Oct. 03, 2016
UCF Dominates ECU, Expectations Run High
There are so many reasons to be optimistic about about UCF's progress so far this season, but a equal amount of apprehension quells the euphoria. Starting with a baseline of zero wins in 2015, even marginal improvement should be heralded from a 0-12 team. The problem is UCF is not a marginal team, and never has been. UCF is loaded with Power 5 offered players. The recruits UCF has gotten since their Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor have had the highest star ratings in program history.
How does a team go from two time AAC Champions to 0-12. First George O'Leary is allowed to take on the dual role of head coach and athletic director. Second they lose their Blake Bortles producing quarterback guru and offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe to "retirement". Third they lose their top ten defense producing DC Tyson Summers. Then O'Leary with total control as head coach and AD hired his recently fired friend as DC, and a first time offensive coordinator. This is how a 9-4 team becomes a 0-12 team.
This brings us back to expectations. What should a UCF fan expect of first time head coach Scott Frost? Should we expect him to continue where UCF left off in 2014 before the coaching implosion, or should we expect a losing season. The first five games have answered that question. Last year UCF lost to a FCS tune up team, this year a FCS team blowout. Last year two Power 5 beat downs, this year one beat down with some bright spots (Michigan 2.9 yard rushing average), and one loss in double overtime (should have gone for the two point conversion). Last year FIU beats UCF at Bright House, this year UCF pounds FIU on the road. Last year UCF losses to ECU 44-7 at home, this year UCF wins 47-29 on the road.
Which brings us to today's ECU game. Should we have expected this outcome, or is it a big surprise. The answer is it should have been expected. UCF could not be playing this good with mediocre talent. The talent was always there waiting for the right coach with the right scheme. It is now clear that Scott Frost is that coach. Now should fans expect UCF to pick up where they left off and win another AAC Championship. Maybe, but it will require a big coaching effort to shore up and improve a defensive backfield that lost All American and Bears starter Jacoby Glenn, and Colts starter Clayton Geathers.
Today ECU had three 100 plus yard receivers, and 470 yards receiving total. This is UCF's weak spot that will be exploited all season long if not improved quickly. UCF will be facing some good to great QB's from here on out, and can't rely on the big mistakes ECU made today. If a team gets lit up for 470 yards receiving they will most likely lose. If coach Frost can get this fixed UCF could win the AAC East. If he can't UCF might still go bowling with some luck.