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Grading UCF Football Through the First Half of the Season

Six games down, six games to go. Here are the grades for UCF Football after the conclusion of the first half of the 2021 season.

ORLANDO - During the Monday press conference, UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn discussed how the UCF Football program would attempt to “departmentalize” the first half of the season and move forward with the remaining six games.

Coach Malzahn wanted to basically start fresh from game No. 7 and move forward. With that in mind, there then needs to be a grade for the offense and defense, as well as how the football staff handled the media and recruiting.

As for the offense, and the podcast will discuss this much more depth, consider the following points regarding how things have changed, and how it’s so difficult to make a definitive grade.

**Lost running back RJ Harvey to a knee injury prior to the season starting.

**Lost quarterback Dillon Gabriel at the conclusion of the Louisville game, and he is out for the season or will be back very late in the season.

**Lost running back Isaiah Bowser during the third quarter of the Louisville game, and he’s now “80%” per Coach Malzahn.

**Starting center Matt Lee missed the Louisville game, and he is still banged up but playing..

**Starting wide receiver Jaylon Robinson was injured during the Louisville game and no timetable for his return has been provided.

Jaylon Robinson, UCF

For the last three games, not having Jaylon Robinson has hurt the UCF offense.

With just those points in mind, it’s really hard to grade an offense. Here are a couple of takeaways though, as it relates to the quarterback position, and then the podcast thereafter.

With Gabriel in the lineup, many new coaching staffs would have attempted to force him into their preferred system. UCF’s coaching staff did the opposite, allowing Gabriel to play the way he can play. It worked out fantastic through three games. Grade: A.

As for grading the UCF offense since Mikey Keene took over, that’s more complex. With all the injuries, he’s handcuffed quite a bit more than Gabriel. Did UCF allow him all the opportunities to pass the football the way he is most likely to be successful versus Cincinnati? Probably not. 

Further, the coaching staff is trying to adjust on the fly with a freshman, so it’s up in the air as to what the best plan would be, but he’s struggled the last two games. The coaches need to find different ways for Keene to feel comfortable that include passing the football down the field. Until that happens, the Knights will struggle on offense. Need explosive plays, something Coach Malzahn discussed during the press conference earlier today. Grade: C.

Here’s the podcast with all the grades and commentary:

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For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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