College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the UCF Knights season with what you need to know.
5. College Football News Preview 2020: UCF Knights Offense 3 Things To Know
– The machine isn’t slowing down. No, UCF might not have cranked up the 627 points of the 2017 team, but under head coach Josh Heupel over the last two seasons, and the O continues to work at warp speed and lethal efficiency.
The Knights were second in the nation behind LSU averaging 541 yards per game, and they were fifth in scoring averaging 43.4 points per outing. And it’s all going to keep on going.
– The Knights are once again great at quarterback. It didn’t quite happen like it was supposed to – Darriel Mack and former Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush were expected to provide a fantastic quarterback punch – but injuries led to the rise of Dillon Gabriel, a 6-0, 186-pound sophomore who stepped in and bombed away for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions, and he ran for four scores.
Wimbush is gone, and so is Mack, who suffered a broken ankle that cost him most of last year and now has opted out on the season. McKenzie Milton is still trying to work his way back from the frightening leg injury from a few seasons ago, but the team has to count on Dillon and Quadra Jones to handle the work.
Helping the cause is another loaded receiving corps. Leading receiver Gabriel Davis is now a Buffalo Bill, but veteran Tre Nixon is back after averaging close to 17 yards per grabs with seven touchdowns, and senior Marlon Williams is back after finishing second on the team with 51 grabs. Former WKU transfer Jacob Harris has one year left after averaging 24 yards per catch.
Throw in TE Jake Hescock – a former Wisconsin transfer – 6-4 new-recruit Ja’Cyais Credle and former Oklahoma transfer Jaylon Robinson, and there’s great-looking depth.
– Adrian Killins is gone from the running back rotation, but Otis Anderson is back after leading the way with 726 yards and five scores – he’ll work at a wide receiver at times, too – and Bentavious Thompson and Greg McCrae are both back after combining for 1,133 yards and 15 scores. There’s even more young talent waiting in the wings.
The offensive front wasn’t great in pass protection, but it did a great job for the running game – and it was all just getting going.
Losing C Jordan Johnson hurts, but three starters are back including 6-6, 335-pound junior Samuel Jackson at one guard spot and 6-4, 312-pound guard Cole Schneider at guard. Getting Tennessee transfer Marcus Tatum to help at tackle is a good thing, and years of good recruiting has improved the depth.