1. Why fear the Knights? I’m treading water with the new teams and not as comfortable with them as the returning teams. I think that the Knights will be a problem offensively with John Rhys Plumlee and RJ Harvey at running back to go along with Javon Baker and Kobe Hudson at receiver. That’s some terrific offensive firepower and with Gus Malzahn, that will be tough to stop. I don’t know that the UCF defense was dynamic, but the Big 12 offenses will be much tougher so I think that’s going to be an issue for UCF as they kickoff Big 12 play.
2. The Best Jimmy’s and Joe’s. This is a list of players on preseason All-Big 12 teams. The offensive skill players are highlighted here and not much on defense, which does not bode well (plus they are replacing two pretty key players on defense).
QB John Rhys Plumlee
WR Kobe Hudson
WR Javon Baker
RB RJ Harvey
DL Ricy Barger
3. Transfer Report. On offense, just offensive lineman Amari Kight from Alabama, while the defense added Decordian Patterson, a safety from Middle Tennessee State, Jireh Wilson, a safety from East Carolina, and Fred Davis, II, a cornerback from Clemson.
4. Tough to Replace. I’ve sort of been compiling this list based on if a player was drafted and UCF did not have a player drafted last year. There were a handful of free agent signings, including running back Isaiah Bowser graduating having run for nearly 800 yards and 3.9 yards a rush with 16 touchdowns. My guess is that Malzahn will have plenty of running backs ready to replace him. Two offensive linemen are also gone, Ryan Swoboda, who was All-AAC and Samuel Jackson, also All-AAC. Defensive tackle Anthony Montalvo had 6.5 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks with 44 tackles. That’s pretty good production from a lineman. Also on the defensive side of things was Divaad Wilson who had 3 picks, 41 tackles, and 4 passes broken up last year.
Ed Note. This is what I worked on while on flights. I tried not to get too deep because that would be incredibly difficult to do this for 14 teams and I think most of us want a cursory idea of what opposing teams. I also found the idea of who is transferring in as more important than the freshmen arriving. That’s definitely changed over the course of years. I also thought that knowing who is being replaced is relevant more than most things.