Nov. 4, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tuesday afternoon, UCF head coach George O'Leary met with the media to discuss the Knights' upcoming game against Southern Miss. The Homecoming matchup starts at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium.
At the press conference Tuesday, O'Leary talked about Southern Miss' playmakers, the play at the wide receiver position and the need to close games out.
On the ECU game
"It really came down to a lack of execution. A lack of execution in the fourth quarter was the difference in the game. As I told the team no matter what game you play, there are usually six plays that make a difference in a game, and this one was no different. The thing about football is you don't know where the six plays are going to come from."
On consistency at the quarterback position
"I think I want to keep the competition at the quarterback position. In truthfulness, Joe Weatherford, the third guy, is the one I feel sorry for. I don't think either quarterback (Rob Calabrese and Michael Greco) has shown the consistency at the position. It is young players trying to make plays and they are not always executing the way you would like them to. I think the players have done a great job with their attitudes. Even today's practice I thought was one of the better Tuesday practices we have had."
On the wide receivers
"There is no question we drop entirely too many balls, especially when I see games where guys catch it off their shoe laces or one handed. Is it a lack of experience? I think it is more of trying to make a play and losing concentration on the end of the catch. It is something that we have talked about a lot as a staff and how we can improve these guys. There were four balls that were dropped that made a difference in that game as far as extending a drive or getting a first down. They weren't tough catches. I am not bad mouthing anybody. All I am saying is that I expect division one receivers to make those catches. We throw the ball as much as anyone does in practice and give them enough time to work that stuff out. We just don't seem very fluid when catching the ball."
On Southern Miss
"When you watch them on tape they have a couple of good receivers out there. The tight end (Shawn) Nelson, and the young kid they just brought in, DeAndre Brown, who I think is eventually going to be a big time player in the conference. They have a lot of the pieces in play. I think the light came on against UAB. Anytime you can put 70 on somebody and are still throwing in the fourth quarter, then I think a lot of things were clicking."
On utilizing all of the running backs
"I have seen Brynn Harvey improve. The only thing that I am concerned with the running backs is not making use of them all. I don't think Brynn is at the stage where he should be out there getting all the downs. We are at the stage where we need to keep fresh legs out there. Sometimes Tim (Salem) gets wrapped up so much into play calling. I have instructed him that I want different guys in by series this game. We have to get those different guys in there because they have already played this year. I don't think it is fair to them to not play them, even though Harvey has really been the one who has shown up in practice. I think the other kids have legitimate potential to help us out."
On Brynn Harvey
"I think the big thing with him is he is very quiet and he has a good football mind. He is a typical freshman. They aren't too sure of themselves yet in a lot of areas. He takes everything in stride and I like that kind of player. A lot of these kids talk a lot, but they don't do it on the field. Brynn will never be a personality like Kevin Smith was. He is more of a quiet reserved guy who just goes out there and takes his coaching and gets his job done the best he can at an early stage."
On the offensive line
"It is just trying to find the best combination. The last couple of games it has pretty much been the same guys in there. I think more of trying to find the right scheme as far as the right people and position is what we are trying to do. Sometimes you are trying to manufacture something that isn't there. I have talked to our offense about that. I think they are trying to get the right guys in the position for what they need to do."
On closing out games
"I have told Tim (Salem) to let it loose. We did that early in the game. We need to fight the fight and be more competitive on offense. I see us on the right people, but finish the play. I think competition is what we need to do more of. When you drop a ball, I am sure you are competing, but you didn't finish. The finish is the catch."