Sunday, April 3, 2011

Central Florida Knights 2010 Review

2010 Record: 11-3 (7-1), 1st Conference USA, CUSA Champion
2010 Bowl: Liberty Bowl, Defeated Georgia 10-6
2010 Schedule/Results: South Dakota, W 38-7, NC State, L 28-21, @ Buffalo, W 24-10, @ Kansas State, L 17-13, UAB, W 42-7, @ Marshall, W 35-14, Rice, W 41-14, East Carolina, W 49-35, @ Houston, W 40-33, Southern Mississippi, L 31-21, @ Tulane, W 61-14, @ Memphis, W 37-17, SMU, W 17-7


     The Knights were on of the nicest stories of the 2010 season. What happened in Orlando was a major surprise to some folks on the national level. After a 2-2 start, UCF won 9 of their next 10 games, and had wrapped up the season by defeating former SEC power Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. George O'Leary has taken UCF to a new level during his tenure, and the run may not be over.
     Rob Calabrese was supposed to be the next great QB in a line of Knights dating back to Daunte Culpepper. That vision blurred early on, and his job was taken by freshman Jeff Godfrey, an athletic double threat QB who added a major spark for the Knights, and wound up playing in all 14 games, starting many of them.Godfrey finished the season by passing for 2159 yards and 13 TDs. He rushed for 566 yards and 10 more TDs to solidify himself as the starter. Expect bigger and better from Godfrey in his sophomore season.
     Three UCF backs rushed for double digit TD numbers in 2010. Ronnie Weaver was the best of the bunch, as the junior rushed for 890 yards and 11 scores. Godfrey and sophomore Latavius Murray were the other two double figure scorers. Murray rushed for 637 as the second back in the rotation, and scored 11 TDs. When all was siad and done, the Knights rushed for 191 yards per game, balancing out with 192 yards passing per game. Jonathon Davis, another sophomore, rushed for 234 yards in limited carries, but provides more depth for the Knights.
     There were no superstars within the receiving corps, but there were solid players. The problem is that 3 of the top 4 receivers were seniors in 2010, leaving the receiving corps very much in flux for 2011. Brian Watters led the team with a line of 47-651-2, while Jamar Newsome went for 37-616-3. Kamar Aiken was the third receiver, and was also solid and dependable, as he notched 32-486-2. AJ Guyten will be the best of the returning receivers and will be a senior himself in 2011. Guyten caught 28 passes in 2010 for 353 yards and 3 TDs. The next most experienced receiver returning in 2011? Quincy McDuffie, who had all of 13 grabs in 2010.
     The Knights knew how to crunch down on defense when they had to, as they held 10 opponents to 17 points or less, including only llowing 6 points to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Liberty Bowl, shocking the Bulldogs and the SEC at large. It was a historic win for UCF, and something that they intend to build on.
     Six defenders broke 50 tackles or more, led by sophomore DB Kemal Ishmael, who piled up 93 tackles on the season. Derrick Hallman, a senior LB, broke 80 with 84 tackles, while junior LB Josh Linam had 78 tackles. Lawrence Young (64), Bruce Miller (63), and Josh Robinson (59) rounded out the group.
     Miller, a senior DL, was the lone Knight to finish in doouble figures with 13.5 TFLs on the season. Darius Nall, a junior, and Young, a senior in 2010, both got very close with 9.5 TFLs. Linam picked up 9. Nall and Miller were the leaders when it came to pressuring QBs, as they tied for the team lead with 8.5 sacks. The Knights on the whole collected 32 sacks on the season, against just 20 allowed in 14 games.
     The Knights found a star in the secondary, as sophomore Josh Robinson was a serious ballhawk. By the end of the season, Robinson had locked down 13 passes defended. He'll be back to anchor a secondary that could actually use some improvement, as even though the defense was solid as a whole, the secondary gave up 207.7 yards passing per game. AJ Bouye was another sophomore who developed nicely in 2010, as he knocked away 7 passes. Justin Boddie and Derrick Hallman each defended 6 passes, but both move on now, leaving holes to fill once more.
     The kicking game did leave something to be desired in 2010. Nick Cattoi was highly erratic as the PK in his junior season, as he only managed to hit 11 of his 19 FG attempts. Finding someone to push him, or finding a replacement altogether may be the best play for continued success in close games next season. Cattoi also missed 3 extra points.
     Blake Clingan handled the punting duties, and was very good at times. He averaged 41.82 yards per punt  on 39 punts. He will have to be replaced in 2011, as he has now graduated.


UCF made major strides in 2010, and missed being undefeated by just 21 points in losses to NC State (by 7), Kansas State (by 4), and Southern Mississippi (by 10). UCF has many questions to answer in 2011, as several holes must be filled, and viable options must be found in the receiving corps and throughout the defense. If UCF can find players to step up and take leadership roles, players that can make the big plays, then the Knights could be on the road to long term prosperity, and more wins against BCS conferences could be coming. If not UCF could go back into a period of mediocrity until they can find those athletes, as has been the history of this program.

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