Coming out of the spring, one of the biggest issues for UCF football was the development of its secondary.
The Knights looked far better in the late stages of camp then they did at the start, but the secondary is still set to be an incredibly young group. Of the unit, safety Clayton Geathers and cornerback Brandon Alexander, both juniors, have starting experience. But both will be flanked by inexperience.
Geathers will pair either with former cornerback Nicco Whigham or converted wide receiver Drico Johnson at safety. At the field corner spot opposite Alexander, the likely starter is freshman Jacoby Glenn, who did not participate in spring ball. Behind Glenn on the depth chart are freshmen D.J. Killings and Jeremy Davis.
True freshmen Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin may even find a way into the playing rotation once they join the roster in the summer.
Why could this be a big deal in the fall? A quick review of UCF’s 2013 opponents shows that nine of UCF’s 12 opponents, including seven of its first eight opponents, were more productive in the passing game than the run in 2012. Only Memphis (109th passing, 69th rushing), Temple (116th passing, 31st rushing) and USF (78th passing, 66th rushing) got more production on the ground.
The Knights must be ready for the passing game early on, with three top-35 passing offenses from 2012 on the docket: Akron (16th), Penn State (35th) and Louisville (24th). While those numbers may change in 2013, Penn State for example graduated its only experienced passer in Matt McGloin, UCF’s young secondary will be challenged early.
Circle the October 18 date with the Cardinals and Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater as a benchmark of growth for the secondary.