The UCF Knights Offense Has Unique Challenge Against the Florida Atlantic Owls Defense
College football can be full of unusual schemes, tendencies and special circumstances. For the offense of the UCF Knights going against Florida Atlantic’s defense, one could argue that it’s all the above.
Breaking down how FAU attacks is hard to define via a keyboard, but do note that it’s worked well thus far and there are several players making noise for the Owls. Before getting into the scheme and players to watch, here are the statistics from what FAU produced so far this season.
FAU Defensive Statistics
Points allowed per game: 21, tied to be No. 59 in the country
Rushing yards allowed per game: No. 22 by allowing 79, with a 2.8 yards per carry average.
Passing yards allowed per game: 254.7 for the No. 91 spot in the country, and allowing 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
Turnovers created: three, with two interceptions, plus a scoop and score from a fumble.
Third down defense: allowed nine of 33 conversion attempts to be successful, 27.3%, ranking No. 30 in the nation.
Sacks: Nine sacks through the first three games ties the Owls at No. 3 nationally.
Tackles for loss: 19, which ties the Owls for No. 12 in the nation.
Now it’s time to discuss the scheme.
Preparing for the 3-4 Defense
It’s a 3-4 look which is much more common in the SEC or the NFL, as compared to the majority of college football; it’s not easy to prepare for out of the blue.
The 3-4 requires a big man in the middle that can take on double teams. That’s where the beef is for FAU. If any UCF fan is going to pay attention to players on the other side of the football, look no further than the nose guards like Keem Green.
Why? It’s extremely rare for a 3-4 defense to be good and not have quality nose guards because they are constantly taking on double teams. Without talent at nose guard, teams would have bludgeoned the Owls defensive front.
Considering that the Owls have allowed just 79 yards on the ground, per game, one can bet that any player lining up over the center for FAU is a quality player. Here’s another key point about the defensive line.
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FAU rotates quite a few defenders along the front, and the defense overall. In fact, the Owls already saw eight defenders record 10 or more tackles. This is a well balanced defense in terms of which players make plays.
It’s also a good bet that UCF will see some different looks than what FAU has shown to date because they’ve played Charlotte, Ohio and Southeastern Louisiana.
That’s not exactly murder’s row, so UCF is going to get the entire gamut of defensive tricks from the FAU staff, and look for some of those tricks to involve the nose guard shading one side or the other, slanting, etc.
That leads some defenders that UCF fans need to learn a little bit about.
Players to Know
*The co-sack leader is a cornerback. Yes, a cornerback. Jayden Williams is a redshirt freshman from Bloomingdale, Fla. that’s made his mark in the backfield as a blitzer. He’s also second on the team with 18 tackles. That’s impressive; that’s an aggressive defense to blitz cornerbacks.
*Junior inside linebacker Eddie Williams is the overall player to watch. He’s leading FAU with 26 total tackles, as well as leading with four tackles for loss, and he’s the other player with two sacks, tying him with Williams. Look for him to be a player UCF schemes to keep out of plays as much as possible, but he’s a ball hawk.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee needs to know the looks/signs that FAU prefers to blitz from because corner coming off the edge can catch a running back or offensive tackle off guard. Here are a few more key notes about top players for the Owls on defense.
*The Owls possess a plethora of underclassmen playing on defense, and it shows with regards to leading tacklers. The first senior on the list comes in at No. 15 on the team.
That would be the aforementioned Green, a player that will absolutely be playing at nose tackle and possibly at defensive end for the Owls. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds. He’s going to have a good battle with UCF center Matt Lee and the rest of the offensive line.
*The Owls are not big, however, at cornerback. The majority are under 6-0, so look for some 50-50 balls to be thrown to Javon Baker and other UCF receivers.
*Finally, junior outside linebacker Marlon Krakue only produced five tackles, but 3.5 of them are tackles for loss.
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