Oct. 4, 2005
ORLANDO - UCF head coach George O'Leary met the Orlando media Tuesday to discuss the Golden Knights' victory over Louisiana-Lafayette and this week's Conference USA home game vs. Memphis.
Opening Remarks: To recap the game last week, you leave the field like that and you're happy with the win. But you are disappointed that we need to understand how to put people away when we have the opportunity. I thought the first quarter we played was the best quarter that we've played as an offense from the standpoint of execution and consistency.
Defensively, in the first half there were some problems tackling in the open field. They (Louisiana-Lafayette) changed quarterbacks. The kid (Michael Desormeaux) they put in was a good athlete and made some plays. In the second half, we were not as consistent as we would have liked offensively. They tightened their coverage and we didn't get off coverage as receivers. I thought Steven (Moffett) made some poor decisions with the ball in his hand that led to some unforced errors that can't happen and give really bad field position to the defense.
I said to them after the game that you always have to take a win and enjoy it. When we had to put our knuckles to the ground and get something done, I thought we ran the ball well to kick that last field goal and win the game. We had some opportunities to put some points on the board and we didn't get that accomplished.
That is a work in progress. Defensively, we made some plays when we had to, but we're just not making enough right now, especially with the front seven. We had a punt blocked because of a missed assignment by one of our veterans which you can't do. Other than that, John Brown went in and kicked the winning field goal because I thought Matt (Prater) was struggling a bit on PATs and field goals as far as consistency.
I think with Memphis coming to town, there is another opportunity (to win) in a conference game. There are good running backs and there are special running backs; and he (DeAngelo Williams) is special. He is a kid that can do everything - run, catch; he's taking direct snaps now as a quarterback now.
I think defensively, we'll have our work cut out for us maintaining him and the rest of the Memphis offense. From a defensive standpoint, they're a big pressure team that likes to bring a lot of heat on all downs so we'll have to work opportunities on offense.
Question: Memphis is starting a true freshman (Billy Barefield) at quarterback who wasn't expected to see much action this season. How does that affect their offense and play-calling abilities?
O'Leary: They're bringing him (Barefield) along like you would any true freshman. They will call pass plays for him. When you have a running back that's sitting in the backfield like he (Williams) is, you can almost be rest assured you're not going to have many five-man boxes. I think it opens up the passing game for the quarterback. Their offense is basically a one or two back offense. There is a lot of movement with the wide receivers. It creates a lot of situations for the defense in open spaces.
Question: What kind of defense does Memphis play and what adjustments need to be made to counter schemes?
O'Leary: They are always around the ball. They get to the ball extremely well. I think they have good covers back there. They play a lot of man coverage, very little zone and they keep a lot of heat on the front line offensively as well as the running backs and quarterbacks to execute. I think it's a well defined defense as far as what they're doing. I think the big thing is making sure you've got a body on a body. If they've got one more than you got than you better know what you're doing with the ball. Picking up the open man on hot-routes is something we struggled with last week.
Question: How has the play of some of you're true freshmen progressed throughout the season
O'Leary: We're playing about 10 true freshmen. I would say (Rocky) Ross, for a true freshman, has made some key catches in some key games. He's still adjusting to the speed of the game. Kevin Smith is a guy that I think has tremendous potential. As we get better on block assignments, he will get better. He also has made the offensive line better with some of the cuts he has made, so I've been pleased with him.
Pat Brown is a good athlete with good feet. We'll continue to work with him to control the line of scrimmage. A kid like him who has good size and range is going to mature into a 20-30 pound heavier guy, which is the direction you need to be heading. He makes his mistakes, but he makes more positive plays out there than negative, so we're very pleased with him.
Joe Burnett has the potential to be, like Kevin (Smith), a really outstanding football player.