July 28, 2010
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By John Denton
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Here is a breakdown of UCF's tailback and fullback positions. It is the second in a nine-part series breaking down each position for the Knights.
Training camp opens Aug. 5 and the Knights kick off the regular season on Sept. 4 at Bright House Networks Stadium against South Dakota.
PROJECTED STARTERS: TB Brendan Kelly (6-3, 231, RSo.); FB Billy Giovanetti (5-11, 230, R.So.).
KEY RESERVES: Brynn Harvey (6-1, 207, Jr.); Jonathan Davis (5-9, 194, So.); Brandon Davis (5-9, 193, Jr.).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Brendan Kelly. The big, bruising back stepped forward to take the starting tailback job in the spring when two-year starter Brynn Harvey went down with a knee injury. Kelly showed a knack for running in traffic and down near the goal line, and UCF head coach George O'Leary likes his willingness to fight for extra yards. But Kelly must show improvement in his ability to see openings, ability to cut in the hole and not before it and catching passes out of the backfield.
STRENGTHS: In Kelly and Jonathan Davis, the Knights have two vastly different running backs who bring opposite things to the table. Davis is the smallish, speedster who is a threat to break a long run at any time. Meanwhile, Kelly is big enough to give the Knights a tough runner in traffic and some size in short yardage situations. The Knights also hope to get the steady and reliable Harvey back by the end of September and he would give UCF a workhouse back behind center.
Also, fullback Billy Giovanetti is a big plus for the Knights because of his toughness and his willingness to take on any defender while blocking. He has worked his way up from long-shot walk-on to scholarship player and has become one of O'Leary's favorites on the team.
WEAKNESSES: Losing Harvey, a 1,109-yard, 14-TD back, was a big blow to the Knights because of his ability to take over games with his production out of the backfield. Jonathan Davis has loads of potential - even star potential - but he must do a better job with his assignments and responsibilities. Kelly doesn't have much game experience, but he'll likely get several chances early in the season to show that he can shoulder the load as the starting tailback.
COACH'S QUOTE: ``In this recruiting class there are a lot of athletes who can carry the football, and they're not necessarily running backs. Those guys had better not get caught looking in the rear-view mirror with what they did last year because you get nowhere unless you are moving forward. That's what keeps the good players in college football from being great. They get satisfied and you can't do that at this level. But that's why we're here as coaches. It's why I'm losing hair and my throat's red every day.'' - UCF running backs coach George Godsey
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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.