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What They Said: UCF vs. SC State
September 08, 2018
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UCF Head Coach Josh Heupel
Opening statement…
“I loved the way we played defensively. Special teams, I thought, lived in the back field all night long. Obviously the turnovers were huge, especially early in the football game. Offensively, I liked a lot of things we did; we just stubbed our toe a bunch. Obviously, we can’t have the turnovers - got to find a way to get McKenzie (Milton) in a little better rhythm early. At the end of the day, it’s a (win) and we’ll take it.”

On the defense…
“I felt like we did good job in space. The one unit really, really played well. I thought, again, we created penetration, much like we did last week. I thought when the quarterback was in the space, we did a better job on him."

On Milton and the offense…
“Some of our rhythm was a little bit off. We had the false start; we got in some negative situations. Things that we didn’t do in week one that we certainly did. Our penalties - we had way too many of them, so we got in some negative situations. We were down in the zone; we’re forced into throwing the ball a little bit because of the box and didn’t make the play. That’s why we had to kick the one time. The turnovers, some decision making and us being on the same page - a bunch of things we can correct. The good news is we get a chance to go back to work.”

On if he was happy with the offensive yardage…
“Yes and no. At the end of the day, it isn’t about yards. It’s about wins. We certainly can play better, absolutely. There were times we were really efficient and got things going, we just didn’t do enough of it consistently all night long. At the same time, give (SC State) credit. Defensively, they are a good football team and did some positive things but there are some areas we can improve on.”

On Milton’s performance…
“Just settle down, relax and do every day normal things at a high level. Don’t feel like you have to be perfect; don’t press. He maybe did that a little at the end of the first quarter. At the same time, there will be some nights where you are a little bit out of rhythm. It’s good to come away on a night like that with a win.”

On fan support, including student section…
“Game ball to the student section. That’s absolutely fantastic, walking out to that at the first home game. That’s the best student body section I’ve seen anywhere I’ve been for an opener. Appreciate the energy and atmosphere that they created inside of that place. We’re going need that from them as we continue to go down the schedule. “

On the defense…
“Defense played really well. I don’t care who you’re playing, what they’re doing on offense. If you’re shutting them down, you’re doing a fantastic job. I thought our eyes were probably better, more discipline in making plays in space. The secondary did a great job of creating turnovers, going and going, attacking the football. That comes in part because of the tight coverage on the outside. The quarterback has to hold it a little bit longer. It also comes because you’re creating penetration and getting after the quarterback up front. I like the way those 11 guys played together tonight.”

On the running backs…
“We’ve got a deep pool of backs, all of them a little bit different in their skills sets but they have a lot of similar traits at the same time. I thought they did a pretty good job at pressing the line of scrimmage tonight and delivering some of those double teams to the second level, which created some of that space and some of the big runs down the middle of the football field.”

On the blocked kick…
“It was huge momentum early in the football game. Cover units have been really, really good. We talk about three phases of playing together every single week. We talk about special teams, the amount of time and energy and the type of athletes we put on those units. That has to be one of the areas we win every single week. I really like how those teams are coming together in the way they are playing."

On Gabriel Davis’s performance…
“He did a really good job. He’s been really consistent in his works habits since the day I’ve gotten here. He handles himself like a pro. I think McKenzie has a lot of trust in him and he’s highly competitive. Big third down catch that he made on our sideline. He made a bunch of big plays throughout the night.”

UCF Sophomore Wide Receiver Gabriel Davis
On 100-yard game...
“I’m just happy I had a good game. I felt like we could have done some better things on offense though. We started off real slow. A 100-yard game is nice, but I’d like to see us do better on offense as a whole.”

On the slow start...
“It was not running the right reads I know on my part. There were some balls I should’ve had in my hands. I know there was also some routes I should have come down on instead of going deep. Just little things like that that we should have done better.”

On the message after the game...
“We always stay positive. The defense had a great game; they played phenomenal out there. Coach Heupel said we had some good drives, but we have to pick up the pace on things.”

On the running game...
“They did great. I love watching our running backs sprint through the hole and make a deep run. It is always fun to watch them. You never know when you have to run downfield and block for them but sometimes you have (Adrian Killins) running down the field and you can’t even catch up to block for him. It’s just great to be on a team like this, especially when you have all these weapons in the backfield.”

On McKenzie Milton...
“That’s just football. You’re not going to play your best game every game. You just try to pick him up because you know there’s days where you do the same thing. On McKenzie’s part, there were some balls that he put in very good spots that receivers just did not make a play on. It’s not all on him; there were some routes that we could have run better as well to open up the window and go where the ball was supposed to be.”

On his touchdown...
“I know what McKenzie saw so once they called that play, I knew he was going to throw the ball in the right spot so I can make a play. That’s what he did. I was just happy that he was able to make that throw.”

UCF Junior Running Back Adrian Killins Jr.
On the running game on Saturday…
“The running game showed up and we had a lot of playmakers in the back. The running backs can do a lot in this offense and it all starts from the O-line. The O-line played another phenomenal game tonight, the big boys need their rest in. Our O-line is coming together well. The coaches are instilling great things in them and we’re doing it well up front.”

On the vibe after the game…
We won so everyone is happy, everyone is celebrating. It’s on to the next opponent now. We’re facing North Carolina next week so we put this game behind us, celebrate the win, come back to work Monday, and get ready for our next opponent.”

On the speed of the offense…
It does blow my mind how fast the offense is sometimes. I celebrate after my runs sometimes and I forget that we got a good tempo. Sometimes I forget that we go so fast that I have to get back on the line. We go fast in practice, but in the games, it seems like we go even faster.”

On the difference in the running backs…
Everyone brings their own juice to the table. Ty’s is ground and pound so he can make you miss, but he can for sure run you over. Otis, he can catch out of the back field and he can get out into space and make a guy miss and take it for eighty. Greg McCrae does the same thing, he gets out into the backfield, and he can make you miss and sometimes run you over as well. I’ve never been part of a running back core like I am now. I believe we’re the closest group of position on the team, and we’ve been on this long road, on this long journey for a long time. I think the RBs are a special group and we’re gonna keep doing what we have to do to help our team wins games day in and day out.”

On the cheering on his teammates...
It’s very fun. When Taj breaks out for a long run and runs someone over, I’m ecstatic. When Greg breaks out for a long run, I’m happy. Otis, Ben, it’s just a lot of joy in that running back because everyone’s got each other’s back. We know that at the end of the day, that if we get that one crease, we’re gonna take it a distance."

UCF Redshirt Senior Defensive Back Kyle Gibson
On the defense...
“I think we did much better. We missed a couple tackles here and there but that’s just football. I think we did a tremendous job compared to last week. That was the focal point in practice. It’s just what everyone was pushing for. It’s not about making the big hit but just making the tackle and getting him down.”

On maintaining the shutout...
“We wanted it, but that wasn’t the main goal. The main goal was just everyone doing their job and not playing to the level of competition. Playing a smaller team, we wanted to play up and play at our level of defense.”

On almost having the return...
“I wanted to get there but the wind got to me. Hopefully the next time we get there.”

On the defense...
“I think it comes into a skill but when the coaches are pushing us in practice they have on the board, put up a play whenever someone makes a turnover. It’s like positive energy around the teammates. You want make a play, you want to get on the board, you try to make a play in practice so that practice just turns into the game.”

On the atmosphere...
“It was wonderful. In my fifth year of being here, that’s the most I’ve seen come out for the first game. It only makes me more excited for the rest of the season.”

On watching the Seahawks...
“Yeah, I’ll definitely be watching Shaquem and Shaquill go at it. I’m definitely excited. Words can’t even speak. Knowing him personally, the example that he shows, that he sets for the world and just even for the people that know him personally it’s just, seeing him doing that. To say I know this guy and how humble he and his brother are, their whole family, words can’t even compare.”

UCF Senior Defensive Line Titus Davis
On the defense containing Tyrece Nick …
We did pretty good but let him jailbreak a couple times since he was good on his feet. We did a good job as far as maintaining him.”

On the importance of the shutout…
It was definitely important to me. Towards the end of the game, they started dropping the ball. I went to my coach on the sideline and told him whatever we do we need to keep them shutout.”

On getting his first sack of the season…
“I was so excited since it was the first one of the year. It definitely changed the momentum of the game. Doing that on the first drive was great for me.”

On the speed of the offense…
Sometimes I get to the sideline, get a couple words from my coach and end up right back on the field. We do get winded but then again, we practice against these guys throughout the whole year so we’re prepared for it and it becomes easy.”

UCF Junior Quarterback McKenzie Milton
On the offensive performance…
“It was definitely a sub-par performance today, by myself and the offense as well. You can’t turn over the ball in a football game. Give a lot of credit to SC State. They’re a Division I football players; they get scholarships as well. They made some plays. We’ll go look at the film tomorrow, see what we did wrong and get ready for North Carolina next week.”

On the miscommunication on offense..
“It’s still early in the year. It’s better that that kind of stuff happens now than later in the year. We’ve just got to work – practice harder, practice better. It will come to fruition at game time.”

On his performance…
"I just didn’t get in a great rhythm. I missed some easy throws. SC State made some good plays too. We’ll watch the film tomorrow and hopefully bounce back next week.”

On if he was pressing on offense…
”I don’t think so. I give a lot of credit to Knight Nation. They came out; that’s the most packed I’ve seen a home opener since I’ve been here. I’m very grateful for Knight Nation and the way they showed out. I don’t think there was any pressing. That’s football. Hopefully you don’t have bad games.  You might have bad quarters, a bad half, but you’ve just got to play the next play. That’s just the way it is, especially at quarterback.”

On the run game…
“Adrian Killins is a special player. We’ve got a stable of running backs. When things weren’t going good in the passing game, they picked us up – kept getting first downs and scoring touchdowns. A lot of credit to the o-line; they didn’t give up a sack this week either. They’re pushing the rock, running the ball. A lot of credit to them.”

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