I hate to be one to say I told you so...
But I told you so.
The UCF Knights showed signs of improvement against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Saturday night. However, the same reasons for the near-loss to against Samford reared their ugly heads and resulted in the eventual loss to the Golden Eagles.
Well one thing's for sure: there's no quarterback controversy in Orlando, FL.
Following a loss to Southern Miss Saturday night, it is painfully clear that sophomore Rob Calabrese is incapable of being the starting quarterback for the UCF Knights. Following three drives that lead to little yardage and a turnover (fumble returned for a touchdown),
Calabrese was pulled from the game in favor of fifth-year senior Brett Hodges. After the substitution, there was a different vibe about the Knights offense. Taafe made good on his stating that he would open up the playbook a little more than he did against Samford.
Unfortunately, it was too little too late in this matchup.
Front Seven Not Getting It Done (Again)
Two Games. Two Sacks.
Watching the game last night, you couldn't help but notice no sense of urgency on the part of the Knights defense. The defensive line had no push and the linebackers missed tackles with alarming frequency.
Damion Fletcher was held to 100 yards and a touchdown, but Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis was allowed to roll out and scramble far too often.
Take away the fourth quarter sack by UCF lineman Bruce Miller and the defensive line just looked overmatched on every play. Someone better light a fire under this unit, because if this becomes routine (especially with the bend-don't-break secondary), this team is doomed to repeat with these results.
No Running Game
That would be how many the Knights gained on the ground against the Golden Eagles.
While part of it can be put on running back Brynn Harvey needed to read defenses a little bit better, the bulk of the blame should be put on the offensive line. With no push and no holes for Harvey to run through, the Knights were forced to go to the air and become one-dimensional.
Even when the Knights went pass-heavy, the line was incapable of blocking long enough for Brett Hodges to go through his reads, resulting in three sacks late in the game. That is unacceptable and can't be repeated.
The passionate Knight fan in me wants to be able to bash head coach George O'Leary. Yes his old-school take on how and offense should be run is grossly outdated (I'm pretty sure everyone in a 500 mile radius knows the Knights will run a dive play on first down).
The team's offensive & defensive scheme are archaic in comparison to the rest of Conference USA, yet he refuses to change with the times.
However, people need to remember that we're only two games into a very young season. To ask for his head to be on a spike is a bit premature.
With that said, he faces another challenge against the Buffalo Bulls. Coming off a blowout in their last game, the Bulls will be looking for their first win. If the Knights play like they have the past two weeks, they will come away with another loss and I'm sure will gain many "Fire O'Leary" groups on Facebook.