Spring practice is officially underway for UCF Football and the team is wasting no time getting back to work. The Knights are undefeated no more and their eyes are now set on the 2018 season. With new coach Josh Heupel and his staff taking the reigns for the first time in practice this week, new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon addressed the media after the second day of practice regarding the first couple days spent with the team.
Question: How has it been the first couple days getting to know the new guys that you are gonna be coaching?
It’s been good, it’s been fun. You know like anything else you learn and you teach, and you get to know other people, get to know the players and they get to know you. It’s all about having fun and enjoying what you like to do and those guys are just doing a really good job of being who they are. Being people and great men and great gentlemen that represent UCF. So, it’s kind of great to be around.”
Question: When you got the job last year did you watch any film to see what you had to work with or are you just starting off spring with a clean slate?
“I’m a clean slate kind of guy. You know you try to watch film and all that stuff and then you get mixed reviews. I always tell everybody that every year somebody gets better. That every spring, every fall, every summer, somebody’s getting better. So you give everybody a clean slate, you go in and talk and communicate, you go through drills, you go through the off-season program, and then you have your meeting time that is allowed and you see what they learn and see what they can know. And you have to adapt as coaches, sometimes you want players to be able to adapt to what you want to get done and teach them to understand what to get done. So that’s been fun.”
Question: Heupel said yesterday that one of the challenges of coming into a program is that there has to be a “give” and a “take” between players and the coaches. What’s been that give and that take that you’ve had to have coming in?
“I don’t know if it’s been give and take, you know like anything else, we can’t live in the past. You know, like I told the guys, as a group I asked the guys on defense ‘What you think is the best defense I’ve ever coached?’ and all the guys said what came to mind and the best players, named guys that I’ve coached, and I said, ‘No, the best players I’ve ever coached is the guys in this room. The best defense I’ve ever coached is the defense in this room.’ And when you get their mindset to understand, like ‘hey lets let the past go, and lets go for the future’ and then we building on it, then that’s the give and take. Leave what we did in the past and let’s build on it and go to the next level.”
Question: Have you identified guys who maybe would’ve been outside linebackers in the previous defense who might be suited to be quote on quote defensive ends?
“No, no we left guys in their same positions. We haven’t changed anybody, haven’t did anything. We just running defense and seeing what guys can execute. You know, I could come in and say we want to run this certain kind of defense, but if you don’t have the personal that can execute it, you don’t need to run it, so you just gotta see what you have for a couple of days and then adapt to what they can do and what you see fits and then you know if you have something to work with.”
Question: At what point do you guys feel like you know what you have personnel wise?
“You never know. You never know. Injuries can happen, things can happen, so you always got to keep coaching and develop them as far as getting depth on the football team. We got a lot of guys that returned on this defense, a lot of guys that returned on this team, but like anything you have to build depth, and the more depth that we build on this team they better off we are going to know what we have to work with…”