Sept. 4, 2010
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By John Denton
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Worse than the pain Brynn Harvey has felt while trying to rehabilitate a torn knee ligament has been the mental anguish he's had to deal with while sitting out.
Harvey missed UCF's season-opener against South Dakota on Saturday while still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Harvey, who has rushed for 1,628 yards and 15 touchdowns the past two seasons, injured his knee in the spring.
He's stayed close to the team while rehabilitating his knee, but he's struggled with not being able to dash and dart around the field with his teammates. Harvey is usually one of the first players at the football facility, arriving at 6:30 a.m. to start rehab, attends meetings, runs sprints and makes cuts and then there's more rehab.
``I've been through a lot since May, and I know how hard and tough it is to get back,'' said Harvey, a junior. ``I'm just trying to keep working hard and get back on the field. Sometimes it's frustration I'm feeling more than pain.''
What helps Harvey deal with the frustration is the fight to return to the field in near record time. He hopes to be back by ``mid-September,'' likely making him available for either the Sept. 25 game at Kansas State or the Conference USA opener against UAB on Oct. 6.
``Six weeks ago I wasn't even running and I was still walking with a limp. Now, the trainers say that I'm looking good and I'm running almost near full speed,'' Harvey said. ``I feel like mid-September is still a big possibility. I'm just listening to the trainers and working hard every day.''
SOUTH FLORIDA FLAVOR: The South Florida influence on the UCF roster is undeniable what with 32 players hailing from the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas in South Florida.
A big reason why UCF has had so much success recruiting South Florida is because of the work of assistant head coach David Kelly. He spearheaded UCF's most heralded recruiting class in school history back in February, lading Jeff Godfrey, Torrian Wilson and Joshua Reese out of South Florida.
Kelly said he prefers recruiting South Florida athletes because of the competitive nature of the players from that area.
``We're all a product of our environment and a product of a culture that we're reared in. Kids from down there grow up with Pop Warner or Optimist Leagues on Saturdays and Sundays and you will see 12,000 people at those games. So they are used to that level of competition,'' Kelly said. ``And because of the quantity of quality athletes is so plentiful down there, they come out of the womb having to compete against top competition every day. So when they get to the collegiate and NFL levels, competition and pressure is no big deal to them. And they know that the quickest way for them to build a future for themselves and their families is by playing this game.
``So there's a passion about them that's different from kids from other areas,'' Kelly continued. ``Now, that's not to say that it's only exclusive to South Florida, but you see it universally down there because they are a product of their environment.''
STRONG DEBUT FOR DAVIS: Jonathan Davis, Harvey's replacement at tailback, ran well on Saturday night with a career-best 108 yards on 20 carries. It was the sophomore's second career start and easily his best game as a Knight.
As he does before every game, Davis spoke with his father, Tyrone Davis, before the game for a few words of advice. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound back has his father's name tattooed across his chest as a way of showing thanks to the man who was his coach early in his football career and a guiding light in his life.
``I always have a lot of butterflies before games,'' David admitted. ``I had Brynn working as my eyes on the sideline and he helped me out. I talked to my dad before the game. He told me to just go out there and do what I was supposed to do and I'd be fine.''
Davis averaged 5.3 yards a carry and each of his first four carries all went for at least five yards. He had a stretch in the second quarter when he carried the ball on five consecutive plays and six of seven during one stretch.
ETC: Brothers Cliff, Jordan and Justin McCray all played for the Knights along the offensive line. Cliff McCray is a two-year starter and played well at left guard for the Knights. Justin and Jordan, identical twins and true freshmen, played in their first collegiate game as reserve linemen. At least two dozen friends and family attended the game and posed for pictures with the three brothers after the game. ... The Knights showed their diversity when they gave the ball to nine different rushers in the game. One of those runners, wide receiver Jamar Newsome, ran for a seven-yard touchdown late in the first period. It was the first rushing touchdown for a UCF wide receiver since Doug Gabriel in 2002. ... Up next for UCF is NC State, a foe that brings back plenty of pleasant memories for several of the Knights players. UCF opened the 2007 season with a 25-23 defeat of the Wolfpack in North Carolina. Remembered defensive end Bruce Miller, who made his first career start against N.C. State: ``I remember a sack for a safety. I remember Kevin Smith running down the sideline for a touchdown. And I remember (57,283) fans screaming and I thought to myself, `Wow, this is pretty cool.' Last time up there we came out of the gates early and were able to hold on at the end. We'll have to have the same intensity to win this game.''
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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at email@example.com.