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Knights Report: Aug. 1
August 01, 2018
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ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF football team opened up the 2018 season with the start of preseason camp on Wednesday. The Knights hit the field for practice number one under head coach Josh Heupel.

News and Notes

Greg McCrae Earns Scholarship

During the team’s pre-camp meeting, Heupel surprised sophomore running back Greg McCrae with a full scholarship for his sophomore season. McCrae played a reserve role as a walk-on freshman in 2017, but had a great spring and impressed the staff with his play on the field.

Head Coach Josh Heupel

On the first practice of the year…
“It was a really good first day. As you would expect, after putting so much work in over the last seven months, there was a lot of energy and excitement today. There were a lot of mistakes, because it’s day one, but I talked to them about not being discouraged about anything. What is going to define us is how we get better from day one to day two.”

On what the summer was like for the program…
“Our strength staff did a phenomenal job with workouts and how we were feeding our players. It allowed the guys to become the best versions of themselves everyday as individuals. A lot of them have gained a tremendous amount of strength in the weight room. They’re lean and in shape. Their bodies look like they’re ready to go out and compete for 60 minutes. The most important thing that we’ve done, and this has been from day one, is develop relationships with our players and get to know them. It’s incredibly important in year one since we didn’t recruit them. We didn’t know their background, their families, their brothers and sisters. If we’re going to act on saying that we’re a family, we have to take the time to get to know our players. We’ve done that since January.”

On having the attack mentality…
“As a program, it’s easier to get to the top of the mountain top then it is maintaining and staying there. Once you’re up there, you’re going to have a big target on your back. I’ve talked to the players about the level of intensity that we’ll face every week is different than what they’ve seen in the past. I didn’t like that. I thought that was a passive way to talk to our team. We want to be aggressive and we want to attack. We try to dictate the things that matter and going 1-0 in everything we do. How we attack today will dictate the where we’re going to get to. We flipped the mantra from being the targeted to going on the attack.”

On the development and versatility of the skilled positions on offense…
“We’ve got a lot of young dynamic players for the most part that have played at an incredibly high level. The big thing is to not give into a sophomore slump. You think you played well as a freshman that the natural evolution will happen as a sophomore. You have to go out and attack and compete in everything you do to make it happen. We have some serious versatility. Otis can play multiple positions. Marlon can go out wide and play in the backfield. There’s so many things we can do as an offensive staff to be creative and have some fun.”

Junior Quarterback McKenzie Milton

On the start of camp…
“I think you gotta knock some rust off, coming off of a long summer. I felt like a freshman coming into this camp, having some anxiousness, some butterflies, but I think that’s just because you love the game. You’re excited to get back out there with some of the same guys from last year, some of the same guys from your freshman year, some new guys, some new coaches. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a journey. I’m glad I get to go on it with these guys.”

On having an attack mentality…
“Say you come off a winning year, team’s might tend to get lackadaisical in the way they approach things. They might get complacent. That can’t be us. We caught some teams off guard in the way we played, the way we won last year. We’re not going to catch anybody off guard now. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”

On the weapons he has…
“Those guys make me look a lot better than I am. Those young guys are ready to step up. I think Gabe Davis, Tre Nixon, Otis Anderson, Dredrick Snelson (are going do be big for us). Snels is probably the most veteran guy we have besides Michael Colubiale who’s been here for about 10 years. We’ve got a stable of running backs. I’m like a kid in a candy store with the guys we got. It’s just about getting them the ball and letting them make plays.”  

Junior Offensive Lineman Jordan Johnson

On sleeping before the first practice…
“I didn’t have any trouble sleeping. A lot of people know I have sleep apnea and I have a CPAP machine. I haven’t had trouble sleeping ever since.”

On being named to preseason national award watch lists…
“It’s humbling. To think that I’m amongst the best players in the nation, it make me think that I have a chance to go out and do some things this year.”

Sophomore Defensive Back Brandon Moore

On the first day of camp…
“The first day was good. It was good to be back. We had a lot of time off in the summer, getting our bodies right. I felt like it was a good day overall for everybody. A lot of people were talking about how they couldn’t fall asleep last night. We were just up and ready to go.”

On playing alongside Nevelle Clarke
“Nevelle, that’s my boy. It’s always exciting playing with him. He brings the energy every day. He gets me going. If I give up a play, he’s always talking to me. It’s positive to know that I can look over and know I have someone else who can do the same things I can.”

Senior Defensive Lineman Joey Connors

On nerves for preseason camp…
“I don’t think there were any nerves. People were nervous during spring ball. Everybody got it out (of their systems). Today went really well. Everybody had high energy. I didn’t see a lot of nerves out there.”

On the excitement to start the season…
“I was excited. I know my team was excited too. I was excited to put the pads back on. We’re off for the summer for two months now, and we were just ready to get back on the field with coaches, working together, and competing against each other.”

PURCHASE 2018 TICKETS
Season tickets are going fast for the highly anticipated 2018 campaign. Fans can purchase theirs today and learn about all their options by calling (407) 823-1000 or visiting us online at UCFKnights.com/createthefuture.

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