When you look at the UCF Backfield this season, excitement is the word that comes to mind.Let’s start under center at quarterback with return of sophomore Jeff Godfrey. Godfrey is the face of the program. On Media day he was surrounded by twice as many media members of any player on media day. That’s what happens when had a successful freshman season leading the Knights to its best season in program history with ten wins, a conference USA championship, and school first bowl win program history like Godfrey did . Godfrey is not shying away from having high expectations for himself. “Ihave the potential to be the best quarterback [in the country],” Godfrey said.
One year ago at today Godfrey was the backup to Rob Calabrese. Now he is the man with the only questions being who will be Godfrey backup? The answer is red-shirt freshman Blake Bortles out of Oviedo High School. O’Leary has been very pleased with Bortles in preseason camp and should get plenty of snaps in home opener against Charleston Southern. UCF highly touted recruit DaMarcus Smith did not make it to UCF as he didn’t clear approval from NCAA clearinghouse and will not be coming plus with season ending ACL injury to Calabrese has left senior starting running back Ronnie Weaver to being the 3rdstring quarterback.
Weaver beat out juniors Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey to start against Charleston Southern on Saturday. Weaver had a great camp and while some outside of the program may be surprised that he earning the start. Those within the program are not as he a rock solid player and leader in the lockeroom and a favorite of the coaching staff. “He a great kid, you wished you had all like him.” O’Leary said about Weaver who came in as a walk on in 2008. “Takes coaching, great body language. We ask him to do a lot, he not great at one thing but him good at a lot of things which makes him very valuable.”
Don’t be surprise though if this change often during the season as the Knights has the most talented, deep running backs in program history. Weaver no stranger to starting as he started seven games last season rushing for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns. Highlight of Weaver season came on October 30thwhen he ran for a career high 180 yards on 30 carries with 2 touchdowns in a big home win over East Carolina.
Murray started last season as the backup to Weaver ended up starting four games including C-USA Championship Game and Liberty Bowl where he earned game MVP’s to both games rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown in the C-USA Title win over SMU and 104 yards and game winning touchdown in the win over Georgia . Murray ended 2010 season with 637 yards and 11 touchdowns. “I am a downhill runner, if I fall forward I get extra yardage with my height, I just try to move the chains.” Murray says about his running style.
Neither Weaver nor Murray ran for 1,000 like Brynn Harvey did in 2009. Unfortunately for Harvey being All-CUSA first team in preseason 2010 was only highlight he would have in 2010 as Harvey missed all of 2010 season as he blew out his ACL in spring of 2010. Harvey now returns after taking a medical redshirt year and looking to get back where he left off in 2009 when the junior from Largo, Florida ran for 1,109 yards and 14 touchdowns. “Brynn is an elusive back, quicker” said Murray comparing Harvey to himself and Weaver.
A year ago today there was many questions in backfield for UCF with Harvey out with injury and uncertainty on running games as well as question marks at quarterback position. One year later there a chance this could be best quarterback/running back combo in program history with great depth at running back that goes three guys who more than capable of being strong starters . But it all starts with Godfrey who goal is to lead the program to places they never been before as he said it simply in just one word for his expectations this season, “Undefeated”.
News and Notes
- Check out all UCF Position Previews DB,LB,DL,WR,OL
- Watch interviews with Latavius Murray here and Jeff Godfrey here from Media Day.
- Listen to George O’Leary interview on Tuck &O’Neill from Wednesday Show right here
- Check out ESPN1080.Com Insiders Show previews of UCF,Florida,Florida State and Miami
- Of Twelve ESPN Experts that made picks on ESPN.COM only Danny Kannell and Ryen Russillo picked UCF to win C-USA Championship. Tom Lugenbill and Christian Fauria picked UCF to win East along with Russillo and Kannell. Houston was picked by five of twelve experts to win C-USA followed by two for Tulsa, Southern Miss, and UCF. SMU got one vote. Check out picks here
- ESPN 1080 will have Florida State vs. La-Monroe broadcast Saturday with coverage starting at 130pm pregame with kickoff set for330pm with Gene Deckerhoff, William Floyd and Tom Block on the call.Oregon-LSU Game will also be on ESPN1080 following FSU Coverage.
- Check out Eric Lopez and Andrew Melnick FSU Podcast talking about upcoming FSU Season and looking ahead to Monroe game as well as recruiting news right here. ESPN1080 is the home for Florida State Football
- ESPN1080 will carry the Miami-Maryland game on Monday Night at 8pm with Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr on the call.
- Catch newest podcast episode of Round 3, (MMA Podcast) with Brian Wininger as we recap UFC 134. Check out the podcast here
- Email Eric at Elopez@espn1080.comand follow him on twitter at EricLopezELO
- Catch Eric on ESPN1080.Com Insiders Show Sundays 10-11am eastern