John Denton's Knights Insider: Calabrese and Godfrey Both Make Plays in Scrimmage

Aug. 21, 2010

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Rob Calabrese showed patience in the pocket and Jeff Godfrey showed explosiveness outside of it, giving the more than 1,000 UCF fans in attendance at Saturday's scrimmage hope for the offense regardless which quarterback emerges atop the depth chart.

UCF's much-anticipated scrimmage was pushed inside the Nicholson Field House, the only 100-yard indoor practice field in Florida, because of afternoon storms, but that didn't put a damper on the competition at quarterback for the Knights.

Calabrese, the starter coming into camp, and Godfrey, the freshman phenom from Miami, drew cheers from the fans lining the field with some stellar plays with their arm and feet.

UCF head coach George O'Leary said he wouldn't have a true evaluation of his two quarterbacks until he watched the video of the practice. But he liked how each quarterback had command of the huddle and made plays that were available.

Still, he said a starter likely wouldn't be named until the days leading up to the Sept. 4 season-opener at Bright House Networks Stadium against South Dakota.

``I think they both had their moments. Obviously they can both play and win games for us,'' O'Leary said. ``I think it's a decision that'll be made probably game day. A lot of the drives were stalled with dropped passes, but both were productive and they ran the huddle well.

``I think game day you'll find out who I really enjoyed the most,'' O'Leary continued with a chuckle. ``They both have to play. They both bring different things to the situation. They bring things that are hard to defense. But they both are going to have to play this year. Whichever one gets the nod, that's the guy who will be 1 and the other one will be 1A.''

Jonathan Davis, who beat out Brendan Kelly and Jeff Brinson for the starting tailback job while Brynn Harvey is out with an injured knee, had a 12-yard touchdown burst and looked electric with some magnificent cuts. Harvey, the starter the past two seasons who injured his knee in the spring, is ahead of schedule and could be back by mid-September, O'Leary said.

Calabrese, a junior who has been a part-time starter each of the past two seasons, had an early interception following a miscommunication with senior wide receiver Kamar Aiken to stop a drive. But he rebounded by hitting A.J. Guyton on a 25-yard flag route and Quincy McDuffie on a couple of crossing patterns. Keeping Calabrese in the pocket - something he didn't always do in the past - has been something the Knights have stressed during this camp.

``That's a big point of emphasis. Coach wants me to keep my eyes down the field at all times,'' Calabrese said. ``The starting job is up to Coach O'Leary but I felt that I had a good camp. There are a lot of things that I need to keep working on and I'm going to just keep pushing and doing the things that I need to do. I'm going to keep doing what I can to get that starting job.''

Calabrese said he has to focus more on his own production that worrying about battling Godfrey, who has had UCF abuzz with anticipation since he inked with the Knights last spring. Godfrey is the all-time leading passer in Miami-Dade Country history and excites fans with his big arm and quick feet, but Calabrese still thinks he has what it takes to hang onto the starter's job this time around.

``Competition is good. It makes me go out every single day of practice and work real hard. I can't play looking over my shoulder, but Jeff and I push each other and it makes us better quarterbacks,'' Calabrese said. ``It's not hard at all to focus because I just have to worry about what I do. I don't pay attention to all of that (quarterback controversy) stuff. I'm just in the film room and the weight room, doing what I have to do to play.''

True freshmen aren't allowed to talk to the media, but Godfrey did his talking with his play on Saturday. He had a nifty 35-yard scramble run during the scrimmage and he ended another drive with a score when he plunged across the goal line on fourth-and-one. He also had some big highlights with his arm, hitting converted wide receiver Nico Flores for three big pass plays. But it was Godfrey's ability to carve up defenses with his scrambling abilities that left coaches and fans raving on Saturday.

``I thought Jeff was a little antsy initially and had some problems communicating the signals, which stops drives. That's to be expected, but athletically we put him in position to make some plays,'' UCF offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. ``The defense has to decide if they all-out rush the passer or do they assign somebody to spy Godfrey. If so, that eliminates somebody in the rush. If they're not perfect in their lanes he can pull it down and go all the way. So that's another big weapon for us.''


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.