Orlando, Fla. -- The two topics for discussion today would be Divaad Wilson and the insights he provided about his position flexibility, and the different opportunities for Joey Gatewood to impact UCF.
A few questions to think about before reading further. Which position will UCF play Wilson the most? Does Wilson move to a different position within the UCF secondary depending on the opponent, or will his position(s) be more predicated on UCF’s desire to play him in a specific role for the defense?
As for Gatewood, how quickly could the big-bodied quarterback acclimate to the UCF offense if he does indeed come to UCF and get cleared by the NCAA to play in 2021? Would Gatewood just be a specialty-package signal caller for the Knights, or would UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn implement plays for Gatewood inside the normal offense?
All of those questions remain ahead for UCF and its fanbase and it could be a while before many answers come to light. There’s quite a bit to learn about right now as well, so let’s get to it.
All-Around Defensive Back
There’s good reason to be optimistic about Wilson. Yes, he’s played cornerback, yes he’s also being transitioned to safety. Do not forget about playing nickel as well, something that’s expected of Wilson this fall. That’s why the heading of this section states “Defensive Back” and not a specific position.
During player interviews today, Wilson mentioned without being questioned that he’s going to be playing safety, cornerback and nickel. That’s a really rare accomplishment. The physical ability to play all three does not come around very often, even for a program like Alabama or Clemson. UCF truly has a unique defensive back that’s just now hitting his stride.
Wilson could be a key component for how the Knights defend not only special wide receivers, but also allow the UCF coaching staff a player that opposing offenses do not know where he will line up or which offensive skill player Wilson will attempt to defend.
Ah, the cat and mouse game that never gets old discussing. The X’s and O’s of college football and the personnel that make it happen. Wilson’s position flexibility derives from not only natural talent and a desire to play the position, but also now being more experienced. That will allow him to move to different positions, regardless of scenario, throughout the 2021 UCF Football season.
His talent will also allow other UCF defensive backs to concentrate on their particular strengths. Creating an overall defensive secondary that plays well off one another is the objective, and Wilson could be the glue to this unit.
Look for a feature about Wilson and the UCF defensive backs on Sunday that helps to define why the UCF pass defense could take a major step forward during the upcoming college football season.
Gatewood and What He Provides for the UCF Offense
With the possibility of immediate eligibility, assume that Gatewood does indeed enroll at UCF and practices and plays with the Knights this fall. How can he impact the 2021 Knights?
Considering Gatewood provides a 6'5", 221-pound ‘athlete’ at quarterback, that’s a big man running downhill. Yes, a Wildcat Package could be in the works for UCF. Sometimes it’s not necessary to be tricky or fool a defense. Our guy is better than your guy. Here we come!
From that Wildcat Package, Gatewood could also run the option or throw a pass, amongst several different play calls. It’s a difficult scheme to stop when there’s a truly talented quarterback at the controls. Gatewood’s skills fit the Wildcat very well. Here's a really good video about some of the blocking techniques and how the Wildcat truly works:
Expanding further, Gatewood could certainly be in the backfield with UCF starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gatewood is a unique player. Why not allow him to run the ball or catch passes? He’s too talented to just sit on the sidelines.
The list of possible ways that the Knights could use Gatewood would be up to any one person’s own thinking. Wide receiver, flex tight end, running back, and quarterback, each of those hold a realistic possibility, at least in theory. How UCF would actually use Gatewood will not be known just yet, but it’s still fun to discuss and think about.