MEET THE PRESS: Fritz Previews UCF at Weekly News Conference

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NEW ORLEANS – Listed below is the complete transcript from Green Wave head coach Willie Fritz’s weekly press conference leading up to Tulane’s matchup vs. UCF on Saturday.

Opening Statement:
“Most of my career we have started off well in games, but we did not start off very well against Temple. We were down early. The fight we showed with our guys was good, we never quit. It was a big physical team and we made some mistakes. We did our same bye week pattern that we have done in the past. We just made some mistakes that were pretty simple mistakes. They lined up like we thought they were going to line up. Offensively they gave us a few wrinkles with going in and out, fast substitutions, and different personnel groupings. It took us a little while to get a handle on that. We have to do a better job coming out of the box. We play a great team this weekend. They have lost three very close games. As I have said before, everyone in this conference is very good and certainly that is the case with UCF. They have a lot of explosive weapons on the offensive side of the ball. They have many guys who have played a lot of football for them. The only guy who has not been a returning type starter would be their quarterback and he has really played a lot. He is probably one of the top true freshmen quarterbacks in the country. Defensively, they do not get as much credit as they should. They really do a good job of getting minus plays. You also have some dangerous guys in the return game. We need to come out and play well on Senior Day.”

On UCF as a challenge…
“They are tough. They lost in the very end of the ballgame by a point to Pittsburgh. They went to Cincinnati and had a few turnovers that hurt them, but they barely lost in that game. Tulsa got them at the very end of the ball game by a point. They had a chance to go down and score, so they are just a few plays away from being undefeated again. They go extremely fast. You cannot blink on these guys. They are snapping the ball with 29, 30, 31, I think I saw one of them with 32 seconds, on the play clock. They are number one in pace of play in the country. We have to get lined up quickly and we cannot have a very complicated game plan because they are not real concerned in what you are lined up in. They are going to go quick.”

On the lack of protection for the quarterback against Temple…
“Yeah, we knew that they had really good pass rushers. Unfortunately, we got into a point in the game where we had to drop back to pass and we had to do it over and over. There were some times where we helped with some chip protection with the back or the tight end of that side. That limits your play selection when you do that. That is something we would have liked to have done, if we can get to where we are not in that predicament. When everyone in the stadium knows we’re are going to throw the ball that is tough. That is not when we do great, when we have to drop back to pass 30 to 40 times a game. We did some things, but your menu of plays is really shrunken down. There are some other things that hurt there like the depth of routes by the receivers, a couple times they cut things off too early or too late. The quarterback then has to hold the ball a little longer, so things like that. It certainly was not one or two guys; it was a few guys.”
On the trick play on second and seven that did not work against Temple…
“We were trying to get something going. We had run that type of play earlier and had been successful. They had been biting a little bit on that play in particular.”

On what he thought affected Justin McMillan’s passes…
“It was a little different. It was blowing pretty hard one direction on Saturday. It is hard to replicate that sometimes in practice. A lot of it was protection issues and routes. Like I said before, the depth not being the proper amount or coming off too early played a role. Sometimes it was the throw. There were a lot of factors involved.”

On the physicality of Temple compared to Tulane…
“I was disappointed. We had a tough team meeting yesterday. I was disappointed in our physicality early in the ball game. We still have a long way to go. That is one of the things I was talking to them about. We want to breakthrough and get this thing. If we want that, we have to play well all four quarters. We cannot roll the ball out. We are not even close to being able to do that. For us to win a bunch of games, we have to play well. We did not play well. We did not play the way we needed to play.”

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