Knights Bounce Back from Injuries

Rocky Ross (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Last year was not a very good year for UCF football. Besides having a losing record (4-8, 3-5 C-USA) and an offense that struggled, the Knights were overwhelmed by injuries. Thankfully, many of the players that the team believes will be key contributors are healthy again. Some of the big names that are returning this year are Corey Rabazinski, Cory Hogue, Rocky Ross, and A.J. Guyton.

With a couple of new faces on defense and with future NFL corner Joe Burnett gone, the Knights will look to linebacker Cory Hogue to be their new leader. Hogue put up some solid numbers since arriving at UCF in 2005, and could possibly get some looks from NFL scouts this year. With the return of Hogue, we expect the Knights' defense to remain solid.

Last year, the Knights had a miserable quarterback situation. Michael Greco struggled and was replaced by Rob Calabrese mid season. Calabrese made freshman mistakes, but showed some random flashes. The fact that three top receivers were injured made it very difficult for the Knights' QB's. The lack of reliable receiving targets was a main contributor to the Knights having the offense that was ranked dead last in NCAA (119th out of 119 teams).

When Kevin Smith left for the NFL, senior Rocky Ross was to take over the reigns of the Knights' offense. Unfortunately, Ross shattered his collarbone early on last year and was forced to undergo surgery. Statistically speaking, Ross was one of the Knights top targets prior to his injury. Not to mention, Ross was also a big leader for the Knights off the field. To UCF's fortune, he was awarded a medical redshirt so that he could play one more season. This should help a still very young and inexperienced offense.

Two other receiving targets that are returning this year from injuries are Corey Rabazinski and A.J. Guyton. Rabazinski is expected to return as the starting tight end, and Guyton is expected to contribute significantly. Guyton tore his ACL during spring practices last year. He put up excellent numbers as a true freshman, and could be a #2 receiver for the Knights this season.

Along with Ross, Rabazinski, and Guyton returning to the receiving corps, new offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe is rumored to implement a new spread-style offense. Expect to see bigger passing numbers from the Knights offense in 2009, as they can only go up from where they finished 2008.

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