Quoting UCF

What does UCF head coach George O'Leary see on the game tape when he watches SMU? Plus, O'Leary talks about his relationship with SMU athletic director Steve Orsini.

On hosting the championship game: Anytime you play at home I think it is worth a lot to the players and the fan base. I think that is why you host it. I don't see anything neutral about it at all. I think they are trying to keep it neutral, but I think that is difficult while you are playing it at home. If you want to make it neutral play somewhere neutral then.

On the team's progression this season: I thought the spring we had the making of a good football team. We had to put some pieces together obviously. The quarterback having the year he had helped that situation. I think overall the expectation levels of the kids, they have played for the most part to their potential as far as getting things done on the field. I think this senior class has been a good class as far as minding the underclassmen not just on the field but off the field, and just doing the right things as far as the football program is concerned.

On Jeff Godfrey's efficiency: I tell you what we probably need to throw the ball a lot more with him in the game. I think his efficiency rating is in the country, I think he is ranked pretty good there. The big thing is we are going to do what the defense allows us to do. You don't want to run uphill and you don't want to be throwing when they are dropping either. I think that we have enough checks in the system to take care of things like that. The key to Jeff is that I think it was done right with him. We put a little on the plate each game for him and added it and he retained what we had put on. We kept building the package a little bit to where we didn't throw out a big plate to him and expect him to know it all. I think the offensive coaches did a good job of not force feeding it but just nurturing him along as the season went through.

On SMU: I think they are a very good football team, obviously in the conference championship game. Offensive line wise I think they are very, very good I really do. They protect very well and have the leading rusher in the conference back there, Zach Line. I think they block well run and pass, so I have been impressed with their front people and obviously their running back is getting over 100-yards a game and he is the one who is really moving the chains on the second and sixes. I thought in the past they would be throwing, now they are running the ball and it is third and one or two so he is moving the chains. That is what is keeping people honest as I watch tape on them. Defensively, they are very salty. They play stingy as far as the run game is concerned. They have big guys up front 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7 and again they play a 30-front which we have seen a bunch of this year. They complement each other very well. The quarterback Kyle Padron makes good decision and doesn't hold on to it long, and obviously in tht offense they got receivers. It's going to be a good test for our defense and a great test for our offense.

On his relationship with SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini: I knew Steve back from my Georgia Tech days when he was an assistant there. He was the one that really initially got me involved here with Dr. Hitt and the fellows there. Most of the stuff here is his vision as I see it when I got here, as far as a lot of that stuff he had on the drawing board. Again, I think he is a sharp guy. He is an ex-captain at Notre Dame and he has his ducks in a row and obviously he knew what he wanted to get done at SMU in hiring June [Jones] who has been around. It's almost the same path there, I think 1-10 [record] the first year [at SMU] and we were 0-11 [at UCF], but I think they have moved the program in the direction that June is wanting to go. I think Steve's job is to support whatever he needs to have and I think he has done that here when he was here and he has done that at SMU.

On how Orsini brought him to UCF: He asked if I had an interest and then they flew up a bunch of people in a private plane and I was still practicing with Minnesota [Vikings] when that was all taking place. My initial contact was with Steve, who rightfully so he was the AD. I had a good job at the present, I was coordinating in the NFL, but I always wanted to get back and turn one program and see if I could get it going in the right direction. Especially with my age I didn't think I was going to be bouncing around a lot more. I thought this was a place that had great potential and great future as far as what could be done.

Pony Stampede Top Stories