Oct. 7, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tuesday afternoon, UCF head coach George O'Leary talked to the media about the team's upcoming game Saturday at Miami. The game is slated for a 3:45 p.m. kickoff at Dolphin Stadium.
During Tuesday afternoon's press conference, O'Leary discussed how the team was preparing for Miami, the improvement of Ronnie Weaver and the changes to the offensive line.
On last week's win against SMU
"I thought the execution was better for each side of the ball. Defensively, except for the lapse of memory as far as big plays that we gave up, when you hold a team to under 200 yards I think that is a good day on defense. We continue to play the run fairly well. We have to take away those big plays we are giving up. I would like to say it was the coverage, but it was the player not focusing on what he is supposed to be getting done on that down. Offensively I thought they executed better. I was happy to see Ronnie Weaver get some things done that he had to get done. He finally started seeing more things across the line of scrimmage. The kicking game finally settled in with Daren Daly in the kicking role. Obviously Joe Burnett has helped us tremendously with the return yards with both the punt and kickoff returns."
On preparing for Miami
"When you watch them, they are very athletic. They are a group that you can see the youth in some of the positions. It is a game that we are basically going to have to be tough at the point of attack and not lose focus on some of the assignments we have on offense and defense. Obviously we have to eliminate the hidden yardage in the passing game. In the run game, I think (Greg) Cooper is a very good running back who makes a lot of people miss."
On kicking to Joe Burnett
"If I was playing against Joe Burnett, I would make sure that when I kicked it to him I had great hang time on the ball. I would really try to pin him in tight and not put the ball in the middle of the field."
On running against Miami
"This week will be critical to sustain blocks. Miami is very athletic defensively, and they run extremely well. Ronnie (Weaver) is starting to understand that not every play is a big play, it could be only a two or three yard gain, but later in the fourth quarter it could turn into an eight or nine yard gain. That was the toughest thing Kevin Smith had to learn. All we count on is four yards a run play and anything after that is gravy."
On changes to offensive line
"I think we are just trying to get more bodies involved. (Ian) Bustillo has been his own worst enemy as far as why he wasn't out there. I think he showed great effort and did a fairly decent job out there for his first start. I was pleased for him. He needs to do that with consistency. We have seven or eight guys who we can play on the offensive line. We carry 10 when we travel. The only one I want to keep out is (Steven) Robinson. I don't want to play him because once he does; he will have to play all the time since he is a true freshman."
On playing a tough schedule
"I am always going to try to play a tough schedule. You aren't playing just to play. You have to win to not just get respect for your conference, but respect for your program too. I am not big on the BCS. I think we are playing schools like Boston College, who is traditionally a good football team, South Florida has played well and Miami traditionally has a stout football team. That is how I look at it; get a good schedule and then beat some of these teams that other people think you aren't supposed to beat. That is where you get some credibility for your program."
On playing an in-state game
"I do think that kids from in the state get jacked up more than some kid from Nevada. It means more to him. That kid from Nevada is going to play hard because he thinks it is the next game. The interest level from the in-state kids is higher than someone from out of state."
On what has changed the most about Ronnie Weaver
"It is maturity. I think it is like the first day you go to work, you are looking around and you don't know what is going on. I would hope after the fifth week you know what your job is and what your responsibilities are. I think he is seeing things a little quicker than he had earlier."