(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)
Oct. 3, 2017 at Wayne Densch Center
Availability: DC Erik Chinander, OC/WR coach Troy Walters
- The University of Central Florida blew out the Memphis Tigers 40-13 on Sept. 30 in its first conference game of the season.
- During the preseason, Memphis was predicted to win the American Athletic Conference West.
- The Tigers previously beat the then-No. 25 UCLA Bruins 48-45 in Week 3.
- Against Memphis, UCF’s defense allowed 321 passing yards, a passing touchdown and 75 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on 24 carries.
- UCF also forced four turnovers, snagging three interceptions and recovering one fumble.
- Memphis scored on its first drive of the game and didn’t score again until a moot touchdown in the final seconds of the game.
- Cornerback Mike Hughes recorded his second-consecutive interception of the season.
- Hughes tallied a pick-six, his first for UCF, in a 38-10 win over the Maryland Terrapins in Week 4.
DC ERIK CHINANDER: “Winning. I liked being in the locker room afterwards with the kids. That was the best part for me. But, you know, I loved the effort we played with. I loved the fact that we created some turnovers. I loved that, you know, the first drive obviously didn’t go our way, but the kids bounced back, and they were willing to flush that one and keep going the next time.”
“Really, [the communication] comes from—you know, I’m on the field, so I can’t see exactly what happened. It comes from the coaches upstairs. You know, Coach [Mike] Dawson, Coach [Jovan] Dewitt, Coach [Jack] Cooper did a great job getting the information back down to me and the other coaches. Then we kinda get everybody together, and we correct the things that we need to correct. The things that we can correct. Some of the missed tackles and just having their eyes wrong is something you can’t correct on the sideline. But we make some adjustments, and basically tell ‘em, ‘Hey, you guys know the plan. Now we’ve seen it full speed. Let’s go attack it.’”
“Kinda liked what we talked about in the first game. I mean, if they’re gonna protect with a bunch of people, then our DBs are gonna have a good day. If they’re gonna not protect us, then we’re gonna get some sacks, we’re gonna get some sack-strip fumbles. Or they’re not gonna protect us, and the kid’s gonna make some bad throws, and we’re gonna be advantageous, you know, go and intercept the ball. So I think this whole defense works together, and everybody understand that. The guys, they’re not selfish guys. They understand that if they’re gonna take care of the front, the back end gotta play. If they’re gonna turn the front lose, then the back end—you’re gonna cover, and we’re gonna get some sacks. So, I think it’s a great group of kids that understand the ebbs and flows of this defense and the way this football works.”
“Yeah, I think [the corners] have played really well. Obviously, Mike Hughes is a big addition. Getting him late after he figured this thing out and got familiar with the defense. He’s played really well. Brandon Moore, I thought he fought like crazy the other game. Obviously, he’s a freshman, so they’re gonna pick on him a little bit, gonna go after him. They went after him a few times, and they just kept coming and coming and coming and coming. Which is very encouraging, you know. You don’t wanna see a guy give up even if he gets some balls thrown on him. So I was really pleased with the way he’s playing, the way he’s tackling. And then, you know, Chris [Johnson] and Rashard Causey have given us a nice rotation in there.”
“[Moore] takes [coaching] well. You know, he’s a kid that takes mistakes personally, which is something we gotta break him of a little bit. You know, he’s like, ‘That’s my fault. Guys it’s on me.’ Don’t worry about it. It’s not on you, bud. It’s on all of us. We’re gonna get together, we’re gonna get it right. And the guys have done a nice job of kinda, rallying around him if he makes a mistake and saying, ‘Don’t worry about it, bud. They’re gonna come at you again, and you’re gonna make a play this time.’ Everybody kinda knows that he’s a good football player. We just gotta grow with him because he’s such a young guy.”
“Yeah, Pat [Jasinski’s] playing great. Chequan Burkett’s silently playing great. He does so much for this team, it’s indescribable. And then they’re getting good rotation with Nate [Evans] and Gabe Luyanda. Obviously, Gabe Luyanda’s made some huge plays when he’s been in there. Nate Evans made a huge play the other night. So it’s nice to—and I think what we need to do is, to be honest with you, I think we need to get those guys in a little earlier. They’re playing pretty good right now, and let’s not wear those other two guys out to the point where we have to pull ‘em out. Let’s get ‘em out before that. Get ‘em a little rest and keep everybody fresh, which is nice. You know, those other guys have earned some playing time.”
- The Knights travel to Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bearcats for their first conference road game of the season.
- Cincinnati is so far 2-3 this season, 0-1 in the AAC.
- Last season, the Knights defeated Cincinnati 24-3 at home.
- Week 6 is the first time the Knights will have a normal week of practice this season.
- The Knights hosted the FIU Panthers on a Thursday, and preparation for win over Maryland was marred by an uncertain schedule because of Hurricane Irma’s impact.
DC ERIK CHINANDER: “You know, I really like their quarterback, [Hayden Moore]. I think he can really throw that thing. I know No. 1 is a Florida kid, [Kahlil] Lewis. And he’s a really nice receiver. They have some big running-backs that can run you over. And I think they got a lot of nice things in their offense. They got a lot of stuff. Stuff we haven’t prepared for. Because their staff is new. So, it’s like playing a whole new team, which is not always the best. You’d like to have about a year where you kinda know them and all that kinda stuff. So, I think it’s gonna be the combination of good players and a brand-new system we have to get ready for.”
“Yeah, it almost feels a little rushed. Like, ‘Man what are we doing? We gotta get ready to go.’ ‘Cause we’ve had a little bit of time before. But it’s nice to be back in a normal game week. You know, it’s nice to have our family up on Sunday dinner. Coach Frost invites the families up for Sunday dinner, which is nice. And get our work done and have a normal Monday and now a normal Tuesday. It’s nice to be back in game week. We call it ‘the battle rhythm.’ You know, it’s nice to have that battle rhythm for the kids. They know exactly where to be, exactly what’s going on, and their bodies adjust and their mind adjust, so it’s really good.”
“Well, to be honest with you, I think, last year on defense—I don’t know about the offense so much—but on defense, we had the system in, and it was the base system. You know, and we’re out there calling calls that we thought would put ‘em in the best position. Now we can install some systems within the system. So, the kids can get themselves in the best call. And the second year in the system, with second-year linebackers and safeties that really understand, they can roll the coverage, they can adjust the front to the best situation in that certain formation or that certain play. So I think that’s the biggest buy-in right there is just letting the system work for the kids. And they understand now [that] if we let the system work for us, we’re gonna know how to play certain plays and certain formations. So I think that’s helped ‘em a ton.”
- Running-back Adrian Killins ran for a school-record 96-yard touchdown run in the win over Memphis.
- Killins’ run broke his own tied record with former Knight Kevin Smith of 87 yards.
- In 2017, Killins run is so far the longest score from scrimmage in the FBS this season.
- The Knights threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 350 yards and two touchdowns, totaling 603 total yards against Memphis.
- Offensive tackle Wyatt Miller sustained an ankle injury in the Memphis win, forcing the team to call on Jake Brown and Sam Jackson.
- Miller is progressing well but was limited in practice on Tuesday.
OC/WR COACH TROY WALTERS: “Oh, we were excited. That was probably the one time this season where we all jumped up, and, once [Killins] hit that crease, we knew it was over. We knew he was gone, and, you know, he’s the type of player you gotta get the ball in his hands ’cause any given moment, he can take it to the house, and it really sparked the sideline, sparked all of us, you know, created that moment, and we gotta continue to find ways to get him the ball.”
“Yeah, I’ve been around some great athletes at the college level and in the [National Football League], and, you know, [Killins] might be one of the fastest guys on the field that I’ve seen. He has another gear where once he hits a hole, once he get sin the open, if you take a wrong angle or wrong step, he’s gone. And he showed that last year against Michigan. He showed it last Saturday night, and, you know, he works hard. Great young man, works hard, very coachable, and, you know, he’s electric. And he’s only gonna get better. You know, he’s only a sophomore. So he’s got a lot of room to grow, and the future is so bright for that young man, and I’m excited for what he’s doing.”
“It’s huge. It’s huge. Any time you have a weapon, they gotta focus on him. And so we’re gonna try to get [Killins] more touches, but we also gotta use him as a decoy because they’re gonna be so focused on him that we gotta be able to use him to set up some other players. But, you know, in this system that we’re running, we need a couple more guys like him that have the speed, have the explosiveness that when they get the ball in the open, they can take it to the house, and, so, you know, we’re gonna keep recruiting and try to find a couple more A.K.s, and, if we do, then, you know, this offense will go to the next level.”
“Yeah, and, you know, you look back at the Oregon [Ducks’] offense, and they had three or four guys, and you could put ’em all on the field at the same time, and now defense can’t—they can’t focus on just one guy, so, you know, speed skills. [Killins] definitely has it, and we need to continue to develop other guys and find other guys that have that type of speed.”
“You know what, [Killins] has kind of top-level speed like Marvin Harrison. Now, I know Marvin was a receiver, but in terms of just second gear and when he gets in the open, he’s gone, he kinda reminds me of Marvin Harrison.”
“You know, we’re running the same plays as we did FIU. It’s just, you know, we’re more aggressive. I think the guys, after that first game, we learned from our mistakes. We knew we had to be more physical. We knew we had to finish blocks. So I think the guys understand that. You know, Week 1, you’re a little rusty. I think Week 2 against Maryland was kinda like Week 1. So we’re still a little rusty, and we kinda put things together last Saturday night against Memphis. We can still improve and get better, but the guys understand that if we can get the run game going, it opens up everything else in this offense. And so they take, you know—we emphasize that, and, you know, they executed the game plan well, and because we ran the ball, we were able to eat up the clock, which kept their offense off the field, and then it sets up play action. So, Tre’Quan’s big, first touchdown—it was a run action. You know, we sucked their linebackers, safeties up and hit it over the top. So, it really all starts with the run game.”
“It was exciting. Those guys—that’s what we’re capable of every Saturday. And there is room for improvement. You know, we go and watch the tape, and there’s plays that we left on the table, and so that’s the exciting part, and, you know, we tell the guys it’s all about preparation. Coming out each day of the week and preparing. If we prepare like champions, if we prepare like it’s a game, then on Saturday, everything takes care of itself. So, we had a good Monday, a good Tuesday and looking forward to another good day Wednesday, and then we’ll be ready to hit the field Saturday night.”
“Yeah, [Miller’s] a lot better. A lot better. We’ll see what happens Saturday, but it was good to get some of the younger guys in. And we have depth. We have depth across the board. So that’s always good. If we lose a guy, then we feel confident that the next guy, next man up will step in, and he’ll make the plays and do what’s necessary for us to be successful. So, that’s one of the differences this year as opposed to last year. We have depth, we have guys that can come in, and we don’t skip a beat. So, happy, proud of the O-line. Coach [Greg] Austin does a great job with those guys preparing every one of ’em because you never know who’s gonna play.”
“[Miller] was limited today. So we’ll just see. You know, ankle, you just never know. He’s a tough kid. One thing we don’t wanna do is put him out there and have a setback, and now he’s out four, five weeks. So, we’ll be smart, and we know next man up is capable of doing the job, and we’ll go from there.”
- Scott Frost enters his second year as head coach of the Knights.
- Last season, he started the season with a 1-2 record, losing to the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor and dropping a double-overtime bout to Maryland at then-Bright House Networks Stadium.
DC ERIK CHINANDER: “I think that, you know, obviously, when you’re a first-year head coach or a first-year anything—probably any job in America. The first time, you don’t really know what to expect. There’s probably—you know, Bill Parcells always said, ‘There’s five things that are gonna happen to you every day where you’re the head coach that you have no idea are coming.’ And I think those things, last year, are the things he had to focus on. He had to get those things taken care of, and then the rest of us had to kinda get things rolling in our personal segments. Now, he kinda expects what’s gonna happen. He knows what’s gonna happen. He knows how his schedule is gonna work, the detail of his job. And I think he’s done an awesome job transitioning from Year 1 to Year 2. He’s much more calmer (sic). His demeanor is awesome with the kids. And I think he’s really good in front of the team right now.”
OC/WR COACH TROY WALTERS: “Yeah, we’ve all gotten better as a staff. You know, first-year head coach. You know, you go through some growing pains and not sure what to do in some situations, and so he’s grown. As an offensive staff, we’ve grown. You know, last year we were learning the offense and, you know, trying to figure things out, and, this year, everybody knows exactly what to do. So, I think, all in all, we’ve all grown. We all are better. Players are better. You know, we’re more familiar with the offense. You know, we’ve added [offensive analyst] Frank Verducci, who’s really helped. [Director of high-school relations and offensive quality-control administrator] Mike Cassano has helped behind the scenes, and, so, as a staff, we’re just a better staff. Game days were better. We know what to see. We know what Coach Frost wants up in the box, what helps him be the best play-caller he can be. And so, you know, just all around, as coaches and staff, we’ve all improved, and I think it’s benefited everyone this season.”
For more on the Knights, as they prepare to travel for their first conference road game of the season, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.