Canadian Football League

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Former Canadian Football League Coach Hired At Central Florida

The University of Central Florida took a bold step in revamping its struggling offense Friday by hiring Charlie Taaffe as offensive coordinator and demoting Tim Salem, head coach George O'Leary told FLORIDA TODAY.

Salem, who has overseen the UCF offense as coordinator and play-caller the past five seasons, was re-assigned as the Knights' tight ends and special teams coach.

UCF slumped badly this past season, compiling a dismal 4-8 record. A big part of the problem was an offense that ranked last in college football. The Knights averaged just 16.6 points while mustering just 229.5 yards per game.

Enter Taaffe, 58, who last coached with the Hamilton TigerCats of the Canadian Football League. He's a two-time Coach of the Year in the CFL and he has an extensive resume in college football. He was fired by the TigerCats in September.

Taaffe was the offensive coordinator at Maryland from 2001-05, overseeing the Terrapins' rise to power in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He had success at The Citadel, compiling a 55-47-1 record in 10 seasons there. He was named the Eddie Robinson award winner in 1992 after an 11-2 season.

Taaffe is expected to be on campus soon and will be ready to implement his offensive schemes in spring practice. Taaffe also will serve as UCF's quarterbacks coach.

O'Leary also made other moves on his UCF coaching staff. George Godsey, the quarterbacks coach the past four seasons, was moved to the running backs coach. Brent Key, who has worked with tight ends and special teams in the past, will now serve as the offensive line coach.

It was just one season ago that UCF's offense, under Salem's direction, was as good as it's ever been. The Knights set school records for points (502), touchdowns (62) and rushing yards (3,287) in 2007.

But much of that production left when junior running back Kevin Smith changed his decision and left UCF for the NFL. UCF failed to score at least 20 points in eight games this past season and was shut out 15-0 in the finale by UAB.


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