2013 Spring Game Quotes

April 13, 2013

UCF Athletics Social Media Directory

2013 UCF Spring Football Game Quotes

Head Coach George O'Leary

Opening Statement:
"Any time you go into a Spring Game, you're trying to see what pieces fit the puzzle. Overall, I thought the kids made great effort out there. The units that should have dominated, did -- the first offense and first defense. Everybody got to play out there. We ran a lot of plays. Obviously, there's a lot of work to be done and it will continue. But right now, we have school ending up with Finals. Right after that, we'll get into conditioning and the weight program. We've got 12 weeks there. Again, we have a chance to be a very solid football team, watching what I saw out there."

On Blake Bortles and the quarterbacks:
"I thought Blake did a good job. I tried to get all the quarterbacks out there a little bit. We went into the game saying we were going to throw a little bit more today. We need the coverage work, to begin with, and the pass coverage and pass protection work. I thought they delivered the ball. Their reads were good. I thought, except for maybe a couple plays, we made the plays we're supposed to make in the passing game. I was pleased, overall, with Blake. I thought he went out there and had good awareness, made some good hot checks with some of the dogs they sent at him. You could see his awareness is a lot better than it was last year."

On Storm Johnson's growth:
"I think with the running backs, we've got a lot of work to get done there. I want guys who want to break tackles. I thought Storm practiced better today and same thing with Cedric Thompson. I think they're both big backs, who can get the three or four yards you're looking for and then later in the fourth quarter, they become eight, nine yard gains. Overall, I thought the backs are going to help us. We signed three freshmen running backs, so we'll see where the depth will be there."

On the spring overall:
"I was pleased overall, really with all the positions. I think some improved more than others. But I think every position got better. Some need a lot more work. But it's when you don't know the problems that you've got problems. I know the problems, so we can work on them."

On the backup quarterback position:
"No, it's not settled in my mind. That's why I wanted to see all the quarterbacks out there. Right now, Tyler Gabbert is the second quarterback. But again, that's a job that you can't throw picks and stuff of that sort out there. The other guys are freshmen and I think it is awful hard to anoint those guys. They were in high school half a year ago, they're mid-year guys and they've gone a good job. Tyler's earned the right to be second heading into the preseason. All I guarantee them is the first snap of preseason."

On the defense:
"I thought Thomas Niles had a good day, watching him out there. I still think the inside guys need to pick up their foot movement in the pass rush. Coverage-wise, I don't think we're making the communication we need to make back there, especially at the second level, the linebacker level. There needs to be more talking going on. Plus, we gave the quarterback too much time when a guy runs from one sideline to the other. You've got to get to the quarterback in those situations."

On the time between now and preseason camp:
"We'll have a team meeting Monday. I'll give them the schedule for next week. Then, they get ready for Finals. They'll be back May 12 or 13 when summer school starts and then we'll have 12 weeks of conditioning, skelly, stuff that coaches can't get involved in. The weight program can handle that, the conditioning. Then the seniors handle the skelly end of it. So, you're constantly working on your skills and developing better skills. We're young in the secondary. They have to get stronger. I think they've got athleticism, but they need athleticism and strength to be successful at this level."

On senior leadership heading into the 2013 season:
"The two McCrays (Justin and Jordan) have really taken charge over there. There's only one on defense, E.J. Dunston and he's done a good job. None of those guys are loud guys. I've never seen a good leader be a loud guy. They usually show up by their actions, not by their talk. That's what kind of kids we have. Jeff Godfrey has picked up the tempo as a senior. I've been pleased. We don't have a lot of seniors, but all of the ones we have are playing, which I think is critical as a senio. They're well-respected by their teammates. I think we'll be fine there. Plus, we have a really good class of juniors underneath them, who have been around football for three years now and understand what has to get done."

Quarterback Blake Bortles

On his performance:
It feels great. I think we had a successful day today doing everything. The pass protection was great, the routes were great. We were able to be successful in executing our game plan. It worked out well and we had a good day as an offense.

On his progression over the spring season:
Probably, the mental aspect. I'm going through progressions quicker and being able to understand the concepts more to help the offense, help put people in the right positions and distribute the ball to the right place.

On seeing that mental progression in today's game:
Definitely. It's definitely a machine when we're rolling. Things fall in to place; the ball goes where it needs to be and the guy is there to catch the ball. Today, it looked good and we executed the game plan.

On the relationship with WR J.J. Worton:
It's been great. We've been throwing it around for three years, we live together so it's definitely chemistry and we have a good relationship with each other.

On Joey Grant's switch to center:
I think he's had a great spring. He's only been playing center for two months and there are kids who do it their whole lives. He's really grasped the offense and picked it up quick and has been able to take it to the field. He's getting better each and every week and he'll continue to get better.

On the early enrollment and play of the two true freshmen quarterbacks:
It's very difficult. I had a hard time doing it. Ninety-percent of the quarterbacks in college football have a hard time picking up the offense right away, but they've done a great job. Both of them are smart kids, both are good football players and they've really picked up the offense. I'm surprised with how fast they've picked it up and have been able to execute it on a consistent basis. So, they both have bright futures.

On the McCray brothers:
They've been great. They're both seniors and two of our very few seniors that we have, but they are great leaders. They control the offensive line and they stay on top of everything and make sure that everybody's doing what they're supposed to do.

On having numerous slot receivers:
That's definitely a good thing to have, two guys that can run routes from the slot. Inside, out, vertical and be able to run away from linebackers. It's big getting that matchup and have our guys take advantage of it.

On the improvements of the defense:
Definitely. I know they had a bunch of young kids. There are a couple that have never played defense before, in the secondary, and they got better each and every week. I think that they've progressed and have had a good spring and have improved in the areas that they needed to improve in.

Defensive lineman Thomas Niles

On his performance:
I'd say I'm happy with my performance. I played hard, tried to put the pressure on the quarterback. I messed up a couple of times, but I'm just trying to overcome those mistakes, just improve on what I messed up on.

On being experienced as an interior lineman and being a diverse player:
I can play inside and outside. Being an end and playing inside previously, that helps you know where you're going and know where you fit the defense.

On his biggest improvement headed into the season:
I think I've gotten better at understanding the technique of playing end because I was all over the place last year. I didn't understand where I fit in the defense. I was just going all around the place, trying to get to the ball. Now, I understand how to play those techniques and where I fit in the defense.

Running back Storm Johnson

On his progression in the passing game:
They've been charting all our catches, all our drops. They've been on us about catching the ball, especially out the backfield to help Blake with the check-downs. Just protection and catching the ball, really, has been a circle this spring and I think we have improved on that.

Linebacker Terrance Plummer

On the progression of the defense this spring season:
That first day out there, we were young and you could tell, especially in the secondary. As linebackers, I was a young guy last year, but now I had to step up and take that leadership role and just try to teach guys how we do things at UCF. Everybody's pouting, 'It's hot, it's everything…' but that's not what football is about. Football brings out your character. From what I've seen from those first two weeks out there, to our scrimmages till now, I think we've made a lot of gains in the secondary and overall as a defense. Hopefully that carries over the summer.

On what he took away from the game:
We've got to work on knowing our assignments, keys. Everybody's got to know the calls and read them. We're kind of silent out there. We need to talk amongst one another. Communication is going to be key and if you can communicate as a defense, everybody's on the same chord. If you do have a bust, someone can come help you. That's what our defense is about. It's all about reading and reacting. So, I feel like communication is going to be a big thing over the summer, everybody being vocal, and everybody getting bigger, faster, and stronger; everybody knowing what you've got to do out there.