April 5, 2006
ORLANDO - The UCF football team completed its ninth practice of the spring Wednesday morning in full pads inside the Nicholson Fieldhouse. The Golden Knights had a higher energy level and some heated competition between the offense and defense during the team periods.
"I always like to have competition at practice with the losing side having to run," commented UCF head coach George O'Leary. "I thought the players competed well during the final two team periods. The big thing I see is steady improvement at certain positions and that is what spring practice is about."
After the offense got the upper hand during Saturday's scrimmage, the defense won the head-to-head battle at Wednesday's workout. The offense was on the short end Wednesday and ran wind sprints at the end of practice.
In the team periods, senior cornerback Travonti Johnson continued his strong play this spring with a big hit on senior wide receiver Brooks Turner as he crossed the middle of the field. Johnson has been a playmaker all spring, with several interceptions and a few forced fumbles. He stripped junior wide out Sergio Joachim earlier in practice Wednesday and recovered the fumble.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Kyle Fowler made several plays during the team periods with the second team defense. Fowler recorded a sack, broke up a pass and drilled junior tailback Curtis Francis out of the backfield in pass coverage as Francis attempted to catch the ball.
Offensively, the run game continued to perform well at times during the team periods, including a long run up the sideline by sophomore tailback Kevin Smith. The play was blown dead after Smith raced 50 yards up the sideline and would have gone the distance.
Redshirt freshman running back Shane Smith had several nice runs up the middle and showed his power. The Pennsylvania native worked with the second team offense Wednesday.
UCF returns to the practice field Friday from 9:20-11:20 a.m.
Practice Notes: Senior tight end Sinclair Brown had the top catch of the morning as he hauled in a pass with one hand during a team period of work... Sophomore wide receiver Willie Thornton also showed great hands with a tough catch between two defenders on the sideline ... Thornton also caught a deep pass down the sideline from senior quarterback Steven Moffett near the end of practice.