Focus: Ronnie Weaver

When Ronnie Weaver embarked on his first season at UCF last year, he likely didn't think after being red-shirted that he would emerge as the team's starting running back. Due to several uncontrollable events at the position, Weaver has been thrust into the starting rotation, a place maybe he didn't expect to be this early, but one that he is comfortable with.

"I'm just doing my best, whatever I can do to help the team, that's my personal goal; do what I can to help the team, and just help the team move forward, win games and win championships," said Weaver after Saturday's morning practice.

The red-shirt freshman has been extremely impressive during the preseason, and is the all-around back that Coach George O'Leary covets for his offense. In a previous interview, O'Leary said he would lean towards the back that could not only run effectively, but could do everything else, such as blocking and catching the ball. Through the first week of fall practice, Weaver seems to be UCF's best blocking back and also is effective catching the ball out of the backfield. However, his overall game though is not what Weaver thinks the best aspect of his game is.

"I understand that we all have a role on the team, and understanding your role might be on of the biggest aspects of your being on the team. We understand that everyone has a role and do our best to make sure you improve your role and do your best to help the team out."

After talking to Weaver briefly, it doesn't take much to realize that he strongly believes in what he preaches. Weaver understands that everyone has a role on a team, and all players need to embrace their role in order for the team to have success.

"Like I said, every person has a role on the team and I experienced my role last year, now I'm experiencing a new role on the team and am just trying to do my best to help the team out."

Weaver's new role not only includes taking on a work load he had yet seen at the collegiate level and being UCF's "Mr. Everything" at the running back spot, but he also must mentor four talented freshman running backs. Latavius Murray, Brandon Davis, Brynn Harvey and combo back Brendan Kelly are all taking everything in stride, and Weaver is doing his best to show them the ropes. When asked how it feels to be in that position, as the most experienced running back, Weaver got a kick out of it.

"Funny you say experienced, we're all learning. We take everything a day at a time watch tape, learn a lot come out and play hard each and everyday at practice and work hard to improve."

After nearly a week of practice, Weaver is pleased with the team's progression as they move on with several new starters in the backfield.

"This week there's been real high intensity, a lot of learning that we accomplished this week, learning that we need to keep improving on everyday. We showed a lot of effort, and there was a lot of improvement this week."

Weaver also has been satisfied with his improvement so far.

"I think I've been doing pretty good, I'm making the right reads and improving everyday, which is our goal as a team; to improve and get better everyday. I'm just doing my best to improve and help the team move forward."

With that kind of an attitude, Weaver has done more than fill in for the likes of Kevin and Phillip Smith. He has established a different tone amongst the entire offense and most notably, himself and the younger running backs. Weaver may not have a lot of experience, but he is embracing the role of leader, a role which suits him well.

Brendan Sonnone is a senior writer for, covering the UCF Knights for Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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