Signing Day Transcript with George O'Leary


GO KNIGHTS George O'Leary speaks at his signing day press conference Wednesday.
GO KNIGHTS
George O'Leary speaks at his signing day press conference Wednesday.
GO KNIGHTS

Feb. 6, 2013

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By UCFAthletics.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Head Coach George O'Leary met with a large contingent of media Wednesday for his signing day press conference. Check out his thoughts with the transcript below.

Opening statements ...
"We finished up the recruiting class. Signed 19 and I really think the coaches did a heck of a job, concerning the limitations that we had regarding visits. Pretty much that class filled the needs that we looked for as far as where we started off as far as recruiting was concerned. We wanted to get some running backs in, which we did, and I think the two styles of running backs that we like: downhill guys that can get bigger and basically stay injury free. Helped the linebacker corps out (as well). I didn't think we had enough mid-size, semi-skill guys in the program, like for special teams, so that was a need. Again, we filled the voids both on the offensive line and defensive line, which we lost through graduation. We filled our voids as far as what we need to replace. I'm very happy with the class that we recruited. The three key elements that we looked for was obviously range, speed and versatility. They could play a couple of positions with a number of the athletes that we signed. We're very pleased with the class and looking forward to working with them in the preseason and this summer."

On the recruiting class...
"This is the first year that out of the class that we had there were at least nine or 10 guys trying to get flipped by SEC schools, ACC schools, which I think shows the quality of the class. As I've said many times, I look at every tape on every player. I bring in players that I think we can win with. That's what I judge things on. Not their press clippings or anything else. The eye in the sky don't lie, I've always been a big believer in that. I don't look at a lot of highlight tapes. I look at films. I like to watch games on kids. I've never seen a bad highlight tape. So, I pretty much go right to the film and again, we have our own grading system. When you look throughout the years, I think we've done a pretty good job of bringing kids in that can win games for you, be athletic enough to play against a lot of competition. I think this class is no different. There are a lot of talented youngsters there. There's a lot of range in this class; a lot of height in this class. With the running backs, I think Micah [Reed] is a highly recruited athlete, but I think he's going to be a typical UCF running back for us that is going to gain a lot of yards behind a team that likes to run the ball. Dontravious Wilson is one that, basically, is very similar except he's a little larger. He's about 220 lbs. right now and more of a downhill guy, which I'm happy to have. William Stanback is a kid that [has speed]. One thing you can't replace and is hard to teach in college is speed. You either have it or you don't. You may get better by a 10th of a second. Anytime you can run like he runs...He's probably close to six-foot-one and 212 lbs. when we weighed him this past week, when he was on campus. Anytime you're on the 4x100 national championship team - you can run. We recruited him as an athlete who could play running back and could also play safety. So, the running back corps is in good shape as far as what we brought in and what we can fit into the scheme of things we want to do."

On ATH Stanback still being available on the board late...
"No, you have to understand that Tom Watson, his coach, used to play for me at Syracuse and he played with Coach [Doug] Marrone, so they were teammates. I think he was hiding him out a little bit because everyone was looking after the kid. He went up to Syracuse on his official visit and at that time Coach Marrone had left to take the Buffalo Bills' job. The coaches there had another back that they wanted to go after more but Doug was going to offer him on the visit and he was offered from the past staff. Then, Tom called me about him and we looked at tape on him. ... He has a lot of big plays and he's going to have a good future, typical of the backs we bring in. Most of them being big play guys and a big part of the winning success we`ve had here."

On bringing in quicker, leaner athletes to play linebacker...
"I wanted to get more range out there and I think we have enough MIKEs that can sit inside, tackle to tackle, but you need guys that can play in space. I think the game has changed a little bit where you need your (players) inside that can get up to the line of scrimmage and make plays but where we've been hurting is on the outside and matching up with the speed at slots without going to nickel or dime. Some of the linebackers we took in are oversized strong safeties that can play in space and are also good enough, at times, to play deep at the safety position. Again, that's why they were brought in. They're six-foot-two, six-foot-three range that can help us along leverage."

On the recruits getting a chance to play early...
"When you look at next year's team on offense-- and I didn't realize this, some of the coaches brought it up to me--there are 18 players back out of the 22 that were starters on offense. There are 17 on defense. Now, we got to replace some pretty good players. For freshmen we average about, over the years, maybe six freshmen play and usually the further from the ball they are, it's a little bit easier to play because athletic ability takes over. That's about the average. Thankfully, if they're playing up front it is usually a segment type thing, a third-down rush guy. Offensive line is very difficult to play early unless you have some problems and you got to put them out there. We've been fortunate enough, since the first or second year we've been here, to not have to play freshmen and that probably continues on to next year. I think the transfer in (Jordan Prestwood) has a chance to play. He's an older guy; mature with good size, so he'll have an opportunity. The other guys coming in are all good guys, big guys and they're going to be journeymen as far as the line is concerned."

On having a second set of twins (Shaquill &Shaquem Griffin) coming to play at UCF...
"I'll tell you, they both have good size. One plays safety and the other plays corner. They're identical, really, as far as when you look at them and they dress the same so it's very difficult. We'll have two sets of twins on the team. ... We're looking forward to them. I looked at the defensive backs and I thought we had to improve on contact speed. We got a lot of guys that run 4.5, but they got to hitch at that. We have too many people, even in the pros they hitch at 4.8 and 4.9. You can't win with those guys. These guys, whatever they run ... caught my eye right away. First of all, when I brought them on campus - they were on campus in the spring then the summer--and they're both very, very good players. My recruiting pitch to them was, `I'm not taking one of you without the other.' They were both being recruited by a lot of people but different schools. Some were Shaquill and some were Shaquem, but I said I wasn't taking either of them without both of them. I thought that was sort of the pitch that right away they sat back and looked at each other and started smiling. I thought that's what sort of gave us an edge a little bit with both of them."

On recruits contributing right away in the secondary...
"Well, we graduated A.J. [Bouye], but you have Brandon Alexander back. Nicco Whigham, I think, has to get a look; he's a big athlete out there. (Jordan) Ozerities needs to play better than he played last year but he is a kid who played out there before. You have Jeremy Davis who was missing all of last year with an injury. Hopefully, Jacoby Glenn is out there. This spring will be a real interesting spring for the corner position. I think there's about five guys out there that certain days could be the starter, I thought, from a competition standpoint. D.J. Killings is in school and he's doing well. He'll have chance but first time on the athletic field the speed changes a little bit so it'll be interesting to see how he adjusts."

On recruiting locally...
"We've really recruited the heck out of Orlando. We know coaches and we've been in and out of those schools a lot. The ones that we wanted, they wanted to move on. They wanted to get out of Orlando, from my understanding. There were others that we thought we had more interest or more talent elsewhere as far as the players we were bringing in. You're always going to recruit you're hometown. I think that's what you need to do and we do a thorough job of it. Again, it's a business and that's what people have to understand. You're going after the best players. There were probably two or three in the city of Orlando that we had a real interest in but they had others interests whether they were going north in the state of Florida or south in the state of Florida."

On being deep at quarterback...
"Well, I think Pete DiNovo is what he is if you listen to him and watch him play. I think he's a kid that makes plays out there. He has a lot of confidence about himself and has the ability to throw all the tough passes that you want, whether it's drop back, play-action, touch passes. He has that air of confidence about himself which, again, is what you want in a quarterback. I think Justin Holman is a fellow that has a gun. He has a gun now and he really does. He's only 17 years old. His mom was here today and I asked if she was making his bed. I think he's at the stage where his future is really bright. I've seen him throw in high school but the kids have been out throwing around and I heard back from them, `He's got a gun.' There's going to be a lot of competition out there at quarterback and they both have an air of confidence about themselves and they're good learners. Both of them are quick studies as far as the playbook is concerned. All you have to do is go back and ask (Blake) Bortles how hard it is to play as a freshman."

 

 

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