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August 24, 2012

Knights release depth chart, begin Akron prep

UCF's Friday depth chart release yielded few surprises.

For the most part, the two-deep was the same one fans and media saw last week at the end of open practices.

On the offensive line, Justin McCray held off Phil Smith for the starting job at right tackle. At tight end, Justin Tukes maintained his No. 1 spot ahead of Chris Martin, who is new to the position.

Latavius Murray is listed as the starting running back in front of Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey, but the expectation is for all three to play anyway.

Defensive tackle Jose Jose maintained the first team status he earned after the first week of camp. Although there was some shuffling at times, the first team linebackers are made up of the same group that began camp at No. 1: Jonathan Davis, Terrance Plummer and Ray Shipman. In the secondary, Jordan Ozerities officially earned starter status.

Freshman Mark Rucker is listed as the backup to Shipman at sam linebacker, but head coach George O'Leary says he was sent back to the scout team on Friday.

"(Rucker) played like a true freshman (Thursday) so we moved him back to the other field," O'Leary said. "Freshmen that play don't play like freshmen... He wasn't reacting like he needs to react at the Division I level."

Freshman wide receiver Taylor Oldham was very close to earning a spot with the varsity. O'Leary said it could still happen.

"The one kid that was a dilemma was Oldham," O'Leary said. "I thought about bringing him up. I may still bring him up."

Oldham, who was UCF's first commitment of the 2012 class, earned an offer last summer after an impressive camp performance. During the preseason, the Daytona Beach native saw plenty of special teams work including third-string punt returner.

"Most of the freshmen are acting like freshmen," O'Leary said. "They need to get wet behind the ears and adjusted to the speed of the game. There's a couple guys though who could possibly help this year."

The Knights began preparing for Akron on Thursday.

"We're putting in the game plan right now," head coach George O'Leary said after Friday's workout. "(Friday) was like a Tuesday practice and tomorrow will be like a Wednesday practice. We have an extra day in there, but it works out. We're installing and going with the two-deep. We have the show teams and it's probably the best show teams as far as talent is concerned."

As for the Zips, O'Leary said game planning is a bit of a challenge whenever there's a new coach. Terry Bowden begins his first year at Akron after a successful at Division II North Alabama. He coached at Auburn in the mid-1990s.

"We don't know what Akron will be doing," O'Leary said. "We're trying to figure it out. When you don't have film on guys you've just got to be good in your base offense and base defense.

"The first game is always a game of adjustments. We've got to be ready to make adjustments on the sidelines. In a way, it's good you have experience because it's a little easier with experienced players making adjustments."



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