George O'Leary says UCF has formulated "alternative plans" in the event the Iceland volcano alters next week's travel to Ireland.
In 2010, an Icelandic volcano eruption and the resulting ash cloud led to the cancellation of more than 100,000 flights in and out of European airspace. The alert level of the Bárdarbunga volcano has been raised to "red," indicating the beginning stages of an eruption, but so far it's been contained under ice with no visible signs on the surface.
"In all of my life, I never worry about things I have no control over," O'Leary said Saturday afternoon. "I have no control over a volcano, electricity, hurricanes. I don't worry about them. We have alternative plans. If that occurs, then that's something that occurs. You can't fly, you can't fly. Right now we're getting ready to hit somebody else and get to Ireland."
Asked if that alternative plan could mean hosting Penn State in Orlando at Bright House Networks Stadium, O'Leary smirked and offered one of his trademark zingers.
"I think we're going to move the game to Iceland," he said.
A repeat of the 2010 scenario is considered remote. UCF is scheduled to depart for Dublin Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"Practice is going really good," O'Leary said. "The kids are getting into the game plan. The heat down here has been tremendous, but the kids are working through it. I've been real pleased... I treat it just like a bowl game. The game plan will be finalized Monday. Tuesday we'll practice. The plan leaves I think at 7. We'll leave around 5 o'clock from the Wayne Densch building. Eight hours of sleep, that's what most of the players will probably get. The game plan will be in and we'll practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday there. Then tee it up on Saturday."
A typical travel squad consists of around 65 players. O'Leary said they're taking 77.
"I'm taking the two-deep, some specialists that are on different units that help us out and some other players that have been in the program for a while, walk-ons that deserve to go," O'Leary said.
One welcome change will be the temperature difference. Orlando has seen highs in the upper 90s the past week. It's about 40 degrees cooler in Dublin.
"I think the kids will be real happy about it," O'Leary said. "It'll be in the 60s there. Should be a nice day if you listen to the meteorologists as far as the game day. It could rain. It could do anything. Again, I have no control over that. You've just got to go out and play football and utilize the game plan."
As for the team, O'Leary noted it was a positive development having center Joey Grant back in action. He had been limited during camp while he continued to recover from offseason shoulder surgery and was cleared for full contact this past Monday, solidifying a first team offensive line that should include Grant at center, Torrian Wilson at left tackle, Tarik Cook at left guard, Colby Watson at right guard and Michael Campbell at right tackle.
"I think the offensive line, there's no question you can see the difference with (Grant) at center from a chemistry and a call standpoint. That's great. As I said to the team and the coaches, you're only as good as your two-deep. You're an ankle away or a shoulder away from coming in and playing. Everybody has to know the game plan and get ready to go."
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