ORLANDO - The UCF Football program announcing its spring game for April 16 means that the count down begins for Head Coach Gus Malzahn's second season truly being in construction. Coach Malzahn signed on with UCF in February of 2021, and his design for the program is well underway.
With just 86 days until the spring game concludes the NCAA allotted 15 practices, the big day will be here before Knights fans know it. Some of the topics UCF fans need to keep in mind prior to spring ball kicking off would be that the Knights now have a new Offensive Coordinator in Chip Lindsey, who has worked with Coach Malzahn before at Auburn. It's also a chance to work out the nuances of what Coach Lindsey would like to add to the offense. Fortunately, the offense will be a veteran group, making any adjustments a little bit easier.
One of the big factors for the Knights heading into the 2022 season would be the returning players, many of which could have entered the NFL Draft, like running back Isaiah Bowser and offensive lineman Samuel Jackson, among others.
Coach Malzahn and his coaching staff are busy recruiting right now, but their biggest additions to the 2022 roster were probably already wearing black and gold, with Bowser and Jackson joining players like defensive lineman Anthony Montalvo and long snapper Alex Ward to stay in Orlando for one more season. It's also a chance for fans of the Knights to see some of the newcomers to the roster.
The addition of former Auburn Tigers wide receiver Kobe Hudson, Florida Gators tight end Kemore Gamble, Kentucky Wildcats defensive end K.D. McDaniel, and Maryland Terrapins linebacker Terrence Lewis are just some of the players that already selected the Knights from the Transfer Portal.
With a potential quarterback battle between incumbent Mikey Keene and Parker Navarro, Joey Gatewood, incoming recruit Thomas Castellanos and Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee, it will be the public's first shot at seeing how they can not only sling the football around the gridiron, but how the UCF offense operates with distinctly different types of quarterbacks in the lineup.
Defensively, UCF is still building through the Transfer Portal, but there's a plethora of experienced and talented players in the secondary for the first time in many years, and the defensive backfield should lead the way for the Knights with cornerback Davonte Brown leading the charge. There are still question marks that the spring game might be able to answer about the 2022 UCF defense.
Who's in the rotation at linebacker with Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste? Will Lewis be the starter next to him? Which player(s) replace Big Kat Bryant at defensive end? The Knights have holes to fill and that's what spring football is all about.