How Good can Cincinnati's Offense be?

We take a look at UC's offense and how they can continue their success going forward.

I know it's only been two games, but usually at this point in the season team's offensive and defensive identities begin to take shape. Whether it be positive or negative, fans and coaches alike begin to flesh out the kind of talent and potential each side of the ball possesses. That begs the question, how good can this Cincinnati offense be?

Let's start with the obvious. We know who is lining up at quarterback for the Bearcats. Munchie Legaux has had his ups and downs in the first two games, looking like a bona fide all-american on one throw, then having fans vying for Senior Brendon Kay on the next one. It's all about consistency with Legaux. When he's good, he's really good, as evidenced by his 300 plus total yardage and two touchdown outing against Pitt. But when he's off, he's a liability, as evidenced by his four turnover performance against Delaware State. So how does Munchie gained that consistency? I think the answer lies in playing the read option offense. One of Legaux's obvious strengths is his athleticism. The read option keeps the ball in the quarterback's hands and allows him the option to keep the ball, hand the ball off, or pull the ball back and use the play as a play action. Using the read option effectively forces the defense to make quick decisions and allows the quarterback three different play options. Giving Munchie that extra time allows him to read the defense's decision, then react properly. I believe that's where Munchie can be most effective. Give him time, and he's deadly behind center.

The running back position has been the strength of this offensive unit so far this season. George Winn has rushed for 242 yards on only 35 attempts, good for 6.9 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. More importantly, he's shown the ability to run through defenders just as well as he can run past them. With Winn firmly entrenched in the starters position, sophomore Ralph Abernathy IV has come in and been a spark plug off the bench, whether he's lined up in the slot or in the backfield. With the thunder and lightning combination these two provide, it's hard for defenses to game plan for one single rushing attack. Coach Bajakian and the offensive have done a fantastic job of using both of these players effectively.

The wide receivers have been the unit with the most depth, but also the unit that we know the least about. The leading receiver only has seven catches, and that honor belongs to a running back (Ralph Abernathy IV). The talent isn't in question, as seniors Anthony McClung and Kenbrell Thompkins both have big play ability. Throw in sophomore Alex Chisum and Damon Julian and you have four receivers capable of starting on offense. At this point, it's a matter of finding that go to guy. McClung seems to be the guy Munchie feels the most comfortable with, and the guy I believe has the ability to stand out and be THAT guy. The wildcard in this situation, I believe, is senior tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce screams NFL potential with his 6-6, 240 pound frame, not to mention a great set of hands. The senior does a nice job of finding space in the middle and gaining separation from linebackers. I'd like to see him run some more underneath routes and get him the ball in space, similar to a Rob Gronkowski type. With all the talent in the receiving core, I believe it's a matter of time before they put it all together and develop that chemistry with quarterback Munchie Legaux.

So how good should we expect this offense to be? They've averaged 465 yards and 29 points per game through these first two games. Solid numbers, but they could easily be in the 500 plus and 40 plus range if they limit the turnovers against Delaware State. I think this offense goes as the quarterback goes. If they start pounding the rock with George Winn and allow the passing game to open up, I think the sky is the limit for the offense with the talent they possess. Don't surprised to see UC at, or near, the top of the Big East team total offensive categories come November.


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