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UCF Looks to Unleash Dynamic Offense in 2nd Big 12 Season

UCF Golden Knights
© Candace Ward/USA Today Sports

Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn's name is synonymous with dynamic offenses, and now he expects to bring one to his second season in the Big 12 Conference.

"Really excited about the playmakers we have, we're a play-action team with a real emphasis on throwing it deep, and playing fast,." Malzahn said Wednesday at the Big 12 Conference's Media Days in Las Vegas. "We've got RJ, Peny Boone, K.J. is a run threat, too. We've got playmakers at wide receiver, we've got the pieces of the puzzle, we just gotta get it done on the field."

UCF Golden Knights Will Field Quite an Offense

Helming Malzahn's play-action deep passing offense will be Arkansas transfer quarterback K.J. Jefferson. Jefferson started 36 games for the Razorbacks and brings experience and stability to the UCF Golden Knights after the departure of John Rhys Plumlee. Jefferson not only provides the passing ability (7,911 passing yards, 67 touchdowns) and the rushing ability (1,876 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns) that Malzahn's offenses have thrived with in the past. But he also has a familiar stature at 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds.

"Physically, he's the closest thing to Cam (Newton) that I've had," Malzahn said Wednesday.

It is a bold comparison, but the true impact player group of any good play-action offense is the running back room. UCF is bringing a stable to the table.

RJ Harvey returns for his senior season after rushing for 1,416 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2023. Boone, a junior, joins Harvey after transferring from Toledo. He rushed for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns as a Rocket in 2023. Speedster Johnny Richardson also returns to the UCF backfield after rushing for 573 yards in 2023.

UCF finished 6-7 in their first year in the Big 12. Look for Malzahn to ride his experienced quarterback and one of the deeper running back rooms in the country to improvement in Year 2.

UCF Golden Knights
© Alex Blackburn/College Football Dawgs

Florida Game Crucial in Recruiting Battle

Malzahn spoke on the recruiting challenges in Florida, and circled the battle against the Florida Gators as pivotal to the in-state recruiting battle. "We recruit against Florida, Florida State and Miami. That's really what it's about," Malzahn said Wednesday.

UCF travels to Gainesville for the showdown in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5. A victory against the Gators would positively impact Malzahn's recruiting prospects while also potentially ending Florida coach Billy Napier's career in "The Swamp."

For more on the UCF Golden Knights, keep checking back in with College Football Dawgs.


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