Respected journalist John Denton joined the UCF athletics communications staff in August of 2009. Denton worked for newspapers in Tennessee and Florida for 18 years before making the move to UCF. He worked at The Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tenn., from 1992-97. He spent the next 11 years at Florida Today in Melbourne, covering UCF, the Orlando Magic and the NFL. His Knights Insider stories appear on UCFAthletics.com several times per week.
Whereas Octavious Freeman's 11.1-second time in the 100-meter dash in April was wildly celebrated as the fastest in the world at the time by a female, the UCF freshman sprinter took a much different approach to all of the hype and hoopla.
UCF fans eagerly anticipating the Knights' 2013 entry into the BIG EAST will not only get a preview of what's to come early next basketball season, but they will also get to see UCF's biggest rival playing in Orlando.
If a journey is truly made up of a million tiny steps, first baseman D.J. Hicks figures this march for the UCF baseball team started four years ago and included a couple hundred thousand references to "On the Road to Omaha."
For so many reasons, this is just the scenario that Darnell Sweeney envisioned three years ago when he committed to UCF to play baseball. Back in his hometown of Miami, Sweeney can close his eyes and envision the Knights being presented a trophy at midfield to celebrate a landmark victory.
Call it a premonition, a stroke of luck or an extremely bold move, but UCF senior golfer Brad Schneider's heads up actions three months ago will assure the Knights of being prepared next week in the NCAA Championship.
With a lump in his throat and his stomach often in knots, Jim Schneider will peer out onto the golf course and marvel at the fluidity and seemingly effortless swing of his son, Brad Schneider.
RPI projections suggest that the winner of Thursday's UCF-Houston game in the Conference USA softball tournament likely will earn a spot in the NCAA Regionals next week.
As a standout cornerback at UCF the past three seasons, Josh Robinson had a knack for playing coy and giving quarterbacks the belief that a receiver was open when he actually had the play covered all along.
If the progress of the UCF's women's golf team were on a flow chart, the direction would show a dazzling upswing. In a matter of three seasons, the Knights have gone from eighth to fifth to second in Conference USA.
Often overlooked is the balancing act that it takes to be both student and athlete. In addition to the time in the classroom, it's the time away from school on road trips and games that make juggling academics and athletics even trickier.
In New York on Wednesday for the NFL Players Association's ``Rookie Debut'' festivities, Josh Robinson finally started to feel all his dreams coming true. Surrounded by towering buildings and the best college football players in the country, Robinson knew that he belonged.
Like most new hires in an athletics program, UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury spent the bulk of his first fan event talking about the need for a culture change.
More times than he can remember, Blake Bortles has cued up the DVD from last November to remember just why it is that he pours nearly every waking minute and every thought into trying to become a better quarterback for UCF.
Modern technology has made it possible for UCF defensive end Cam Henderson to learn some of the newest pass rush moves from one of the best defensive linemen in football with just a couple of clicks of his computer mouse.
Anyone who's lived in Central Florida knows how unpredictable and dangerous the area's storms can be, striking here and then there and usually leaving a trail of destruction behind.
UCF went through an intense two-plus hour scrimmage on Saturday, using licensed referees and going full speed in all contact drills with everyone except the quarterbacks.
Alex Friedrich's rise from overlooked walk-on to UCF's leading hitter this season isn't exactly a rags-to-riches tale, but it isn't far off either.
Josh Robinson came to UCF three years ago as a highly touted cornerback recruit and he immediately lived up to the hype by recording the most interceptions by any freshman in the country.
At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds with just 12 percent body fat, Ray Shipman has prototypical linebacker size to go along with the athleticism that a former Division I basketball player would possess. In so many ways, he seems to ooze dazzling potential out of his every pore.
With several prospective recruits and their families lining the practice field for UCF's ``Junior Day'' on Saturday, the Knights put on a show with a two-hour scrimmage filled with highlights.
Troy Davis came flying around the left end as if he had been flung out of a sling shot, allowing him to easily get past the offensive tackle trying to block him.
Just four months removed from tearing a knee ligament, A.J. Bouye is back on the football field trying to negotiate a bulky knee brace and wavering stability in the joint.
In a scene that looked more like it was out of October than March, UCF's players whooped and hollered and lifted kicker Jamie Boyle on top of their shoulders after he had just booted a 47-year field goal.
His best friend and teammate of the past three seasons, Josh Robinson, headed for the NFL Draft, UCF safety Kemal Ishmael knows there is more pressure and responsibility than ever on him as the unquestioned leader of the Knights' defense.
Before he started breaking down the upcoming opponent, Drexel, or dissecting the part of the NIT bracket which UCF is in, head coach Donnie Jones stepped up to the dry-erase board and scribbled down roughly a dozen schools that wouldn't even be playing postseason basketball.
Getting to the College Basketball Invitational tournament in 2011 represented a small step for the UCF men's basketball program. And qualifying for this week's NIT serves as another stride forward for the Knights.
Whether it was last season's remarkable run to 14-0 and a spot in the national rankings or this season when it defeated UConn and Memphis in big-game environments, UCF's men's basketball team has had a knack for rising to the occasion in key moments.
Dating back to last year, when Donnie Jones was helping to set up the schedule for UCF men's basketball team, he was looking ahead to March and this week's Conference USA Tournament.
Usually quiet and reserved with her feelings, Aisha Patrick figures that will not be the case over the next week.
The doubters and the haters booing from opposing student sections never thought A.J. Rompza would amount to much on the basketball court, but the too-short, too-small point guard has a list of accomplishments now proving them all wrong.
Five, 10 or 20 years from now, when Aisha Patrick, Ashia Kelly and Racine Davis return to UCF for a women's basketball game - likely with kids in tow - they'll be able to point to the rafters inside UCF Arena and show how they were a part of something special.
Isaiah Sykes has seen the worst the mean streets of southwest Detroit can throw at a person and lived to tell about it.
UCF sophomore Isaiah Sykes swatted shots, drove to the rim with no regard for his body, aggressively grabbed rebounds in traffic and even made the fifth 3-pointer of his career - all in an effort to make sure there was no second-half repeat from Wednesday for the Knights.
In the minutes prior to UCF's clutch home win against East Carolina on Saturday, head coach Donnie Jones walked into the locker room and scribbled one word - "Us" - on the dry erase board for all to see.
As the cliché goes, to be the best you have to beat the best and UCF's baseball team will get that opportunity when it faces top-ranked Florida on Wednesday night in Gainesville.
The mass text message will usually roll in about 10 p.m. and by midnight when UCF senior point guard A.J. Rompza walks into the gymnasium there will be 10 or 12 of his teammates getting up shots.
With UCF's baseball season set to open Friday night at UCF baseball complex, all eyes are squarely affixed on Knights' junior first baseman D.J. Hicks.
Garrett Haywood has been attending UCF and Orlando Magic basketball games since he was an infant, and up until a year ago he was a scrappy power forward on Oviedo High School's 19-0 freshman squad.
With drills whirring and hammers pounding in the background, UCF standout first baseman D.J. Hicks took one look up at the finishing touches being done to the renovations at the UCF baseball complex on Tuesday and made a fairly bold prediction.
It's already been a season of firsts for the UCF men's basketball team what with the Knights whipping Memphis for the first time and winning at UAB and SMU for others firsts.
The UCF women's basketball team's "Pack the House" game is this Sunday at 2 p.m. against UAB. UCF hopes to break the attendance record again while giving away some incredible incentives to fans.
After helping UCF's baseball program get back into the NCAA Regionals for the first time in seven years and posting solid numbers across the board last season, Ronnie Richardson and D.J. Hicks had every reason to leave school for careers in Major League Baseball.
So much of thriving as a basketball player depends on being in the flow and having a rhythm about your game. And oftentimes it's difficult to find that flow when playing only in short bursts or not at all for games at a time.
While some recruiting analysts and message-board posters chose to focus on the players who went elsewhere on Wednesday's National Signing Day, UCF head coach George O'Leary scrolled down the dry-erase board just outside his office and picked out nine players he fully expected to be starters for the Knights in the immediate future.
With UCF a season away from making the move from Conference USA to the BIG EAST, head coach George O'Leary and his staff delved into recruiting wanting to add bigger, rangier athletes to the roster.
Recently, UCF baseball head coach Terry Rooney sat down recently with UCFAthletics.com writer John Denton for a question-and-answer session to preview the season ahead. Here is the second part of their chat.
Everything about Gevenia Carter's game and her mentality were forged on the playground.
One by one, 16-straight opponents have come into UCF Arena late last season and all throughout this year and have been overwhelmed by the UCF squad on the floor and the raucous noise in the air.
Each day, UCF head coach Terry Rooney can look out the windows of his office and see Jay Bergman Field taking new shape with massive renovations underway.
It's not uncommon for UCF center Josh Crittle to turn away from the court during a break in the action at the UCF Arena, wildly wave his arms and demand energy and noise from the team's fan base.
No matter the heights that the UCF men's basketball team climbs this season - and there's certainly been some stratospheric stuff so far with several landmark victories - the Knights will always have the memories of last season to keep them grounded.
Sensing just what her team needed and adjusting accordingly, UCF junior guard Gevenia Carter switched from playmaker to scorer just in time Thursday night to boost the women's basketball team in overtime.
Having to split carries with Brynn Harvey and Ronnie Weaver, Latavius Murray ran for 549 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He also caught 17 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. His 5.6 yards a rush was tops among the regulars and he averaged 14.2 yards a reception.
New UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury flashed one of his three championship rings at his introductory news conference Tuesday.
That A.J. Rompza is playing the best basketball of his UCF career now might come as a surprise to some considering that he is just a couple of weeks of removed from a two month-long stretch of no official games.
While at the University of Alabama the past five seasons Drew Hughes played a big part in helping the Crimson Tide compile one of the most talent-rich rosters in all of college football, one good enough to win a national championship in 2010 and maybe another Monday night.
There are times, especially after big wins or landmark accomplishments, when UCF's Donnie Jones and Shawn Finney will sit together and revel at how the two West Virginia natives have made the rise through coaching together.
UCF made a bold statement Thursday night, announcing that it will once again be a prominent player in the mix for this year's Conference USA's women's basketball title.
As the runaway winners of the 2011 Conference USA women's basketball tournament, UCF enters league play on Thursday as what some would refer to as "defending champions.
It's only fitting that Keith Clanton, who is unassuming and mild-mannered as any basketball player you'd ever meet, would yawn at a flashy accomplishment and instead cast his attention toward one that personifies his workmanlike mentality.
UCF hopes that its tough non-conference schedule will prepare the team for another strong run through Conference USA play.
UCF opens its Holiday Tournament against long-time rival Stetson on Thursday, but Friday is actually the day that the Knights have been pointing to for a couple of months now.
Through last week, you and your staff were on the road recruiting on the heels of the school's BIG EAST Conference press conference (Dec. 8). What was it like on the recruiting trails for the first time, having this major announcement taking place?
Finished with the first of a two-a-day set of practices earlier this week, UCF forwards Keith Clanton and P.J. Gaynor tried settling the debate of who is taller by playfully standing back to back.
Out of football for the first time in years and working in a Chicago-based advertising firm, Paul Carrington had a steady existence, but one that was severely lacking.
Struggling offensively and down as much as eight points with 7 minutes to play, UCF used its defense to spark a furious rally and had some clutch free throw shooting that finally got the Knights over the hump Saturday night.
Looking for a way to get his defense to force more turnovers and create more havoc for opposing quarterbacks, UCF head coach George O'Leary reached into his past Thursday and hired Ted Roof as the Knights' new defensive coordinator.
Senior guard Aisha Patrick returned to the floor on Thursday night, but her presence wasn't enough to boost UCF to a victory over Florida Gulf Coast.
UCF's long journey to joining a conference that will allow its athletics teams to compete at the highest level came to a joyous culmination when the Knights officially accepted a bid into the BIG EAST Conference.
To see the way sisters Kayli and Meghan Keough mesh so well now on the court, the way they support each other through tough times as roommates and speak so highly of one another as best friends, you'd have no idea of the battles they used to wage while playing pick-up basketball in their hometown of Land O' Lakes.
UCF head football coach George O'Leary has already started the process of improving on the 2011 season, interviewing prospective defensive coordinators, evaluating old and new schemes and instructing the players for next year.
UCF head football coach George O'Leary has already started the process of improving on the 2011 season, interviewing prospective defensive coordinators, evaluating old and new schemes and instructing the players for next year.
Once, then twice and again a third time in the second half the basketball was swung from one wing to the other before being skip-passed into the middle of the floor where Kayli Keough stroked one jump shot after another.
Coaches always proclaim that losing hurts worse than winning feels good, so in that vain UCF's George O'Leary knows that this offseason will likely be filled with plenty of pain.
In addition to being a master at breaking down film on foes and widely regarded as one of the best assistant coaches in women's basketball, Bob Starkey also brings this to UCF's basketball program: One of his greatest prodigies, Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles, visited with the Knights last weekend as a favor to her old coach.
Even after a season in which UCF's women's team accomplished so much and authored one of the greatest postseason runs in school history, head coach Amanda Cromwell and her players were left with the gnawing, agonizing feeling of wanting more.
With a stated goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament this season firmly in place, UCF took a major step toward proving its legitimacy as one of the country's elite teams by showing that it can compete and beat the best of the best.
UCF played without its do-everything point guard and a lost a tournament game on Saturday at The Venue, but along the way the Knights might have learned a very valuable lesson.
With UCF quarterbacks Jeff Godfrey and Blake Bortles closing the 2011 season in impressive fashion Friday night both will head into the offseason in a battle for playing time next season.
Ticking off UCF's games this season one by one, head coach George O'Leary said he could point to a couple of plays in each one that meant the difference between winning and losing. And because most of those plays went against UCF, they are the reason the Knights have lost an incredible six games by seven or fewer points.
In this time of giving thanks, UCF's women's soccer team is most thankful for the incredible stroke of fate that led it to fiery goalkeeper Aline Reis. Without that true blessing, the Knights likely wouldn't still be alive now and enjoying one of the finest seasons in school history.
Still missing one player, but somewhat whole for the first time all season, UCF is hoping to use the prestigious Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas as a proving ground for its legitimacy as an elite basketball team.
Someday soon, Rob Calabrese has hopes of becoming a football coach on either the high school or collegiate level. And he got some on-the-job training this season, serving as a quasi-coach for UCF as he sat out because of a second season-ending knee injury.
It's been almost two full days since UCF's men's soccer team lost in heartbreaking fashion to rival USF in second-round play of the NCAA Tournament and understandably the pain is still raw and sensitive.
Alone with just their teammates and coaches on the bus ride home Sunday night after pulling off what some thought to be the unthinkable, many of UCF's women's soccer players allowed their emotions to gush practically out of every pore.
From Daunte Culpepper to Jeff Godfrey, from the Division I-AA days to UCF now being a major player in college football, Marc Daniels - the voice of the Knights - has been on the call for it all.
Already owners of two Conference USA titles and veterans of NCAA Tournament play, guard Aisha Patrick and forward Ashia Kelly came into this season fully understanding the expectations of the UCF's women's basketball team.
There came a moment last Saturday night when UCF head coach George O'Leary took the temperature of the high-scoring game, broke from the script and made an executive decision regarding tailback Latavius Murray.
Last year, Jeff Godfrey guided UCF to its finest season in school history while also winning the Conference USA Freshman of the Year award. Ultimately, he deserves every shot at remaining the Knights' starting quarterback, head coach George O'Leary said on Tuesday.
During their time last season as true freshmen and again early this year as backups, UCF quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver J.J. Worton developed a dazzling chemistry that benefitted both players.
UCF sophomore defensive tackle Victor Gray vividly remembers a year back when the Knights were riding high following their first-ever ascension into college football's Top 25.
UCF's interim director of Athletics, Admiral Al Harms, spoke Thursday of a bright future for the university and stressed his mission to "make sure we never have this problem again" by strengthening UCF's culture of compliance.
For UCF power forward Keith Clanton, simply being good is no longer good enough.
Because of their vast age difference - Cliff McCray is almost 5.5 years older than twins Jordan and Justin McCray - the relationship between the brothers while growing up was at best limited.
First games always bring a level of nervousness and unknowns, and when UCF found itself trailing by 10 points in the first four minutes in Sunday's exhibition opener, guard Aisha Patrick did her best to calm her teammates down.
UCF senior guard Cliff McCray, whose block paved the way for a Ronnie Weaver touchdown run just before the half Thursday night, said he would do everything in his power to make sure the Knights finish this season on a positive note.
There are times, maybe during a UCF football practice, or a game or as he peers out of his office at the state-of-the-art Wayne Densch Sports Center, that Manny Messeguer will marvel at how much has changed at UCF.
Faced with a do-or-die situation, UCF's Conference USA championship game, in essence, started last week against Memphis, carries over to Thursday's showdown against Tulsa and will extend through the rest of the regular season.
The challenges of having to play two football games in six days are as much mental as they are physical. UCF is hoping that its experience in those situations earlier in the season will pay off Thursday night against Tulsa.
Having finally registered a sack for the first time in eight games, UCF defensive end Troy Davis literally started his celebration last Saturday night before the quarterback even hit the ground.
As was the case in the previous two games, Blake Bortles came on in relief of UCF starter Jeff Godfrey and finished the night at quarterback. The only difference was that this time Bortles was mopping up in a UCF blowout victory.
After all that it has been through this season - amazing highs, frustrating losing spells and debilitating injuries - UCF still totally controls its destiny as it relates to getting back to the Conference USA title game.
Downright dominant and 3-0 at Bright House Networks Stadium but shockingly winless on the road this season, homecoming couldn't be coming at a better time for UCF's football team.
Revelations sometimes come at the oddest of times and strangest of places and for UCF men's basketball coach Donnie Jones and standout guard Marcus Jordan, their revealing moment came this summer in Canada.
After a weekend of soul-searching following a second-consecutive frustrating loss, this much is certain for UCF's football team: Jeff Godfrey is still the starting quarterback and the Knights still control their own destiny as far as getting back to the Conference USA title game.
An official invite from the Big East has yet to come for UCF, but Athletics Director Keith Tribble said Thursday night that talks with those in the league and surrounding college football's ever-changing dynamics continue on a daily basis.
Even now, some 10 preseason and regular-season games into his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, Bruce Miller catches himself in awe of his professional surroundings.
One by one, UCF's football players figuratively painted a picture of a team at a crossroads and one of two paths assuredly are dead ahead in the coming weeks.
As he does at the end of every practice, head coach George O'Leary called his UCF football team up to the middle of field for a post-mortem talk. Only this time, O'Leary's fiery, 10-minute talk was laced with a challenge.
Flashing a knowing look and a devilish grin, Tristan Spurlock admitted that he likes his role as an enigma for the UCF men's basketball team.
While stressing that Jeff Godfrey is still firmly in place as UCF's starting quarterback, head coach George O'Leary said Monday that promising redshirt freshman Blake Bortles will see playing time on Thursday against UAB.
A day after meeting with Big East officials and presidents from member schools in Cincinnati, UCF President Dr. John Hitt and Athletics Director Keith Tribble said that a potential entry into the league is still very much a work in progress.
Not only is Saturday's showdown between UCF and SMU a rematch of last December's Conference USA championship game; it could also serve as a preview of another championship collision between the East and West Division powers this December.
Marshall had just returned a fumble for a touchdown last Saturday night, drawing the Thundering Herd within 16-6 of UCF and infuriating head coach George O'Leary.
There have been, at times, turnovers that have put them in bad spots and momentum swings where it seemed everything is against them, yet UCF's defense has stood firm each time.
Around campus at UCF plans are already in the works to print up and sell ``I SURVIVED THE MARSHALL GAME'' T-shirts. And that's a good thing because the fans and players who slogged through Orlando's wettest night in 61 years deserve something for their water-logged troubles.
UCF tailback Brynn Harvey's comeback from a devastating knee injury in the spring of 2010 came full circle Saturday night when he earned his first start in 22 months.
As UCF made the arduous, four-hour journey back from the mountains of Utah to Florida two weeks ago, A.J. Guyton never wanted to close his eyes even though the clock pushed past 5 a.m.
For the first time in memory, East Orlando's Melanie Musum will attend a UCF game Saturday night without wearing her traditional black and gold colors. And that's not as easy as one might think considering that ``half my wardrobe is UCF stuff,'' Musum joked.
Saturday at 7 p.m. and the start of Conference USA play can't get here soon enough for a frustrated UCF team that has had to stew over two confounding losses for what will be more than two weeks.
For proof that there's still plenty to play for this season for UCF's football team one need to look no further than last season, otherwise known as the greatest season in school history.
There are times when UCF senior forward Cameron Cooksey looks around at the talent surrounding him and the strong belief and trust coursing through the UCF men's soccer team and he's blown away at how far the program has come.
UCF Athletics Director Keith Tribble has a message for Knights fans worried about the program's push to land in an automatic-qualifier conference: Just because UCF isn't publicly pushing for such a move, there are still plenty of negotiations going on behind the scenes.
Already one of UCF's best blockers and its strongest player - he bench-pressed 530 pounds and lifted 225 pounds an incredible 38 times - Adam Nissley has added another facet to his game this season.
If ever there was a good time for a short week it's this one for a UCF football team that can't wait to play again and rid themselves of the lingering bitterness from last Saturday night.
One day last week, UCF football coach George O'Leary abruptly ended a sluggish practice by sending his team off the field and back to the dressing room so that it could start the entire practice over again.
In his six seasons at UCF, assistant head coach David Kelly has seen the Knights go from being an afterthought in the mind of elite recruits from South Florida to the forefront of the discussion.
Miami native Jeff Godfrey will be returning to his South Florida roots Saturday night when UCF takes on Florida International, but this game will be about so much more than just a homecoming for the sensational sophomore.
FIU's T.Y. Hilton comes into Saturday's game against UCF riding high following a spectacular 201-yard, two-touchdown performance and is currently enjoying some initial Heisman hype.
At the end of a long, hot practice earlier this week, UCF head coach George O'Leary called up his team and asked those hailing from South Florida to stand while others kneeled.
UCFAthletics.com's Knights Insider John Denton breaks down the five things that we learned from UCF's 30-3 thumping of Boston College on Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium.
When head coach George O'Leary dubbed Saturday ``a great night for UCF,'' he had several aspects in mind from the feel-good weekend for the Knights.
Chances like this come along so infrequently during a football season - a national television stage, a respected foe from a BCS-affiliated league and a likely raucous sellout home crowd - that UCF is looking at Saturday night's showdown against Boston College as a tremendous opportunity.
Unlike last time, when his college career unexpectedly started on a whim, Ray Shipman actually had time to worry about playing linebacker for the first extended time since high school.
It's been almost a year exactly since the memorable night when Jeff Godfrey's legend at UCF took full flight. And, quite frankly, the football program has never been the same since.
UCF's offensive line entered the season as the team's most experienced unit, combining to start 86 games before last Saturday's season-opening rout of Charleston Southern.
In the days leading up to the most significant volleyball victory in program history, UCF sophomore middle blocker Nichole Riedel let everyone in on a little secret.
UCFAthletics.com's Knights Insider John Denton breaks down the five things that we learned from UCF's 62-0 throttling of Charleston Southern Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium.
In years past, a looming showdown against Boston College would have served as a landmark moment for the UCF program as it worked to improve its standing in the college football world.
For the ultra-competitive athlete, attaining success and accomplishing goals can sometimes turn into a vicious cycle. You win and briefly rejoice, but ultimately it just breeds a hunger for more winning. The carrot gets pushed out further and the monster within strives for more and more.
UCF head coach George O'Leary has one basic rule when it comes to freshmen playing early in their careers: They're not allowed to act like freshmen.
Game night for UCF was still a couple of days away, but junior tailback Brynn Harvey was already anticipating the moment that will undoubtedly come Saturday night when he realizes the rugged path he's had to take to get back on the field.
To hear even Darius Nall himself tell it, it's as if the career highs he posted last season in tackles (31), tackles for a loss (9.5) and sacks (8.5) should have come with an asterisk attached to them.
Admittedly, UCF's George O'Leary is a hard coach to please when it comes to the intricacies and the daily grind of preseason practice. He's constantly pushing for more while stressing that teams either get better or worse, but rarely stay the same.
Here's the skinny (and the not-so-skinny) of things at defensive tackle for UCF: Sophomore Jose Jose has worked tirelessly before, after and during practices to shed 38 pounds, while sophomore Victor Gray has done the same to put on 47 pounds of added weight.
And UCF's break-glass-if-necessary, emergency third quarterback is ... the same player expected to start at tailback for the Knights.
Though not nearly as glamorous a position, the middle linebacker slot on defense serves basically the same role as the quarterback on the offense, what with all of the play-calling, the directing of traffic and usually being in the middle of the action.
A week after UCF's defense proved itself to be a step ahead of the Knights' offense in the first scrimmage of training camp, quarterback Jeff Godfrey, wide receivers Quincy McDuffie and A.J. Guyton and a steadily improving offensive line evened the score on Saturday.
The most important - and most overlooked - point of last season came when Nick Cattoi booted a point-after kick that kept UCF four points ahead of Georgia in an eventual Liberty Bowl victory for the Knights.
When UCF head coach George O'Leary summoned the first-string defensive unit to the stage Thursday during the Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon more than a few eyebrows arose at the inclusion of standout freshman linebacker Leilon Willingham.
Qualifiers for the second round of the NCAA Tournament each of the past four seasons, UCF's women's soccer team opens its season Friday night with a mindset of staying hungry and pushing for even more come the postseason.
Rob Calabrese's second season-ending knee injury in the past 10 months forced UCF to scramble at not one, but two positions. But the Knights vowed that they have enough reinforcements to still thrive at the quarterback and receiver slots despite the loss of their senior leader.
Just when Adam Nissley thought that UCF's monumental defeat of the University of Georgia last December in the Liberty Bowl couldn't possibly get any sweeter, it did just that this past summer.
To illustrate the uncanny cohesion and chemistry between UCF junior defensive backs Josh Robinson and Kemal Ishmael, you only had to see one play from fall camp as evidence.
Surrounded by mostly youth and inexperience in the linebacker corps, UCF's Josh Linam takes seriously his role as a playmaker and leader for the Knights' defense.
In UCF coach George O'Leary's eyes, there's a major difference between speed and contact speed. Some players are fast in outright sprints, but tend to slow down dramatically when there's hitting involved.
Bruce Miller was most likely a once in a generation type of player at UCF, one who got the most out of his physical abilities and relentlessly willed himself to becoming the greatest sack specialist in school history.
Rob Calabrese came to UCF to play quarterback and still dabbles in the position from time to time as the Knights' break-glass-in-case-of-emergency signal-caller. But in some ways, being free of the pressures of being a quarterback has liberated him.
When UCF men's basketball coach Donnie Jones worked at the University of Florida, the Gators took a summer trip to Paris in 2000 and ended up in the Final Four, and in 2006 following a jaunt to Canada, they won the national championship.
A position loaded with question marks entering last season has become one filled with talented and dynamic exclamation marks for UCF heading into the 2011 season.
Whereas most viewed last December's defeat of Georgia in the Liberty Bowl as UCF's crowning achievement and the finish line to a figurative race the Knights have been running for years, Athletics Director Keith Tribble instead saw it as just a start.
A.J. Guyton was beginning his fifth training camp at UCF on Thursday, and even he admitted to having a few jitters and being filled with nervous energy. And if Guyton was nervous, just imagine how many of UCF's newcomers felt in their first official workout of the 2011 season.
The 2010 season will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in UCF football history what with the team winning 11 games, climbing into the national rankings for the first time and also capturing a conference championship and a Liberty Bowl victory.
Eight months after putting the finishing touches on the finest season in school history, UCF could be poised now to author an even better one in 2011. With that said, anticipation has never been higher for a season to begin than the one dead ahead.
In order to get back to the Conference USA title game for a second-straight year SMU will have to deal with quite possibly the most prolific passer in NCAA history (Houston's Case Keenum), the reigning Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year (G.J. Kinne) and the quarterback about to eclipse all of Brett Favre's records at Southern Miss (Austin Davis).
Back in Memphis and exactly eight months removed from its greatest football moment in school history, UCF was the overwhelming pick of Conference USA's coaches and players to win another league title and return to West Tennessee as the representative in the Liberty Bowl.
Drive by UCF's football headquarters just about any time of day or night these days and George O'Leary's car is in its place and the football coach is in his office preparing for the start of training camp on Aug. 4.
Nick Cattoi has an exceptionally strong right leg, making a 47-yarder last season and a 52-yarder to end spring practice.
An exceptionally strong player, Dunston started three of the first four games of his college career last season. A year older and wiser, he'll be a fixture in the interior of the line along with fellow sophomore Victor Gray for years to come.
Exceptionally smart and mature, Jordan Rae makes up for what he might lack in size on the football field with his intelligence, guile and guts.
A.J. Bouye, already a two-year letterman, is thought to be by many as a rising star in the UCF secondary because of his nose for the football and his ability to make big plays.
A.J. Guyton is a dependable, hard-nosed possession receiver who will lay a lick on a defender while blocking and will fight for extra yards after catching underneath passes.
UCFAthletics.com writer John Denton wraps up his three-part Q&A session with head coach George O'Leary by focusing mostly on the defensive side of the ball and recruiting.
The longest-tenured Knight, Cliff McCray is a smart, dependable lineman who should bring experience and grit to a veteran offensive line this season.
With a host of newcomers about to join a UCF men's basketball team that finished on a high note last year, it's never too soon to get a jump start on next season - even if it means traveling to another country.
A converted tailback, Jonathan Davis is moving back to his favored position at linebacker. He showed in the spring that he is plenty tough and agile enough to play defense and he's more than willing to lay a lick on a ball carrier.
UCFAthletics.com writer John Denton continues his Q&A session with head coach George O'Leary, and in part two the C-USA Coach of the Year discusses national rankings, the defense, Jeff Godfrey and the trio of running backs.
UCFAthletics.com writer John Denton recently sat down with head coach George O'Leary for a question-and-answer session that touched on UCF's progress entering the 2011 season, the success of players such as Jeff Godfrey and Kemal Ishmael and the prospects for the upcoming campaign.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at Josh Linam, a player to watch on the UCF defense.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at Quincy McDuffie, a player to watch on the UCF offense and on special teams.
Former UCF standout Josh Sitton received his Super Bowl championship ring earlier this summer at a private ceremony for the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at tackle Nick Pieschel, a player to watch on the UCF offense.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at tailback Latavius Murray, a player to watch on the UCF offense.
Looking trim in a spandex workout shirt and fresh off preparing for what will eventually be his first NFL season, Jah Reid wonders where he'd be in life now had he not had the opportunity to play football at UCF and under the guidance of coach George O'Leary.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at cornerback Josh Robinson, a player to watch on the UCF defense.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at tight end Adam Nissley, a player to watch on the UCF offense.
With the campaign approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at defensive end Troy Davis, a player to watch on the UCF defense.
Whereas some coaches talk of five-year plans, long-term rebuilding projects and needing interminable patience, UCF's Terry Rooney differs dramatically. From the very first day that Rooney took the UCF baseball job almost three years ago, he has preached that the goal for the program is to get to the College World Series and compete for a national championship.
The end for UCF's baseball team came, not quickly nor cleanly, but instead in a slow, torturous manner on Sunday at Dick Howser Stadium. And with their run in the NCAA Regional Tournament over, the Knights frustratingly had no one to blame but themselves on this sweltering afternoon.
Left in the on-deck circle on Friday where he never got a chance to possibly tie UCF's first-round game against Alabama, Jonathan Griffin was determined to take advantage of his big opportunity Saturday against Bethune-Cookman.
Maybe it was just a matter of time before UCF's usually potent bats awoke on Saturday at the NCAA Regional Tournament. But when they finally did - fittingly enough with the Knights trailing and their season hanging in the balance - they wasted little time and erupted in a huge way.
With the opening of the 2011 campaign quickly approaching, UCFAthletics.com's John Denton takes a look at Kemal Ishmael, a leader for the Knights defensive backfield.
Down all day in the NCAA Regional opener against Alabama, UCF showed the fighting spirit that has been a hallmark of the season by getting the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.
As he monitored his UCF Knights preparing for the NCAA Regional Tournament earlier this week, usually hard-driving manager Terry Rooney paused briefly and allowed a bit of big-picture perspective to wash over him.
Before the stirring late-season run that all but assured it a spot in the NCAA Tournament, UCF was a team on the proverbial bubble and staring at a daunting three-game road series against Florida State.
Anticipation for the 2011 football season at UCF is higher than ever following the finest season in school history in 2010.
For the better part of three years, the phrases ``On the Road to Omaha'' and ``1,430'' have been mantras that have driven and motivated UCF's baseball team. The ``1,430'' indicated the distance in miles between Orlando and the College World Series, and it represented a team willing to dream big about its vast potential.
UCF's Jonathan Griffin finally got the fastball that he had been looking for all day in the Conference USA Championship presented by Trustmark. And the 6-foot-7 power-hitting first baseman knew just what to do with the pitch that was over the heart of the plate.
As UCF has accumulated some of the finest track & field athletes in the country and built something of an emerging dynasty, head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert's bold recruiting pitch has stayed the same and to the point.