Spring Football Preview: The Backfield

Spring football gets underway for UCF March 19th and there are plenty of intriguing story lines to pay attention to this off-season. InsideKnights.com continues its "What to Look for" Spring football preview by taking a glance into the backfield to see if there's another 24K in the making.

Where will UCF's offense come from this upcoming season? After watching a benign offensive unit last season, plenty of UCF fans certainly want to know if the Knights can move the chains in 2009 and if so, where will the production come from?

It's difficult to look into a crystal ball and predict who will step it up for the Knights on offense, and that's if anyone does improve from last season's abhorrent offense. Based on how UCF ended last season, there is certainly a shimmer of hope for the unit that statistically finished as the nation's worst. There are several reasons for optimism, but Brynn Harvey is the primary factor.

The addition of Charlie Taaffe as a coordinator, a year more of experience for Rob Calabrese and an upgraded offensive line will certainly contribute to the offense's improvement this year, but the expected focal point is Harvey.

As a true freshman, it took Harvey a bit of time last season to become acclimated with a new offense and the speed of college football. After some growing pains (that included one particular play in which he ran into his own teammate which caused him to fumble the ball against UTEP) Harvey burst onto the scene late in the year to establish himself as UCF's go-to back.

When entering summer camp last year, Harvey didn't appear to be on par with Ronnie Weaver or even fellow freshman Latavius Murray. As time progressed, Harvey steadily improved and by the end of the year, he was without a doubt the team's number one back.

Harvey finished the season by rushing for an average of 103 yards in the team's final three games, proving that he could be the work-horse that George O'Leary covets for his offensive style.

At 6'1", 215 lbs., Harvey has the size to consistently rush between the tackles and punish defenders, but perhaps his most impressive attribute is his quickness. Considering his size, Harvey has impressive acceleration and he is learning to burst into the second level with tenacity and reckless abandon.

With a young, but immensely talented group of freshmen linemen expected to contribute starting this spring, Harvey will have the luxury to find some holes to run through. A more experienced Calabrese will also help passing efficiency, thus giving Harvey a little more room to maneuver.

Harvey will have some competition this spring, as Murray proved to be a bruising back. Weaver will also get some carries as a do-it-all back and if Brandon Davis recuperates, he is also slated to get some looks. James Poe, who was grey-shirted this past year, will also come into Spring practice with a chance to get reps as a short-yardage runner.

What should be interesting to watch is Harvey's growth. Can he make more strides this spring? If so, how much? If Harvey runs the way he did in the final three games of the season, he is likely to amass over 1,200 yards and could help UCF fans forget about Kevin Smith, the most productive back in UCF history. If he continues to improve, Harvey could certainly help erase memories of 24K. Will we see 34K? You should begin to get your answer this spring.

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