On the UCF matchup :
"Central Florida is a very solid team, very multiple on offense and on defense. They're a team that doesn't beat themselves. They went up to Happy Valley and beat up Penn State and had a very impressive comeback win against Memphis. So, we know our work is going to be cut out for us this week. We're going to have to play very well and that's what we want to do is improve every week. Knowing that, it's going to be a great atmosphere on Friday night. Our fans did a great job on Thursday. I expect them to come back out in full flow and get behind this football team and give us the energy and enthusiasm in this stadium that we need."
On whether Strong thought his players were disappointed or happy with win against Rutgers:
"The thing we have to do and realize here is that we will never ever apologize for a win. I said to our football team, 'Four years ago, we win at Rutgers and I get dunked with Gatorade. We got to a bowl and
we're 6-6. Now, four years later, we beat Rutgers and it's not good enough and we're 6-0.' So, it's all about us and the football team and making sure that we do it the right way and letting our guys know that they have to play well for themselves and for their teammates."
On whether Strong is having "flashbacks" to the 2009 Florida that won, but didn't enjoy it:
"Well, that's what you're saying now, because what is happening is everybody is thinking that we're going to go and blow all these teams out. I go back to that game on Thursday night and we win by 14 points and we had to score late to win the game, but Rutgers is a good football team too. So, let's give them a little credit. Don't think all of a sudden that because we have a quarterback, who's a Heisman, and we're playing so well on defense, that we're just going to go roll out there and beat everyone and be very impressive. I guess I get this sense that who do people really think we are? You think back four years ago and we're bowl eligible; the next year you get bowl eligible. Then, last year we have a big year. Then, this year, everyone is expecting this team to jump out and I don't know what they're expecting, but we're playing the way we're playing and we're undefeated right now."
On what Strong's take is on UCF as opposed to Rutgers:
"They're two different opponents. Rutgers brings a lot of pressure and they were a team that we were very familiar with. Now, with Central Florida, we haven't played them before. They're very solid on
defense. What they do is they don't beat themselves. They line up and they're very gap sound and they make big plays in the secondary. On offense, (Blake) Bortles does a great job of directing the offense.
Storm Johnson is an outstanding running back. They have receivers and the offensive line is a veteran group. It's a senior-laden team on offense and defensively they're still young, but it's a good football team, a very good team."
On if Strong gets tired of defending his team:
"No, because that's what comes with it. Rocco (Gasparro) and I just had a conversation. I said, 'That's
how it was each and every day at Florida when we coached there. That's what happens when you start building a tradition and we're trying to build here within the program and you start winning, then the
standard is raised, but it's great. You want to raise the standard and that's what you want to be a part of. You want to be in those conversations. I'd rather be in those conversations than sitting there saying, 'Oh my God, you're just not a very good team and how do you expect you all are going to play this weekend?' I'd rather be sitting where I'm at right now."
On if there is an advantage for the players to feel underestimated all the time:
"It does. It's almost like 'you're not good enough'. I told them that, 'A lot of you have been told that you're not good enough. A lot of you had to overcome adversity in your lives. Here's another step for you, so the only thing we need to do is continue to improve and get better and not give them what they want.' If we don't go prepare the right way, we slip up and then fall on our face. Then, everyone will say, 'I told you so.'"
On what challenges Blake Bortles presents:
"Bortles went to Oviedo High School. Him and (Florida quarterback) Jeff Driskel actually came out together. He was actually at the school where Driskel was. He ended up transferring over to Oviedo, which is only 10 miles apart. Driskel is the one everyone recruited. Bortles is not going to get rattled at all. I just look at the Penn State game, and in front of that tough crowd and how well he played. He won't be shaken when he comes in here. He does a great job at managing their offense. He is also not afraid to pull the ball down and run with it. With (Gary) Nova, we could keep him in the pocket. The thing that Bortles has is great pocket presence."
On how good UCF is after a win at Penn State and playing South Carolina closely:
"I think they are a really good football team, similar to us. I look at them on offense, they have a good quarterback; we have a good quarterback. They have good receivers; we have good receivers. A lot of their players are similar to our kids - they are from the state of Florida. Teddy and them are going to be familiar with them because a lot of them are their teammates from high school. The matchups are going to be fun and there will probably be a lot of talking because they know one another. Defensively, we are probably a little more aggressive than they are on defense. They are solid though and they are gap sound. They are not going to make mistakes on defense and give up the big home run play. They will keep everything in front of them and tackle the ball and go play the next team. Along with their special
teams is very solid."
On if this game is even bigger than last week:
"This game is a big one. Now we have a stage on a Friday night and you have a team who everyone says is a really good football team. You have two good teams getting ready to matchup against each other, us
and Central Florida. Central Florida was able to go to Penn State and win on the road in Happy Valley. Then they played South Carolina close. Everybody sees what they have done and they see the record,
they think now it is going to be a really good matchup, which is should be and I expect it to be."
On if this team is playing at a significantly higher level than it was last year at this time:
"We are playing at a significant higher level than last year. You look at us this time a year ago, we were playing good on offense and that was it. Defensively, we weren't playing good, and in the kicking game, we weren't playing good. The offense was kind of carrying us. What happened this season is all three phases are playing together. Even if one phase is not playing well, the other phase can pick you up. That
is what has been great about this year. We are six games into it, but we want to continue to get better and continue to improve. Even our players know now when they have played bad. You don't even have to say much to them. They have an accountability and responsibility and they understand it now."
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