Central Florida coach George O’Leary isn’t going to let his quarterbacking competition spill into the offseason.
With eight practices remaining, O’Leary declared that he plans to name a starting quarterback by the end of spring football, and right now that starter appears to be Rob Calabrese.
Calabrese, who started the spring at the top of the depth chart with true freshman Jeffrey Godfrey behind him, has excelled because of his experience. Calabrese has spent two seasons with the Knights and in that time the knock on him wasn’t his skill, it was his mentality. Calabrese often would take mistakes too hard and he’d let them affect the rest of his game. This year, he’s more mature and it’s showing on the field.
Godfrey also has shown some skill and the ability to make plays in the offense. After last week’s scrimmage, O’Leary praised both quarterbacks.
“Rob did some good things, he's working the team and moving the chains. That's what you want to see,'' O'Leary told media. 'With Godfrey, he's a very poised guy. He's not overly (anxious), but he's not (reserved) like (former UCF quarterback Brett) Hodges, either. He's very poised. He knows his mistake right after he makes it. And you just don't see him making a lot of the same mistakes again.”
But it’s those mistakes that have kept Godfrey from overtaking Calabrese. He’s tried to learn all of the Knights offense in a short amount of time and the learning curve is steep. Calabrese has the luxury of knowing his receivers and being more comfortable in the offense.
"I think Jeff has hit the wall a little bit as far as all the installation, which I expect," O'Leary told the Orlando Sentinel. "He's a high school senior, but obviously he's a very, very talented individual."
The nine players O'Leary suspended because of academics returned Wednesday. Among the nine players suspended were senior wide receiver Brian Watters, junior wide receivers Kamar Aiken and A.J. Guyton, freshman wide receiver Nico Flores, freshman running back Jonathan Davis and freshman defensive back A.J. Bouye. The players missed two practices.