Preseason scrimmage allows for players to find roles
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 06:08
The Knights took the field for a scrimmage that supplied a lot of answers to the offseason’s most pressing questions with the sidelines packed Saturday afternoon.
UCF defensive coordinator Jim Fleming has found a good mix in the secondary, seemingly locking in sophomore Jordan Ozerities as the starting cornerback opposite senior A.J. Bouye.
Ozerities brings versatility to the defensive backfield because he also moves into the slot in the nickel package. Head coach George O’Leary mentioned that Ozerities probably would have started last season, but he missed time with an injury.
The nickel package is essentially more important than a base defense with the rise of the spread offense in college football.
When the Knights’ offense went with a three-wide-receiver set during Saturday’s scrimmage, true freshman Jacoby Glenn came in to the game as the nickel back, but actually was playing on the open side of the field, playing field corner.
“At that position, your field corner has to be a coverer, he doesn’t get involved with the support elements,” O’Leary said.
Glenn has turned into a storyline and shown plenty of potential thus far in camp. O’Leary said that he is working as the fourth or fifth corner at this point. It still remains likely that Brandon Alexander will be playing as a starter or in the nickel, but, as a freshman, Glenn is making some noise.
Storm a starter?
Despite being the newcomer to a crowded backfield, Storm Johnson got the first team carries Saturday and impressed. On a long touchdown drive, Johnson carried the load for about 50 yards, leading to a short touchdown pass to fullback Billy Giovanetti.
“I don’t take nothing for granted, always work hard and I think it is always great to have competition,” Johnson said.
Senior running back Latavius Murray was held out of the scrimmage along with a few other key starters. Murray and Johnson are in an open competition for the starting title, but Brynn Harvey, Murray and Johnson are all expected to get plenty of carries.
Godfrey finding a role
One of the biggest questions coming into the season is what kind of role former quarterback Jeff Godfrey will have. Godfrey received plenty of work in Saturday’s scrimmage with the second team and made some appearances with the first unit as well.
Godfrey looked natural in the slot and made a few nice catches in traffic. He showed elusiveness, turning a swing pass into a 10-yard gain.
In the brief “Wild-Knight” segment, the former quarterback ran in a jet-sweep motion across the formation, giving triggerman Rob Calabrese — another quarterback-turned-receiver — the option to hand it off or keep the football.
Godfrey has also been getting work as a punt returner and has a good chance to snatch those duties moving forward.
The Knights have a closed segmented scrimmage coming up on Tuesday, will have Wednesday off and then, starting Thursday, will begin preparing for the season opener against Akron.