The first #UCFastival Spring Game under Josh Heupel is in the books, and while we're not entirely sure how the score laid out, we saw some good things out there.
For one thing, it's pretty remarkable how Josh Heupel has put ego aside and decided that, if it ain't broke, he's not going to fix it too much. The offense looked every bit as explosive as it did at the end of last season.
Defensively, it's always hard to gauge, but the speed is still there, and some new names emerged to make some plays for Randy Shannon's crew.
Insofar as a spring scrimmage can be successful, this one appeared to be just that.
The Answers to our Questions
1. How will McKenzie Milton look in Josh Heupel’s offense?
Just fine, thank you: 9/13 for 144 yards and a TD in the first quarter, and 14/23 for 183 with two TDs and a pick for the game. And he looked like nothing's changed in the past four months:
KZ has that No. 1 offense humming!— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 21, 2018
Snelson with the snag
McCrae with the TD pic.twitter.com/aVPbMzDPaB
Let's stop and admire this for a second: McKenzie Milton has come a LONG way in the last 18 months. One more summer under his belt and we might be seeing the greatest quarterback in school history in 2018.
Yes, you read that right.
2. Which receivers will fill the holes left by Tre’quan Smith and Jordan Akins?
Again, someone was bound to emerge, and we found them.
I almost forgot about Tristan Payton, who has had a bit of a disappointing time at UCF, but is now a senior, and hauled in a 43-yarder for a score from Milton:
Also in the running: Jaquarius Bargnare, who caught four balls for 52 yards, and Otis Anderson, who is looking like a real Swiss Army knife out there.
3. Who will take the place of Shaquem Griffin on the defense?
Turns out there are quite a few nominees.
The leading tackler for the game was sophomore LB Nate Evans, who finished with 10 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Sophomore LB Bam Bam Bacote-Sweat spent much of his afternoon in the backfield, getting credit for six tackles, 3.5 for loss, and two sacks.
That lone pick that Milton threw landed in the hands of possible Mike Hughes replacement DB Aaron Robinson, and it was spectacular:
Aaron Robinson!— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 21, 2018
The Alabama transfer with the slick pick ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/kbDONm15SR
Bottom line is there's plenty of talent to fill the sizeable hole left by Shaquem. The intangibles will have to wait for a while.
4. How will UCF’s defense adapt to going back to a 4-3?
OK, but it probably needs more work. The first team offense did rip off big plays, although the first team defense did manage to throw up a few big plays of their own (see above). However, at times it seemed like new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon was less than pleased with his unit:
The most entertaining part of the evening so far has been listening to Randy Shannon rant inside the box. And this is just the spring game.— osknights (@osknights) April 21, 2018
It's hard to say whether we have an answer on this one just yet.
And In Case You Forgot
UCF really are the defending national champions. Deal with it: