Oct. 4, 2011
We’re heading into strictly conference play now. We get the opportunity to go play the team that won the conference championship a year ago in UCF. They are an excellent team. George O’Leary is a great coach. They’ll be extremely physical. Offensively they have a quarterback, Jeff Godfrey, who can create a lot of headaches for us. He can beat you with his arm or he can do it with his feet. If you look at them offensively and defensively, they lead the conference in just about everything. They lead in yards per game, scoring, defense, the whole thing. They are very sound. Fundamentally they are a good football team. They have a lot of athletes running around out there. It will be a great challenge for us to go there and play them. We’ll have a great week of preparation until we get on the plane Friday, but we are excited about going.
On using UCF as a measuring stick for the Herd:
Anytime you have the chance to play the defending conference champion, then it is absolutely a measuring stick for your team. We’ve had a lot of measuring sticks the last six games. I think someone told me we are going in to our sixth straight game where we are the underdogs. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before in all my years of coaching. It’s good because you want to compare yourself against the best team in the conference and UCF has been just that.
On UCF quarterback Godfrey:
They create issues using him by running triple options with him. He can also get on the perimeter. Where he creates a lot of problems is when he gets on the perimeter on busted plays and gets out into the scrambling situations where he can make a big play. He can also beat you just running it with his feet. You have to keep him contained in the pocket because he is an excellent runner.
On UCF’s losses to BYU and Florida International:
UCF, uncharacteristically, turned the ball over. That’s not a George O’Leary coached team. Against BYU, they had a muffed punt which cost them the game. Against FIU, Godfrey fumbled the ball and the FIU player picked it up and ran it for a touchdown. That’s not the way George’s teams have won in the past. I’m sure he got that corrected with the bye last week.
On match-up between UCF corner Josh Robertson and Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson:
Josh is an excellent corner from Plantation, Florida. He came right out of high school as an athlete and runs extremely well. He was an All-American one year ago. He is a good player who makes plays when he gets the opportunity. Dobson and all of our guys are going to have to play great when they get matched up with him.
On Marshall’s receivers:
Well Andre Booker has had a role. It increased on Saturday because Dobson had been hurt earlier in the week in practice. We had to give Booker some more reps there. It’s a great feeling as a coach to see players like Jazz King and Wayne Bonner, who haven’t contributed a lot, but when their number was called, they went in and made plays. That’s good to see and helps us down the road with our depth. The more guys we have to play, the better we will be.
He played extremely well. The thing I was so happy with about Dobson was he put himself in on that last punt to be a missile and went down and made the play. He’s doing a lot of things you won’t read on the stat sheet. We scored that touchdown and Dobson took that corner and put him right on his back. He’s providing leadership and really playing hard which helps a lot.
On Booker’s play:
Booker has a big heart. He is just a fun guy to be around. He is a great kid. I wish he’d quit falling down when he gets the ball though. He had one catch where he could have scored, but was going so fast he tripped over his own feet. He’s a fun guy to coach and I’m glad we have him on our team because he is a competitor.
On running the ball against UCF:
Last year we had trouble running the ball on everyone. One thing about that game last week is that we had no 3-and-outs on offense, which is the first time since I’ve been here. It’s a stat you don’t read about but one that was important to me because it helps our defense. The other thing was time of possession. We held the ball 10 minutes more than they did on offense. Anytime you can win the time of possession and have no 3-and-outs, you have a great chance to win. UCF isn’t a whole lot different than they were a year ago so it is going to be a challenge. We have to be able to run the football. We cannot become one dimensional.
On atmosphere of the game at UCF:
One thing I was proud of my kids about was that we went into Louisville, who had the third biggest crowd ever, and they handled it well. We have to do the same thing when we go to UCF because it is going to be the same thing. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere with the 50,000+ students that go to school there. I’ve never been to a game in that stadium. Our guys have to learn to walk in and enjoy that arena. I want guys that want to go into places like that and enjoy playing. I thought our players did that Saturday and we have to do it again this Saturday.
On Rakeem Cato’s sliding:
He looks like he doesn’t know how to slide when you watch it on tape. He was the ugly duckling running down the field at Louisville. Tony (Petersen) is going to have to teach him how to slide. He likes to compete, likes those packed arenas and I like guys like that. He went into Louisville and it was important to him that he beat Teddy Bridgewater, who he played against in high school and never lost to. So it was important for him to beat him. It will be important for him to go into UCF and beat Godfrey because they went to the same high school. He embraces arenas and embraces challenges like that. I like that in a quarterback.
On Cato picking up reads:
He’s getting better every week. He made some of the reads against Louisville that he missed against Virginia Tech. I tend to forget at times that the kid has only been on campus 2 or 3 months. Look at Bridgewater, who was a highly recruited athlete who was there for spring ball. I thought Cato held his own and did some really good things. I’m proud of him and he just has to keep getting better and improving on things.
On Cato working the pocket:
I think he worked the pocket very well. Again, I know we had a couple sacks and one of them was on him. Our offensive line has done a good job and they will fight you. That’s what I like about them. Are they prefect? No, but I like their attitude. I like their work ethic, they play hard and I thought they protected Cato very well. Those guys are getting better.