No Right Answer at Quarterback

One of the hot-button issues heading into this football season for UCF was the quarterback issue. Find out Coach O'Leary's take on the three available quarterbacks.

In spring ball, junior Michael Greco appeared to have a slight advantage over redshirt freshman Joe Weatherford, and as the calendar turned to the summer, the play of Weatherford seemed to fade. A new candidate threw his hat into the ring as true freshman Rob Calabrese impressed with his powerful arm, but his lack of experience thrust Greco into the starting role.

Greco has started five of the Knights nine game, and Calabrese four, and the differences in offensive production have been insignificant. The Knights are ranked dead last in the country in offense and they haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the second half since the SMU game, which came on October 4th.

"I just don't think we have enough guys on offense who can make things happen. I really don't. When you have opportunities and you don't make the play then I think that is happening." stated George O'Leary.

Calabrese has shown flashes of brilliance accompanied with tons of inexperience and instability. On the season he has completed just 41.4% of his 128 pass attempts for just 575 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. His quarterback rating is below 80.

The junior, Michael Greco hasn't been much better. Greco has completed 52 of 107 pass attempts (48.6%) for 571 yards, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. Greco's quarterback rating is a little better at 103, and he is a better running threat, but there are certainly throws that Greco cannot make.

The third candidate for the quarterback spot, Joe Weatherford seemingly played himself out of the position during summer practices, but he did see his first game action in a 58-13 blowout at UTEP. The results for Weatherford were disastrous as he completed just one of three passes for -6 yards, and two fumbles, one going for a touchdown. The team would've been better off taking a knee on every snap.

With the unstable state of the UCF quarterbacks, coach O'Leary eluded that Weatherford may indeed receive another look in one of the final three games for the Knights.

"He is number three right now in the program," said O'Leary. "I know George Godsey is getting him some reps in practice and trying to see where he is going. I think based on what happens in the next part of the season, then you will see his name pop up on the field. Again, as I have told the team, we are out to win football games. I think the guys who are playing, are the ones who are supposed to be on the field. We haven't missed anyone."

As much suffering as Knights fans have done this season, the group that is probably the most disappointed has been the UCF defense. Again on Saturday, the Knights defense shut down an explosive Southern Miss offense for much of the game, the same offense that put up 70 points just a week earlier. The defense has been excellent this season, despite being put in some terrible spots by the UCF offense.

"I really feel bad for them (the senior class) because they have been with the program now for four years with some of them being three or four year starters," O'Leary explained. "I just feel bad that they don't have the chance to receive a reward and go to a bowl game. They have put an awful lot of good times, plays and wins into this program."

Coach O'Leary has stated several times that the player who grades out best in practice for the week gets the start on Saturday's, and he hasn't waivered from that stance. The problem is that from week to week there really is no right answer for O'Leary. The offense has stalled and sputtered with both quarterbacks, and at 2-7 there hasn't been anything that has seemingly gone right under center.


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