Updated on August 1st
The N&O ran quick blog entry on the importance of the Wolfpack’s first game of the season with some focus on UCF Head Coach, George O’Leary. Link to comments.
O’Leary doesn’t have to embellish his resume when it comes to N.C. State. He went 6-1 against the Wolfpack as Georgia Tech’s head coach (1995-2001). The only loss came in 2000, to Philip Rivers, Koren Robinson and Levar Fisher.
UCF is not Georgia Tech but it won’t be a pushover on Sept. 1. The Knights went 4-8 in 2006 but have 17 starters returning, many of whom contributed to UCF’s 8-5 record in 2005.
July 8th Comments
Only EIGHT WEEKS before the 2007 football season kicks off for the Wolfpack who will take the field at Carter-Finley on September 1st at 6pm against George O’Leary’s University of Central Florida Golden Knights.
We’ve got a nice little entry on pre-season conversations about the 2007 football schedules of ACC teams that can be seen by clicking here.
This week, Andrew Jones of the Wilmington newspaper spent some time discussing NC State’s out of conference schedule. Jones projected that the Pack would go 3-1 against Central Florida, Wofford, Louisville and East Carolina. I’ll take that.
The Wolfpack has five games against teams that represent recent tremendous success or big-name programs with national championships in the past eight years. One of those contests is a trip to Boston College, where new N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien held the same post for the past decade.
With expected improved discipline that should reduce the silly mistakes that plagued this program the past few seasons, State should be in position to come out ahead of games it previously lost.
Since the Wolfpack opens with Central Florida – and Wofford doesn’t really count; and Louisville and East Carolina are later on the schedule – then why not spend a couple of minutes highlighting UCF?
Jones penned the following blurb:
Central Florida – Seventeen starters return to a team that went 4-8 a year ago, 3-5 in Conference USA. Senior quarterback Kyle Israel closed last season playing well, and coach George O’Leary expects him to pick up where he left off. Junior tailback Kevin Smith has run for more than 2,000 yards in his career. UCF gave up 40 or more points four times last season. State should win comfortably.
For a real in-depth preview on the Golden Knights you can click here to Fox Sports. The opening of the article reads as follows:
If you had UCF pegged the last three years, nice work, Nostradamus. Under George O’Leary, the Knights have been maddeningly unpredictable, going winless in 2004, recovering with eight wins and a school-first bowl game in 2005, and slumping to 4-8 last year as a preseason favorite to win Conference USA.
How the program responds to last season’s flop depends on the development of the heavy-legged defense, which ranked among the nation’s worst a year ago and might have been far worse had it not closed against four of the league’s most inept offenses in November. O’Leary believes he addressed the speed issue with February’s recruiting class, but most of those kids won’t begin contributing until 2008. That puts the pressure on a reshuffled coaching staff, namely new coordinator John Skladany, to turn dust into gold this fall.
The good news in Orlando is that 16 players who started last November’s finale will be back in 2007, although the pessimist will recall that about the same number returned to start last year’s disappointing season. The better news is the construction of Bright House Networks Stadium, a state-of-the-art, 45,000-seat facility that’ll replace the cavernous Citrus Bowl and be christened on national television when Texas visits Sept. 15. The on-campus stadium represents a great hook for future recruits and a far better college football feel for fans who used to travel downtown to see UCF games.
Recent history says it’s a waste of time trying to predict where the Knights will wind up this season, but what fun would that be? In a watered-down Eastern Division that houses just one above-average team, don’t be shocked if UCF defies the odds again and flirts with bowl eligibility. O’Leary is too good to let things slide for long.