Months in mak­ing

Hey, Game­Day: We’d love to see you at UCF Prepa­ra­tion for Navy’s triple op­tion be­gan back in Knights’ pre­sea­son camp

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEEKEND - By Matt Murschel


There are few things more old­school in foot­ball than the tripleop­tion of­fense. In a world over­run by mul­ti­ple for­ma­tions, spread of­fenses and run-pass op­tions, the triple-op­tion is the raisin oat­meal to your av­o­cado toast.

This is why it can be such a chal­lenge to face a team that runs it.

For No. 12 UCF (8-0, 5-0 AAC), repli­cat­ing the speed and phys­i­cal­ity the Knights will see Satur­day when they host to Navy (2-7, 1-4 AAC) has been cru­cial. So much so, the team be­gan its preparations back in pre­sea­son camp.

“It’s tough be­cause it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent than what we do of­fen­sively,” UCF coach Josh He­u­pel said of the chal­lenge fac­ing a team that runs an of­fense pred­i­cated on mul­ti­ple op­tions to run the ball.

But while UCF is rid­ing the na­tion’s long­est win streak span­ning 21 games, Navy comes into Satur­day’s matchup at Spec­trum Sta­dium mired in its first los­ing sea­son since 2011. The Mid­ship­men have suf­fered through a six-game los­ing streak that guar­an­tees the Navy its sec­ond los­ing cam­paign since coach Ken Ni­u­mat­alolo took over the pro­gram in 2008.

Navy has tra­di­tion­ally been one of the top rush­ing pro­grams in the coun­try, nor­mally ranked among the top five teams in rush­ing of­fense. This year’s team ranks third, av­er­ag­ing more than 287 yards per game, nearly 60 yards less than the pro­gram av­er­aged last sea­son.

The Knights said they are ig­nor­ing records and pre­par­ing for what they be­lieve could be one of the most phys­i­cal games of the year.

“I know a cou­ple of guys on de­fense look for­ward to this game all sea­son,” UCF red­shirt se­nior de­fen­sive line­man Joey Con­nors said. “I love the phys­i­cal­ity that they bring. This will prob­a­bly be the most phys­i­cal game be­cause they run the ball. I don’t know how many times a game — 40 or 50 — but I’m ex­cited.”

Much of the em­pha­sis this week has been placed on UCF’s scout team, which has been tasked

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