The Knights defensive units were the dominant unit, as they allowed an unofficial total of 105 rushing yards, and 175 passing yards while allowing the quarterback to complete just 11 of 24 passes while intercepting two balls, and returning a fumble for a touchdown. Head coach George O'Leary addressed the media after the game about some of the good points of the game—
"We came out of it injury free, which is always a good sign for a spring game. I thought we had a chance to evaluate which is what the spring game is all about."
Sophomore linebacker Derrick Hallman was the most active of the Knights defenders, as he registered five tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Junior defensive linemen Torrell Troup and David Williams combined for six tackles and four of UCF's 11 sacks.
"Give credit to the defense. Defensively, as a unit, we were much faster. We're much stronger up front on defense, we have more depth on defense and more maturity."
Junior quarterback Michael Greco played just one series as he went out on the third play. Prior to the end of Greco's day, he completed his only two pass attempts. Knights head coach George O'Leary commented on the injury—
"Michael came out with a hip-pointer on the third play. It gave us a chance to evaluate the other quarterbacks and see where we're at there, so it was a bad day for Mike not getting the reps, but it was a great day for Weatherford as he got the reps. It's always (as if) the glass is half full."
Despite the defense's dominance, the offensive had a few highlights on the day. Redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Weatherford received the majority of the snaps under center, and he hit senior wide receiver Rocky Ross on a 32-yard touchdown pass that was perfectly placed. Weatherford unofficially completed 7 of his 15 passes for 148 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The soft-spoken quarterback's statistics could've been much better, as he was victim to several drops from his receivers.
"I thought he did a good job," said O'Leary of his young quarterback (Weatherford).
The Knights wide receiving corps seemed to be the weakest link on this day, as they dropped numerous passes and fumbled twice, accounting for the only Knights touchdown. Sophomore Kamar Aiken led all receivers with four catches for 70 yards, and junior Brian Watters added two receptions for 46 yards. Knights head coach George O'Leary commented on the play of his wideouts--
"Ball security was number one (area of concern) at the wide receiver position and we had some drops. That obviously has to improve. They dropped balls they shouldn't have dropped and they didn't put the ball away. Those are all workable, correctable things." O'Leary went on to say that "some of the wide receivers need to stop reading their press clippings."
The kicking game was inconsistent, as sophomore Jordan Dodds hit a 33-yard field goal after missing one of his two extra point attempts. Redshirt freshman punter Parker Langley did a solid job, as he hit several punts of better than 40 yards.
Although the Knights offense struggled to move the football for much of the game, much of it was due to the experience on the defensive side of the ball, coupled with the lack of experience on the offense. If the offense can achieve more continuity through the offseason, the Knights will have a great opportunity to repeat as Conference USA champions.
UCF will practice twice more this spring prior to breaking camp, and the Knights will return to Brighthouse Networks Stadium to take on South Carolina State, on August 30th.
InsideKnights.com will have in depth breakdowns of each of the Knights position groups this week, stay tuned.
UCF Spring Game Recap: UCF VS Knights
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