#64 UCF Football Preview

UCF Knights

Overall Rank: #64
#3 Conference USA

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2010 Record: (11-3, 7-1)
2010 Bowl: Liberty Bowl vs. Georgia (W 10-6)
Coach: George O’Leary (45-44 at UCF, 97-77 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Charlie Taaffe
Defensive Coordinator: John Skladany

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ronnie Weaver, RB, 834 yards
Passing: Jeff Godfrey, QB, 2,159 yards
Receiving: A.J. Guyton, 353 yards
Tackles: Kemal Ishmael, S, 93
Sacks: Darius Nall, DE, 8.5
Interceptions: Kemal Ishmael, S, 2; Josh Robinson, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: G Theo Goins, DT Victor Gray, RB Brynn Harvey, LB Josh Linam, G Cliff McCray, WR Quincy McDuffie, RB Latavius Murray, TE Adam Nissley, OT Nick Peischel

Key Losses: WR Kamar Aiken, CB Justin Boddie, LB Derrick Hallman, OT Jah Reid, DE Bruce Miller, WR Jamar Newsome, DT Wes Tunuufi Sauvao, WR Brian Watters, S Reggie Weams, DE David Williams, LB Lawrence Young

The UCF defense will once again lead the Knights to a bowl game, but the rushing attack will help shorten games and keep the defense off of the field. Coach George O’Leary has a wealth of talent at his disposal. Brynn Harvey missed the entire 2010 season, but Latavius Murray and Ronnie Weaver stepped up their games. Murray averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season and reached the end zone a total of 12 times. Ronnie Weaver, who rushed for 11 touchdowns, was more of the workhorse last season. However, with Harvey back, who rushed for over 1,100 yards two years ago, Weaver should see his touches decrease.

The defense only returns four starters from the conference’s best unit, but the Knights always build around their defense. Despite the departures, there are plenty of options available who should step right in and not miss a beat. On the defensive line, replacing Bruce Miller is the biggest issue, but junior college transfer Toby Jackson was a great pickup for UCF. Add Troy Davis and Darius Nall to the mix and the ends have plenty of options. Victor Gray will lead the middle of the line after having a solid freshman campaign. Josh Linam will lead the linebackers. There will be some inexperience on his flanks, but Ray Cottman is a talented junior college transfer and Ray Shipman, a former Florida basketball player, is beaming with potential. The secondary is the strongest unit of them all. Cornerback Josh Robinson can shut down just about any receiver in the league and safety Kemal Ishmael was the team’s leading tackler a year ago.

Jeff Godfrey had a fine freshman campaign, throwing for 2,159 yards and 13 touchdowns. More impressively, he completed 66.8 percent of his passes. With a year of experience under his belt he should be even more efficient, and that is all UCF needs from their quarterback; a signal caller who can lead the team and not make mistakes. Godfrey has the ability to make plays with his legs when there are no receivers to be found. And the receivers may be harder to find this year with Kamar Aiken, Jamar Newsome and Brian Watters gone. A.J. Guyton is a fine pass catcher and Quincy McDuffie is an explosive playmaker. McDuffie is one of the best kick returners in the nation, but he may have to get involved in the offense more in 2011. He only caught 13 passes a year ago, but two of them resulted in touchdowns.

The Bottom Line:
The offensive line has some retooling to do, but with tackle Nick Pieschel leading the way, the unit should be pretty good. With all the talent at running back and the elusive quarterback under center, the play of the line does not have to be great. And it probably will not be, but it will be good enough for the ground game to thrive and for Godfrey to have enough time to look down field every once in a while. The offense should be better this season and the defense may need some time to adjust, but by the time Conference USA games begin, UCF will be vying for another trip to the conference championship game.

Projected Bowl: St. Petersburg Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 187.57 (26th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 186.43 (87, 12)
Total Offense: 374.00 (65, 8)
Scoring Offense: 32.07 (31, 5)
Rushing Defense: 108.36 (8, 1)
Pass Defense: 207.00 (41, 2)
Total Defense: 315.36 (15, 1)
Scoring Defense: 17.14 (8, 1)
Turnover Margin: .29 (40, 3)
Sacks: 2.29 (37, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.43 (32, 6)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings

#81 Josh Robinson

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