UCF Spring Practice Update: 04/09/08

The Knights opened up their 10th spring practice session Wednesday morning, as the team had an abbreviated workout which included some full-contact tackling drills, one-on-one sessions, and concluded with an approximately 50-play scrimmage.

UCF head coach George O'Leary talked about the workout–

"I wanted to get some scrimmage in, and we still have to work on contact, we needed to get some speed work in as far as tackling and blocking, but I thought they did a good job. I wanted to see a lot of the two's and three's during that time, which I did. I thought they were into it."

During the early tackling drills, the wide receivers seemed to have a distinct advantage over the defensive backs in terms of size and strength, as many of the Knights receiving corps broke tackles. Redshirt freshman Chad Alexander, and sophomore's Brian Watters and Jamar Newsome ran especially hard, as did Sidney Haynes and Kamar Aiken.

Quarterback Michael Greco looked especially sharp in one-on-one drills, as he threw the ball as well, if not better than he has all spring, and was able to hook up and deep outs, as well as some shorter patterns. Although head coach George O'Leary stated that he'll make a decision to whom his starting quarterback will be prior to the end of spring practice, it appears that Greco has a slight advantage at this point.

During the scrimmage, the first-team defense seemed to rule the day, as they first-team offense was stymied in their two possessions against the "gold" starters.

The second-team offense, led by quarterback Joe Weatherford seemed to be the most successful offensive unit, as they were able to move the ball down the field and account for the scrimmage's only scores. The running game was much improved, as redshirt freshman Ronnie Weaver and sophomore James Jamison had a few nice gains, as well as converted (for at least spring) senior running back Jayson Williams. Coach O'Leary noted some of the work from the younger members of the offensive line–

"The guys that are really catching my eye are Nick Pieschel and Wes Tunuuifi Sauvao. They're the two I see coming on pretty good there so I'm pleased with that. That gives us a lot more depth there. I like what I see from them this past week. It's almost as if the light bulb went on."

Special teams has been a tough unit to judge this spring, due to the lack of actual game workouts that have occurred. The punting unit seems solid, albeit with little pressure this spring. The kicker, Jordan Dodds, has been fairly inconsistent in his limited opportunities during practice.

Although it is clear that the UCF defense is the more dominant unit, the Knights offense has made strides over the past week of practice. The defense will be counted on heavily this season, but as the offense gets more time together, they should gel as a unit. Special teams will have to improve as the Knights are expected to play a lot of close, low-scoring affairs this fall.

The Knights appear to be set for Saturday afternoon's spring game, which begins at 3 p.m. (Brighthouse Networks Stadium), and they will have one final tune-up on Friday evening at approximately 5:00 p.m.

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