The University of Central Florida cleared a huge hurdle last week when they beat former Top 25-ranked Navy in Annapolis, 31-21. The box score might show that #17 UCF struggled at times in the first half with penalties on offense, quarterback, Mckenzie Milton, leaving the game briefly with a hamstring injury, and miscommunication on defense. But what may not be so clear in the numbers is how the team used their film study to strengthen their minds and the spirit of #UCFamily to keep their hearts stout facing on-field adversity for the first time in 2017.
When I asked UCF linebacker Chaquan Burkett about what he thought made the difference, he said, “I believe it was our study. Studying the triple option. Watching a great amount of film each and every day with the coaches. Putting the extra time with player meetings. Watching your keys. Just watching the play develop each and every time. . . Everyone was just dialed into their assignment making sure that each and every day we took advantage of the extra amount of time to watch film to see the play happen; see the play develop. So when it was game time Saturday, as soon as we saw it, we were able to react very quickly”.
I also asked running back Adrian Killins how the #UCFamily sentiment helped clinch the victory. “This past week was our first time facing adversity, so we had to come together on the sideline, make adjustments and we couldn’t down each other, moan, or pout. So once we faced that adversity, we had to move on to the next play; move on to the next drive and just try to execute on the next play we go to.”
While the buzz going into the 10/28 game against the Austin Peay Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference is that the Knights need to avoid falling into a trap game, Head Coach Scott Frost sees a team that might require as much study as the triple option offense. He stated, “This is a good team. I think they are really ‘multiple’, which makes them difficult. They run more formations, personnel groups, and plays than I think we have in our whole offense this year”.
While Coach Frost and his players have strictly preached a mantra of not looking ahead, the remaining games except the final week where they host the Bulls of South Florida mark UCF as the favorite. The test will be keeping sharp as they have been so far this season.