George O'Leary Quotes - Nov. 11

Nov. 11, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. - UCF head coach George O'Leary met with the media Tuesday to discuss the team's upcoming road trip as the Knights will take on host Marshall on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live in Orlando on CSS and Bright House Sports Network.

In his Tuesday press conference, O'Leary discussed an array of topics including a break down of Marshall's offense, playing Marshall on its Homecoming and the emergence of junior defensive end Jarvis Geathers.

On addressing offensive issues to improve on for the future

"I have always said that if you are not strong up the middle, then you are not successful. I think that is where our problem lies; from center, to quarterback to running back. Those are the guys from the start of the play to the end that need to be making plays. Our problem has been growing pains there. I think the offensive line has actually played better, but it is the running backs that are still not where they need to be even though they have played. The guys who have the opportunities on offense are the ones who haven't matured yet in that area. That has been the problem this year. Defense and special teams play well enough to win games this year, but offensively it is a thing where they have hurt some of the games because of turnovers and possession time."

On how injuries have hurt the team from a leadership standpoint

"This has been a tough year from an injury standpoint, more so from a leadership perspective including Corey Rabazinski and Rocky Ross. Those guys played a lot of downs for us, and now we are replacing them with freshman, or redshirt freshman, who don't have any experience. That is the learning curve I see there."

On Rob Calabrese being the number one quarterback

"Rob Calabrese has to be the guy who has to be the quarterback from the standpoint of the whole package. That is what we will see in the next three games. I think Michael (Greco) is there and he will see his opportunities if needed, but Rob just needs to see more and stop pressing. That is why very few freshman play quarterback at this level."

On keeping the morale of the team high during a tough season

"My job is to make sure the coaches keep coaching, and the kids keep a `coach me, coach' attitude. As long as the kid is making good effort, then let's coach them. But if the kid isn't giving good effort then get someone else out there. That is why when I talk to the team I have to make sure there is no finger pointing going on. They have been really outstanding about that. When I first got here there were a bunch of roaches around. They wanted to finger point and do all that, but that isn't how you win."

On getting Joe Burnett back into the game

"The only way right now to get him the ball is to put him on offense. We are doing whatever we can do to get him back in the ball game, but they are not kicking to him. In the punt game they are just kicking it out of bounds or down the side line. You need a net to get anything done there. When he has an opportunity, we need to make hay with it. The kick return and punt return game statistically have done very well in conference and in the nation. People can take more opportunities (to keep it away for Joe in the kicking game) because we are not getting anything done on offense."

On the play of Jarvis Geathers

"That is probably the best thing we did defensively this year was to move Bruce Miller inside, who has the ability to make a lot of plays, and put Geathers in (at end). I think in the last couple of games he has had five sacks and seven tackles for loss. He has a quick first step, and if he is anything like his dad (former NFL star Jumpy Geathers) then I think he will be fine. He is a great kid who likes to play the game and it will be hard to unseat him."

On UCF's history with Marshall

"If I had to pick a rival in our division, it would be Marshall. We have played them three times and gone up there also. Last time we went up there it was another Homecoming deal, and we are looking forward to going back up there again. That is where (Michael) Torres went down and made the field goal then took his helmet off and got us a penalty and I got caught on T.V. saying something that I shouldn't have."

On Marshall's offense
"They have a couple of good receivers in (Darius) Passmore, and (Cody) Slate. They also have some running backs playing well that are good quick footed guys. They threaten you vertically and horizontally in the passing game. Our defense will have their work cut out for them. We just cannot leave them out there the whole game."