#34 UCF Football 2012 Preview

Central Florida Knights

2012 Overall Rank: #34
#1 Conference USA
UCF College Football 2012 Team Preview
UCF Team Page


UCF struggled a bit in Conference USA in 2011.  After nine years at the helm, George O’Leary hopes to turn things around in 2012.  Statistically, his teams are not that bad.  In terms of wins and losses, the Knights have not always been successful.  They were a streaky team that was better at losing streaks than winning streaks.  They return several starters that contributed last season and that experience should help reverse some of their fortune.  All but one of their losses was within a touchdown.  A strong finish to 2012 will likely mean a winning record for the Knights.

2011 Record: (5-7)
2011 Bowl:  None
Coach: George O’Leary (50-51 at UCF, 102-84 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Charlie Taaffe
Defensive Coordinator:  Jim Fleming

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brynn Harvey, RB, 574 yards
Passing: Jeff Godfrey, QB, 1,898 yards
Receiving: J.J. Worton, WR, 531 yards
Tackles: Kemal Ishmael, DB, 81
Sacks: Troy Davis, DL, 5
Interceptions: A.J. Bouye, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Latavious Murray, WR Quincy McDuffie, DB Clayton Geathers, WR Josh Reese, QB Blake Bortles

Key Losses: WR A.J. Guyton, LB Josh Linam, LB Johnathan Davis, DE Darius Nall

UCF was one of the best defensive teams in the country.  The Knights were the best in the conference in all the major defensive categories.  They gave up a stingy 108 yards rushing per game and only 194 yards through the air.  Their opponents only averaged just over 18 points per game against this defense.  With statistics like that, it is baffling why UCF had a losing record in 2011 as a Conference USA team and ranked in the top 10 nationally in several defensive categories.  That should translate into more wins if the offense picks up the slack.  They were also the third best team in the nation at returning kicks at nearly 27 yards per return.

Perhaps the reason the defense was not quite enough for this team to eke out wins was because of the offenses’ inability to hold onto the ball.  They had a negative turnover margin for the season.  Those turnovers most likely account for the difference between winning and losing a one touchdown game.  The offense could also do itself some good by protecting the quarterback.  The line gave up over two sacks per game.  Jeff Godfrey will be better at reading blitzes and defenders in 2012, but he also needs to be afforded some time to drop back.  As good as the defense was they could stand to put more pressure on the quarterback.  They only got to the other team’s signal caller a little over once per game.

The Bottom Line:
UCF certainly has the makeup to have a winning season in 2012.  They were right on the cusp of a positive mark in the win column this past season, but they could not put it all together in games when it counted.  They had a problem finishing the season as they lost three of their last four games.  The Knights are in need more of a Band-Aid than an overhaul.  They only lose a few defenders this year, so the defense should be able to continue to dominate Conference USA.  Godfrey and Harvey need to be better on offense this season, and they should be.  O’Leary has been through this before.  He has the ability to coach his players up.  Look for a UCF turnaround and eight or nine wins is a likely scenario.

Projected Bowl:  Not Bowl Eligible per NCAA

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.75 (43rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense:  238.00 (55, 6)
Total Offense: 406.75 (40, 4)
Scoring Offense: 27.08 (59, 4)
Rushing Defense: 108.83 (16, 1)
Pass Defense: 194.50 (23, 1)
Total Defense: 303.33 (9, 1)
Scoring Defense: 18.33 (9, 1)
Turnover Margin: -.25 (82, 6)
Sacks: 1.33 (100, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (T68, 7)