UCF opens spring with two-man QB race

Central Florida coach George O’Leary met with the media Wednesday to preview the Knights spring camp, which opens Friday.

While O’Leary noted that he’d like to shore up the offensive line, which struggled last season, he also said finding a new starting quarterback would be a top priority.

O’Leary essentially said that the competition would be a two-man race between junior Rob Calabrese and true freshman Jeffrey Godfrey, the all-time leading passer in Dade County high school history who enrolled at UCF early. O’Leary also said that he’d like to come out of spring practice with a clear starter.

Calabrese, who was a part-time starter in three games last season and played in seven, will open spring practice as the No. 1 guy.

“If someone is going to have a real opportunity in spring practice, those first two guys are the ones you are going to really look at,” O’Leary said. “We want to give them as many reps as possible.”

Stanford transfer L.D. Crow, Fordham transfer Brian Taaffe, son of offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe, and Andy Slowik also will compete for the quarterback job this spring.

Nico Flores, a redshirt freshman who was supposed to be in the mix at quarterback this spring, will move to wide receiver. Flores actually spent most of the fall as a wide receiver on the scout team and requested the switch to get on the field earlier.

“We can only play one quarterback at a time and there’s only one football, but Nico is an exceptionally talented player and we want to try and get him on the field,” Charlie Taaffe said. “And there are a couple of different packages that we can use where he’ll be inserted at quarterback. We’ll try some things because that’s what the spring is for.”

With Flores’ versatility, the Knights will introduce a wildcat package for the first time. The new look will take some pressure off the quarterbacks and running backs, which struggled at times to generate consistent offense.

But all of the offensive success will hinge on the play if the line.

"On the offensive line there are a number of players back,” O’Leary said. "We just need to solidify the group as far as chemistry and toughness on the line of scrimmage."