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2011 Collge Football Season Preview: UCF Knights

2010 Record: (11-3, 7-1 in C-USA)

Head Coach: George O'Leary (97-77 All-Time, 45-44 at UCF)

Last Bowl Game: 2010 Liberty Bowl (beat Georgia 10-6)


College Football Roundtable: Conference USA Edition


9/3: Charleston Southern

9/10: Boston College

9/17: at FIU

9/23: at BYU

10/8: Marshall (2009 result: won 35-14)

10/15: at SMU (2010 result: won 17-7)

10/29: Memphis (2010 result: lost 37-17)

11/3: Tulsa

11/12: at Southern Miss (2010 result: lost 31-21)

11/19: at East Carolina (2010 result: won 49-35)

11/25: UTEP

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 32.1 ppg (5th in C-USA, 30th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 187.57 yds/game (3rd in C-USA, 26th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 186.4 yds/game (last in C-USA, 86th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 374.0 yds/game (7th in C-USA, 64th in Nation) 

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 17.1 ppg (1st in C-USA, 8th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 108.36 yds/game (1st in C-USA, 8th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 207.0 yds/game (2nd in C-USA, 41st in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 315.4 yds/game (1st in C-USA, 15th in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +0.29 per game (3rd in C-USA, 40th in Nation)

Penalties: 40.4 yds/game (2nd in C-USA, 9th in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 7

Defense: 4

Kicker/Punter: 1

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Jeff Godfrey, Soph (159 of 238 for 2159 yds, 13 PTD, 10 RTD, 8 INT)

Rushing: RB Ronnie Weaver, Sr (186 for 890, 11 TD)

Receiving: WR A.J. Guyton, Sr (28 rec for 353 yds, 3 TD)

Tackles: LB Kemal Ishmael, Jr (93)

Sacks: DE Darius Nall, Sr (8.5)

Interceptions: CB Josh Robinson, Jr; LB Kemal Ishmael, Jr (2)

In his six seasons at UCF, George O'Leary has led the Knights to the C-USA East Title three times. Two of those Eastern Division Championships led to the Knights winning the C-USA Conference Title Game with the most recent being last year. With consecutive back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since he's been at UCF, O'Leary seems to have the ship firmly headed in the right direction. In addition to winning the C-USA title last year they also secured a win in the Liberty Bowl against an SEC opponent. O'Leary and UCF look like they are here to stay. The big questions this year as how far sophomore Jeff Godrey can lead the offense and if the defense can reload from losing a good number of players. To get the inside scoop on UCF we reached out to Knight Fan Stan. Make sure you check out his blog and follow him on Twitter @KnightFanStan.

UCF had a really strong year in 2010 as they went 11-3, won the C-USA Championship Game and beat Georgia in their bowl game. What will be the biggest strengths of this team in 2011? 

I think by far Jeffrey Godfrey has to be a huge strength. He controls the offense in my opinion. Jeffrey will be a sophomore this 2011 upcoming season, and he will only improve on his stats from 2010. Brynn Harvey coming back from his torn ACL is a big plus for the Knights as well.  UCF's running game should be real solid and have plenty of depth with Latavius Murray and Ronnie Weaver. You can never have to much talent in the backfield. Also, with Jeff Godfrey being back at quarterback as well as C-USA title game and Liberty Bowl MVP Latavius Murray. Standout defensive backs Josh Robinson and Kemal Ishmael anchor a defense that will be looking to fill holes at linebacker and the defensive line.    

On the flipside, in what areas does UCF need to improve this year if they want to re-peat as Conference USA champs?

Losing Bruce Miller was huge. He was the leader when it came right down to it on the defensive side of the ball for UCF. All solid defenses apply pressure to the QB, and shut down the running game. I think that  Junior Troy Davis could step up as a replacement for Bruce Miller. Troy had five sacks and six tackles in the first-string Gold squad's 27-6 victory against the reserves in UCF White. 

For those that don't follow the Knights that closely...tell us a little about the best players on this team. 

Obviously, Jeffrey Godfrey. By the time he is at the end of his senior season he should be breaking alot of the old school records set by UCF Alumni Daunte Culpepper. Football is a team sport, so the word "team" is very important to remember. Brynn Harvey, looked real good in the UCF spring game.  I'm looking for to big things from both Harvey and Murray in the back field. Watch out for TE, Adam Nissley # 88. He is a senior and will be looking forward to going out on a great note. A UCF fan favorite is also A.J. Guyton and Quincy McDuffie. Both have explosive speed. Quincy uses his talents best as a returner in my opinion. And Guyton can be awesome over the middle and going deep.     

Which newcomers have a chance to come in and contribute right away?

Do I dare say DaMarcus Smith?  I was hoping he would be a Knight, but for now we play the waiting game between us and Louisville. DaMarcus committed his letter of intent, so if he doesn't fulfill his obligation, NCAA rules state, he has to sit out a year, and lose his eligibility. We'll see. As far as other players, Jose Jose is a big boy at DT. He comes in as a sophomore, after transferring his freshman season. Head Coach George O'Leary gave him back his welcome papers after Jose Jose had a felony charge against him. I believe in scond chances in life, and I'm glad Coach O'Leary gave Jose one. Can you imagine the crowd going crazy after a great play by Jose Jose!

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games for UCF this year?

There ALL important. Our big out of conference games included BYU (Away) and Boston College (Home).  Then there is the always improving C-USA schedule. You have to win in Conference. Scheduling BCS schools to play a home and away can have benefit, and boost your attendance, but it's the Conference games like ECU, Tulane, Rice, UAB, Marshall that really count overall.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes? 

I'm a little biased, but if I had to guess 10-3 or 11-2 should be a reasonable goal. Especially with a healthy Jeffrey Godfrey. The man is that good. The one game that I think could be the toughest is the BYU game on the road. And ECU always plays us tough as well. I would also consider a successful season when the UCF students, alumni, and fans make a ongoing effort to attend games and stay for the entire game. I'm always working with UCF Athletics to bring postive energy and an a awareness to a University that has a 56,000 student enrollment. Tradition is built over knight. I do know that UCF Atheltics is doing their part by building facilties and growing the University in general. Having a on campus stadium is awesome (Bright House Stadium). This will give a reason for students that become UCF Alumni to come back to their school and cheer on OUR Knights. As always, Every day is a great day to be a UCF Knight!

Next Preview: UAB

2011 Team Previews

ACC- Clemson

Big East- Louisville

Big Ten- Minnesota

C-USA- East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, SMU, Southern Mississippi

Independent- Army

MAC- Ball St, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Toledo

MWC- New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming

Sun Belt- FAU, FIU, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy, ULM, Western Kentucky

WAC- Idaho, San Jose St


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