Only One Way to Go for UCF Football

The UCF Knights begin Spring Practice on Thursday and the team is certainly looking to rebound from the disappointing 4-8 campaign of a year ago. The Knights have a new offensive coordinator in Charlie Taaffe and they hope to have a new offensive identity, one that is effective that opponents must respect.

A year ago, UCF finished 119th out of 119 teams in the nation in yards per game, and Coach Taaffe sees the positive in that the team can only get better.

"I know there is only one way we can go," Taaffe said. "Unless they add another team, I know there is only 119 and we were right on that. It comes down to talent, but then getting your talent in the right position. I would expect us to be significantly improved from where we were a year ago."

For that offense to improve, the corps of young players must obviously get better. The Knights started mostly freshmen at quarterback and in the backfield, and with a year of experience they should be improved.

"It was basically all true freshman at running back, and when you have a freshman at quarterback and a freshman at running back it makes things difficult," Taaffe said.

The entire offense must learn a new system, and the success that they hope to enjoy in the fall will begin with hard work this spring.

"I think it is critical for our offense to build some confidence this spring," Taaffe told reporters. "The players have a lot on their plate to learn."

Part of what will be different in 2009 will be the offensive sets, as Taaffe vows to go with a pro-style offense with more single-back sets.

"We will not start out with a traditional two back system," Taaffe said.

Part of the reason for the single-back sets will be the lack of talent at the fullback position, according to the Knights new offensive coordinator. The team will utilize more of an H-back position that will likely feature Corey Rabazinski, who missed most of last season.

Still, schemes alone won't transform the nation's worst offense a year ago to an explosive one in 2009, even if many of the key players do have another year of experience. The hopes are that the single back pro-style set will be easier for the young quarterbacks to wrap their arms around.

"A pro style offense with an option," Taafe said when describing the system he plans on utilizing. "I think Rob can do it."

A young quarterback's best friend is a strong running game, and Brynn Harvey gave Knights fans plenty of hope at the end of the year that he can be a stellar back. If Harvey can pick up where he left off at the end of last season, it will certainly take pressure off of whoever becomes the Knights starting quarterback.

"We will continue to run the ball," Taaffe said. "The running game is very important to us being successful."

Rome was certainly not built in a day, and don't expect UCF to average 30 points per game with mostly the same cast that was statistically the worst offense in the nation. Still, there's a new scheme and everyone has more experience and they should be an improved unit when the real bullets fly in the fall.

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