A week closer to the college football season, the University of Central Florida still hasn't announced who will be running the show from the field. Head Coach George O'Leary has been so tight-lipped about the decision of which quarterback will start that he said it might come down to game day.
And in the meantime, two players are still battling for that slot. Junior Rob Calabrese has earned the reputation of a hard worker on the practice field, but freshman Jeff Godfrey drew big cheers at practice scrimmages during UCF Football Fan Fest on Saturday. Not that Calabrese didn't, but they were louder for Godfrey's high-energy playing style.
Neither has been assured the starting quarterback spot, though O'Leary did say both players would get playing time this season. Godfrey had played multiple positions in the past, but said that one of the top reasons he signed with the Knights is that O'Leary saw him as a quarterback.
In past seasons when the Knights didn't have a dedicated quarterback, they platooned two or even three quarterbacks during games. At one point in 2008, Calabrese, then a freshman, was part of a three-man quarterback rotation that included Michael Greco and Joe Weatherford. Of the 12 games the Knights played that season, Calabrese received the most playing time, throwing in nine games. Greco threw in eight, while Weatherford threw in three.
But O'Leary has proven likely to change out his starting quarterback at a moment's notice. In 2008, Calabrese was the only quarterback on the field in the first two games. By the end of the season, Greco got all the playing time.
Now Calabrese is in the older man's shoes, competing for playing time against a freshman.
But as far as precedent goes, history is on Calabrese's side for standing on the field for the opening play at home at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4 against South Dakota. Since taking over as coach in 2004, O'Leary has never started a freshman quarterback on opening day.