The UCF spring game is on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium. Here are five things to watch if you venture out to catch the spring season finale.
- The battles in the secondary – These are the highest-profile jobs still up for grabs. While Brandon Alexander and Clayton Geathers have locked up starting jobs, the field corner and field safety spots are not yet determined. Nicco Whigham may be out of his gold injury jersey on Saturday and ready for live hitting, and he is trying to keep pace with WR-turned-DB Drico Johnson for the free safety spot. Johnson will run with the ‘ones,’ while Whigham likely goes with the ‘twos.’ Meanwhile, freshman D.J. Killings and Jeremy Davis will work in that field corner spot and try to do enough to stay in contention for the job once Jacoby Glenn rejoins the mix in late July.
- Running backs - UCF coach George O’Leary loves his downhill, power running game, and Storm Johnson must be able to show his coach he is capable of grinding out those between-tackle yards as much as bouncing it outside. Cedric Thompson has the size to be that inside complement to Johnson’s speed, though, and he’ll get some looks with the ones in the scrimmage. Plus when Johnson breaks a big run, it’s a fun thing to watch. He can scoot.
- The passing game – The ball will be in the air more this fall, and UCF has looked to install new elements to its passing game. It will be a limited script on Saturday, but you will probably see some of the wrinkles the Knights have installed to get Jeff Godfrey more involved out of the slot. Also, Breshad Perriman’s development on the outside continues, and Blake Bortles can show off his arm – he’s looked accurate and effective all spring.
- The true freshmen passers – Okay, so part of it is just the intrigue, right? I mean, they’re freshmen and a long way from playing (hopefully). It has been as you’d expect it this spring: inconsistent. Justin Holman started off on a high, then dropped back down to reality. Pete DiNovo has been accurate, but he has had fewer elements of the offense thrown at him so far. Regardless of all of that, this is a good chance for UCF fans to get a look at the potential future under center.
- Linebacker play – UCF is going to be better up front, but linebacker is still not yet solidified. Terrance Plummer has looked fantastic throughout the spring, and the guys around him are starting to come along. Linebackers coach Tyson Summers has some options now as he rotates guys in, between the uber-athletic Willie Mitchell, Troy Gray, Mike Easton, Maurice Russell and Domenic Spencer. You’ll probably see Mitchell, Plummer and Gray run out with the ones, but Easton can slide in and that will start the shuffling. Best bet for some fun: watch Plummer. He’s been all over the field, and his energy ignites the rest of the defense. In front of him, defensive tackle E.J. Dunston has also been very good this spring.