Knights prepare to face FIU in home opener
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 16:09
Another week, another scrambling threat under center for the Knights (1-1) to stop.
Statistically, FIU redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Medlock has been nothing short of dominant in the Panthers’ (1-1) two games this season, totaling 557 yards passing, 160 yards rushing and four collective touchdowns.
“No. 12 is a steady quarterback, hurts you with his feet and he hurts you with his arm so we’ll have our work cut out defensively,” UCF head coach George O’Leary said.
Coming off of a rough performance against Ohio State, the UCF defense knows it has to improve in order to come up with a victory in this week’s showdown with FIU.
“On defense we are focusing this week on tackling, communicating more and just making smart plays,” senior cornerback A.J. Bouye said.
In his weekly press conference, O’Leary was critical of his defense’s tackling.
“There are way too many arm tackles,” O’Leary said. “Kemal Ishmael is the one guy over there in the secondary that when he hits you, you go the right direction, you go back.”
O’Leary expects even more from his defense, including linebacker Terrance Plummer, who O’Leary says has to continue to stabilize the heart of the UCF run defense and must even improve on his 15 tackles against Ohio State.
“I think he got involved in a bunch of tackles, but I would have liked it a little better if he had got involved in the eight that he should have been, that went up the gut,” O’Leary said.
In last week’s game, UCF struggled with Ohio State’s dual threat quarterback Braxton Miller, as he gashed the Knights for 141 yards rushing on 27 carries.
The Panthers and the Buckeyes run very similar offensive schemes and last week’s experience should be valuable to the UCF defense.
“Basically how we played last week against Ohio State, we are expecting to see some of the same things this week,” Bouye said.
The Buckeyes introduced the Knights’ defense to a no-huddle offense last week and the Panthers will bring a faster-paced version of the spread option. New FIU offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey follows Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly’s model in pace and design.
In 2010, the Oregon Ducks snapped the ball 15 seconds after the placement of the ball by the official, on average.
FIU has had no shortage of big plays in its two games so far this season. The Panthers’ first scoring drive against Akron last week accounted for 73 yards over two plays. FIU averages 33.5 points per game in 2012.
“There is going to be big plays throughout the game, so even if we do give up one we just need to not worry about it and just go play the next play,” Bouye said.
The Knights also showed a weakness in covering the underneath passing game against the Buckeyes last week, allowing Miller to complete 75 percent of his passes.
“I think our cushion at times was a little too big in the Ohio State game,” O’Leary said. Regardless of the opponent, the Knights will be happy to play in front of a home crowd for the first time this season.
“We need [the fans] to make some noise and cheer us on because we react to that and we feed off of them,” senior offensive lineman Jordan Rae said.