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Five Biggest Questions Facing UCF Football in 2018: How will Josh Heupel Fare as First-Year Head Coach?

Heupel faces high expectations after undefeated 2017

UCF head football coach Josh Heupel (Photo: UCF Athletics)
UCF head football coach Josh Heupel (Photo: UCF Athletics)

Let’s get one thing straight here: Josh Heupel is not Scott Frost.

Yes, I understand the impeccable amount of similarities the two may have and that being a big reason why Danny White brought him to coach the reigning national champions. They were both upstart quarterbacks leading their team to national championships, but Josh Heupel is not Scott Frost.

Head Coach Josh Heupel is unproven. Nothing he did at any other school as a player or a coach matters because Head Coach Josh Heupel has not won a game in his head coaching life.

The excellent part about Heupel’s position is that he is set up for success. He has a battle-tested team that knows how to win and one of the best defensive coordinator partners in the country in Randy Shannon. However, just because you have the pieces around you does not automatically make you a good coach.

Mike Brown had LeBron James in Cleveland but could not get it done. Grady Little had Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and a dynamo Red Sox team in 2003 but could not get it done. The head coach is an underrated part of a team. Without the right voice leading the ship, the ship could sink.

As a branch on the Bob Stoops coaching tree and a coordinator of a Top-10 offense last season, Heupel definitely has the knowledge and tools he can bring to the table to add to the value of the team.

The terrible part about Heupel’s position is that he is also set up for failure. If UCF loses one game this year for any reason, the blame will fall on Heup. He is the main cog in the machine that is different from last season and is the face of the team after McKenzie Milton.

I hope that Heupel is able to find a balance of remaining competitive with the rest of college football versus remaining competitive among the team. Because, yes, UCF is in competition with other schools in the American Conference, and with schools ahead of them in the polls. However, Heupel cannot have his team pay too much attention to the noise. He needs to have them focused on what the team can control, which Frost did an excellent job of.

I think if Heupel can maintain his team’s composure and provide a cool, calm, collected voice like his predecessor did, Heupel can maybe, just maybe, live up to the unfathomable and unreasonable expectations placed on him.

Now, there is a small chance Heupel lives up to wild and undeserving expectations. The only way he exceeds them is if UCF makes a College Football Playoff, but the Knights will need help from the committee in order for that to happen. Chances are, Heupel will not live up to the next-to-impossible expectations that Coach Frost left behind.

If this team loses one game, Heupel will get the blame. But Knight Nation should do a job and not put this pressure on Heup, because as I stated at the beginning of this article: Josh Heupel is not Scott Frost.