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Doc Hancock’s Grand Tour Of C-USA: Central Florida Knights

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on August 13, 2008

Central Florida Knights

Head Coach: George O’Leary (22-28, 4 years at Central Florida, 74-61 overall)

Stadium: Bright House Networks Stadium (45,323)

2007 Record: 10-4 (7-1 C-USA East)

Postseason: Lost to Mississippi State 10-3 in Liberty Bowl

Key Returnees On Offense: TE Corey Rabazinski, WRs Rocky Ross and Kamar Aiken

Key Returnees On Defense: DE Bruce Miller, NT Torrell Troup, FS Jason Venson, SS Sha’Reff Rashad, CBs Johnell Neal and Joe Burnett, LBs Derrick Hallman and Chance Henderson

The Skinny: After rising from the ashes of a winless season in 2004 and winning two East Division titles in three years as well as a conference championship, the good times for the most part will continue in Orlando despite the losses of Kevin Smith at running back and Kyle Israel at quarterback. In their place will be QB Michael Greco, who in 2007 completed 24 of 45 passes for 303 yards and RB Phillip Smith, who ran for 246 yards in 2007 with 4 touchdowns. But don’t call the offense a bunch of greenhorns, because the Knights are returning receivers Rocky Ross and and Kamar Aiken, who are the team’s top two receivers and will be keys to showing Greco the ropes as he starts his first season as the starting quarterback.

On defense, the cupboard is stocked with standouts such as safeties Jason Venson and Sha’Reff Rashad, who are back after leading the team in tackles in 2007. Along with the two, the Knights are returning cornerbacks Johnell Neal and Joe Burnett. Burnett received all-conference honors in 2007 while Neal is known best for his quickness.

Doc’s Prediction: The Knights’ dream season last year is a culmination of four years of building from an 0-11 season in 2004 to the present-day program. Expect in 2008 the same thing from the Knights, strong contenders with Southern Mississippi and East Carolina for the C-USA East crown.

Projected Record: 9-4 (6-2 C-USA East)

2008 Central Florida Knights

August 30th-South Carolina State

September 6th- South Florida

September 20th-@ Boston College

September 27th-@ UTEP

October 4th-Southern Methodist

October 11th-@ Miami

October 26th-@ Tulsa

November 2nd-East Carolina

November 8th-Southern Miss

November 15th-@ Marshall

November 22nd-@ Memphis

November 29th-UAB

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