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Knights will showcase their youth, right down to captains

Central Florida WR Kenny Clark will be the offensive team captain, and considering he is one of the top performers and a team leader, that should not be considered such a surprise.

But it is, primarily because Clark is a junior.

"Normally I don't like having junior captains, but he was an overwhelming choice (in a vote by teammates)," coach Mike Kruczek said. "I think there's a few reasons for that. We only have a handful of seniors on offense and none of those candidates were real strong leaders and the team knew it."

Thus the landslide vote for Clark.

"I wasn't going to intervene to name a senior just to name a senior," Kruczek said. "Kenny is very deserving of that honor."

Clark had 40 catches for 481 yards and six scores last season.

The defensive captain will be DB Jeff Fye.

DEAR MOM, SEND LINEMEN: With all the talk focusing on replacing QB Daunte Culpepper, Kruczek said that's not the worry at this point. He has been pleased with the work of Kelvin Robinson, who is No. 1 on the depth chart entering Tuesday's first practice, and called Brian Miller "the quarterback of the future."

The No. 1 concern for Kruczek and his coaching staff, then, is the offensive line. The Knights lost three to graduation, and two more quit in the spring, leaving some big holes to fill.

"We have to have some offensive lineman step up," he said. "We've got some young people we don't know a whole lot about that are going to have to step up and be counted on this season.

"We've got all the skills people we need with receivers and running backs. We've got people to give the football to that can get in the end zone, but offensively it's critical that we develop a three-deep on that offensive line."

One of those players who could step up is 6-foot-4, 320-pound Willie Comerford, a transfer from Michigan State and former prep star at Gibbs.

BIG NUMBERS: UCF had a great summer turnout for workouts, so if there was any letdown after losing Culpepper, it hasn't shown.

"We feel like we got better," Clark said. "We lost 20 seniors and we felt like we got better. That's the confidence we have. We had 80 guys come over for the summer. That's 20 more than last year."

BAKER COOKING: Although the backfield is crowded, one player who has made an impression is Armwood graduate Corey Baker. Though he is expected to play behind Edward Mack and junior college transfer Terrance Williams, Kruczek likes what he's seen.

"This kid is lightning quick," he said. "He'll fit into the mix."

UCF, SEC?: Once the Knights start winning against Division I opponents, Kruczek thinks conferences will come calling. The Knights are independent, but hope to enter a league in the future.

"It'll take a long time to build this thing up to be a great contender in a conference if we get into the type of conference we want to get into, which is the Big East or the SEC," he said. "We would like to get in one of those traditional conferences. But we have to win football games. We have to bring something attractive to the table for these conferences to want to take us in."

TUBE TIME: Sunshine Network will televise a feature on the new Golden Knights at 9 p.m. on Aug. 20.

The New Knights, hosted by Mike Goldberg, is a follow up to Sunshine's popular Countdown to Signing Day series. It is expected to be televise statewide to about 4.8-million homes.

The show will feature newcomers such as QB Victor Penn, CB Travis Fisher, WR Britt McGriff, TE Mario Jackson, Williams, Comerford and Miller.

It will be aired again at 3 p.m. Aug. 22 and 11 a.m. Aug. 28.

_ JOHN C. COTEY

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