UCF head football coach George O’Leary spoke to local media members on Tuesday regarding the Golden Knights’ 35-16 season-opening win over Villanova last Saturday and their upcoming contest with No. 7 Florida on Saturday in Gainesville. The match-up will be the second all-time between the two instate schools, which are separated by just over 100 miles.
“Last weeks game, I thought was sporadic. I thought we played well in some situations, and I thought that we were flat-footed in some other situations, which is all correctable. Again, we spent this week correcting ourselves. Really, that is what you need to be doing in looking to get better. Overall, when looking at the game on Sunday, it was my same feeling that I said after the game, we could have played better in a lot of areas, but that is why you play first games. We gave up too many plays, all correctable. We came out of the game healthy and everybody is ready to play this weekend.
“As far as Florida is concerned, I think that Florida is an outstanding football team with outstanding talent. The coaching staff is doing a great job of getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers and allowing them to get the yards with their great speed. Defensively, they are as good as anyone in the country as far as I have seen on film. They are just a very solid football team that is well coached, has great contact speed and plays to the end. They finish.”
Is there a team that you have played in the last two years that mimics Florida’s offense?
“Probably everybody in our conference – Florida plays a lot of one back and a lot of no back. Everybody is going to that in our conference now. We have played a lot of them. We have not played the ability that Florida has from a speed standpoint. There are only so many plays that you can run from out of the different formations and sets. Most teams in our conference are going to the one-back philosophy and spreading the ball out to ensure that their good athletes have the ball in space. That is what Florida does, but Florida also keeps a lot of two-back schemes in too. Besides the finesse game, they also have a pretty good power game.”
Is there anything that you can take from what another Conference USA school (Southern Miss) did against Florida?
“I don’t, I am sure that a lot of coaches do, but I trust my eye sight when I watch tape. We all have a lot of games to play, I do not like to call people up and a lot of coaches do. I get paid to do a job and let me do it. Sometimes they will call me for some advice, but I am more interested in my next game to be honest with you. If I do not know something, or if I see something that does not look right, I may give a ring. Other than that, I go on what I am sent tape wise and from our own scouting reports.”
How do you stack up against a ranked team?
“I do not have to play. They [our players] better be eager, I think of it not as stacked up, but as an opportunity. You only get so many opportunities to play ranked teams. We may not play another ranked team this year. I know that they are ranked [Florida] and they should be. They are a very solid football team. They play smart, they get the ball in the hands of guys who can make plays. I think that their defense has great contact speed, they close quick and do not stay blocked long. They are a solid football team, I think they are good.”
How does preparing for Villanova quarterback Marvin Burroughs last week help the team in preparing for Chris Leak this week?
“I think that Chris [Leak] is a very good quarterback that knows the offense. I think that he is a lot more aware of the pressure and where to deliver the ball. He plays not just with his arm but his feet and he finds ways to get into the windows to throw to his good receivers and make yards himself by running. He is a senior quarterback that has experience and good playmaking ability. The day and the age of just a drop back kid is over, unless you are going to be able to protect him. Your quarterback has to be able to have some mobility to be able to avoid a rush. It is real obvious when watching the tape that he is real comfortable with the offense after a year in it.”
Quotes courtesy UCF Sports Information.