Newly hired UCF Athletic Director Terry Mohajir decided to go with a familiar name in his coaching search when he hired former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as his new head coach football coach. Malzahn replaces Josh Heupel, who left to take the head job at Tennessee.
Gus Malzahn Takes Over at UCF
Malzahn has a 77-38 coaching record, a .670 winning percentage. He was named National and SEC Coach of the Year in 2013 after leading Auburn to a 12-2 record and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, losing to Florida State.
He had two seasons of 10+ wins while on the Plains and Auburn finished ranked in the Top 25 five times. The Tigers were ranked in the Top Ten at some point during the season every year he was at Auburn.
And, he beat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide three times.
Inheriting a Very Good Quarterback
Malzahn will have a very good quarterback in 2-year starter Dillion Gabriel. His stats this past season:
- 3570 yards passing
- 357 yards/game (led the FBS)
- 32 TDs
- 4 INTs (in 413 pass attempts)
- Career: 7223 yards, 61 TDs, 11 INTs, averaging 319 yards/game
Gabriel accounted for 650 total yards and 6 TDs in a 50-49 loss to Memphis and accounted for 5 TDs in a 58-46 win over South Florida.
The UCF Offense
UCF has been ranked in the Top 5 in total offense for the last four years and the passing offense has been ranked in 3 of the last four years.
They have appeared in two New Year’s Six bowl games, going 1-1. Ironically, they beat Auburn 34-27 in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Bowl to finish undefeated (13-0).
The 2021 Schedule
The Knights will open the season hosting Boise State and will play at Louisville in the non-conference portion of the schedule.
They will play East Carolina, USF, Memphis, and Tulane at home. Cincinnati, Temple, Navy, SMU will be on the road.
UCF signed 21 players for 2021, including one 4-star recruit: Athlete Titus Mokiao-Atimalala from Hawaii.
Gus Malzahn at UCF
Malzahn runs variations of the spread offense. With the exception of maybe Nick Marshall, He will arguably have his best quarterback in Gabriel. UCF has some of the best facilities in the country and is located in the fertile recruiting ground that is Florida. Malzahn will have to play catch up though. Spring practice is right around the corner. He will have to hire a coaching staff (if he chooses) and install his offense. But this is a solid coaching hire for UCF and exciting times await the fans in the Bounce House.
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