George O'Leary Press Luncheon Quotes - Oct. 25

Oct. 25, 2005

ORLANDO - UCF head coach George O'Leary met the Orlando media Tuesday to discuss the Golden Knights' win vs. Tulane and this week's Conference USA game at East Carolina Saturday.

Opening Statement: "We came out of the game healthy last week, which is a good sign that the conditioning has paid off. In quick regard to the game, the difference in the game was probably the penalties and stalled drives because of them. Eleven of the penalties were on offense and I thought it put us in some situations where we did make up for some of the calls, and other calls forced some bad situations in terms of field position.

I think we continue to get better in some areas as far as sustaining the run game. I thought Steven Moffett kept his vision where it should be downfield and I thought he had a good game. I thought that two-minute drill at the end of the half was the key to the whole game. I thought he (Moffett) did an excellent job utilizing the clock and then getting the score, which is the ultimate goal. That was a big touchdown going into the halftime."

On East Carolina: "East Carolina is a conference game within our division. As I tell the players, every game is a big game, and this is a big one because it is conference game, and I think the players understand that. I think East Carolina is a very athletic football team. I think they have good size and good speed on their offensive and defensive line and a quarterback (James Pinkney) who can make plays.

We will have our work cut out for us on both sides of the ball. They have a special team return guy that I think is third in the country returning kicks. We will have our opportunities to make plays and hopefully not give up any."

On playing in the nickel defense in 2005: "The conference is an open league, and open conference. It is a spread league and the teams like to get the ball spread out vertically and horizontally. They force you to put athletes on the field. It is like checkers, you have to match move for move, player for player."

On the rotation of running backs between Kevin Smith, Jason Peters and Dontavius Wilcox: "We usually do it by series. We like to rotate the three backs, and Curtis Francis is not far from getting in the rotation. It is hard to rotate three backs, no less four. I thought Jason Peters came in and did a good job as far as running the ball. He has a different style than Kevin (Smith) and Dontavius (Wilcox).

I think it is a good match and good change of pace we have going. Kevin is getting the bulk of the work, but I do not want to beat Kevin down near the end of the season. I think 30-plus carries is too many for a freshman. If you get each of them around 20 carries, that is where they need to be."

On UCF's freshmen exceeding expectations: "It is very difficult to play freshmen at this level. I think the freshmen that have played, they have made some mistakes, but they have also made some big plays. Kevin (Smith), once he gets stronger and gets a little more vision, I think he will be really exciting.

Plus I think those backs have made the offensive line better. They have set up blocks, which makes it a little easier for the offensive line to sustain blocks."

On the play of freshman cornerback Joe Burnett: "Joe is a competitor and that is what I like about him. At times he acts likes a freshman, but for the most part he is a great competitor. He has great balls skills, and he is a progress in work, much like all the freshmen are.

I think we are probably just touching the surface with those guys as far as how much better they than can get as far as seeing things and reacting to things. Joe has to continue to work on his closing speed as a cover guy. He sees it but wants to take a picture before he closes, and you can't do that. I think Joe has the opportunity to be a playmaker. When he has the opportunity he will go after the ball, and I would like to see him get more involved in going after the ball."

On Kevin Smith's work off the field: "Kevin is probably as much of a film watcher as anybody. He wants to see what cuts he missed and how he can get better. He is unusual for a freshman. Usually the kids that do well don't act like freshman."

On instant replay in Conference USA: "I like instant replay and I like the way we do it. I don't like the other way. I don't think you should let some guy in the box that does not have a feel for what is going on in the game make that call. There is a good chance the referee may have seen the play himself and have an idea about what took place. I would rather have the guys controlling the game decide whether it is a good play or a play should be taken back. I think the technician upstairs checks every play that is a reviewable play, and if something has to be done he buzzes him downstairs."