Sept. 21, 2010
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By Christian Edwards
UCF head football coach George O'Leary met with the Orlando media on Tuesday to preview Saturday's game at Kansas State. Here is a sampling of what he had to say.
On Kansas State playing UCF before bye week and a big Nebraska game...
"They are 3-0 and have an outstanding tailback. I think he is one of the better running backs I have seen as far as power and ability to cut. He will be a guy you see playing on Sunday. He is very impressive on tape and they are a team that is 3-0. They beat Missouri State, Iowa State and UCLA so we are looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can get done. Bill [Snyder] has been around a long time coaching and I don't think there is any play in that whatsoever."
On Kansas State's offense...
"They run reverses and gadget plays. They are not all straight forward stuff. We need to line up and play better on offense. We left a lot of plays on the field Saturday night offensively. Defensively we have to tackle very well against that running back. He makes a lot of people miss in watching the three games I've seen on tape, on all three teams. He is like every other good running back in they make a lot of people really look good around him."
Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas remind you on any player?
"He is fast, shifty and big. Probably NFL backs - that is what they look like. They hit the hole and you had better close quick because they don't need a lot of room. He squirts through a lot of holes and I have been impressed with him. They've got a three-year quarterback that doesn't make a lot of mistakes and manages the game very well. He runs the ball well himself. It is a game that we have to go out and play very well in. Offensively, it can't be a three-and-out game. We have to move the chains and do things right."
What impressed you of your running backs in the second half?
"They started running. In the first half we didn't hit the hole like we should have. Ronnie Weaver and Brendan Kelly ran extremely well. They were down hill running and doing a lot of things that you expect the running backs to do. Jonathan [Davis] was waiting for things to happen and we are not that kind of team. From a sustain standpoint, we have to hit it and get north and south as quick as we can."
On possibly having a four-year starter in quarterback Jeff Godfrey...
"Hopefully they get more knowledge. When you really analyze the game and study, there were about three or four touchdowns left on the field in the first half that were wide open receivers that you have to hit. We left too many plays on the field and hopefully that gets better each week with him. There are a lot of situations where he acted like a freshman. It is a learning experience but obviously he is a very talented individual who hopefully learns and picks up on some of those things. You can't do some of those things you did in high school trying to run around pressure instead of stepping up into the pocket and keeping your eyes down field. There were a number of receivers open that we have to hit and he is going to get better at that as the season goes on. It's nice to think he will be around for four years."
Does Godfrey remind you of your old Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton?
"He reminds me a lot of Joe [Hamilton]. He has the same composure. I saw a little difference in him in the first half when he started. That is why I replaced him at the half just to calm him down and see what was going on out there, get a picture of it and send him back out. I think he did a lot better job the second half of getting what he had to get done as compared to his first half."
On passes being batted down...
"He [Godfrey] was passing late. You have to throw on time and can't wait. Anytime you see a quarterback pumping the ball it's not good. That is what we have impressed upon both of them. Once you plant your feet, based on the route, the ball needs to be moving. You can't sit there and pump it because the timing is off. Jeff does a good job innovating. A play might not be there and he takes a bad play and will make a good play out of it which he did two or three times Saturday night.
"We run a lot of scramble drills and we have to continue doing that. He is a freshman and doesn't see everything all at once like you would like him to, but he has to escape a lot and look downfield and make plays. Our receivers are taught scramble drill right when any quarterback is in, but probably more when he is in because he is going to quite often break contain. He looks to pass first, run second, but he has the foot speed to make plays."
On Ronnie Weaver and possible change at starting running back position...
"Until the other back, Brynn Harvey, gets back it is running back by committee. There is not any one that jumps. They all have to get it done and help us out. Ronnie went out and did a nice job hitting it and running north-south quickly. That was the difference. The plays were the same but he just hit it and the other guy was waiting to see what was going to happen. He has that same ability and that is what has been emphasized this week in practice."
On David Bohner's first game punting...
"Everyone is in a competition. It is not that difficult. The week before they [Bohner and Blake Clingan] were 35-35. You get about 12 punts and you get a point for takeoff, a point for hang time, a point for distance and a point for location so four points a punt. They both came out with 35. Blake [Clingan] was punting and this week, I kick them every Wednesday, Bohner had 35 or 34.5 points and Blake had 29.5. So he [Clingan] wanted to know if I still was going to start him and I said no. That is why we have competition. I think you need to do that at all the positions. I don't like to just anoint kickers or anybody else. He [Clingan] has been a four-year starter now and he will win it back this week. The same with the kickers. [Nick] Cattoi won that outright so he kicked both ends of the field, kickoffs and PAT/field goals."
On having a day game after three night games...
"I love day games. I love getting up, talking to the team and going to play. I think the worst thing in college football is hanging around the hotel all day Saturday. That is hard on the players and coaches. I know it's great for TV and the fans but I like getting up and playing. At least once in a while get up early and go play, and especially if you are playing at home you have a chance to get home and watch some games. The players have an extra half a day of rest to pick up. We'll pull into town probably about 8:30-9:00 on Saturday night from an 11:30 game. Last week I think we got here around 3:00 in the morning from Buffalo. I think you go into times and obviously TV dictates a lot of that."
Does it affect the players after the same routine for three weeks?
"I don't think it will affect the players. They like to get up and go play. I think what happens on Saturday is you tend to meet and meet and the hay is not in the barn yet but I think there is a certain time that the players are go. I think coaches have the tendency on Saturdays if they have all that time to over coach a little bit. The game plan is in, make sure they know it, and let's sit back and get some things done. I like playing early. I think it is great for the players, especially if you have a game the following week to get that extra half a day [of rest afterwards]."
Any connection to Kansas State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder?
"I have met Bill before when he was at Iowa when I was recruiting. No connection."
Any special challenges for quarterbacks who are not 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3?
"You have to be able to get out of a bad play. Hopefully you are calling plays that are going to be right, but you have to have the innate ability to get out of a bad play and make a good play. I used to always tell him [Joe Hamilton] the linemen are in your way, and he goes `it is not the linemen it is the linebackers.' He was always looking for that B gap or A gap window to throw the ball. They have a tougher time throwing between the hashes because of a lack of height."
On defense's challenge against Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas...
"[It is for] the whole front seven. He is very good and they do a great job blocking for him. They have a big offensive line and they are well coordinated. They can throw a good great play-action. He is running on everybody I have seen on film pretty well from last year to this year. He is a good back and was newcomer of the year last year in the Big 12 and he really deserves it. He is a tough runner. I hope he is not going to be a lot of fun to watch. We have to close and wrap up on tackles. What I see is every team missing a lot of tackles because of his ability."
On offensive line and Chris Martin being out last week...
"Everybody is healthy and Chris and [Abre] Leggins are splitting time right now. Coach Key will make a decision on that by Thursday. They are all splitting time. Everybody is back healthy. Brynn[Harvey] is basically back next week as far as with the team practicing, but I don't think he will be contact ready for a couple of weeks. I think in a couple of weeks he may be able to get some reps."
On Lawrence Young...
"He didn't practice today. We are waiting to see what happens with him tomorrow."
On last chance this season to win against a non-conference opponent in Kansas State...
"We put as much after it, even more after it, as we do in conference games. In non-conference games they have to be big games and the kids know it. They [Kansas State] are a 3-0 team and it is a nationally televised game out there and it's another chance to go out and get something done correctly."