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Questions Around the Kingdom: Post Pitt

We answer what’s on the mind of Knight Nation.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Questions Around the Kingdom is our new weekly piece that gives YOU the chance to be part of our UCF coverage! We’ll answer some of the questions you fans have regarding UCF Football. Following a tough loss to Pitt, lets take a look at what’s on the mind of Knight Nation.

The offseason ankle injury was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Darriel Mack Jr. Instead of going into camp as the frontrunner to start this season, Dillon Gabriel was able to take the job while Mack was sidelined. I’m not even sure Mack is considered the backup with Brandon Wimbush in the mix.

I would imagine there are three options for the redshirt sophomore quarterback after this season. He can either stay at UCF and compete to win the starting job back, he can transfer to another school knowing he will not be able to play again until his redshirt senior season, or he can stay at UCF and explore playing a new position. Those are, of course, if he doesn’t take back over as QB1 at some point during this season. There’s a lot of football left to play.

This is not a unique problem to UCF. Tons of schools including the likes of Alabama have been struggling to keep fans in their seats for all four quarters. The problem is when you’re up 38-7 at half, people don’t want to stick around and watch garbage time and I honestly understand that. It’s an unfortunate side effect of blowing opponents out of the water.

It was a gamble for Pitt to stack the box like they did. They left one-on-one matchups on the outside the entire game and that resulted in a bunch of UCF chunk plays. Gabe Davis and Tre Nixon combined had 17 receptions for 287 yards with each of them posting career highs. I don’t think other teams are willing to take that tradeoff especially considering that Dillon Gabriel will respond better to pressure as he gets more experience throughout the season.

Defensively, I don’t think it was the scheme that resulted in those big plays down the middle of the field. The tape shows a lot of areas where there were missed assignments and poor situational awareness. The defense, especially the linebacker group, just didn’t do a good job sniffing out plays and it resulted in guys being out of position. I don’t have any doubts that Randy Shannon is going to get that cleaned up moving forward.

While the Pitt game wasn’t the greatest showing by the linebacker group, I did think that Eric Mitchell looked really strong in pass coverage. Like I mentioned in my response to Matt above, it was really an issue of certain personnel being out of position and Pitt made us pay one too many times for those mistakes.

I think that was a situational call for sure and it’s one that I agree with. They were on the 15 yard line and a touchdown most likely would have put the game away for good. The defense had no real success slowing down Pitt all night and you have a running back group that averages over six yards per carry. Statistically, the odds were in UCF’s favor and Heupel would have been considered a genius if they converted.

That is just the way Heupel likes to run his offense. He was very transparent when he took the job saying that he want’s to attack vertically through the air and run north and south. Do I agree with that approach all the time? No, not at all. It was no secret that UCF was out-coached in that game and hopefully it will be a learning experience for this staff.

It depends on what you consider a good play caller. He is most certainly not as creative of a play caller as Frost but statistically, UCF hasn’t skipped a beat on offense. There are a few things that I don’t agree with like running between the tackles so often with speedy backs that should be getting to the perimeter instead. All in all, I would give him a 7.5/10 with the Pitt and LSU games driving that number down.

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