Sept. 12, 2006

ORLANDO - UCF head football coach George O'Leary met with the media on Tuesday and spoke to reporters about the Golden Knights' contest with cross-state rival USF on Saturday in Orlando. Kickoff at the Florida Citrus Bowl is set for 2:30 p.m. The teams will be meeting for only the second time. The Bulls won the inaugural matchup a year ago in Tampa.

Opening statement on the Florida game last Saturday:

"I think when you play a game like that I think you learn something and I think the players did. My initial thoughts leaving the game are that we make mistakes and that currently we don't have the athleticism right now in the program to make up for playing a team like Florida. I thought that was the nature of the game from a defensive stand point. Give Florida credit, I thought they had better trackers than we did in space. My second thought was that I was hoping my football team would learn something coming out of a game like that. We have a long way to go as far as the program stands. We have a lot of stairs to climb and I am very realistic about that as far as where the program is. Right now, when we make mistakes, they are catapulted by a lot of other mistakes. We are at the stage in our program where we can't make mistakes and have enough athleticism to make up for them. I thought that we did play the whole game and the players played hard."

"They also have to play smart, hard, together and to win. Playing smart is something that we need to grow up in that stage, which was one of our problem areas. Playing together, I thought for the most part they stayed together from a chemistry stand point. Playing to win, I think that I was not happy with some of the things we were doing form an offensive or defensive stand point. Again there are two ways to look at the game, you can sit and complain all week about it or come in make your corrections and assessments and go from there. That is what I have done, I told the players that I am disappointed in some of the output as far as production, but again the lesson learned is that we have a lot of work to get done and maybe some of our better players will be able to wake up as far as where they are. I think that you are always judged on how you played your last game, so we have a lot of work to get done this week."

On playing USF:

"As far as USF is concerned it is a game that I think is a natural game for both schools. Mainly because I think that is difficult to get a 12th game that matters. Today, everything matters for marketing, television ratings, fan support and fan enthusiasm. I have made it very clear in my approach philosophy wise, I would like to play at least two teams from Florida each and every year. I think that it helps our program and helps our fan base because I think that if you beat teams from Florida, you are saying something about your program nationally. You can only get better by playing speed teams; I have always been a believer in that. Hopefully, this game can continue, USF is 2-0 and we are looking forward to the game, and I hope they are, too."

"I am always anxious playing out of conference teams and teams from the state of Florida. Any time when you play good competition, you help to build your program. Where do we have to get to so that we can be competitive?"

Are your players able to stay confident and focused going into the USF game?

"I think that players forget very quickly, coaches don't. I try to tell the players that when you loss you die a little and if you are not dying a little then you did not put enough effort and a commitment into that game. I addressed the players that we need to get to these stages, we are not there yet. It was a wakeup call for some kids that thought they were, I did not have to say it, it was very obvious. Coaches usually take longer to get over it because you are looking for where are you able to help the kids more. Basically, we got to keep recruiting talented athletes and that is what we are going to do.

Can you compare USF from last year based on their first two games this year?

"They are very similar on defense, very aggressive and well coached. Offensively, they put in that redshirt freshmen in [Matt] Grothe and he did a really nice job for them. He did not make too many mistakes and threw only one pick. Basically he made plays when he had to make them."

Defensively what needs to happen so that your team can continue to improve?

"We need to be a lot more aware of what is in front of us, communication wise. That is what I was concerned about this past game; I did not hear any communication between players on schemes. On Defense you have to communicate and let everybody know what is going on, which tells me that they know what is going on. Kids either do not communicate for two reasons, either they do not know or they don't care. I hope it is that they don't know because if they don't care then they shouldn't be out there. I have been all over the defense about their communication skills and talking on the field by letting teammates know what is going on. This is an area that we need to grow in."

Are you surprised the running game has struggled the way it has?

"They [the UCF offensive line] have experience and we have to get movement at the line of scrimmage, we have too many guys that are not running their feet on blocks. We have been going to people and not through them, which a big reason why the running game has not been effective."


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