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Thoughts from Coach Malzahn's Press Conference

Topics for today will be regarding the scrimmage overall, how and why the defense played well, the defensive line living up to expectations, and remembering the legendary Bobby Bowden.

Fall camp truly starts when a college football program goes through its first scrimmage. All the anxiety of actually executing the plays that team members worked on all off season, the time in the weight room, running 110 yard timed sprints, and watching film, each of those categories came to fruition.

Following the scrimmage, UCF Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn discussed several topics about the team with the media. Amongst all of the different areas discussed, here are four important points to touch upon.

100 Plays: More Running Plays, by Design

The heat of Orlando and Coach Malzahn’s penchant for wanting to run the football came together with the scrimmage. 100 plays, that’s a lot. Which players would handle the weather first off, and next, be physical football players? Those two aspects represent UCF Football moving forward, as Coach Malzahn’s teams generally want to hammer the football between the tackles and mix in run-pass option plays thereafter.

Doing those things with a heat index near 100 degrees during this time of year takes its toll on the human body. Coach Malzahn often mentions “Who handles adversity and who handles success.” During the scrimmage, the heat and competition likely helped Coach Malzahn and the offensive staff figure out at least a few of the key offensive lineman and running backs for this fall. That needed to be a focus of fall camp, as it should be.

No one should be surprised that Coach Malzahn stated, “More running plays, by design.” Quite the contrary, it would have been surprising if star quarterback Dillon Gabriel would have aired it out all practice long. He’s a star player. Everyone knows he’s a great passer. There’s no need to overdo it with something that’s already really good. Therein lies another reason to concentrate on the rushing attack, and it should be discussed more tomorrow.

During Thursday’s after practice access, there will be players available to answer questions from media members. Whether it’s offensive line, tight end, running back, Gabriel, etc., look for some more details to come out about the rushing attack. Further, look for an article about UCF’s running backs and the depth chart within the next week.

“The Defense Had a Very Good Day”

Just the way Coach Malzahn started the press conference, that told a story by itself. He was very optimistic, high energy, and was especially happy when he first began to speak about the defensive players.

While some people may feel there’s very little to be learned from Coach Malzahn’s body language and even his statement about the defense having a good day, do consider that he is an offensive coach. That’s his side of the ball.

For Coach Malzahn to go out of his way to praise the defense, multiple times mind you, that’s encouraging overall, and it’s especially a good sign considering how many defensive transfers came to UCF plus Kalia Davis coming back to the program after sitting out last season. It would not have been surprising if the defense did not have much chemistry with all the new faces. As for the key unit, no surprise there either.

Defensive Line as Advertised

Get ready to hear about the defensive line over and over and over.

This is not a traditional group of players for the AAC Conference. This is a group that’s likely physically ready for ACC or SEC play. Experience, size, speed, and players attempting to make a name for themselves to reach the NFL are all a part of the defensive line rotation, that would be the UCF defensive line depth chart.

No need to even go into names. Coach Malzahn just mentioning the “Depth” and talking about the first two defensive line units was what people should have expected. Boring is okay, as it relates to hearing about the defensive line all season long. That means other teams are going to have to struggle to get past all the talent along the UCF front wall.

Touching on Coach Bowden and His Legacy

For those of us that grew up with college football in the 1980s and 1990s, Florida State Football was huge. It was built primarily by one man. Did not matter where one lived, did not matter one’s affiliation with Florida State, everyone knew about Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden.

Former Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden

Former Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden

He was a gentle soul, a Christian, a man that loved his players and coaches, as well as his family and friends. He will be missed by anyone that came in contact with him or simply grew accustomed to seeing him on the sidelines for the ‘Noles. One of those individuals would be Coach Malzahn.

He discussed Coach Bowden at length and how he wanted to pattern himself after Coach Bowden. That’s a huge statement and a compliment to Coach Bowden and his family. After listening to Coach Malzahn provide several positive comments about Coach Bowden and what he meant to him, please take a moment and be thankful for a person or coach in your life, whomever that may be, that’s made an impact.

Coach Bowden was and still is a good person to use as an example of kindness and willingness to help many people during his lifetime. May he rest in peace.

You will find me on Twitter @fbscout_Florida and @UCF_FanNation

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