Monday, August 16, 2010
Conference USA 2010-Central Florida Knights
2009 Record: 8-5 (6-2)
Head Coach: George O'Leary (7th season, 34-41...86-74 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Charlie Taeffe (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Huxtable (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: St. Petersburg Bowl, lost to Rutgers 45-24
Offense: Rob Calabrese has been a starter at QB before, but he always manages to lose the job. He has it again coming out of spring camp, but is being pushed hard by freshman Jeffrey Godfrey. This will play into fall camp. TB Brynn Harvey was a developing star at TB last season, and was expected t be the starter in 2010. He injured a knee in spring ball, and now may miss some time in the fall. Brendan Kelly will man the job until Harvey gets back to speed. AJ Guyten, Kamar Aiken, and Quincy McDuffie look to round out the WR group. 4 starters return on the line, with C Jordan Rae looking to be the new starter.
Defense: 7 starters return from a group that ranked 4th in the nation against the run in 2009. David Williams and Bruce Miller are back at DE, but both DTs must be replaced. Derek Hallman and Lawrence Young return at LB, but the MLB job is open with Josh Linam and Chance Henderson duking it out to see who will start there. WIth all of the interior jobs open, it stands to reason that the rush defense may take a step back. Josh Robinson and Emery Allen return at CB, while FS Kemal Ishmael is back as well in the secondary, but again, the SS spot is open, but Darin Baldwin looks to have won the job. Justin Boddie will also contribute at CB.
Special Teams: Nick Cattoi returns at PK, and is solid from long range. He is basically average from closer in. Blake Clingen returns to punt, but will have to improve on his 37.1 yard average from 2009. He is very good at pinning balls down inside the 20.
Wins: 9/4 South Dakota, 9/18 @ Buffalo, 10/6 UAB, 10/13 @ Marshall, 10/23 Rice, 10/30 East Carolina, 11/20 @ Tulane, 11/27 @ Memphis
Toss Up Games: 9/25 @ Kansas State, 11/13 Southern Mississippi
Losses: 9/11 NC State, 11/5 @ Houston
The schedule works well for the Knights. There are no major issues, and the NC State game could be stolen out of the loss box. If UCF can pull everything together and steal both toss games, than 10 wins is a very real goal. How the defense replaces their interior players will make all the difference as to how the Knights can do against some of the tougher teams in the toss and loss boxes.
Outlook: Very good...UCF can compete with Houston for the CUSA crown in 2010, and remember, UCF beat Houston last season. If Calabrese can overcome his issues at QB, or if his replacement blows up, than this could be a special season in Orlando. The defensive replacements need to get up to par quickly, and if they do, than UCF can dominate in the eastern division.