ORLANDO - Against an adversary that will almost certainly score in the high-twenties if not into the mid-thirties, UCF quarterback Mikey Keene needs to grow what he's done through his first three starts.
It’s time to put more points on the board.
UCF averaged 23.7 points during Keene’s first three starts. Considering the fact that the upcoming Friday night competition will be a Memphis team averaging 35.9 points per game, it’s fairly self explanatory that UCF needs to execute better, as well as be creative with ways to score points with Keene behind center.
With that said, Inside The Knights will be charting Keene’s progress over the course of the next few weeks to see how he performs, particularly within the next three categories. With that in mind, here’s today’s version of The Daily Knight further detailing what Keene needs to do and what to expect from Memphis:
Connecting with the Deep Ball
This redundant topic will not go away until UCF actually makes it happen. Need two, possibly three deep shots to work out. There is a clarification to note.
A deep pass does not mean the football traveled 50 yards down the field before reaching the intended target. This can be a back-shoulder fade to any particular player, and that might just be a completion of 25 yards.
It also does not necessarily need to be a wide receiver. If Keene Finds Johnny Richardson on a wheel route, make sure it’s an accurate pass just like he’s done before. A chunk-yardage passing play will happily be accepted regardless of the intended target.
Hopefully the Knights find a way to accomplish this task early in the game to keep the No. 116 Memphis pass defense on its heels for the rest of the contest.
Protect the Football
Keene threw a pick-six to Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant. The football was really late in reaching its intended target. Keene needs to read the defenders better and also needs to be more decisive when throwing to the perimeter. That pass that Bryant intercepted was a longer and more difficult throw to begin with, and one that comes with potential peril as proven against Cincinnati.
If UCF can just cut out the big mistakes, like the three pick-six plays that went against them this season, it could well be the difference versus Memphis.
Run for First Downs
With eight carries for minus-five yards this season, Keene does not suddenly need to be a true dual-threat signal caller. He does need to start picking up yardage during third down-and-medium situations such as third and five or third and six.
Keep the chains moving!
While it’s important to keep Keene out of danger from being hit, the UCF offense is struggling to move the football to the point that extra precautions quite frankly cannot be extended any longer. If nothing else, Keene needs to slide to avoid hits. Still, he needs to take off and gain yardage that keeps the UCF offense on the field.
When Keene sees a sure running lane, take off and get what you can if that’s a first down.
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