Marc Daniels' From The Press Box: McDuffie Springs Forward

March 30, 2010

By Marc Daniels

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - A year ago this time, Quincy McDuffie could not have been further from a football field and certainly was not catching passes. McDuffie was instead blazing down the track at Edgewater High School on the road to winning a district and regional title in the 200 meters. His 20.98 time set a conference record.

Missing most of his senior year playing for Bill Gierke at Edgewater because of an injury, McDuffie was the last signee for UCF's class for 2009. George O'Leary noted his potential on the football field because of his speed. "You don't teach speed. You either have it or you don't," said UCF's head coach.

McDuffie has it and he is displaying not just his speed, but his pass catching ability as he prepares for his sophomore season.

UCF fans saw flashes of his talent last season. His 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Samford showcased his speed. One quick move and McDuffie was gone. Quickly teams began to either kick away from McDuffie or get enough height on the kick that he could not get much of a chance for a return.

But UCF felt it needed to get his speed on the field for more than kickoffs and gradually O'Leary and receivers coach David Kelly moved McDuffie into the rotation of receivers. He was utilized in several run plays as he learned the offense.

As Brett Hodges got more comfortable and confident, McDuffie began to develop as a wide receiver. That development was highlighted by his acrobatic catch in the end zone on a 24-yard pass play that put UCF up on ranked Houston 30-20 at the time.

This spring McDuffie is no longer a weapon to be used on occasion. He has not just moved into the rotation. In fact, if UCF played a game today, McDuffie would likely start.

His performance in practice is getting plenty of attention from his head coach. "He is not concerned about making the catch. He is already thinking about y-a-c, the yards after the catch." O'Leary said. "He's getting his hands in the right place to pull the ball in and then makes plays. That what we need him to do."

O'Leary believes McDuffie has a chance to be a special player, "He's got the ability because of his speed to have a big year for us and be one of the better receivers we've had."

Wide receiver is one of UCF's strongest positions. And don't think for a second O'Leary's praise of McDuffie is not just his feelings but also a message to rest of the group. Competition in practice for playing time is critical and right now the one-time track star is racing ahead in the battle for time on the field.

Knights notes and more: Other observations from Saturday's scrimmage...Rob Calabrese will be a better quarterback with freshman Jeffrey Godfrey pushing him...Emery Allen is back and when healthy could be UCF's best cover corner...Nine players have been suspended from practice for missing class, good for coach. You either get it or you don't...The play of McDuffie and Marquee Williams might make some guys go to class to get back on the field...Bruce Miller looks in mid-October form...Derrick Hallman was visibly angry at the end of the scrimmage. Why? The offense scored during goal line drills...Victor Gray could be a good one on the defensive line...August 30, 2008 is when Latavius Murray scored two touchdowns in UCF's opening day win vs. South Carolina State. A repaired knee later and back on the team, he looks happy to wear the black and gold again...Great crowd included many talented current high school juniors showing their school colors...Memo to some fans, it's ok to cheer for the defense when they make a big play in the scrimmage...Final thought: Got to interview Arnold Palmer on my radio show this week. Class folks...you either got it or you don't. The King's got it...