The UCF football program has slowly climbed its way out of the doubted and hated corner pocket of college football. The team seen years ago as second-rate or non-competitive has become a respected underdog. A growing program with a growing fan base that can stand up to the big names in Florida colligate football. New head coach Gus Malzahn talked to us about UCF’s vision for their season and quarterback situation.
The Rise of the Knights:
The Knights became a household name almost out of nowhere in 2017, with their undefeated season going 13-0. As soon as they felt recognition, they also felt the wrath of college football fans calling their team, conference, and schedule elementary and unfounded. UCF did not back down but collectively recognized themselves as undefeated national champions over the University of Alabama.
Malzahn is the Head Coach for the UCF Knights and is excited about the upcoming season. Malzahn told us that most of his faculty and staff are returning as well as the team’s players. He said this returning team is a strong squad that won a bowl game against the Gators last season. The UCF football program is ready to attack the ACC this season, improve where they may be lacking and sharpen every position on the field.
We asked Malzahn about last season for the knights and their exemplary record of 9-4 even through many injuries. He talked about how their quarterback was a true freshman who was learning as he played last season. The team’s journey through adversity and having players step up that may not have had to if the starters weren’t injured has prepared them for this season. Malzahn says the team is now “battle-tested” and ready to attack the field every Saturday this fall on a mission.
Malzahn said the quarterback situation for the Knights is unique because they have two high-quality quarterbacks. This past Sunday, Malzahn named John Rhys Plumlee as the Knight’s starting quarterback over last years quarterback for the knights, Mikey Keene. Keene, a true freshman last year, held his own and stood tall for a team with significant disadvantages. Malzahn praises Keene for his outstanding play, even for being an undersized young quarterback.
Plumlee, the starting quarterback, showed great play in the spring game and over-training camp, and Malzahn said he is like a “videogame.”