Knights Strategy

Did Coach O'Leary play to win on Saturday against the SC State Bulldogs, or did he play not to lose? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter as the Knights left Brighthouse Networks Stadium with a less than overwhelming 17-0 victory against an FCS school. Despite not rolling up 56 points, as this week's foe USF did, the Knights and their fans will take 12 of these non-impressive wins.

The Knights offensive strategy was vanilla at best, as they finished the game with 59 rushing attempts to just 16 passing attempts. Part of that may have been the weather, as it rained significantly during stretches of the game, and some of the plan may have been a preseason mentality, as they perhaps didn't want to show too much on film to this week's opponent, the University of South Florida.

"We'd like to be a little more balanced," senior offensive tackle Patrick Brown told Inside Knights. "But if we have to run the ball to win then we're going to do it and that's going to be our identity. I think we had the same ratio last year and we're just going to keep doing what it takes to win."

Will UCF open up the offense this Saturday night as the eyes of the nation will be watching? Not if they don't have to. With a young quarterback in Michael Greco who has struggled from time to time with accuracy, and a set of pretty average wide receivers, the Knights offense is not going to resemble that of Texas Tech, or even Tulsa for that matter. Instead UCF has to win with a strong defense and powerful rushing attack.

"That's our goal," said Brown. "Coach obviously likes to control the clock and we have to run the ball. We haven't seen tape on them yet, but that's our goal. I'll probably know more during the week."

Last season the Knights had one of the best running games in the country led by current Detroit Lions starting back Kevin Smith. Still, USF was able to neutralize Smith and the entire UCF team en route to a 64-12 blowout victory. UCF wide receiver Khymest Williams, who led the team in receptions against S.C. State, is eager to get back out on the field against the USF Bulls—

"It's like a burning fire inside of us. It's one of our biggest games of the season. We feel as if we really owe them one so we want to give it our all."

To give it "their all" and find success against a nationally ranked Bulls team, the Knights running backs will have to step up. Ronnie Weaver led the team with 84 yards Saturday, and true freshman Latavius Murray accounted for both of the UCF rushing touchdowns.

"We give them the holes and they're going to find them and explode," Patrick Brown said when talking about the Knights running backs. "I was very happy with how they ran, and ball security was good."

It is likely that the team will need to mix it up a little more against USF, as they won't have as big of a size and strength advantage up front as they did against their first opponent.

"The running game normally opens up the passing game, wide receiver Khymest Williams told Inside Knights. "We know that more teams are going to put more guys in the box so we're going to have to throw the ball. This week in practice we have to continue to work on our timing in the passing game, so if teams try to take the running game away we'll be ready to pass the ball more."

A more balanced attack is likely what it's going to take if the Knights are going to hang with a team that's nearly a two-touchdown favorite, coming off a 49-point opening day victory.


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