Coming off an impressive 38-10 win at Maryland, UCF (2-0) now sets their focus on Memphis (3-0) and the opening of league play in the American Athletic Conference. Saturday's game, delayed three weeks due to Hurricane Irma, will kick off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Here's everything UCF head coach Scott Frost had to say at his weekly Monday press conference.
On what he liked about his team in the win at Maryland:
"I liked their attitude their best I think. They went up there with an attitude that they expected to win. I think that's a big step in the progression of this whole thing. Those guys expecting to win a game like that. The effort was unbelievable on both sides. I thought our guys played hard. They knew their assignments. We're doing some good things on both sides of the ball and special teams. It was a team win. Everybody was excited, but like I said I think they feel like they expected to win that game and they still have more to prove."
On the status of RB Jawon Hamilton:
"We'll know more about Jawon here coming up. I think it's a significant injury. I don't know how long it'll be yet. He's such a good kid and such a good teammate that you hate to see anything like that happen to our kid or their quarterback. Unfortunately that's part of the game, but you hate to see it. Those kids are working hard to be good at something and giving so much effort that it's heartbreaking to see that happen."
On adapting the prior game plan to Memphis:
"Well, we've got two more games to watch so there will be some changes in the game plan, but I think the majority of what we had prepared for them we'll go ahead and go with. Our kids are already familiar with a lot of that stuff. It helps us prepare this week and hopefully be even better on assignments. We'll start using that game plan this week, see what we want to keep and take out and see which new things we want to add."
On the RB depth behind Jawon:
"Injuries are part of the game. We have a couple guys hurt. I know Memphis has some guys hurt. You've got to try to adapt to it. We've got some good guys at the running back position. I think that's one of the positions we have quite a bit of depth. Taj did a good job in the game. Adrian Killins can play the position. We'll have to lean on Cordarrian and Otis to grow up even faster and take on an expanded role. I think all those guys are capable of doing what we need them to do."
On the improvement in the running game:
"I think we're getting better every day on the o-line. They opened up some holes for us in the run game. The schemes helped, but those guys created some of those holes. I think the protection has been really good. McKenzie has had time to set his feet and throw the ball. We made some big plays in the passing game. Our o-line is going to keep getting better. I think the first couple games this year has shown their progress."
On the Monday practice:
"I thought it was great. Like I said, I don't think they spent that much emotion after a win like that on Saturday because I think in their minds they were going to win that game. We had fun. We enjoyed the win. But guys came back ready to go to work today. We had a good start to the week this morning. Tomorrow and Wednesday will tell a lot about where we'll be come Saturday. If today is any indication, the guys are ready to get back to work and try to keep getting better."
On the team's maturity:
"They responded. I don't know if we were ready to hold on to a win against a good team last year. This year we were in the same situation at halftime that we were in a couple times last year and we didn't finish it. Guys came out after halftime, got a stop and got a score. That really gave us the separation we needed in the football game. I think we have more depth this year which is going to help us be a better third and fourth quarter team. But we also have a better mindset. I think that showed up on Saturday. The guys were ready to go back out and try to outplay a team again in the second half."
On McKenzie Milton's decision making:
"If you look at last year's Maryland game vs. this year's Maryland game, it's a completely different guy at quarterback. We were sloppy with the ball. Ball was bouncing all over the place a year ago against Maryland. That was at home. So being able to go on the road against a really good defense and do what he did. His numbers weren't huge, but he made plays when we needed to make plays. There were some big throws to get drives started. Some big throws that got us down in the red zone. A couple key runs and decisions to hand the ball off on third down that helped us keep drives alive. Quarterbacks in this offense can be playmakers, but more than anything they need to make quick decisive decisions and make the right decision and I thought he did a good job of that."
On the defensive performance:
"We really ran and hit. If you've got a defense that will run and hit like that, you're going to be able to stop a lot of things. I saw the guys flying around and really their guys too. Early in the game I thought it was a real battle. We had some things I thought were there and the gaps closed fast. They had some runs and some scrambles and some things that were going to hit us and we closed the gaps fast. Our guys ran to the ball. They communicated well. I really love how we approached trying to get a lot of hats to the ball in tackling."
On NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem and the platform college players have:
"We live in a country where everybody is free to have their own opinion and everybody is free to voice that opinion in any way that they want to. I cherish that about this country. I traveled a lot of places in this world and I don't think there's a better country in the world. It's not a perfect country. There's a lot of things we can still fix. People are trying to use their voice to get some things they don't like fixed. That's about all I want to say. If I thought my opinion on the matter would make any difference I'd have a stronger opinion. Those things are going to happen. There's going to be social change in this country and people have the right to do what they believe. I'm kind of glad in college we stay in the locker room before the game. I think it helps not be distracted."
On what it would mean to have the stadium packed on Saturday vs. Memphis:
"I'm ready to see the place packed. I think our team has done enough to earn a full stadium. It's going to be a great game. I think this is going to be one of the marquee games of this conference year. Memphis is a really good team. They have a really good win under their belt. I think we're getting better every week and we have a really good win under our belt. This should be a great football game. They've got a lot of great football players. We've got some really good football players. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch. Our kids are looking forward to it. I hope we have a packed house."
On the defensive line in the Maryland game:
"I think it showed up Saturday. Our d-line played well. They were a team that came in averaging a lot of yards per rush and a lot of yards rushing. I think they had 42 yards. That speaks to our pursuit to the football, but it also speaks to the guys up front. We rolled a lot of guys in there and got a lot of production from a bunch of guys. I think Jamiyus had a really good day with his sacks. Across the board, Trysten and Tony and Seyvon and A.J. and Hayes-y, all those guys played well. We kept those guys fresh by rolling them in and out. I was really pleased with the production we got from the front."
On Joey Connors calling a DL film meeting:
"I didn't know until you said. What I saw the other day was rare. That's the commitment level our guys have right now. That shows you how much they care. We've got a bunch of guys that want to see this thing be successful and they're pouring everything they have into it. Any time you're part of something bigger than yourself and you recognize that sacrificing yourself for the betterment of a team, group or cause, you see how much fulfillment there is in that. I think our guys are starting to understand that. We're getting 100 percent buy in from a lot of guys."
On the play of the secondary:
"I think we're getting some really good leadership in the secondary from our safeties. Tre Neal and Gibby are the shot callers back there and they're making plays. They both tackled really well and got us in the right defense a lot. Mike Hughes has been a big addition. He's a guy we can trust on one corner to make plays and try to lock someone down. I think he's just a really good football player. I think Brandon Moore will get better every week. He's doing some really good things. Making a few mistakes here and there, but he's really talented and I expect him to get light years better every time he goes out on the field. I think we've got some good depth back there. Chris Johnson is doing some good things. We've got a couple other corners I think can play. Richie Grant is a guy we can put in. Collier is a guy we can put in at safety. We have more depth in a lot of places than we did a year ago and some really good leadership as well."
On the progress of RB Cordarrian Richardson:
"Cordarrian is a guy with a lot of talent. When he really decides to do, he's tough to tackle and tough to bring down. Sometimes it takes freshmen a while to figure it out. Looking forward to the day he has it completely figured out because he's going to be a load to tackle."
On the Memphis offense:
"I think their quarterback Ferguson is one of the best players in the country let alone this conference. I think they've got a lot of weapons on offense with some running backs that can really make big plays. A couple big-play receivers. They've got a returner that's one of the best in the country. I've really seen some improvement on their defense from what I watched before, in these past two games. I think they're flying around better. They really looked good against UCLA with the way they ran to the ball. They were sound and doing some good things. I think they're a well-coached team. I think they have a bunch of talent. I think they're a threat to compete for the conference championship. It's a great opportunity for us."
On TE Jordan Akins:
"I don't think we saw the best of Jordan last year coming off the ACL from the year before. He's put on a bunch of weight and he looks faster and more explosive. He's got elite ball skills and route-running ability and we're starting to see that. What I appreciate is he's starting to block better too and that's been a big part of the improvement in the run game. So he's done some really good things for us. He's an asset and a weapon for us on offense."
On the difficulty of following up a good performance with another good performance, and preventing a letdown:
"I don't think our players are buying in to people talking about us being good yet. We're certainly not going to let them do that. One of the dangers of winning a big game is simply probably spending so much emotion on that game that you don't have a lot left in the tank. That's one of the things I appreciated on Saturday. We spent our time enjoying it in the locker room. It was certainly a pleasant flight home. But our guys didn't act like they won the Super Bowl. I think they went up there with the mindset they expected to win it. When you win one you expect to win, you don't spend as much energy and emotion on it. Our guys showed up ready to go to work again today. I said before that game that was one of several opportunities we were going to have this year to beat a really good team. Our players understand that the next opportunity comes this week. I don't want our guys reading papers, looking at the internet or anybody that's patting them on the back right now. I don't think we have guys who are going to pat themselves on the back. I think they're hungry to accomplish more. This next week is another great opportunity for us to take another step."
On the best dancer amongst the staff:
"I got asked that question beforehand. Troy showed me some things I've never seen before. I've been around Greg Austin a lot and I've seen him dance quite a bit. He's remarkably nimble for a big man. We might have to have a dance-off if we get another couple big wins. I want to see more people involved. I'd love to see Mario and Dawson out there. I'd like to see what they have."