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Gus Malzahn Talks Louisville

Coach previews the first road game of the year

Photo: Derek Warden

On Monday, UCF Knights head coach Gus Malzahn met with the media for his weekly press conference where he discussed the Knights’ upcoming road game at Louisville.

Malzahn also addressed many topics during press conference including:

  • UCF’s improvements from the Boise State game to the Bethune-Cookman game
  • Center Matt Lee’s status for Louisville
  • Tre’Mon Morris-Brash’s status
  • UCF’s offensive line play
  • Joey Gatewood’s value to the Knights’ offense.

You can watch the entire press conference with Malzahn on our Black & Gold Banneret YouTube page:

Below is a transcription:

On Louisville:

This will be our first road game. Looking forward to traveling to Louisville. Very impressed with their team. Offensively, it starts with their quarterback.

Malik Cunningham. A guy I actually recruited. He’s started 27 games. He’s a dual-threat guy that can run it and throw it. Has a great composure. Very impressed with him. Defensively, their linebacker, C.J. Avery, I’m familiar with him. I think he’s been their leading tackler the last two years. He really sets the tone for them. What really stands out to me is they’re one of the better teams in time of possession. They were last year. I think they’re in the top 20 this year. That’s a sign of being able to run the football and play solid defense. Their kicker, real impressed with him. It will be a really good test for where we’re at.”The challenge this week is the short week. We had a late Saturday night game. We’ve got to travel. So we did things a little bit different today. We’re going to be wise on the short turnaround. Just looking forward to seeing how our guy responds on the road against a very solid team.

It should be our first road game, looking forward to traveling to Louisville very impressed with our team offensively, it starts with a quarterback, Malik Cunningham a guy that actually I recruited. I think he started 27 games I mean he’s a dual threat guy can run it can throw it has great composure very impressed with defensively there linebacker CJ Avery I’m familiar with him. He’s been there leading tackler the last two years he really sets the tone for him. You know what really stands out to me is either one of the better teams and time of possession in the country they were last year, I think they’re in the top 20 this year that’s a sign of being able to run the football and play solid defense and then the kicker real impressed with him 10 in a row, you know, so it’ll be a really good test with where we’re at, you know that the challenge this week is a short week you know we have a late Saturday night game we’ve got to travel so we had to do things a little bit different today. We’re going to be wise. On the short turnaround and travel and just looking forward to seeing how our guys respond on the road against a very solid team.

On how he thinks Louisville will attack his defense:

It’s going to be a challenge. They run a lot of stretch and outside zone. We’ve not seen a lot of that. That will be a challenge. They’re very good running the football on the edge. Our run defense has been really good so far. The run fits have been good. Up front, we’ve won one-on-one battles. Some two-on-one battles. We’ll definitely need to do that this week against the run game.

On how his staff prepares his team for a road game:

First of all, you’ve got to worry about the crowd noise. Everybody is on top of you at that place. It’s usually really loud so we’ll have to handle the crowd noise first. We’ll do that this week. Short week as far as the travel. Good thing it is a night game, so it gives you a little bit more time. I’m really curious to see how we respond.

On coaching his first road game with UCF:

It’s all about communication on the road. Handling that. The good thing for us is we’ve got a veteran offensive line. We’ve got a veteran quarterback. Veteran running back, so hopefully that will help.

On Louisville QB Malik Cunningham:

He was a really good quarterback in high school and a super young man. He really has a great personality. He’s a guy I’ve always rooted for. Now we get to play against him. Just always impressed. He’s such a great competitor. Just the way he handles his teammates and handles the ups and downs. I’ve always been impressed with him.

On what the defense has to do to contain Malik Cunningham’s running ability:

That’s the challenge. They run the football very well. They run stretch and do other things. They put him on the edge. He’s a really good decision maker. It’ll be a big test for our defense.

On Louisville’s defense:

They’re an attacking defense. They don’t sit back. They like to attack and present some challenges for you offensively. The run game, they’ll try to put an extra guy in the box sometimes and disguise some things. They do a really good job with their personnel I think.

You can also check out what Louisville Head Coach Scott Satterfield had to say about UCF at his press conference on Monday: