ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – Following Thursday’s practice, UCF head coach Josh Heupel met with the media for the final time before the Knights take on SMU Saturday, 7 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium.
The Knights have started the 2018 season 4-0 under Heupel with one American Athletic Conference victory under their belt, defeating UConn 56-17 in the opener back on Aug. 30. This week UCF finally gets back to league play as the matchup with the Mustangs begins seven straight conference games to end the regular season.
“It is chapter two inside the league,” Heupel said of Saturday’s contest. “Obviously we have goals for the end of the season, but we have to take them one-by-one, and this will be a big test for us Saturday night.”
Like UCF, SMU is also in its first season with its head coach. Sonny Dykes took over in Dallas after Chad Morris accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas. Although it’s a conference foe, because both staffs are new, the only real familiarity will be between the players on the field.
“Their personnel has familiarity with our personnel,” Heupel said. “Coaching staff is different to them. It’s different to us as well, but the players have an understanding of who they’re going to be playing across from, a little bit.”
Sometimes that can make game planning a bit more difficult, because there’s less of a history to look at on film.
“It can be more challenging,” Heupel said. “Because there are more things in the arsenal that they can pull from than what you’ve seen on tape.”
At the end of the day, Heupel has great respect for the Mustangs head coach, and knows SMU will be ready to play in Orlando on Saturday.
“Coach Dykes does a great job,” Heupel said. “I’ve known him for a long time. You can see their team getting better every single week.”
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