College Football Preview: The 2015 Central Florida Knights
Central Florida Knights Preview
2015 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Central Florida Knights are coming off a 9-4 season in which they clinched their third straight bowl game. Head coach George O'Leary has quickly built a solid football program that is ready to compete consistently in the AAC. After winning double-digit games in three of their last five seasons, the Knights hope to once again be a force in their conference and clinch another bowl appearance.
Offense: Unlike last season when Blake Bortles left, UCF has its quarterback in Justin Holman who threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. Holman will have the help of a healthy running back in William Stanback and an offensive line that returns four starters. Stanback rushed for 10 touchdowns on 189 carries and the experience of the offensive line should help improve the Knights overall YPC average. UCF’s biggest losses come on the outside, as Breshad Perriman, Josh Reese and J.J. Worton are all gone. This puts a ton of pressure on sophomore Jordan Akins and Tre’Quan Smith to take their game to the next level.
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Defense: UCF had the fifth best defense in the country last season but must replace seven starters, which includes its entire secondary. Defensive end Thomas Niles is a nice building block for this unit and Chequan Burkett proved he can play as a freshman. Everybody else will be more of a question mark as the actual season begins. The good news is that there’s still some experience that stuck around with Lance McDowdell and Jamiyus Pittman holding down the defensive line. However, redshirt freshmen Chris Williams and Kyle Gibson must be ready to provide an immediate impact if this unit is going to survive.
Special Teams: The Knights will have a new kicker in Matthew Wright who shined during the spring. Caleb Houston returns as the starting punter after averaging nearly 39 yards per attempt on 54 tries.
Outlook: The UCF Knights have a lot of questions if they’re going to make it four straight bowl games. The defense is loaded with new faces and there’s almost no production at the skill positions on offense. However, an experienced running back and quarterback could keep the Knights afloat in a weak AAC. UCF will have chances to win enough to clinch yet another bowl.