Depth Chart |
So why does 2005 feel so empty? Maybe it's because of a 44-27
loss in a home game against Tulsa for the Conference USA title.
Maybe it was the missed extra point in the thrilling, but crushing,
overtime loss to Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl.
It's easy to forget now that the George O'Leary era didn't
exactly get off to a strong beginning with an 0-13 start as part of
losing streak with 19 losses in 20 games before going on an
impressive run of eight wins in nine games before the unsatisfying
What was most impressive about the
turnaround, the fourth greatest in college football history
(bettered by 1999 Hawaii, 1940 Stanford and 2000 South Carolina), is
how it happened. UCF appeared to need just a little bit of tweaking
to be much better than the 2004 disaster, and those changes came in
the form of true freshmen getting the start in the secondary and the
backfield. Now the team should reap all the rewards of suffering
through the youth and inexperience of last season.
Head coach: George O'Leary
3rd year: 8-16
10th year overall: 60-49
Off. 17, Def. 22, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best UCF Players
1. RB Kevin Smith, Soph.
2. CB Joe Burnett, Soph.
3. C Cedric Gagne-Marcoux, Sr.
4. QB Steven Moffett, Sr.
5. WR Mike Walker, Sr.
6. .LB Ronnell Sandy, Sr.
CB Johnell Neal, Soph.
FS Jason Venson, Soph
RB Jason Peters, Jr.
10. SS Sha'reff Rashad, Soph.
2005 Results: 8-5
2005 predicted wins
at South Carolina L 24-15
at South Florida L 31-14
Marshall W 23-13
at UL Lafayette
Memphis W 38-17
at Southern Miss L 52-31
Tulane W 34-34
at East Carolina W 30-20
Houston W 31-29
at UAB W 27-21
at Rice W 31-28
UCF L 41-27
Nevada L 49-48 OT
The disappointments of a job not
finished last year will be part of the experienced and talented team all
season long. No matter how well things are going, it's unlikely O'Leary
will let his players forget how quickly it can all come crashing apart.
The nice part about this team will be how few times he'll have to bring
up any past failures; this group remembers them all too well.
However, UCF isn't a lock to win anything even with 19 starters
returning. All the fantastic looking young players in the secondary got
torched last year and must prove they can be consistent. All five
starters return to the offensive line, but that group couldn't stop
anyone's pass rush. And then there's the question of wins; did UCF
actually beat anyone last year? The best win of the eight last year was
either against Memphis or Houston while the five losses were against,
arguably, the five best teams on the schedule (South Carolina, South
Florida, Southern Miss, Tulsa and Nevada).
But who cares? After two straight losing seasons and a wildly
disappointing four-year stint in the MAC, there's no arguing against the
school's best season since 1998. Now the question becomes whether or not
the team hit a ceiling or if the program is about to enter the
stratosphere. The coaching, the recruiting base, and the potential is
there for a bright future. If last year was any indication, the future
might be now.
key will be getting off to a decent start and not getting down if the
record is 2-4, or even 1-5, going into the layup against Rice. Forget
about winning at Florida, but a home date with South Florida will be
crucial for the team's psyche going
into the start of the Conference USA season with a huge home game
against East power Southern Miss followed up by a trip to play a
resurgent Marshall. There's a tough stretch of three road trips in four
weeks over the second half of the year that'll make or break bowl hopes.
Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Kevin Smith. He's the speedy, steady,
reliable factor in the offense able to keep everything running smoothly
when everything isn't working quite right. However, QB Steven Moffett
has Conference USA Player of the Year potential if he improves as much
from last year to this year as he did from his sophomore to junior
Defensive Player: Sophomore CB Joe Burnett. He's a good-sized corner
with great hitting ability and a nose for the football. There are few
better open field tackling corners and there likely won't be many, if
any, in Conference USA who'll make bigger plays.
to a successful season: Senior DE Chris Welsh. The loss of Paul
Carrington takes away the team's top pass rusher leaving a huge hole to
fill. Welsh has been a steady defender over the last few seasons, but
he, or senior Kareem Reid, has to get to the quarterback early and
will be a success if ... UCF gets back to a bowl game. Yeah, it'll be Conference USA
title or bust with the way last season went, but the schedule is too
tough to demand or expect a second straight East championship. Another
eight win season would be fantastic.
Oct. 14 vs. Southern Miss. Marshall and East Carolina are better and
the road trip to Memphis in mid-November isn't going to be a walk in the
park, but it's the Conference USA opener against Southern Miss that will
set the tone for the season and put UCF in the driver's seat if it can
come away with a win. USM won 52-31 last year.
The Last Time UCF…
- Penalties: UCF 97 for 823 yards - Opponents 79 for 616 yards
- UCF third quarter scoring: 60 - UCF fourth quarter scoring: 118
- UCF home crowd for the Conference USA title game vs. Tulsa: 51.978.
Highest attendance for any of the other UCF home games: 32,635.
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada)
…missed a bowl game…2004
…pitched a shutout…2001 (UL-Lafayette)
…was shutout…2003 (Ohio)
…scored 50 points…2001 (Akron)
…won a conference title…Never
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Ryan Schneider)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Kevin Smith)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Brandon Marshall)
…had a first-round draft choice…1999 (QB Daunte Culpepper)