The 2009 Knight's football depth chart looks pretty familiar if you look at the depth chart at the end of the 2008 season. A few young guys show are playing on the offensive line along with a new starter at center. The defensive backfield is completely new after graduating 4 seniors last year. Look for the following players to make a big impact on the championship hopes of the UCF Knights.
Torrell Troup, Defensive Tackle: Torrell is the strongest man on the Knights football team, and that might have something to do with Torrell leading the team with consecutive starts at 16. Torrell is currently on watch lists for the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman award) , the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player award), and the Rotary Lombardi Award1. Torrell is also on the watch list of several NFL scouts in anticipation of the 2010 NFL Draft. Torrell needs to be the monster on the defensive line that everyone is expecting. Expect him to continue to gobble up double and triple teams throughout the year while still wreaking havoc in opposing team's backfields.
Derrick Hallman, Free Safety: Derrick moves back to his high school position for the 2009 season. Derrick has been on the field for the Knights the past two seasons at linebacker. Last year Derrick received honorable mention as an All-C-USA linebacker. As a linebacker, Derrick was all over the field making plays and making people pay for possession of the pigskin. Expect things to be worse for opposing offenses, as Derrick has more time to get up to full speed playing back at free safety.
Charlie Taaffe, Offensive Coordinator: A reason to feel ok about the fact that UCF is returning 99.9% of its total yardage from 2008 (it'd be ok if the Knights weren't a solid #119 out of 119) is Coach Taaffe. Taaffe has experience with several offensive systems and experience as a head coach. Coach Taaffe had a winning record at the Citadel while primarily running the option offense. Expect to see changes in overall offensive philosophy along with new things to be sprinkled in with the familiar. We'll see more passing under Coach Taaffe and the fact that he has taken over QB coaching duties to put Knights fans at ease. The fans that had good success guessing what play was going to be run under Coach Salem's offense are going to have to find something else to do during this year's games.
Rob Calabrese, Quarterback: Expect big improvements from Rob after a spring and fall under the tutelage of Coach Taaffe as quarterback coach. Rob was thrown into the fire in 2008 and he fizzled. A change in offensive philosophy along with a revamped offensive line should help Rob quite a bit. Rob has also been guided by 5th year senior and Wake Forest transfer, Brett Hodges.
Brynn Harvey, Running Back: Brynn started to come out of his shell towards the end of last season. Will Brynn be the next Kevin Smith? This year will probably be too early to tell. Last year Brynn shared running duties with a slew of running backs, this year he is the man. See what Brynn does when opposing defenses don't know when to expect a run. Brynn rushed for 519 yards in 2008, but don't be surprised if he triples that number this year.
1 - The Rotary Lombardi Award goes annually to the college football lineman -- offense or defense -- who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi. (http://www.rotarylombardiaward.com/)