John Denton's Knights Insider Insights

Sept. 17, 2011

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By John Denton

MIAMI (UCFAthletics.com) - If UCF head coach George O'Leary had his way, his Knights would be playing at least one in-state game like Saturday's against FIU every season.

Ideally, the Knights would also play games against the likes Florida, Florida State, Miami or South Florida, but such games are difficult to schedule because of UCF's rise as a football power. Saturday's game in Miami, which turned into a homecoming of sorts for 27 UCF players from South Florida, was the first in the four-game series with FIU.

O'Leary said one sticking point in signing contracts with teams is their desire to play twice in return in exchange for one visit to UCF. O'Leary said the Knights have no desire for that kind of setup - even if it means not playing certain schools.

``I like playing in-state. I'd rather play in-state than go four states away. I've expressed that to our administration that we'd like to play in-state,'' said O'Leary, whose Knights play BYU in Provo, Utah on Friday. ``The big thing is that I'm strong on one-for-one. We're at the stage now where we don't need to be playing two-for-one games, I don't care who you are. We (need to) have a stream of revenue too, which is our stadium.''

O'Leary said in a perfect world UCF and USF would play every season, preferably on Thanksgiving weekend. The series would likely ensure sellouts for both schools and would stoke the rivalry even more so. UCF has pushed for the resumption of the series, but USF has shown no inclination.

``I've always been wanting to get a USF game because that would be a great rival game every Thanksgiving. Plus, we need to build that I-4 traffic up a little more than it is,'' O'Leary joked. ``Then, with the other (Florida) schools I think you pick spots and play one of them every year if you can get them on the schedule. I like playing the Florida schools because it's great for the fanbase and the kids like it. And it cuts the travel for us.''

  • GODFREY EFFECT: UCF's lead recruiter in South Florida, assistant head coach David Kelly, has said the Knights landing quarterback Jeff Godfrey two years ago will have an effect on the program in recruiting both in the long term and the short term.

During his time at Miami Central High School Godfrey became the all-time leading passer in Miami-Dade County history. Ultimately, Godfrey evolved into somewhat of a cult hero in South Florida. And now his success with the Knights - where he was Conference USA's Freshman of the Year last season - has opened the eyes to UCF for other recruits in South Florida.

``Jeff was such a high-profile recruit coming out of high school, but no one would give him a chance at quarterback. So he came here, he's done really (well) and he's doing his thing,'' said UCF senior wide receiver A.J. Guyton, a Homestead native. ``Now kids from South Florida see him doing it here and they know they can do it too. Godfrey put us on the map and we're trying to keep it going.''

Godfrey was one of the last UCF players to leave the field as he chatted up several FIU players after the game. But all in all, the homecoming was a forgettable night for him.

``Those (FIU) guys played their hearts out and we knew all along this was going to be a tough game,'' Godfrey said. ``They played faster than us and they wanted it more. It's tough.''

  • ON THE RUN: Godfrey was on the run all night in the 17-10 loss to FIU, so much so that he was sacked six times and at least 12 of his 18 runs were scrambles away from pressure.

Coming into Saturday, Godfrey did not get sacked in the wins against Charleston Southern and Boston College. But he was never able to get comfortable in the pocket Saturday night and that ultimately disrupted the offense all game.

``I was on the move all night long. They did a good job blitzing and we didn't do a good job of picking it up,'' Godfrey said. ``I didn't make some plays mentally and I came up short some times. I take full blame for everything and we just have to bounce back next game.''

Godfrey knows that when teams see foes having success against them with blitzes that more will be coming in the future. It's up to the offense, he said, to find a way to make them pay for sending extra defenders.

``The adjustment that we have to make is picking up the pressure,'' Godfrey said. ``People are going to see this film and they are going to pressure us. It'll be up to us to make the adjustments.''

  • ETC: David Bohner's first punt Saturday traveled 63 yards and sailed over the head of dangerous FIU returner T.Y. Hilton. It was a career long boot for Bohner. ... When the University of Florida allowed Tennessee to score Saturday afternoon in the first quarter, it left UCF as the only team in the nation to have not allowed a touchdown this season. The Knights entered Saturday's game with a streak of 12 consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown, a streak that dated back to last season. ... As the only school in the state of Florida with a 100-yard indoor facility, UCF worked out three times this week inside the Nicholson Fieldhouse to prepare for playing on the Field Turf at FIU Stadium. ... UCF junior fullback Billy Giovanetti had a critical nine-yard reception on UCF's first scoring drive of the game. Giovanetti had all of one reception last season. ... UCF is facing a short week of preparation with the showdown against BYU coming on Friday night. The Knights returned to Orlando at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, and they will venture to Provo, Utah on Thursday for the BYU game. The Knights will practice on Sunday night to start the preparations for the game.

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