Some things I’d like to see from UCF today

by Andrew Kennedy

The UCF Knights (2-0) will face a tough road test today as they travel to Miami to play Florida International. FIU has also started the season 2-0 including a 24-17 win last week over Louisville, the biggest win in school history.

UCF is still the favorite and probably a heavy one. Lee Corso called UCF “the best team in the country that no one knows about” this morning on College Gameday. I think he’s right and also think that I know a lot about UCF, especially the offense.

For the first two games I watched each 3-4 times each and tried to really break down the offense (I have only taken notes on the offense with Jeff Godfrey on the field so all statistics are only from those plays).

I haven’t looked at the defense as much but my expert opinion is that they have been pretty damn good giving up just three points in two games. So let’s say I’m not worried at all about our defense and care more about the offense,

The Pistol power dive play

In last week’s 30-3 win over Boston College, UCF was extremely successful on their Pistol power dive play over the right guard with the left guard pulling. They ran this particular play 9 times for 42 yards and all were in short yardage situations so the 4.7 average was pretty impressive. One thing UCF hasn’t done from this formation at all this year is throw.

In football, coaches don’t use everything every game and don’t like to show their hand to future opponents if they don’t have to. Since UCF has dominated both games, it’s safe to say that we probably haven’t seen everything in their hand.

I expect UCF to try and establish the run early as usual and use this play and this formation quite a bit as they have done all season. If successful it should be able to set up some sort of play action from it. In the play, all the movement goes to the strong side and with Godfrey, the option to play action and have him roll back against the grain could be something that could go for a huge gain.

Godfrey has been most successful this season on the deep pass when using play action. UCF doesn’t have the receivers to go up and make big plays individually so help like play action is needed. Against BC, Godfrey went 5-of-6 for 71 yards on play action passes. The two most successful ones were play action passes out of shotgun, where he hit receivers on seam routes deep over the middle.

Godfrey can be deadly rolling out where he has the option to throw or run. This particular formation and run has been setting up some huge play action for three weeks now so if this game is tight and UCF is in need of something big deep, I expect them to go with a play like this.

WR sweeps

The wide receiver jet sweeps that UCF has run so far this season have been very successful. UCF has run this play four times for 70 yards. They ran it once to J.J. Worton to the right side which got only 1 yard. The other three times it has gone to Quincy McDuffie to the left side for 69 yards.

Just like the play action that should open up, UCF will use this play as the big play threat once a solid rushing attack to their strong side is established. The Knights have run 47 times to the right side versus just 24 times to the left in the first two games. They’ve gained 234 yards (5.0 average) to the right but 245 yards (10.2 average) to the left.

Against BC, the one successful WR sweep came off a very similar formation where they run the power dive play. When they ran the sweep against BC, they switched the wing back, Billy Giovanetti, to the weak side before bringing McDuffie in motion from the right.

The Knights have only given it to the WR on a sweep four times this season but they have however shown this type of play much more often throughout the two games. The Knights often bring a WR in motion prior to the snap mostly when running the WR triple option play with Godfrey.

WR triple option

Eight times this season UCF has run a triple option out of shotgun with Godfrey, where a WR was the pitch man. They’ve gained 60 yards on those eight plays and scored one touchdown.

These plays have been the only time this season where Godfrey has run a triple option attack and six of the times, Godfrey kept it on the play and run for a total of 56 yards, an average of 9.3 yards per carry.

This shows how patient and smart of a player Godfrey is. He has read the play correctly each time and killed UCF’s opponent. These types of plays have to be a focus for FIU and I expect them to try and key more on Godfrey on these plays.

This should open up Godfrey to pitch to the WR more if this happens and if that WR is McDuffie, then it will be a bad thing for FIU.

Either way, if the UCF offensive line does its job, then the Knights should always have an advantage on this play and the play’s success will be up to Godfrey’s decision making.

Shotgun speed option shovel

Two times this season UCF has run this play and it looks like it could be a very effective one down the road. The play is out of shotgun and Godfrey has Weaver and Murray in the backfield with him and three receivers with no tight end.

UCF runs this formation a lot but usually has a fullback in the backfield with Godfrey. But when they have two halfbacks, they have run this play twice.

The play is basically a speed option to the right with Godfrey and Ronnie Weaver. Those are the two basic options with the third being Latavius Murray who runs ahead of Godfrey ready for a shovel pass.

Both times this season the shovel hasn’t been there and Godfrey has pitched to Weaver for 22 yards and -1 yard, respectively. If the FIU defense is focused more on Godfrey on option plays this game and over pursues to try and stop him, the shovel option could open up and go for a big gain especially with Murray.

Recap

Alright so I wrote a lot here and maybe all of it wasn’t so clear. I’m not sure how to describe each formation so sometimes I just try to be as detailed as possible which can make it confusing to read.

To sum up what I wrote:

UCF will try to establish the run and do it predominantly to the strong side of the field. This should set up some play action for big pass plays which UCF hasn’t attempted so far this season out of particular formations. This will also set up misdirection run plays to the weak side which UCF has been extremely successful at so far this season.

On the option plays where UCF has had a ton of success this year so far, expect FIU to try and take away the Godfrey running option more in this game opening the other options like McDuffie and Murray.

It all will come down to how dominant UCF’s offensive line will be and Godfrey’s decision making. I expect a UCF win a close one and some big plays by the UCF offense in the game.

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