John Denton's Knights Insider: Insights from the UCF-ECU Game

Oct. 30, 2010

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF coach George O'Leary said that the trickle-down effect of having standout quarterback Jeff Godfrey start as a freshman is already paying benefits for the Knights in terms of having significantly more eyes from South Florida on the Knights.

The play this season of Godfrey, the all-time leading prep passer in Miami-Dade County history, has helped UCF show more elite recruits in South Florida that they can play for the Knights and play immediately.

The Knights have made huge gains in recruiting in South Florida the past few years and landed their most heralded class in school history last February. In addition to getting Godfrey, the Knights signed wide receiver Josh Reese and offensive lineman Torrian Wilson, Jordan McCray and Justin McCray.

UCF has poured major resources into recruiting South Florida, and assistant head coach David Kelly has usually cleaned up in that area. Kelly recruited Godfrey for several years, and he has made the prediction that others would soon follow Godfrey to UCF because of his charismatic personality and dynamic quarterbacking skills.

O'Leary said interest among South Florida prospects in the Knights has been especially high.

``Word travels pretty quickly with kids through texting or whatever,'' O'Leary said. ``We're involved with a lot of (South Florida) kids that everybody else in the state is and we're knocking on the same doors. The thing we fight all the time is our short tradition as opposed to the 100-year history of some and kids growing up wanting to play for the Hurricanes, Gators or whatever. We're just getting into that stage and we've just got keep growing. The best way to do that is to win and have a great game-day Saturday. We've got pretty good relationships down there in South Florida and we spend a lot of time in the recruiting phase down there. The coaches know they can call and we'll help them anyway that we can.''


PLAYING KEEP AWAY: UCF came into Saturday's game against East Carolina ranked second in the nation in average time of possession, and they did nothing to hurt their standing early in the game. UCF entered averaging 34:13 time of possession in games, trailing only Army at 34:31.

UCF had the ball for the first 11:19 of Saturday's game, compared to just 5:49 for the pass-happy Pirates. The Knights used a 15-play, 81-yard drive in the first and second quarters to build a 21-7 lead. It was the 10th time this season that the Knights have had a scoring drive that covered double-digit plays.

``It's important when you have a young quarterback, getting him as many snaps as you can get him,'' O'Leary said. ``The one thing that I like about the stat is that when you have time of possession you usually have good field position, too. The biggest thing we're doing is less and less three-and-outs. We're on the goal for more than three downs and that's been a goal for the offense.''

Earlier this season, UCF controlled the ball for 40:09 against Marshall in a 35-14 victory. It was the first time since 1995 that the Knights had the ball for more than 40 minutes in a game.


GODFREY'S GROWTH: UCF's offensive players have marveled at the growth of Godfrey over the last seven weeks of the season, evolving from a jittery true freshman to a calm and confident signal caller. UCF senior wide out Kamar Aiken joked recently that Godfrey initially ``talked like a freshman and acted like a freshman,'' but has since shown tremendous growth.

Godfrey said all along that he fully expected to make a contribution as a freshman. He's clearly more relaxed in the pocket and in the huddle, and he said he has no problems now barking out orders to older players on the offense.

``I feel like I've made the jump now. I'm still out there as a freshman, but I'm talking up more and telling guys what they have to do and what adjustments that they have to make,'' Godfrey said. ``When I first came in I was kind of shy, but now I'm picking it up and being more vocal.''

Despite him being the quickest player on the field most games, Godfrey said that getting used to the speed of the college game was one of his biggest adjustments from high school. Handling that speed has allowed Godfrey to better make his reads in the pocket and he isn't quite so hasty to take off and scramble.

Godfrey said that his time at UCF so far has been everything he hoped for and more.

``The game has slowed down for me,'' Godfrey said. ``I'm comfortable in the pocket. It's not just about the deep ball with me. It's about completions and making first downs.

``It's hard (being a star quarterback),'' Godfrey continued. ``Students try to stop me every day when I'm going to class, so I just have my headphones in, walk and try to be on time. I'm having fun on the field and classes are going great. The college experience for me has been fun.''


ETC: The attendance at Bright House Networks Stadium was 40,073, the third-largest home crowd of the year for the Knights, trailing only the 43,020 that saw the NC State game and the 40,281 against UAB. In the five home games at Bright House Networks Stadium, UCF has played before an average crowd of 39,179. The Knights play Southern Miss on Nov. 13 in the final home game of the regular season. ... UCF junior Ronnie Weaver, who has stabilized the running game after standout Brynn Harvey was unable to return from a knee injury, topped the 100-yard plateau for the third time in five weeks. With his bruising, nine-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, a play in which Weaver withstood three hits, he topped his previous career-high rushing day of 150 yards against Marshall. Weaver's three 100-yard rushing games were against Kansas State (130), Marshall (150) and East Carolina (180). He carried the ball 10 straight times at one point in the fourth quarter. ... UCF senior Austin Hudson made what proved to be a huge play with 10 minutes to play when he dove on an onside kick to keep East Carolina's offense off the field. ... UCF senior safety Reggie Weams registered his team-best third interception of the season in the first half on Saturday, but dropped another pick that might have gone for a touchdown on the first play of the second half. Weams was also involved in a controversial play when East Carolina's Dwayne Harris snagged a two-yard touchdown, but had the ball swatted out of his hands by Weams. Referees initially ruled the play an incomplete pass, but replays later showed that Harris had control of the ball and both feet in the end zone before Weams swatted the ball away.


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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.