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UCF running back room makes strides ahead of spring game

As UCF spring football comes to a close, both players and coaches said they see the team’s improvement and development heading into the spring game on Saturday.

UCF co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tim Harris, who was brought on as part of new head coach Gus Malzahn’s staff in February, said the team has responded to everything he has faced them with.

“It’s been great when you watch our guys make improvement from day to day, there’s nothing else we could’ve asked for as a staff,” Harris said. “They’ve answered every challenge that we’ve given to them.”

Harris said he is looking forward to the spring game to see the team in action.

“Starting out, we wanted to get a foundation on both sides of the ball and on special teams,” Harris said. “When you look at where we are right now and what expectations were, we’ve hit every milestone we wanted to.”

Harris said guys have stood out and been getting extra reps this spring. He said he has been truly amazed by what the team has faced and overcome in the few weeks he has been here and excited to see them perform on Saturday.

“Watching them respond to the challenges we’ve put in front of them, that’s what I’ve been the most impressed with,” he said. “No matter who it is … no matter what I’ve thrown at them, they haven’t backed down from it.”

The Knights’ offense and defense will face off in the spring game on Saturday at the Bounce House. After the game in 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19, UCF coaches, players, and fans are excited to see the team perform. Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics.

Coaches are not the only ones noticing the development of the team.

UCF redshirt junior defensive back Jon Powell said he has also noticed an improvement in the new system.

“The thing that’s been encouraging to me is that we’ve bought into their philosophy and their system, and from there we’ve grown,” Powell said, speaking to the new coaching staff’s leadership style. “Communication is number one.”

Since former head coach Josh Heupel’s departure in January and the arrival of Malzahn in time for spring practices, the team has been adapting and working toward the high standards the new head coach has set.

Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics.

UCF redshirt freshman running back R.J. Harvey is a key focal point in change and improving.

Harvey transferred to UCF last summer and was playing quarterback. He has since made a change in his position to running back and looks to improve and show what he can do in the spring game on Saturday.

“The most challenging part about the switch is being more physical,” Harvey said. “Last year it was difficult trying to take a handoff. I’m improving every day; I’m feeling more comfortable.”

Harvey said he is eager to show the team his personal growth, and show everyone how much better he has become as well as the other players and the coaches, especially with all the changes in the program and development across the board at all positions.

“I’m trying to earn my spot and show the coaches what I can do,” Harvey said. “I’m trying to improve every day and become a more vocal leader.”

The post UCF running back room makes strides ahead of spring game appeared first on KnightNews.com.

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