Adjustments Necessary for Knights

UCF defeated S.C. State 17-0 Saturday, a score that indicates that there is some work to be done on the offensive side of the ball for UCF. Next week UCF will host cross-highway rival USF, who beat the Knights 64-12 last year, and revenge will certainly be on the team's mind. UCF struggled at times against the FCS Bulldogs, while USF rolled over Tennessee-Martin, 56-7.

As the Knights' turn the page from Saturday's game and now look ahead to the Bulls, UCF will prepare to avenge their blowout loss from last season. Although the game against S.C State won't leave fans with a farm fuzzy feeling heading into the USF game, the Knights actually played well against S.C State and will work on some kinks this week in practice.

On defense, the Knights sparkled on the evening, keeping the Bulldogs to just 126 yards, but there were some areas that Coach George O'Leary would like to improve before next week's game.

"We have to improve on some pass-rush, we were lacking there, but overall I was very pleased with the defense," O'Leary said. UCF was stout against the run, but O'Leary wasn't pleased with the lack of pressure on passing downs, as T.J Harden was the only Knight to register a sack. "I've never been a guy to rely on the blitz to get to the quarterback, I think you need four wires up there that can get after the quarterback and that's when you can play pretty good coverage."

For the rest of the defense, O'Leary was pleased, as the secondary was stellar and the linebackers were very sound when tackling.

Offensively, the Knights had a difficult time finding the end zone, despite some solid running and blocking throughout the game. The receivers had some drops and Michael Greco was a little jumpy in the pocket until he calmed down later on in the game. All of the problems UCF did have on offense though are fixable.

"Overall it was a good first win with typical mistakes for the first game as I see it," O'Leary told reporters. "Again, we just have to keep improving. We're playing a lot of young players in certain aspects of the game and they just need to see more playing time.

"Offensively we moved the ball, but we just got to punch it in when we get down into the red zone."

At quarterback, Greco settled down, but he will need to make decisions a little quicker against a much faster USF team, something the team will work on this week.

"I think he was late making decisions, there's no question there," O'Leary said. "I thought we had some open receivers. I think the one thing he did do was take off running, but that's not going to happen against good football teams…he basically has to make quicker decisions and have confidence in his throwing ability, which he has a strong arm."

UCF went over 200 yards on the ground, and Ronnie Weaver and Latavius Murray had very good games, but O'Leary felt there was room for improvement.

"We had some consistency. I wasn't pleased the way the running backs ran, I thought there were too many times their shoulders were facing the wrong way, they need to learn to cut on the moved…I do think that they showed what I've seen in preseason; that they have ability that can help us this year collectively."

Greco also felt some pressure at times, but O'Leary thought the line was solid in pass blocking and it was in the run game where some adjusting will be needed.

"I think sustaining blocks, which typical for the first game. I thought there were too many times where we hit and didn't run our feet. We have to learn the old cliché, finish."

If the Knights do plan on getting revenge against their rivals on I-4, the team must also improve in the kicking game, as transfer Daren Daly missed a 27-yard field goal and also had a hard time on kickoffs.

While a 17-0 victory over a FCS opponent may not seem like a great start to the season, O'Leary and his coaching staff were fairly happy with what transpired Saturday as they got a lot of reps in for younger players at the skill positions. The team didn't show USF too much for next week and after watching game film, the coaches will have a good idea of what adjustments they must make to defeat the Bulls.


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