UCF enters this week as a ranked team for the first time since the 2013 season. It's recognition for a solid start, but Scott Frost doesn't want the newfound status taking away from their preparation. In his eyes, there are 11 one-game seasons this year and this is the fourth one coming up against Cincinnati.
Here's everything Frost had to say at his weekly Monday press conference.
On how he addressed the top 25 ranking with his team:
"Absolutely not. We're not going to talk about any of that stuff. In fact, I asked the players what their record was this morning. They knew the answer. It's 0-0. I asked them where we're ranked. They said, 'We're not.' It sounds corny, but they're buying into that. That's what our mindset needs to be. Three wins doesn't get you anywhere. It's what we do from here. We're going to hit the reset button. I told them they've all been losing in Madden and they've hit the reset button on their Playstation or Xbox before. We're just going to hit the reset button and pretend like this is an eight-game season and what we can accomplish."
On players buying into that given social media, etc.:
"We just have to fight the distractions with focus. There's going to be distractions. There's more than there has ever been. We'll keep preaching the right message is. They know what the right frame of mind is. They believe it. They know hard work has gotten them to the point they are now and hard work is going to take them farther down the road. We're going to stick to the same formula and make sure we don't deviate."
On the improving confidence of the team:
"I think the last two wins kind of highlight that. They weren't shocked by what they did in Maryland and they weren't shocked by what happened on Saturday. They were excited. They were happy, but this team expected to win those games. That's a fast turnaround from where we were, where they expect to beat really good teams. I think they're going to expect to win going forward. That doesn't mean we're going to win them all. I know they're going to go into games thinking they can win every one. I think that kind of confidence carries over to success on the field."
On better play in the second half to put away teams:
"I think our play in the second half is due to confidence. It's due to our depth. We have better depth this year and I think we're playing deeper into games. I also think it has to do with our focus. Last year we'd lose our focus. We'd get up on people and we didn't play the same in the second half. Whether it's depth, confidence or just commitment to what we're doing, I've been really impressed with the third quarters we've put together."
On whether there is personal satisfaction of being ranked:
"Satisfaction is the wrong word. I'm happy for the guys. I'm never going to say we're satisfied. That's three games. That's all it is. Saying I'm satisfied is like patting myself on the back. That's what I'm telling the team not to do. Winning is better than losing. All we've done is win three. We're going to keep going and maybe we'll have time to be satisfied at the end of the year."
On UCF competing with the Big Three by being ranked:
"Our staff had a goal when we got here of getting UCF back to where we thought it should be and that's competing for a conference championship every year. I have an unbelievable coaching staff. I can't give them enough credit for the way our guys are playing. I think they've done an unbelievable job turning the page. I think we're on the way to getting where we want to be. That's at least competing for a title in this league every year."
On the job being done by Erik Chinander and the adjustments he made in the Memphis game following their first drive:
"I was a little worried after the first drive. I think they gave us a couple new things. I don't think our kids were quite ready to make the adjustments they know how to take on some of the plays that the speed of Memphis of running the plays. I think after that first drive they settled down a lot. Coach Chinander did a good job adjusting to the things we hadn't seen. They're really good. They still hit us with some plays that we hadn't looked at before. Some things he didn't have the team prepared for. When you run and hit like we did, that erases a lot of problems. Coach Chins has them playing well. He deserves a ton of credit for what's going on."
On the UCF offense vs. Memphis:
"I think the offense is doing enough to get us these wins and to put some points up. We can play a lot better. I was thrilled that we essentially played two o-linemen in spots they weren't used to playing and still had some success. We had to move Jake Brown to right tackle when Wyatt Miller came off. Moved Sam Jackson to left guard. So we had a new right tackle and a freshman left guard and still had a lot of success running the ball and protecting. That's a good sign. We can still execute a lot better. I think we can still be more physical on offense. There's a lot of improvements to make. Defensively and special teams I thought we played pretty well. There's always things you can fix, but we're moving in the right direction in all three phases."
On the UCF running game:
"I think we can get better. We need to get to the point we can run our base stuff and get yards. That comes down to dominating people on the front line and in the trenches, blocking on the perimeter, hit and runs. Right now I think we're making good decisions and the ball is going to the right place. We've got the type of athletes now that can break a big play if they have a little bit of space. I want to see us create space more often."
On the injury status of Wyatt Miller:
"We'll see. Wyatt is coming along. His isn't going to be long. Hopefully we get him back. But I'm thrilled with Sam and Jake and having guys that you trust on the o-line that can come in. That will help us one way or another down the road."
On the play of Adrian Killins:
"AK is a perfect fit for our offense and I think our offense is a perfect fit for him. We're going to keep getting him the ball. Finding creative ways to get him the ball. Some of them are going to work, some of them aren't, but the ones that work are going to be big plays usually because of his talent and his speed. He's fast, but he can also change direction. He's also tough and really strong for his size. He's not a track guy playing football. He's a football kid."
On whether AK is the fastest player in college football:
"I have no idea if he's the fastest player in college football, but I would say he's one of them."
On the improvement of McKenzie Milton:
"It's kind of the progress we'd expect him to make from a freshman year to sophomore year. We threw him into the deep end last year. We weren't expecting to and it happened. He did some great things and some really bad things. This year he's getting us in and out of plays. He's running the offense. He's getting the ball to the right place. Playing with a ton of confidence. He's got an innate ability to create plays, but I think he's being smart this year on when to do that and when not to. I'm thrilled with the play we've gotten from him. He's made a big difference."
On when he thought things clicked for McKenzie:
"He had a great spring ball, to be honest with you. His spring was head and shoulders better than his freshman year, so we kind of knew then. He had a really good fall camp too. It's been more of a gradual development than anything. His confidence is a lot better than it was a year ago just because of his familiarity with what we're doing. He's trusting himself and making quick decisions. He's got the type of mind that can process things really quickly and that's what you need to run this offense."
On his impressions of Cincinnati:
"I think they're a good team. I was impressed with them last year when we played them, even though we beat them. I was impressed with their talent. I think they're good up front on the d-line. I think they're a big and strong group on both sides of the ball. They've got some guys that can really run. I know Coach Fickell is a really good coach. I've coached against him before so I have no doubt they'll get that thing going. This is going to be a challenge. We're going up to that place. Not an easy place to play. Night game. We're going to have to earn this one. They're sound in everything they do, so they're not going to give you a lot of freebies. We're going to have to earn everything we get on both sides of the ball. Our preparation is going to lead to success."
On whether Cincinnati will see a bullseye on UCF's chest with the ranking:
"You guys want to keep putting these things on it. I don't want our kids thinking about any of that. I want them to understand if we practice well Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we have a good chance of playing well on Saturday. It's a new opponent every week. Every week becomes the biggest game of the year. Right now this is the only thing I want our kids focusing on. Success is going to lead to people playing up when they play us. But we're only three games into this thing right now. That's why I want them starting over thinking this is the first game of the year. We've got to go prove ourselves again."
On instilling the mentality to not think about rankings:
"We've got some really good leaders on this football team and I don't think those guys will let guys start talking that way. The leadership I've seen from Pat Jasinski, Shaquem Griffin, Wyatt Miller and a bunch of other guys, they're not going to let this group lose focus. Our formula has been working to this point, making us a better football team. I think they understand if we stick to that, that gives us our best chance."
On RB Otis Anderson:
"I'm really impressed with Otis and his development as a freshman. We're playing him basically at three different spots right now and he's come in and learned all those. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands. A little bit like AK. He's a really good route runner and has really good hands. We can hand him the ball. He gives us one more weapon. I've been thrilled with his progress so far."
On the development of CB Brandon Moore:
"That game Saturday was as hard a game as you can play as a corner. You have to cover pass routes. You have to come up and tackle. You have to stay disciplined and not come off your guy when it looks like they're running and they're throwing RPOs. I thought our corners played really good football. They were going to get some plays. They have some really talented receivers and a quarterback with an NFL arm. That was a challenge for those guys. I thought Brandon Moore held his own. Had a really good game. Mike Hughes is a difference maker for us. Some other guys got some chances and did some good things too. Corner was one of the positions we were worried about coming into the year and we feel a lot better about it now."
On limiting teams on third down:
"I think it's just the whole group playing together and playing as one. Coach Chinander and Dawson and Dewitt and Coach Fisher getting the guys all on the same page. We've got some really good pass rushers when we want to bring some pressure and we have guys who can cover when we want to drop into zone. I think the safeties, Gibby and Tre, are doing a really good job of communicating and making sure everybody is in the right coverage and understanding what we're trying to get done on defense. Gibby has made some great plays too. Those guys have been invaluable to us. I thought Memphis had a couple chances to turn that game into a dogfight. Sack fumble by Shaq and a pick by Gibby, those type of plays really flipped it in our favor. I think the defensive success on third down is kind of a byproduct of all the work they've been doing to make sure they're sound and on the same page.
On UCF leading the nation in turnover margin:
"I didn't know that. I think every day our defensive staff really puts emphasis on creating turnovers. I think we've got some guys with a nose for the football. Offensively, we've got a quarterback that's making a lot better decisions and not putting it on the ground. I was disappointed in my decision to throw the ball on that third and goal from the 17 or whatever. I should have been smarter. I thought McKenzie should have been smarter with the football. As a whole, he's making really good decisions with the ball right now. He's not putting us positions where teams can create turnovers on us. Turnover margin is the biggest stat in football, so I'm thrilled to hear that. We're going to keep trying to take it away and keep trying to protect it."
On the energy level at the end of games:
"I think we're fresh right now. I think we handled camp the right way and we came into the season fresh. With the hurricane coming, we kind of got some time off earlier than I thought we would. I couldn't be happier, other than a couple injuries that couldn't be helped, I couldn't be happier with where our team is from a physical standpoint. The challenge is we have eight more in a row without a bye week, so we're going to be smart as football coaches to make sure we get them as prepared as we can but keep them as fresh as we can."
On Cincinnati's coach being in his first season:
"We went through it last season being our first year. It takes a while. You can see it starting to come with them. They're playing disciplined. They're sound. You can see his mark starting to be made on that football team. Inevitably the results are going to fall after that. I have a lot of respect for that program and their coaching staff. I know they're going to get it to the point that they're a really good team. Kind of glad we're catching them when we're catching them because I've been down that road before as a first-year coach. It just takes a while to get everything implemented."
On where Frost has improved as a coach in his second year:
"I seem comfortable right now? I think everybody in our program is better at their job this year than they were a year ago. Our quarterback is better. Our d-line is better. Our equipment manager is better. He's done an unbelievable job. Julio, the guy in our building who helps clean up after us, is sensational. He's one of my friends. He's probably better this year than last year. We're not different than anybody else. Our players understand everything better and so do the coaches."
On the Monday effort at practice:
"I loved our attitude today. It was a great start to the week. They came back looking like a team that was ready to go back to work. That's really promising for a coach to see."