Practice Update: Offense Making Strides

Despite having to fight the elements, the Pirate offense came alive this weekend in their big home win against Conference USA opponent UTEP. Inside ECU Sports had a chance to go to practice and interview the key components to the Pirate offense and discuss how big this win was and what to expect from UCF this Thursday night.

Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley

-What the offense did right: "We were more aggressive and had both things working for us; we threw the ball well with good production and we got the run game established which kept them off balance. We also did a great job of holding onto the ball in those tough conditions; which was a challenge, but having practiced in those conditions before we were prepared. Overall we played consistent football, the execution was there and we played really physical. We certainly have a lot of positive things to build on moving forward."

-Thoughts on the short week of practice before UCF: "We got to be smart with the players legs this week. Balance is the key, the players are going to have to get their legs back under them after a tough game last week. At the same time, we're lucky that we're playing an opponent who we're familiar with in UCF. We're going to get in a great week of practice without compromising the players legs, and we'll make sure to be fresh on Thursday."

-What to expect from UCF's defense: "They're the same as they are every year, which is darn good. The past two years they have been ranked pretty high on the defensive side of the ball and this year is no different. They're not an overly complicate defense that tries to fool you; they just get after you all game long. Their experience is in the secondary and they are just a defense that does not beat themselves so we'll really have to execute well in order to come out of there with a win."

Vintavious Cooper

-How the running game was able to come to life: "The offensive line had a great game, they made sure they picked up everybody and really got after them guys. They stayed physical all night despite the bad weather and the delay. We couldn't of picked a better game to come to life and we're looking to build on it this week."

-Thoughts on making an impact as a new player this year: "It feels good. Coming into the season as a new player and coming in late like I did it made me question if I would get decent playing time. Being a player who had been on the field for a good portion of my career I didn't like the idea of sitting for a long time. All I could do was learn the playbook and make sure that when I got my opportunity I would make some plays for the offense; and that's what I've been trying to do and I hope to be consistent."

-Expectations from UCF's defense: "They're a fast team; really fast and physical with some good inside linebackers and a solid defensive line. They're a Florida team which means they have a lot of speed and that's going to be the main thing. We'll have to come out, get used to their speed, and executing our game plan."

Shane Carden

-On his first home start for the Pirates: "I think it went pretty well, it was nice to come home and start in front of a crowd that was rooting for you rather than against you which is how my first two starts have been. We played in some crazy atmospheres these past couple of weeks and it was good to get back to Dowdy-Ficklin."

-How the offense started clicking: "We started making the routine plays that we were capable of. We knew it would come at some point, and weren't too worried. Some people outside of the program had been starting to wonder when we were going to get started, but again we knew it would come and you saw what we could do when we all play together."

-Expectations from UCF: "They're a good team no doubt about it and we expect them to be flying around. That being said, it's a quick week of practice for both teams which cuts out some of the resting time in between games. We're going to work hard and prepare ourselves to go down there ready to go on Thursday."

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