Last season, the heavily scrutinized Kyle Israel took snaps under center for UCF, and helped lead the team to a 10 win season and a C-USA championship. Israel never dazzled anyone with his arm and usually received an undue amount of criticism, as fans tended to over look all the good he did for the Knights. Israel did a solid job managing games and allowing the dynamic Kevin Smith to be utilized appropriately and often.
This season, the Knights will feature Michael Greco at the helm, and there will certainly be a difference between him and Israel. Greco is a light-footed athlete who does as much damage with his legs as his arm, which should allow UCF to open things up. Through the spring and much of the summer, Greco had to battle redshirt freshman Joe Weatherford for the starting spot, but his versatility and poise ultimately won him the job.
Starter: Michael Greco- After transferring from N.C State to UCF, Greco had to play catch up, as he was forced to digest UCF's playbook in a short amount of time. In limited action, Greco looked solid, and the more he played the better he did, as he proved to be a very effective dual-threat quarterback.
Now Greco will be the man for UCF, as the Knights will depend on him to help lead them back to the conference championship game. Greco has grasped the offense and consistently makes the right reads, something that Israel did for much of last season, but Greco also has the ability to break containment. He runs a sub 4.5 40-yard dash, something that should help move the chains this season for the Knights. Greco doesn't have a spectacular arm, but he can make difficult throws and displays nice accuracy when leaving the pocket. After he finds his rhythm, Greco should be a solid QB for UCF.
Projected Backups: Joe Weatherford, Rob Calabrese, Andy Slowik- Weatherford fought valiantly for the starting spot, but ultimately didn't have the experience the coaching staff needed out of their quarterback. Weatherford, however will be a legit backup, as he has a good grasp of the offense and possesses a well above-average arm.
Calabrese, a true freshman, was spectacular in camp. He has a tremendous arm, good mobility and looks to have the makings of a very good quarterback. Coach O'Leary was impressed with Calabrese, but said there wasn't enough before the season started to feel comfortable with the youngster taking snaps in a game. Down the road though, Calabrese will certainly push for playing time.
Slowik is a valuable backup who does whatever is asked of him and is proficient in managing the offense. His size will always be against him, but the Knights are fortunate to have a solid player like Slowik on the sideline.
Strengths: The unit is deep, with three players that have starting capability on depth chart. Greco also is a good decision maker, as are his backups.
Possible Concerns: Experience could be a potential road block, as Greco has never started a collegiate game, and his backups are all freshmen. That being said, Greco is very confident and a general lack of experience may not be a huge concern.
Position Overview: Fans unjustly criticized Israel last season, as he wasn't an explosive player, and that shouldn't be the excuse this season. Greco may not have the greatest arm around, but his poise, athleticism, and new found familiarity with the offense should make him a very exciting player for the Knights. Weatherford and Calabrese are more than adequate backups, with very lively arms who could fill in for Greco in a pinch.
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