2013 UCF Spring Football Analysis
UCF Knights 2013 ...
Head Coach: George O'Leary
Why To Get Excited … for the second time in the last three years, the Knights capped a 10-win season with a bowl victory. The program feels as if it’s on solid footing going forward for head coach George O’Leary, which was reflected on Signing Day in early February. UCF is also very excited about the trajectory of QB Blake Bortles, who took flight during his sophomore year with 25 touchdown passes, more than 3,000 yards through the air and no picks in his final six games.
9/7 at FIU
9/14 at Penn State
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 South Carolina
10/5 at Memphis
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/18 at Louisville
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/16 at Temple
12/7 at SMU
Why To Be Grouchy … the UCF defense, a staple through the years in Orlando, is about to undergo a mini-makeover. Not only have five starters run out of eligibility, but they were all veteran leaders and playmakers. DE Troy Davis, CB A.J. Bouye and S Kemal Ishmael earned a spot on the all-conference squad, while linebackers Jonathan Davis and Ray Shipman combined for 190 tackles. There’s talent still left on D, but the Knights are unlikely to be as stingy as they were in 2012.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … preparing Storm Johnson to be the new feature back. As a backup to Latavius Murray, the gifted Miami transfer carved out 507 yards and four touchdowns on 113 carries. Now that he’s slated to assume a much bigger role, he needs to give the Knights balance on offense. Bortles is good, as is his bevy of experienced receivers, but the quarterback is far more effective when opposing defenses can’t sit back to play the pass.
Team Concerns For 2013: The move to the Big East should be a good one with plenty of talent returning, but the offense has to be a little stronger after averaging 407 yards per game at the slightly lower level. The offensive line did the job against Conference USA teams, but it couldn't get much of a push against Ohio State or Missouri, and it failed the first time around against Tulsa. The punting game has to be better after losing Jamie Boyle, who averaged a pedestrian 40.6 yards per try for a team that netted 35 yards a pop.
Non-Conference Games: Akron, at FIU, at Penn State ,South Carolina
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 7-5
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Akron, at FIU, at Memphis, Connecticut, Houston, at Temple, at SMU
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Penn State, South Carolina, at Louisville, Rutgers, USF
Schedule Analysis: Life as a Big Easter shouldn’t be that bad early on with Akron and a trip south to FIU not a bad way to kick things off, but it’ll get rough for a bit with a date at Penn State and a home game against South Carolina. There’s a week off between the two big non-conference games, but the Knights have to go on the road for four games in five with a nasty trip to Louisville coming on a Friday night coming after a week off. Fortunately, four home games in the next five are in Orlando before closing out at SMU.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. The Knights are looking toward the future at quarterback with Pete DiNovo and Justin Holman two interesting passers to develop, but running back Micah Reed is the team's best offensive pickup. Linebacker Mario Mathis was a good get out of Georgia, and end Seyvon Lowry was a great recruit out of Jacksonville, but it's the secondary that's getting the most help led by safety Justin McDonald and corner Shaquem Griffin. Dorian Killings and Shaquill Griffin, Shaquem's brother, are good-sized speedy corners.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 117. That Class Was Heavy On ... A passing game. The Knights haven’t been big on pushing the ball down the field under head coach George O’Leary, choosing to mostly pound away with the ground attack. The quarterback situation is solid for the next few seasons with Jeff Godfrey and Blake Bortles in place, but adding more to the receiving corps would be nice. The program hasn’t gone hard after skill players in a few years, but this season that should change.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 54. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front seven. Release the hounds. UCF signed two terrific corners in Bruce Dukes and Jeremy Davis, and the offense wasn’t ignored, but the class is loaded with strong players on the defensive front seven. Troy Gray is a safety-sized outside linebacker who should pair with middle prospect Miles Pace to give the Knights a strong corps in a few years, while JUCO transfers Toby Jackson and Cameron Henderson should be fantastic right away at the ends. With a little time, Demetric Anderson could be an anchor of a tackle.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 63. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Offensive line.
The offense has been hit-or-miss when the running
game wasn't working, and now George O'Leary is
taking care of the front wall to keep pounding away.
Jose Jose has more than just a terrific name, he's
one of the nation's better interior line prospects
and should see time at center. Torian Wilson, Justin
McCray, and Jordan McCray are large guards who
should grow into key cogs for the ground attack,
while 6-7, 310-pound Tony Jacob will be a key
starting tackle soon.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 57. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. After losing the entire starting secondary to graduation, this was an absolute priority for George O’Leary and the Knights. The program did a magnificent job a few years ago of taking two-star players, such as CB Joe Burnett, and molding them into defensive stoppers. It may not have to do much coaching up of CB Josh Robinson, an outstanding all-around playmaker, who also drew interest from Michigan, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
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