GENTLEMEN (and ladies, of course). Welcome, one and all, to this week's "I've Got Five On It."
This week, at high noon on ESPN2, your beloved Buckeyes take on the Knights of Central Florida. As with last week, I'll make five predictions and we'll take a look at them a week later. Last week, I predicted that Travis Howard and Brad Roby would jump routes and oh would you look at that, Travis Howard gets a pick after jumping an out route. I also predicted that a freshman would have a sack. Despite the three-step-and-get-it-the-hell-outta-there passing game that Zac Dysert and the RedHawks ran against the Silver Bullets all game, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington both recorded their first career sacks.
The other predictions...? Well hey, two outta five ain't bad. Batting .400 in baseball has only been done once in a season. Wait. What's that? You mean it's been done 35 times? Welp. Let's see if I can do a little better this week.
1. UCF QB Blake Bortles will frustrate the young Bullets on a couple of occasions.
The redshirt sophomore is a talented athlete who, as a freshman, played so well that he essentially relegated the incumbent starter at QB, current senior Jeff Godfrey, to wide receiver. Bortles is adequate as both a runner and thrower, and can make a few people miss while being rushed. He also has displayed an ability to frustrate defenses when he scrambles. Be on the lookout for Bortles to make some of the young LBs look silly on read-option plays and elude some frustrated Buckeyes on scrambles. Bortles continues the trend of talented passers opposing the Buckeyes following Zac Dysert last weekend.
2. Look for some new faces this week in the Buckeye secondary.
Coach Meyer broke some news this afternoon saying that Doran Grant was struggling with a pulled muscle in his leg and would probably sit out Saturday's game. Look for more of Orhian Johnson and Adam Griffin in the secondary in nickel situations with Grant out, and look for Johnson potentially to get some run at Star or shallow safety. If his own leg injury permits it, it's not impossible we see Zach Domicone on something other than special teams. We might even see youngsters like Armani Reeves or Najee Murray if need be. Grant, however, won't be set back very long. We'll have to see if Bortles and UCF offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe pick on Johnson or Griffin this week.
3. UCF will rely on the running game to attack the Buckeyes.
Bortles is not the only offensive star on the team. Former 5-star recruit and Miami Hurricane Storm Johnson will line up alongside him in the backfield. With senior starter Latavius Murray out, Johnson is the real home-run threat for the Knights. With a good game this week he may even supplant Murray as the starting back this year. Johnson ended up with 75 yards and 2 TD's against Akron last week for the Knights, and look for UCF to run no matter how few yards they gain. This running attack is definitely superior to the RedHawks, who were overwhelmed by the swarming Buckeye D.
4. More Guiton?
I feel like the LGHL version of Bruce Dickinson here. I realize it's a non-conference game against a non-BCS opponent, but I really feel like Coach Meyer and Coach Herman will show a little bit more of the playbook this week and I look for Kenny Guiton to get a few more snaps, if not necessarily under center then as a decoy. Fortunately this week it's supposed to be a little less hot and humid this week, so Braxton should have fewer cramp problems. However, I still think it's possible we'll see more of Kenny Guiton, especially if the game gets out of hand.
5. This one won't be as easy as last week.
Let's get one thing clear: Central Florida isn't Alabama. They aren't even regular Florida. But they still have a lot of talent, especially on offense. They have three or four skill-position players who have a real shot at playing on Sundays. And while the defense may not be as strong, Kemal Ishmael is an enforcer at safety who is much better than any player the RedHawks defense had. This is probably in all honesty going to be the toughest non-conference game the Buckeyes play. Look for UCF to keep it much closer than the RedHawks did, and look for Urban Meyer to open up the playbook a little bit more.