Saturday, February 24, 2018
Colleges

UCF braces for busy night along the D-line

ORLANDO — When the Knights open the season tonight against Akron, they will have several fresh faces on the defensive line, and they may need all of them.

The Zips, coached by Terry Bowden, liked to put the ball in the air last season. They were fourth in Division I-A in passing attempts per game (48.5).

"The pass rush is very critical," Knights senior DT E.J. Dunston said. "We need to force the quarterback to feel the pressure to help out the secondary. There's going to be a lot of secondary sacks, and there's going to be a lot of just regular sacks."

But because Zips QB Kyle Pohl will be making his first career start, junior RB Jawon Chisholm (953 rushing yards, five touchdowns in 2012) may be used more to take pressure off.

The Knights are 22-point favorites.

UF: Apologetic LB

GAINESVILLE — Suspended Gators LB Antonio Morrison publicly apologized Wednesday for his behavior during the summer, which included two arrests, then asked that he be allowed to move on.

"I want to apologize," Morrison said. "I've been in trouble the past few weeks and it's sincere from me. … It's behind me. I just want to play football."

Morrison, 19, was arrested twice in a 35-day span in June and July. He received deferred prosecution in the first case and charges in the second were dropped.

Coach Will Muschamp originally suspended Morrison for two games, but on Monday he reduced that to one game.

Morrison was agitated at times when pressed by the media, refusing to answer specific questions about the arrests or his talks with Muschamp about his future if he runs into trouble again.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

USF: Fresh help

TAMPA — USF has five true freshmen as top backups on its official depth chart, and coaches continue to praise young players who have put themselves in position to contribute immediately.

That includes Hillsborough High grad Nigel Harris, who is listed as the top backup to Reshard Cliett at weakside linebacker, proving himself to be a quick learner and athletic.

"He's starting to flash some things," defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said. "… He's done the same thing on special teams. … He's taken advantage of an opportunity."

There are more freshmen in the secondary, which could have three true freshmen in corners Lamar Robbins and Johnny Ward and safety Nate Godwin (Freedom), all of whom are competing for snaps, along with redshirt freshman Jalen Spencer.

Greg Auman, Time staff writer

UM: D-line discipline

CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes don't know which FAU QB will start Friday — transfer Jaquez Johnson or freshman Greg Hankerson — but they know Owls coach Carl Pelini wants to run a read-option spread offense. This offense allows the quarterback to decide after the snap, based on the defense, whether to give the ball to a back or keep it to run or throw.

Miami's coaches say the key is to not stray from alignments. "You have to have gap control," coach Al Golden said. "We can't have guys just running up the field or taking an easy way out and leaving a gap there."

South Florida Sun Sentinel

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