QB Ryan Schneider

2002 Statistics

Coach: Mike Kruczek
33-23, 5 years
2002 Record: 7-5
at Penn State LOST 24-27
at Arizona State LOST 13-46
at Marshall LOST 21-26
at Western Michigan WON 31-27
at Buffalo WON 45-21
at Miami OH WON 48-31
OHIO WON 42-32

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

The Knights came into their first season of MAC play last year thinking that they would have their way with MAC opponents. They got a nasty taste of just how competitive the MAC can be. They lost two games (by a total of eight points) in conference play and finished second in the East half.

But think of next year, too. This is a squad led by a senior QB, so seeing beyond just 2003 is important to understand how UCF approaches this season's efforts. This equals many rotations and reps for seemingly under-qualified players.

This year the Knights have much more going for them and will be the favorites to win the East. Schneider's passing ability always keeps them in the game. And with the equalizer of Haynes in the backfield, the Knights could very well have one of the best offenses in the MAC. The offensive line must hold (and step) up so Schneider will have time to get the ball to a new group of receivers. Tavaris Capers can easily be one of the top receivers this season and we think that Mike Walker will thrust himself into the lineup and provide a valued tag-team punch with Capers that will keep opposing secondaries off balance.

Defensively, this group has a lot of potential on their shoulders. This group will control its own destiny and will certainly get tested late in the year with a brutal November slate. The success will boil down to the secondary, especially playing Marshall and Miami in the season's second half.

The schedule checks out early on. They must open at Virginia Tech on national TV, but then play seven straight teams who had no more than four wins a season ago. The true test comes in November, when they must travel to West Virginia and finish the last two games at home against MAC East powers Marshall and Miami (OH). Look for them to win one of those last two, and finish on top (or tied) for that conference half.

Projected 2003 record: 7-5
LB Chad Mascoe
QB Ryan Schneider
WR Tavaris Capers
FS Peter Sands
DE Paul Carrington
QB - 3.5 DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Ryan Schneider, 430-265-16, 3770 yds., 31 TD

Rushing: Alex Haynes, 204 att., 1038 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Tavaris Capers, 43 rec., 456 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Matt Prater, 14-21 FG, 44-47 PAT, 86 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Matt Prater, 14-21 FG, 44-47 PAT, 86 pts.

Tackles: Stanford Rhule, 127 tot., 69 solo

Sacks: Rashad Jeanty, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Peter Sands, 3 for 50 yds.

Kickoff returns: Michael Gaines, 4 ret., 9.5 avg.

Punt returns: Tavaris Capers, 3 ret., 16.3 avg.


OFFENSE: Jimmy Fryzel-WR, Doug Gabriel-WR, Sean Gaudion-FB, Brian Huff-OT, Mario Jackson-TE, Mike Mabry-C, Taylor Robertson-OG, Luther Huggins-WR
DEFENSE: Elton Patterson-DE, Chris Pilinko-SLB, Asante Samuel-CB, Carlos Thompson-CB, Ryan Flinn-P

written by Tim Chapman

Senior QB Ryan Schneider is well on his way to shatter every UCF record that Daunte Culpepper ever owned. Schneider brings one of the strongest arms in the country as well as a solid frame (6'2" 230), allowing him to stand firmly in the pocket. His precision and savvy are evidenced by his astounding 2002 numbers (3,770 yards passing, 31 TDs, 61% comp.). The Golden Knights have a solid leader directing an offense breaking in seven new starters.

Helping the cause is a solid group of running backs. Junior Alex Haynes (5.1 yards per carry) is the incumbent, but swift on his heels is JUCO transfer P.J. Smith. Both bring a fiery running style and good vision. This will be key in taking the pressure off Schneider. Soph Keith Williams and frosh Dontavious Wilcox should also see considerable playing time. Coaches say the competition is fierce in this group.

The receivers, though young and relatively inexperienced should be made better by the talents of the QB Schneider. Tavaris Capers had a great spring and will be the go-to guy for the Knights in '03. On the other side, soph Brandon Marshal is a tall go-getter with soft hands who can leap. The wildcard to watch is true frosh Mike Walker. He hasn't even enrolled yet, and the buzz around this guy is deafening! He could very well be the X-factor for this offense come mid-season.These receivers were tabbed the pleasant surprise of the spring and must continue the impressive play for the Knights to compete for the crown this season.

The O-line loses three starters and many of their replacements are green. Seniors David Ashkinaz (OG) and Kyle Watkins (OT) are back to help mold the new guys into an assembly that must keep opposing defenses away from Schneider. UCF's problem last year seemed to be when teams sprung up the middle and flushed the plant-footed Schneider out of the pocket. Redshirted freshman center Cedric Gagne-Marcoux has the biggest job of occupying the middle and calling line adjustments to help mobilize the offense. Pretty big task to lay on a first year player, but apparently coaches feel he's up to it. Senior Alex Mendez comes in to play guard and gives balancing experience to this crew.


TB Alex Haynes


Returning Starters in bold
QB Ryan Schneider-Sr (6-2, 230) Jon Rivera-Jr (6-3, 190)
FB Andreal Curry-Jr (6-2, 250) Dee Brown-Jr (5-11, 235)
TB Alex Haynes-Jr (5-11, 210) Keith Williams-So (5-10, 200)
WR Tavaris Capers-Jr (5-9, 165) Al Peterson-So (6-2, 190)
WR Brandon Marshal-So (6-5, 210) Andre Sumpter-Fr (6-0, 175)
TE Darcy Johnson-So (6-6, 245) Michael Gaines-Sr (6-3, 280)
OT Larry Peoples-Fr (6-6, 280) Marcus Clemons-So (6-5, 300)
OG David Ashkinaz-Sr (6-4, 305) Dan Veenstra-Fr (6-5, 310)
C Cedric Gagne-Marcoux-Fr (6-3, 290) Adam Butcher-So (6-3, 300)
OG Alex Mendez-Sr (6-6, 315) Joe Blackard-Sr (6-6, 335)
OT Kyle Watkins-Sr (6-8, 340) Seth Ulsh-Fr (6-5, 305)
K Matt Prater-So (5-11, 175) ..



written by Tim Chapman

The run for the MAC Championship may very well be led by the Central Florida defense - believe it or not. UCF returns eight starters from a squad that ranked 3rd in the MAC in total defense. They rely on a lot of quickness and that patented, full-fledged Florida speed to make plays.

The linebackers should put on a clinic this season, with All-MAC candidate Stanford Rhule (junior) and MLB Chad Mascoe (senior) directing the defense. Rhule led the team in tackles a year ago, and the man who was supposed to start ahead of him in the fall, junior OLB Antoine Poe, returns from a knee-injury that forced him to sit out last season. These three should be in on many tackles for the Knights and will get help from junior Gerren Bray. They will be the difference-makers on this team and will be relied on to lead the charge.

The secondary lost their best player but still come back strong. The Knights allowed just over 200 yards per contest- not bad considering their competition. Junior SS Atari Bigby comes back after garnering ALL-MAC honors for his role as one of the more active safeties in the conference. He brings an aggressive style of play and a "no fear" attitude when flying into a ball-carrier. His manner was infectious last season, with junior FS Peter Sands and soph CB Omar Laurence keying on opponents and taking away most anything in front of them, too. Going against top QBs in practice seem to make these guys better each day.

The defensive line loses All-MAC DE Elton Patterson, but still brings to the table a bevy of hungry linemen. Junior DE Rashad Jeanty will terrorize, bringing great speed (4.7 in the 40) that allows him to eclipse the corner for a great pass rusher. His abilities make senior middlemen Larry Brown and DeMarcus Johnson available for further destruction. The best-kept secret on this defense, though, is soph DE Paul Carrington. Carrington has great work ethic and will pay big dividends in the pass rush by clogging passing lanes, as well as supporting against the run with his big body.

The personnel and talent are there. Where they must improve is on 3rd down defense and red zone opposition. UCF opponents converted on 42 percent of their 3rd down attempts and scored 84 percent of the time they spent inside the 20. The defense also needs to cause more turnovers. Sounds easy, huh.


DB Atari Bigby


Returning Starters in bold
DE Paul Carrington-So (6-6, 250) Brent Bolar-Sr (6-3, 265)
DT DeMarcus Johnson-Sr (6-4, 295) Frisner Nelson-So (6-2, 295)
NT Larry Brown-Sr (6-2, 290) Roy Williams-Sr (6-2, 275)
DE Rashad Jeanty-Jr (6-3, 230) Trenton Jordan-Jr (6-4, 230)
SLB Gerren Bray-Jr (6-0, 220) James Cook-So (6-4, 210)
MLB Chad Mascoe-Sr (6-3, 255) Goodson Ohaegbulam-Fr (6-0, 235)
WLB Antoine Poe-Jr (6-0, 225) Stanford Rhule-Jr (5-11, 235)
CB Omar Laurence-So (5-11, 185) Alphonzo Hopkins-Jr (5-11, 185)
CB Rovel Hamilton-Jr (6-0, 185) Rashard Johnson-Jr (6-0, 185)
SS Atari Bigby-Jr (5-11, 215) ..
FS Peter Sands-Jr (6-2, 215) Patrick Holland-Sr (6-2, 185)
P Kris Kessler-Fr (5-11, 175) Scott Sevin-Jr (6-1, 205)




Soph Kicker Matt Prater began last season with a bang. He nailed a season-long 53 yard FG against Penn State and gave UCF an insurance policy with a leg. He tailed off as the season went along, but a year's experience and work will make for a better 2003. The area where the Knights were hit hard is at punter. Ryan Flinn averaged 42 yards per kick and kept the ball out of the hands (so to speak) of return men nearly half the time. JUCO transfer Scott Sevin looks to be the prime replacement, averaging over 40 yards per kick at Kilgore College. The kick return game must improve as they only tallied 18 yards per in 2002.