With kickoff to 2012 season nearing, Knights set to start practice
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 11:07
Things have been quiet in and around Bright House Networks Stadium and the UCF practice fields since the spring season drew to a close.
Fortunately, that’s going to change shortly.
The UCF Knights will begin fall practice on Wednesday at the outdoor practice fields at 3:15 p.m. The opening practice will be the first of eight preseason camp sessions.
Coming off of a lackluster 5-7 campaign in 2011 but buoyed by some preseason recognition, the Knights are surrounded by plenty of developing storylines as they prepare for their final season in Conference USA.
The first two weeks of camp, through Aug. 20, are open to the public, and here are some things fans should be keeping an eye out for.
1. Which young receiver is going to step up?
With J.J. Worton coming off of suspension, he will likely find himself back into the fold with the first-team offense. Senior Quincy McDuffie is locked in as a starter.
Look for true freshman Breshad Perriman and redshirt sophomore Josh Reese to battle for the third spot in the rotation. Perriman was impressive in spring ball and has great size — something that cannot be taught. Perriman also had chemistry with quarterback Blake Bortles throughout the spring campaign.
The question is who becomes the go-to guy? Also, which guys slip on the depth chart?
2. The return of Jeff Godfrey
A familiar face is back on offense as former starting quarterback Jeff Godfrey returns (without missing any actual games) as a receiver.
Now Godfrey is attempting to make an impact at wide receiver — the Knights’ most stacked position.
Can he get into the fold? Will he get looks in a “wildcat” package? Will he get looks in an option attack?
It all remains to be seen, as Godfrey will also likely need to win back the favor of some of his teammates.
3. Who steps up on defense?
Young players are going to be on the field this season for the Knights’ defense. Ray Shipman, a redshirt senior, is young in football years. Shipman is entering his first season with high expectations. Shipman, who played basketball for two seasons at UF before transferring to UCF, will likely play outside linebacker this season, putting him in a prime position to make an impact.
Still, the question remains: Who becomes the leader on defense?
4. How good is Storm Johnson?
If you’ve been keeping up with the Central Florida Future’s offseason football coverage this summer, dating back to the Spring Game, you know the expectations are high for transfer running back Storm Johnson.
Those watching him all spring know he has clearly shown an extra gear that no one else on the team displayed. He is quick, has surprising power and has a chance to establish himself as the best player on the field for the Knights.
How many touches will he get early on? And how will he handle his workload, whatever that may be in a stacked backfield?
5. Consistency under center
The Knights will be as good as quarterback Blake Bortles is this season.
The quarterback position is too important, and it is too hard to be a good team with a subpar quarterback. Bortles’ biggest problem in spring ball was consistency. He has the ability to make the throws and to make good decisions. At the same time, he’s shown an ability to roll out to his left and force a throw across his body into the hands of a linebacker.
Which Bortles will step out onto the field on Saturdays? And, an even more intriguing question is if transfer quarterback Tyler Gabbert is good enough to push his way onto the field.
While fans are welcome to attend the first two weeks of practice, UCF Athletics has a policy that no fans attending can take notes, pictures or shoot video during practice.