Practice has begun and George O’Leary and the players have faced (and survived) media day. The 2015 UCF Football season is officially here.
So what did I learn today? More than I thought I would.
The Coach O’Leary press conference was a lot different than I remember it being when I last attended it. Coach was in a good mood, which is always a good sign, and answered questions for quite some time.
The good news, at least for fans, is that O’Leary seemed to be very confident in his team. He talked at length about how the defensive line was every bit as good as it’s ever been and that the offensive line was improved as well.
The first time O’Leary really piqued my interest though was when he was asked about the wide receivers. O’Leary kind of eluded to the fact that he preferred the new group of receivers over the old one.
He talked about this group being “we” guys and went on to say that he had a lot of “me” guys last year. O’Leary continued talking about the “me” receiver’s even saying that they may have been causing problems for first year quarterback (at the time) Justin Holman.
To me, this is a sign of confidence in a position that had to be among the biggest question marks heading into the 2015 season. The loss of Worton, Hall and Perriman is obviously a big one…but then again, maybe not.
O’Leary’s use of “me guys” doesn’t seem far fetched and that’s not a bad thing. These three guys were a major part of the greatest season in the history of UCF Football just one year before. They played with a quarterback who ended up being the #3 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and then had to transition into taking the field with an untested first year starter. Seniority and star power lead to the “me guy” thing, naturally.
This new group of guys, with much less playing time, doesn’t have the natural ego yet. Kind of like that last crop…in 2013.
Beyond this, Justin Holman was not the starting quarterback in camp last season. This year his place as starting QB is not in question. With more time to gel over the next month you can assume Holman and this new crop of receivers will get even more comfortable together and that can only lead to good things…and a happy George O’Leary.
Another thing I noticed about the team today was something I noticed two years ago at media day. This group of guy are loose, focused and having fun (evident in the video at the top).
This sits well with me.
I like to see the guys horsing around a bit at media day, joking with the press and most importantly taking part in the festivities as a team. This definitely looks like a team chalk full of O’Leary’s “we guys.”
The most interesting part of the O’Leary press conference only gets a short mention. He did not defend against the idea of retirement….but I don’t care about what may or may not happen in five months so we’ll cross this bridge when we get to it.
Thanks to what I witnessed today on the campus of UCF I can officially say that I am fired up about this Knights team.
The defending, back-to-back American Athletic Conference champions will begin their title defense on Thursday September 3 as they welcome FIU into BrightHouse Network Stadium.
I’ll be there, will you?
Any and all feedback welcomed! Get me on Twitter (@Ditti33) or via e-mail at ditti@740TheGame.com!