Keys to the Game for the Knights:
1.) Establish the run and then don't abandon it- It's no secret that running the ball effectively usually leads to a victory…usually. Brynn Harvey looked sharp early against ECU last week but the Knights went away from the ground game in the second half. If Harvey gets going early this week, UCF should ride the hot hand.
2.) Wrap up- We'd hate to keep hitting you over the head with basic keys to victory but UCF won't win unless they can do simple things, like tackle. Missed tackles might have been the story of last week's loss to ECU and UCF won't get away with consistently whiffing again.
3.) Get the crowd behind you early- At 2-2, a fickle fan base may not be happy if UCF gets off to a slow start. The Knights need to make plays early and often in order to get a rambunctious crowd behind them.
4.) Fluster Bass- Tyler Bass had a good debut as a starting quarterback two weeks ago against UT-Martin, but he came down to earth against Marshall. The true sophomore has potential and fits in well in Memphis' spread offense, but the Knights can take him out of his element early if they get some good shots on him.
5.) Play with urgency- It's a must win for UCF, make no mistake about it. Actually, all conference games will be, so the Knights can't afford to get off to a slow start. UCF must be enthusiastic and can't be tight, so playing with nothing to lose might be a good thing.
What to Look For:
Look for Rob Calabrese. Brett Hodges had four interceptions last week and Calabrese might get some reps for UCF. The Knights expect Calabrese to be a starter next year (watch out for L.D. Crow though) and he'll need to show the staff if he's capable of leading the team.
Look for some defensive changes. Missing tackles, giving up big passing plays and not consistently getting to the quarterback is not what Coach Huxtable wants from his defense. Memphis has struggled to score this season but the Tigers can put up points in a hurry so look for some personnel adjustments to be made. Players like Justin Boddie, Troy Davis and A.J. Bouye could all see more playing time or you could see some guys switching positions and moving around the field.
Look for Memphis to take plenty of shots down field. The Tigers have two tall receivers in Carlos Singleton (6'8") and Duke Calhoun (6'4") so expect them to try to take advantage of an inexperienced UCF secondary.
Look for a hostile crowd. Almost everyone you talk to on campus is disappointed that the team has fallen to 0-2 in conference play and the boo-birds have already chirped this season. If things go good for UCF against Memphis, the crowd will get behind the team, but they won't have much patience if things go bad.
Look for massive nose tackles. Torrell Troup is one of, if not the best, defensive tackles in the conference and he should give the Tigers headaches up front. UCF fans might get a chance to see a player that certainly rivals his size and could rival his production on the other side of the ball. Dontari Poe is 6'5", 350 lbs. and he is becoming comfortable playing the one-technique at the collegiate level. He has made plays early on this season and the true freshman will test UCF's offensive line.
Look for a homecoming. A former teammate of mine, Clay Lee, comes back home this weekend. The Dr. Phillips alum plays safety for Memphis and has seen some action this year on special teams. He should have some family and friends in the crowd.
1.) Harvey surpasses the century mark- Memphis hasn't held up against the run this season and UCF has been trying to establish some consistent success on the ground. This should be the week that the offensive line and Harvey get going.
2.) Hodges bounces back- The senior quarterback played as well as you can while still throwing four picks. He's been solid through the year and if he gets in a rhythm early, he should be fine through the game.
3.) Bruce Miller wakes up- With plenty of hype heading into the season, Miller has seen a lot of attention from opponents on the field. He's been shut out of a lot of plays and things have lulled down for him some so Memphis may not be paying that much attention. If he catches the Tigers sleeping, Miller might get back to making big plays.
4.) Option time- With Calabrese projected to play some, look for Charlie Taaffe to look to zone read and speed options several times through the game. The Knights should have some success with this and they'll be happy to run away from the massive Poe.
5.) UCF wins- The Knights are more talented than Memphis and if they are motivated, they should get a fairly easy victory over their conference foes.
UCF vs. Memphis- What to Look For
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