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Wednesday was a high-water mark for UCF's offense.
After seeing the defense get the better of them on Monday, McKenzie Milton and crew fired back with a scrimmage performance that Scott Frost says was their best outing of the spring.
"Offense had a good day," Frost said afterward. "We're coming around on that side of the ball. More than anything, the mentality flipped today. I saw guys wanting to be out there and getting after it. We saw a little fighting after the whistle, which we don't want, but it's good to see that kind of spirit. There were a lot of battles going on out there. Both sides of the ball did a lot of good things.
"We had a bunch of big plays today on offense. McKenzie (Milton) has had an unbelievable spring. He's playing at a whole different level than he was. Tre'Quan (Smith), every time that he's out on the field he makes plays. He looks really good this spring. But the o-line played a lot better. Our running backs were running harder. We were blocking on the perimeter and executed a lot better. When we do those things we can be a dangerous offense."
As for Milton, ample protection from the offensive line has made a world of difference in his continued improvement this spring.
"I think there were some problems that were caused by a lot of different things last year," Frost said. "His mechanics were bad on a lot of things that caused him to miss some easy throws. Part of that was him. Part of that was not giving him enough time in the pocket. It's been a challenge for him to make sure that mechanically he's in the right place with his feet and his weight transfer. But in order to get that done, we have to have a pocket for him to set his feet and throw. Both of those things have been a lot better this spring."
Last year's defense carried with them an attitude and swagger, something the offense struggled to find. As the players have become more comfortable in the system, that desired toughness is finally translating to the offensive side, Frost said.
"Listen, we were young on the offensive line last year. We were thin and we got a couple injuries. We didn't play very well as a unit last year. Those guys have seen it as a challenge. They saw it as a challenge in the weight room. The big thing I saw today was an attitude flip, from just going out there to do my job, to going out there and kicking some tail. If we have that kind of mindset, we're going to be a better team."
Was today the offense's "best day" of spring?
"The defense has looked really good some days," Frost said. "The offense has looked good some days. Offensively, I'd say this was our best day. We still have to watch the tape to evaluate it. Enthusiasm and attitude go so far on a football field. The offense managed to grab it today. It made a huge difference. The best offenses I've ever been around, the offensive line are the leaders of attitude and toughness. We got that today. I want to see it keep up... Today, I don't think there's any question the offense got the better of them."
More highlights from Frost's interview session:
What does he want to see this upcoming season?
"Just continued growth," Frost said. "I say it all the time. I want our football program to mirror this university. This university is young, exciting, innovative and growing. I think we took a big first step of growth last year. But that was only a first step. The things I'm seeing out here this spring make me believe that we're on our way to bigger things."
Earlier in the morning, UCF officially announced the name change of Bright House Networks Stadium to Spectrum Stadium to mirror the recent rebranding of Central Florida's primary cable and internet service company.
"We can't control what happens in the corporate world, but we're thrilled to have Spectrum on board with us," Frost said. "I think that company has been part of this university with the name of the stadium for a while. I'm excited to have a name change and a new brand, but also the same people that are supporting us."
Multiple players and coaches have name dropped redshirt freshman Richie Grant as a standout this spring. He had been playing in a backup safety role, but on Wednesday received reps as a first team cornerback.
"Richie is the kind of guy you want," Frost said. "We redshirted him last year, but we knew we had a player. He's done a great job learning it so he can play safety and he can play corner. He's running around and making a bunch of plays this spring. About as many as anybody in the secondary. I'm excited for his future."
How are the wide receivers looking?
"I just think as a whole we're getting better," Frost said. "Dredrick Snelson looks better. Cam Stewart is better. Manny Greene is brand new on campus, but he's learning and doing some really good things. Tristan Reaves had a good day today. Tristan Payton shows up. Jacob Harris shows up. There's a bunch of guys making plays. That's what we need from that group. We need more depth at a lot of positions, including receiver, so we can get more guys on the field."
Where is Frost seeing the leadership come from?
"Offensively, it wasn't about anybody stepping up because everybody is back. It's about guys getting better at being leaders. Wyatt Miller has done a good job. McKenzie has done a good job. Tre'Quan has done a good job on offense. Defense is kind of replacing leaders. Pat Jasinski and Nate Evans have to be leaders for us. Some guys in the secondary. (Kyle) Gibson has to be a leader for us. Our d-line is experienced, so we need guys like (Jamiyus) Pittman and Tony Guerad to step up and carry the weight on defense."
As it currently stands, Frost is leaning towards keeping the first and second teams together for the April 22 spring game. Last year, they used a draft system to split into two squads.
"We talked about it for the first time yesterday," Frost said. "We're kind of leaning right now towards keeping the ones on one sideline and the twos on the other. We're starting to develop an identity with the one offense that has a bunch of new guys playing together. The one defense has a bunch of new faces in there. We're starting to see some identity out of those two units and we want to see it continue to develop. Right now, we're leaning to having the ones vs. the twos."