Five key moves UCF football made to become 10-0

Five key moves UCF football made to become 10-0

Scott Frost delivered on his promise to take UCF football from zero to 100 — and quick. He turned a winless 2015 team into one of the top 15 programs in the country in less than two full seasons.

Coincidentally, USF clinched its 10th win of the season — a program first — with a 48-31 victory in the War On I-4 rivalry last November. The Knights head into Friday’s rematch on a 10-0 roll and are in the hunt for their third American Athletic Conference championship since the league formed in 2013.

So how exactly did Frost do it? Here’s our look at the five key moves UCF made to fast track its success.

1. A close-knit staff

The chemistry and connections the coaches forged with one another set the tone for a collaborative environment devoid of egos.

All the offensive coaches, and even defensive coaches at times, contribute to the weekly call sheet for plays. Of equal importance, coaches are more familiar with the UCFast system after the 2016 season. Last year, offensive line coach Greg Austin was the only staff member on offense familiar with the Oregon-inspired playbook. It was also assistant coaches who moved Shaquem Griffin from safety to linebacker — a critical shift that fueled the improvement of the Knights’ defense.

2. Improved nutrition

Frost pushed for a training table and nutrition center as one of his first objectives after arriving at UCF. The Bob and Carol Garvy nutrition center will officially open next summer, but staff converted the team’s existing recruiting lounge into a makeshift training table.

Strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval also played a key role developing UCF players’ bodies so they could execute a high tempo offense and defense. Left tackle Aaron Evans, for example, added 30 pounds of muscle mass since Duval arrived.

3. Smart recruiting

It’s no coincidence UCF’s top three rushers are all underclassmen. Running backs Otis Anderson, Adrian Killins and quarterback McKenzie Milton are huge impact players for the Knights’ offense.

Frost and his assistants built a stronger relationship with local high school coaches to win more of the Florida recruiting battles. The Knights remain competitive in other states as well. Frost finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in the league in February after flipping one-time Maryland running back commit Cordarrian Richardson. The Knights are chasing another strong recruiting class.

4. Powerful offensive line

Milton’s evolution is directly li nked to the vast improvement of the offensive line. The group gave up just four sacks during the first eight games of the season and nine overall.

The addition of sophomore center Jordan Johnson helped bolster the line. He played in all 13 games last season as a guard, but he made a key switch to center. Johnson, who stands 6-foot-2 and 309 pounds, brought more height to the position than in past years with Jason Rae, who was listed as 5-foot-9. Overall, the O-line is healthier this season, more experienced in the new system and has better chemistry.

5. A strong secondary

This group outperformed expectations. Entering the season, UCF had to replace its entire starting secondary, including Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin. In addition to losing experience, the Knights were without the services of speedy cornerback Nevelle Clarke for the first six games of the season due to an NCAA-mandated suspension. Redshirt freshman cornerback Brandon Moore stepped up in Clarke’s absence and UCF made a key summer addition by landing junior college transfer Mike Hughes, a cornerback and special teams star.

Email Shannon Green at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @osknights and like the Sentinel’s UCF Facebook page to get all the latest updates on the Knights.

Source : http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/knights-notepad/os-sp-ucf-football-1123-story.html

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