Sept. 23, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.UCFAthletics.com) - Since stepping on the practice field with UCF in 2006, redshirt junior wide receiver Jamar Newsome (St. Petersburg, Fla.) has had to wait and buy his time to being on the field on Saturdays. Being behind wide receivers such as Brian Watters, Rocky Ross and Kamar Aiken, Newsome has anticipated the moment in which it was his opportunity to demonstrate what it was that brought him to UCF in the first place.
The Knights signed Newsome out of Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. Newsome earned three varsity letters and was an All-Coast and All-Conference selection as a senior, after catching 29 passes for 660 yards and eight touchdowns.
After the Knights decided to redshirt Newsome in his freshman season, Newsome was able to get onto the field in 2008. Last year, he saw action in all 12 games, and caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Last week, the Knights utilized Newsome in their passing attack in a 23-17 victory over visiting Buffalo. Quarterback Brett Hodges connected with Newsome a team-high six times for 37 yards. With Newsome as a key target, the Knights' wide receivers combined for 141 yards and 9.4 yards per completion.
UCF is currently preparing for a Conference USA game this weekend in Greenville, N.C., as the Knights will take on East Carolina this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. UCFAthletics.com recently caught up with Newsome to get his thoughts on the Knights' offense through the first three games, and how his work with Hodges on the second team during the preseasons is paying off during games.
You caught a team-high six passes in Saturday's win against Buffalo. What was the key for you getting open and getting those receptions?
"Repetitions. The wide receivers spend a lot of time working on and executing the timing for each route. I feel that Brett and I have a good connection in practice, and that was able to set me up and get me open on the field."
You spent a lot of time during preseason practice working with Brett Hodges on the second team. Now that he is the starter, how has that hard work paid off? Do the two of you have chemistry out there because you have had a lot of reps together?
"It was definitely a great thing to have worked all summer and during the preseason with Brett. We developed a great chemistry together working with the second team, and being able to find out more about each other."
What do you think are Hodges' biggest strengths as a quarterback?
"Brett is a very smart guy back there. He shows excellent poise as a fifth-year quarterback and has the confidence within himself to make good decisions. He definitely makes good reads on the field, and as long as I do what I am supposed to, he will get it to me."
You have seen your playing time increase in both of the last two seasons because of injuries to guys in front of you. What is the key for you staying ready for when your opportunity comes?
"I knew coming into this season, I was not going to get all the repetitions that I wanted being behind Rocky and Kamar and those guys. But with coach always telling us that we are an ankle away from being on the field, I certainly am ready to roll on the sideline. I just think that when I do get on the field, it is important to do what I have to do and make the best of my time out there."
How would you evaluate the play of the offense through three games?
"I think we are getting better with each game that we play. Every week, we have to focus on improvement and being able to execute. We have certainly picked it up a lot since preseason and week one."
With one loss in C-USA play, how important is the upcoming game at ECU?
"This game is going to be very important. ECU is a good team, but I feel that if we go out and play our game, we can set ourselves up nicely. It is important to get this win so that we are that much better in the conference and not down two games early in the season."
What do you see as the keys in the game? What does the offense need to do well to have success?
"It will be just going out and executing on offense. If we run the plays the coaches give to us, our offense will move the ball just fine. I know that if the offense does this, our defense will bring us home."
For all the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.