With a little more than a week remaining before 12th-ranked Central Florida’s Peach Bowl clash with No. 7 Auburn, the rhetoric is beginning to increase. At least from the UCF side.
Anyone who has watched this version of Knights’ football knows they bring team speed into the mix. Lots of it.
Running back Adrian Killins, Jr. believes this will give UCF an advantage over the Tigers on New Years Day and said so. He also poked the Southeastern Conference in general.
“SEC football doesn’t have a lot of speed, honestly, so Auburn hasn’t seen any speed the way we have here,” Killins said. “So, I would say they’re in for a rude awakening because UCF football, we’re UCFast and UCFierce,”
Nothing wrong with confidence, but outgoing Knights’ Coach Scott Frost had to cringe on that one. He chalked it up to youth.
“Sometimes when you’re young, you say things you shouldn’t say,” Frost said. “I’m always going to back our players and I don’t know if there’s a player in the country as fast as Adrian Killins. They have a lot of big guys that can run.”
For their part, Auburn took everything in stride.
“I give them credit,” Auburn senior safety Stephen Roberts wisely responded. “They’re a great team and they got good speed, but, we’re coming out to play.”
“They do have good speed and we’ll have to respect that,” said freshman defensive back Jordyn Peters. “We just have to go out there and do our job.”
It should be noted that Auburn handled the speed of Alabama and Georgia, two of the four College Football Playoff participants. The Tigers gave each team their only loss of the season and will be trying to do the same to UCF.
Innocent comments can also be blown out of proportion if the other side allows that to happen. For example, Frost recently said UCF was ahead of Auburn in-game preparations.
“Auburn didn’t even practice for this game until (last) Saturday,” Frost told reporters in Orlando on Tuesday. “We practiced (last) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with almost an entire staff. “We have more coaches at practice, we’re practicing on the exact same schedule that we did (while at Oregon) trying to get ready for these games.”
Frost was obviously not trying to say Auburn was taking the Knights lightly, but instead attempting to demonstrate the intense preparation UCF is making for the game. Tigers’ coach Gus Malzahn avoided getting into a back-and-forth with Frost.
“(I) don’t get too much into that,” he said. “Their head coach probably got asked was he distracted from taking that (Nebraska) job and his defense mechanism probably came back like that. But I got a lot of respect for him and he’ll have his team ready.”
Both coaches understand the winner will be determined on the field, not on the sports pages.