Orlando, Fla. - Against Boise State, Kalia Davis provided the UCF defense with a player that whipped several different offensive lineman, and in doing so helped change the game. For his efforts, the American Athletic Conference (AAC) announced that Davis was awarded conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Davis accumulated six total tackles, including three tackles for loss. Most importantly, he consistently penetrated into the Boise State backfield and created disruptions to the Broncos’ running game while making quarterback Hank Bachmeier move off his spot before being able to throw a pass.
His efforts not only gained him recognition from the AAC, but also helped generate issues for future offensive line coaches and offensive coordinators alike. Upcoming opponents will have to game plan around his skills.
So what do opposing coaches now do with Davis while also attempting to block talented front seven defenders like defensive end Big Kat Bryant, linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, and defensive tackle Ricky Barber?
Well, Boise State certainly did not figure out a good answer, as the following tweet from UCF Football confirmed that the Knights front seven handled business against the Broncos:
11 hats to the ball carrier by way of creating offensive disruption and turmoil. That was UCF this past Thursday, led by Davis. There’s one more thing that Davis and his front seven brethren need to do better moving forward. Bryant actually provided the best answer with what he said during Monday’s press conference.
“Sack the quarterback,” Bryant said directly when asked what else the defensive line could do better. “That’s how we get paid.”
The Knights did not register a sack against Boise State. Not one. Although surprising, it's an area to work on before playing Bethune-Cookman.
Indeed, quarterback sacks are the goal for defensive linemen. It also helps a player to get to the NFL, too. No question about Bryant's statement. As for how the Knights go about getting those sacks, that’s an interesting situation to ponder.
Will the Knights blitz more against Bethune-Cookman this Saturday? Will the defense simply rush four and stay in their lanes to contain the quarterback in the pocket? Look for both, but keep in mind that it is game No. 2 so there may be some defensive packages held back for future opponents like Louisville on Sep. 17.
Whether it’s a 3-4, 3-3-5, 4-3, or 4-2-5 defensive alignment, Davis can play within any of those schemes because of his athleticism, 310 pound frame and effort. The UCF defensive coaching staff has a plethora of schematic options with the front seven talent in general, and Davis provides additional options many teams do not have.
Schemes are just a part of the equation; a talented player will thrive within multiple schemes. The word is out about Davis's talents with the game film from Boise State and the AAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Let’s see what Davis and the UCF defense does next to continue to improve.