Troy Walters: Offense was firing on all cylinders
UCF's vision for offensive productivity was on full display in the 51-23 victory last weekend at Cincinnati.
The Knights scored on every possession - seven touchdowns and one field goal - before the game was called early due to inclement weather.
Holding his seven-month-old daughter Landri, offensive coordinator Troy Walters recapped that performance, the continued development of the wide receivers and explained what it's like working for an offensive mastermind like Scott Frost.
Reflecting on last week, it's hard to play much better, scoring on every possession.
"That was one of the best offensive performances I've been a part of. Across the board. Any time the punter doesn't step on the field you're doing good things. Then you're scoring seven of eight touchdowns. Time of possession, 15 minutes and we scored 51 points. Guys were clicking on all cylinders. It started really at the beginning of the week. We had a great Monday, great Tuesday, great Wednesday. Great preparation. Great Thursday. The guys knew exactly what to do. They knew the looks we were going to see and they executed a game plan. I think it gave them confidence if we're on our game, we're hard to stop and we can put up a lot of points."
We asked you a couple weeks ago when the offense was scoring a lot and we thought it was a pretty good day and you were like, 'We can be a lot better than this.' Is this sort of like the pinnacle of what this offense can be?
"I told the guys, 'This is who we are.' When we execute and do things the right way with detail and fundamentals and enthusiasm and play hard, then we're going to put up points. We're going to have opportunities to do. We still left a few out on the table. Now it's about staying grounded. Understand the formula. That's about the work we put in during the week. If we put that work in during the week then game day will take care of itself."
How satisfying was it for you to see the receiver group step up?
"Very proud of the guys. They know that any given Saturday, any given game, your number may be called. When your number is called, you've got to make a play. The guys work hard. All my receivers work hard. So for them to be rewarded on game day, it's fulfilling and it feels good. It shows that hey, I've got to be ready to go. I told the whole offense, the twos and threes, you have to be ready. Everybody in this room has to be ready because injuries are going to happen. We're in a championship run. We need everybody. When your number is called, you've got to step in and we can't miss a beat."
How is Marlon Williams doing now that he's getting a little more playing time?
"The more he plays, the better he gets. I think you saw his versatility Saturday night. He has three touches and they've all been big plays this season. We're going to continue to find ways to get him the ball and factor him in. Not only is a good receiver, but he's probably our best blocker. We're going to move him around to create big plays in the blocking and then he's just a strong, physical player so when the ball is in the air he's going to go get it. He's just scratching the surface. I'm excited about his progress."
A couple big plays from your receivers as running backs last week. Is that something you practice a lot?
"That's kind of what this offense is about. It's about creating mismatches. We want receivers that can line up in the back field. We want running backs that can line up outside as receivers. We want tight ends that can line up on the line as well as outside. We want guys that can do multiple things. If we can get those types of players, it puts stress on the defense. They don't where they're going to be. They don't know what personnel we're in. We practice it a lot. It adds a little excitement for the guys that they know that at any given point they could be at running back, or Marlon lining up at tight end. We have the flexibility of moving guys around."
How do you prevent a letdown after last week?
"You know what I did? We went back to Aug. 8 and we had a scrimmage in that stadium. And we looked pitiful. I go back to last year when we weren't very good. I'd always remember, look where we came from. We got here because of hard work. We got here because of trust in the system. Trust in the coaches. Understanding the game plan. If we get off track, then we'll be right back to where we were. I think the guys realize we weren't very good last year. We don't want to be back there. So the guys are focused. Had a great Monday, a great Tuesday. I don't think we'll experience any type of letdown."
You won the Biletnikoff Award in college. Tre'Quan Smith is on the watch list. What does it take to win it?
"Big games. Consistency. It's not having four touchdowns one game and then not doing anything the next three games. It's about every game being the best out there. That's what I challenge him. Every game, be the best receiver out there. If you do that, you'll give yourself a chance. And your team has to win. When I won it, we were 8-3 and won the PAC-10 that year so we played on national TV and had some notoriety. You've got to be on a good team to win that. With us being 4-0 and where we're going, he'll get the attention. We'll get the attention. You just take it one game at a time, but you've got to be the best receiver on the field that day."
It seems like every game there's a different player stepping up for the offense. How big is that so the defense can't key in one single player?
"It's huge. When you can spread the ball around and you have multiple guys that can make plays, it puts stress on the defense. They don't know who to focus on. They can't double any one player. It feels good as a coach because everybody on offense, man, we work hard. Everybody on this team works hard. So for guys to have success in the game, it's the fruit of their labor. It always feels good when multiple guys have success. That's what we'll need the rest of the year to be successful."
With all the blowouts, is there a concern about when the team does face adversity?
"No. We put them through adversity in fall camp, last spring, this summer. We go against the defense every week. It's tough sledding. I have no doubt in my mind that if we face a close game or adversity we'll rise to the occasion. I think we're tough. I think last year helped us out a lot. Those games we were up and we ended up losing. We're battle tested. If we do have a close game, and we will, we'll be ready to go."
Coach Frost says he always memorizes the call sheet. Is that normal and what's it like working with him as an offensive mind?
"It's awesome. He's one of the best offensive minds I've been around. Any time you're a coordinator, you have to know what the game plan is. We put a lot in during the week and Friday, Saturday you go back and fit the pieces together. When are we going to call this play? How are we going to set up this play? That's what he's looking at. He's not looking at the current play, he's looking at the next play. We'll call a play to set up for the next play. First play might only get two yards, but it's to set the next play which might be a touchdown. He's helped me be a better coordinator. He's helped all of us on offense know how to set up plays and be better coaches. It's awesome. A privilege to work with him and learning from him."
How have you seen the chemistry develop between McKenzie and Tre'Quan?
"It's been awesome. It really goes back to the summertime and fall camp. Those guys really set up a connection. I tell the receivers all the time, if the quarterback can't trust you, he's not going to throw it to you. I think he trusts Tre'Quan when the ball is in the air that he's going to make a play. I think he has trust with all the receivers. But most times, quarterbacks have that one guy. As a play caller, Tre'Quan is our guy. So we're going to find ways to put him in position to be successful. When his number is called, he's made plays."