College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the UCF season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Keys To The Season
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– UCF Knights Schedule Analysis
– UCF Knights Previews
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UCF Knights College Football Preview 2021: Offense
– UCF might not have won like it’s used to in a 6-4 season, but it was supposed to be a rebuild and yet the offense was still amazing.
Now enters new head coach Gus Malzahn, and the offense that finished second in the nation in yards and eighth in points – cranking out 568 yards and 42 points per game – should be every bit as strong with eight starters expected back.
– So what’s going to be different from the Josh Heupel era? Expect a bit more power to the running game, a lot more midrange throws, big things about to come from the tight end, and a bit more ball control.
QB Dillon Gabriel is back after throwing for 3,570 yards and 32 touchdowns with just four picks. McKenzie Milton left for Florida State, but there are a few nice backup options starting with redshirt freshman Parker Navarro. Now the receivers have to emerge.
Smallish, speedy Jaylon Robinson returns, and Ryan O’Keefe is a decent option, but the real pop could come from the transfer portal. Nate Craig-Myers went from Auburn to Colorado State to follow Malzahn to UCF. He’s a deep threat to go along with Brandon Johnson from Tennessee and former big-time Notre Dame get Jordan Johnson.
And there’s going to be work for the tight end now. The Knights have a slew of options to fold into the mix starting with former Wisconsin Badger Jake Hescock who caught three touchdown passes last year for the Knights.
– All five starters are expected back on a line that was okay – not amazing – at keeping defenses out of the backfield. Senior guard Cole Schneider and center Matthew Lee are the stars of the bunch, but it’s a good line overall. Now the backs have to be there to block for.
Greg McCrae and Otis Anderson are gone, but Bentavious Thompson is a veteran quick back who’ll likely take over. There’s a whole lot of speed and pop from Virginia transfer RJ Harvey – a quarterback who’ll likely be a running back – and Auburn’s Mark Anthony Richards to add even more pop. Sophomore Johnny Richardson needs the ball in his hands more, too.