UCF won’t miss a beat with Heupel as Head Coach

Written by Ernie Casanova
Much sooner than expected, UCF’s coaching search has come to a quick end. Not even a week after Scott Frost announced he would be taking the head coaching job at Nebraska, the Knights have tabbed Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as the next guy to lead their football team with a contract for five years guaranteed to pay him $1.7 million per year.

Heupel comes to a team with expectations higher than ever, as Frost led UCF to an undefeated record and a slot in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. He stated in the press conference that in getting prepared to lead his new team, he will watch the Knights’ practice in upcoming weeks and will attend the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on New Year’s Day, as Frost will coach them.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” Knights’ AD Danny White said. “I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams.”

Heupel accepted a position on the Tigers’ staff after the 2015 season. Given the power to control all aspects of the offense, he inherited a team that ranked second-to-last among Power 5 teams in yards per game that season. Heupel implemented his version of the spread system, and even though the Tigers struggled to a 4-8 record the following year, the offense led the SEC in yards per game. This season, the Tigers again lead the SEC in total offense (511.5 yards per game), which holds a ranking of 7th nationally as Missouri prepares for its bowl game.

Heupel has already made his first hire and will be bringing in Randy Shannon as his defensive coordinator. Shannon has spent time as Miami’s head coach and finished the last four games of this season as the Florida Gators’ interim head coach after Jim McElwain’s firing.

The 2000 Heisman runner-up for Oklahoma, Heupel knows a thing or two about developing signal callers. During Heupel’s tenure with Missouri, Tigers’ quarterback Drew Lock formed into one of the nation’s most prolific quarterbacks. A first-team All-SEC selection this season, he set both the Tigers’ and SEC single-season record for touchdown passes with 43, which leads all FBS players. Lock also leads the SEC in passing yards (3,695) and passer rating (169.4).

Heupel will be inheriting the nation’s best offense in the Knights as well as the efficient dual-threat quarterback McKenzie Milton. With Milton only entering his junior year, the future of this team looks promising for the start of Heupel’s tenure with UCF.

With a talented roster that will suit his offensive scheme, Heupel is projected to make even more noise down in Central Florida.

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