Bowlin' in the BCS No. 5 - Defense at the Podium



Dec. 29, 2013

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By Andy Seeley, Chip Fontanazza and Brian Ormiston

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. ( - The Baylor offense leads the nation in scoring. The Bears run a play roughly every 17 seconds. They are fast. They are explosive.

UCF defenders Brandon Alexander, Clayton Geathers, Thomas Niles and Terrance Plummer were reminded of that often throughout Sunday morning's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl defensive press conference, along with linebackers coach Tyson Summers and newly-hired defensive coordinator Paul Ferraro, who will begin coaching duties next season.

But did it get tiresome hearing about it over and over for nearly an hour Sunday morning? Has it bothered them to answer question after question about it week after week, leading up to the game?

"Not really, because it's absolutely true," Alexander said. "They have an explosive offense, good running game, passing game. You don't get tired of hearing about something when it's true. I've never seen this type of speed before. They have speed everywhere, speed at running back, quarterback, receivers. Their offensive linemen are fast. It's ridiculous."

While the UCF defense has been preparing for the high-octane offense Baylor brings to the table, they have picked up a few areas of focus from watching a great amount of film. To a man, each of the Knights mentioned having a sense of urgency after each whistle.

"Look at film, tape after tape, team after team and the biggest thing that stands out to me is going to the next play, getting lined up, getting your calls," Geathers said. "That's the biggest thing. I see teams out of position, a lot of them not set. That's the biggest thing you have to do, get set."

Alexander echoed Geathers' opinion.

"Matching the tempo, getting lined up, getting in our spots to play," he said. "When you're moving around, they're ready to snap the ball, that's when they get a lot of plays. Make sure everybody knows what they're supposed to do, that's the main thing. Getting lined up and making sure that everybody is on the same page."

While Baylor will pose challenges for the Knights defense, they are confident in their schemes. They believe in what they're doing.

"We're a stout defense," Alexander said. "We come out and practice every day, play each and every game. We're out here each and every week making sure we're doing what we're supposed to do because we're a very good defense also."

Summers believes the Knights' experience in close games, needing to make fourth-quarter plays and making them more often than not leads to confidence on the defensive side of the ball.

"I think the biggest thing that comes with it is those guys don't panic," Summers said. "There's not a better example than the Louisville game where we're down by 21 and there's no panic in those kids' eyes, not one bit. I think they believe we can play good defense, go and play with anybody in the country. Obviously, that's why we're here."

Ticket Information
-Buy Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Tickets

-Dinner Sunday night for the Knights' players: Maggiano's.
-Dinner for select staff members: Dominick's Steakhouse.
-Former UCF assistant coach Tim Salem and former UCF wide receiver Siaha Burley were in attendance at Sunday's practice.
-Members of the UCF radio crew landed in Arizona Saturday night and have already begun preparing for This Week's Radio Shows.

Web Links
-Day Four Facebook Photo Gallery
-Great Eats in Arizona for UCF fans
-Orlando Sentinel - Bortles, UCF a Perfect Fit
-Florida Today - Showcasing the Offense
-Waco Tribune - Bortles has Everyone's Attention
-Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Bowl Homepage
-Tostitos Fiesta Bowl YouTube Page - Videos from the Fiesta Bowl

What to Look For
-It will be a huge day for the media contingent in town as the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl media day will take place Monday.
-A total of 26 Knights as well as head coach George O'Leary and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury will visit the Camelback Inn, and live coverage will be available at
-In the afternoon, UCF returns to Pinnacle High School for a short practice session.
-And at night, the student-athletes will visit Fogo de Chao for dinner.
-For fans in Arizona, check out the Countdown to Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Radio Show presented by Orlando-Sanford International Airport with head coach George O'Leary. It starts up at 5 p.m. MT on Monday at the Ironwood Overlook at the Fairmont Princess resort.

Bowlin' in the BCS Archive
-No. 1 - Getting Ready
-No. 2 - Arriving in Arizona
-First Press Conference
-No. 3 - Time to Work
-Fly, Knight and Win
-Meet UCF's New Defensive Coordinator
-UCF's Team Awards Banquet
-No. 4 - A Busy Saturday

Media Information
-UCF Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Media Guide and Game Notes

UCF Football on Social Media

UCF Athletics on Social Media



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