In the blazing heat of a Florida summer, head coach Scott Frost expects his quarterbacks to be able to run an eight-second offensive setup with nothing but ease.
After addressing the media on Wednesday afternoon for UCF’s annual football media day, Frost addressed issues ranging from a culture change during the days of former head coach George O’Leary to the role of the starting quarterback and what factors will go into deciding who will hold the spot.
“[The quarterback] has to know what the front is,” Frost said. “Who he’s reading, what the blitz could be, how he’s changing protection, the coverages and how that changes a route and his progression.”
“I’ve said it a hundred times. The hardest thing about that is that in our scheme, he has to be able to do all that in about eight seconds. We need guys that are quick blinkers, can process information quickly, and it takes a while.”
With that in mind, Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco have many different options they can choose from ranging from freshman Hawaii native, McKenzie Milton, to senior Justin Holman.
“Every year is different,” Holman said. “There is a new system and there is a new energy level with coach Frost but we are ready for it.”
One of the hot topics at yesterday’s press conference was coach Frost having inside, air conditioned practices versus those in the 95 degrees afternoons.
“We talked to a couple people who are on experts in making sure you keep your team healthy,” Frost said. “I think our first practice we got 119 reps of team, full team drills, or seven on seven drills. Without having them really conditioned for practice, if we did 119 reps out in the heat, we would have guys falling out, we would have had guys pulling muscles, dehydrated.”
It wasn’t until yesterday that the Knights had their first full practice outside on the practice fields.
“I didn’t want to sacrifice the way we practice to prepare our team to try and slow it down and limit the number of reps,” said Frost regarding practicing outside from day one. “The cool environment inside gives us the opportunity to get our work in. A week in, the guys’ bodies are pretty much conditioned to that kind of strain being put on them. Then we went outside for kind of a short practice and then a little longer practice.”
As the press conference went on, it was only a matter of time until reporters started asking the question looming over everyone’s head: where does UCF stand in the Big 12 expansion?
For Frost and his team, it was the last thing on their radar.
“Our team hasn’t talked about it one time; we’re not gonna talk about it,” said Frost. “We’re in a really good football conference right now and I’ve been hired to get us back to the top of that league. I think we’re moving in the right direction to do that. I don’t want our players’ focus anywhere else.”
The Knights open up the 2016 season against South Carolina State at home on September 3, at 7 p.m.