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BYU vs. UCF from a UCF insider perspective

By Charles Kano

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 21 2011 11:37 a.m. MDT

Limon: Coaches have really avoided talking about the altitude, especially with the players. They have simply said that they will take the measures to prepare the team for the game. The coaches have done a good job of rotating a lot of players into the game, so the altitude may not have that much of a factor.

They are preparing the players to play in a sizable stadium with a large crowd. They are also anticipating the full treatment associated with playing on ESPN as the only game on TV, including a loud crowd anxious to see their team redeem themselves.

What is the Knights' biggest strength coming into the game?

Daniels: The defense’s ability to get to the quarterback without utilizing a blitz. Defensive end Darius Nall has done a good job of getting pressure on opposing teams’ quarterbacks. The secondary covers very well, and they have two guys back there that will more than likely end up playing on Sundays.

Limon: Consistency on defense has been the strength. Opponents have been able to move the ball on them early, but they seem to find their footing quickly and adapt to what the opponent is doing.

On offense, it is the play off Godfrey. His ability to scramble until he can make a pass has been really fun to watch.

What is the Knights' biggest perceived weakness?

Daniels: UCF gave up six sacks against FIU. I think that thing that Coach O’Leary is worried about is BYU and future teams that UCF plays using what FIU did as a blueprint as how to beat the Knights.

The Knights also lost three receivers from last year. The new guys they brought in are amazing athletes but have less experience, and it shows.

Limon: The team has not learned to play under pressure or from behind. They also have shown that they struggle picking up blitzes from the opposing defense.

Who are the Knights’ playmakers and team leaders?

Daniels: Godfrey at quarterback is a passing and running weapon. Junior receiver Quincy McDuffie has been really good on special teams, averaging 32 yards a kick return last year. UCF thinks he can be a playmaker on offense as well.

Defensively, Josh Robinson had great numbers last year. This year, teams are throwing at him almost 50 percent less. Junior safety Kemal Ishmael is the unquestioned leader of the defense.

Limon: Corner Josh Robinson has been the anchor in the secondary and is really strong against the pass. Look to see him take advantage of this opportunity to prove himself against Heaps.

On offense, Godfrey is the leader, but running backs Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey will really be the ones that UCF counts on to establish the run.

What are the keys to the game for UCF to be successful?

Daniels: UCF can’t make so many mistakes. Last week, they had 10 penalties and some turnovers, both not characteristic of a UCF team. They also have to control the time of possession against the BYU offense.

Defensively, UCF needs to limit third down conversions, and they must sack Jake Heaps.

Limon: UCF will need to get great line play on both sides of the ball. They will need to impose their will on the BYU lines. The Knights will need to establish the run. If they don’t do this, it will be very difficult for them to have a good showing. Finally, they will need to limit the number of turnovers, something both teams know all too well.

Who do you think wins and give us a score?

Daniels: I never pick against UCF but I won’t give a score because I don’t want to be someone’s locker room material. I think UCF can compete with anyone. They are no longer in awe of some of their opponents, and every year when their schedule comes out they believe they can win every one of those games.

UCF players and coaches know that BYU is primed to have a big day offensively; they just don’t want it to be against them. The Knight defense tends to give up plays early, but they will try to keep the crowd out of this game.

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