UCF Head Coach George O'Leary Press Conference Quotes - Aug. 26

Aug. 26, 2008

UCF Football Press Conference

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head coach George O'Leary met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the Knights' season opening game with South Carolina State. O'Leary's squad will begin the 2008 campaign Saturday against the Bulldogs at 6 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium.

UCF will be playing at home for the first time since claiming the Conference USA Championship last December.

During Tuesday's press conference, O'Leary addressed many topics, including the team's quarterback situation, South Carolina State's strengths and UCF's growing fan base.

Below is a transcription of selected comments from the press conference. A complete audio file is available on-line at www.ucfathletics.com.

On the preseason
"We ended up a fairly solid football team. We really only lost one player for three or four weeks in Kamar Aiken with a stress fracture in his foot. We lost Cory Hogue for the first game with a leg injury, but he will be back next week. From the offensive standpoint, I saw steady progress as the preseason went on each and every week going against a pretty solid defense. I named Mike Greco the starting quarterback mainly because of his consistency, decisions and fieldmanship. Joe Weatherford wasn't far behind. I like to keep the freshman out of the mix if we can, but I am going to play who we need to play to win football games. The running back situation is that we have four players there. All four will get opportunities to see the ball. They all bring something different to the table as far as what they can do with vision and inside outside running. I have been pleased with the depth and progress with the offensive line. Defensively we return 18 of 22 starters (two deep). The biggest thing there was keeping competition at all of the positions and I think the coaches have done a good job there. I think the kicking game took a very positive (step) when Daren Daly transferred from Miami and became eligible right away. He is an experienced kicker who kicked last year, and we are looking forward to having him with us. Overall we are healthy as we can be and any concerns that I have are the unknown, but when you have an experienced defense back, I think the key there is adjustments. I always believe the first game is a game of adjustments, and I think experienced guys are what you need there. Offensively it is just ball security and eliminating penalties; the same as it is every week."

On the season opener
"I know our football team is excited. I think they are like any other team this time of year and want to hit somebody else. We have had some good practices and it has been hard getting outside with the rain, but we have been making use of the indoor facilities. The kids want to play games. They also understand they have to be ready to play the games. Practice is hard, and the games are fun. That is the toughest part of the week and the games are just a rehearsal of what you have done during the week. The players will tell you that game day is fun day, and practice is what they have to do so they can play on Saturdays."

On not looking past opponents
"We play a 12 game season and I never talk about upcoming games. I treat it as 12 one game seasons, and this is the first season and first year. Once that game is over we get into the second season. That is how you keep the team focused so that they play their A game every Saturday."

On South Carolina State
"Offensively they have a bunch of really skilled athletes. They are very happy with their receiving core. They also have a transfer at running back from Auburn, Anthony Campbell, who will be teamed with Will Ford who is returning from last year. They have some skilled athletes and they keep you spread which is very similar to some of the offenses you see in Conference USA. As far as the offensive line, I have been impressed with the center and how well he gets off the line. Defensively they blitz about 53 percent on every down. I think our success will depend on how well we pick up the blitz. We have really worked hard on that phase against our own offense."

On the running back situation
"(Ronnie) Weaver will start the game, then (Brynn) Harvey, (Latavius) Murray and (Brandon) Davis. I want to get all four of them in there. My experience is that they are all good enough players to utilize this year. As I tell them, once you are playing you are playing. I want see how well they protect and run. Nobody is replacing Kevin (Smith) because he was an All-American player. I do think the four backs will have to get out the same yardage (as Kevin Smith), and I think they all have there own things that they do better than each other. It is important for our coaches to understand who belongs in the game at what time."

On the fan base
"I am just hoping that our fan base continues to show up and support the stadium. I am hoping that we are not a one-shot wonder in that department. I will make sure we are not a one-shot wonder in football. Our fan base and student body did a great job last year and hopefully they continue doing that at each and every home game. As I always tell them, it isn't illegal to go to away games either."

Tickets are still available for the game and be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (407) 839-3900 or by going online at UCFAthletics.com. Season tickets for the 2008 campaign are still available either by calling 407-UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.