O'Leary: UCF DE Blake Keller leaves team, citing personal issues

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

UCF defensive end Blake Keller decided during the bye week that he was done with football; informing Knights coach George O'Leary of his plans to leave the team immediately.

"I guess he had some issues at home -- personal issues," O'Leary said Monday. "He was gone Monday and Tuesday [of last week] and came in Wednesday with his parents. They sat down and said, 'Coach I'm quitting. I don't love football anymore.'"

Keller made h is first career start Oct. 5 against Memphis, recording two sacks in the win to become the team's leader in that category. The Bradenton, Fla. native recorded eight tackles on the season in four games of action.

"My own personal opinion is that there are other reasons going on and I think he need to resolve those issues," O'Leary explained. "I was surprised, I had no idea anything was going on and none of the coaches did either."

The timing is not ideal for UCF, with a meeting on the road Friday night against No. 8 Louisville. The Knights defense got off to a strong statistical start thanks to opening the season against Akron and FIU, but that unit, now shorthanded on the defensive line, needs to deliver its best performance of the season against Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals. Through five games, the Knights are giving up a pedestrian 5.27 yards per play; which ranks No. 7 in the conference and No. 42 nationally.

The pressure will be on defensive ends Deion Green, Thomas Niles and Miles Pace to get after Bridgewater and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. UCF's win against Penn State and respectable showing against South Carolina suggest that O'Leary's squad might be the toughest test on Louisville's conference schedule. With an extra week to prepare, you can bet the Knights will be ready for Friday night.

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