Conference USA football is in full swing this week, with George O'Leary and the UCF Knights gearing up for their opening game against 1-AA Samford at Bright House Networks Stadium this coming Saturday.
Members of the media were able to pick the brains of the C-USA coaches yesterday in the first installment of the weekly C-USA teleconference call. Here is what Coach O'Leary had to say:
On Preseason Camp
“The players have definitely progressed from the Spring and have exhibited a lot of retention. We're bringing back six injured starters from last year, giving us more quality depth”.
On the 2009 UCF starting QB, Rob Calabrese, and the Offense
“Calabrese has had a great preseason. The offensive line has really developed. Our QB transfers (referring to Wake Forest transfer Brett Hodges) have helped out a lot too. A lot of time has been spent on the passing game, and it's showing. (Starting RB) Brandon Harvey has had a really good Spring and preseason. (Wide Receiver) Rocky Ross, (Wide Receiver) Kamar Aiken, and (Wide Receiver) A.J. Guyton have done some really great things this preseason.”
On the Defense
“A lot of time has been spent on the secondary this preseason as we have graduated some players. There is playing depth on defense, though, so I'm pleased. As far as the secondary goes, we've limited what we're doing with them, so that helps. There's more development each day which is really quite critical.”
On the changes in the weight room this offseason
“There was a competitive atmosphere in the weight room this offseason. The weight coaches went about it a little different as far as competitive work in the weight room. They got points for what they accomplished and the kids really bought into it.”
On Saturday's 1-AA Samford matchup
“I've watched the tape and they run a scheme that will force our defense to take responsibility. They have a great play action game. They have the whole package out there with a lot of returning kids that made plays for them last year”.
On DE Darius Nall's return from his battle with cancer
“Darius, thank God he came back, and he's healthy and all that. He was an all-conference player as a freshman and he's progressed. He has the speed to be a great third down rush guy to put pressure on the quarterback, and he's a big guy that can play the running game very well. I'm hoping that he's ready to play. He's stronger and bigger now than when he came down with the cancer and he's happy to be back and play football. He has a great passion for the game and I'm very pleased with him. His teammates are very excited that he's back and didn't really know how serious his illness was when he came down with it.”
All things considered, the UCF Knights football squad looks confident and eager to start the 2009 college football season. Stay tuned for more breaking news on the black and gold. Go Knights!
View this article at Examiner.com Orlando.