Tag:George O'Leary
Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Report: Ex-Mizzou QB Tyler Gabbert to UCF

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After a handful of false starts, former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert has reportedly found his next FBS program.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, Gabbert is transferring to UCF and will join the Knights as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. A native of Ballwin, Mo., Gabbert is currently taking classes at a St. Louis community college, the Sentinel reported.  

Gabbert began his college career in Columbia, following in his famous five-star brother Blaine Gabbert's oversized footsteps. A prized four-star recruit himself, Tyler redshirted during the 2010 season and was expected by many to take over for his brother come the 2011 campaign. But Gabbert lost out on the Tigers' starting job to James Franklin in spring practices and -- not wasting any time -- elected to transfer in May. He committed himself to Louisville in June (enough so that Charlie Strong issued a tweet welcoming him to the Cardinal program) only to ultimately choose not to enroll there, either.

His decision to finally land at UCF, though, may prove to be a win-win for both sides. The Knights are desperate for quarterbacking depth following the transfer of Jeff Godfreywith incumbent starter Blake Bortles the only scholarship quarterback currently on the UCF roster. At the very least, Gabbert should offer them a high-quality insurance policy in the event of an injury to Bortles.

As for what Gabbert gets out of the move to UCF, though impressive in his 10 appearances, Bortles is only a true sophomore himself and could conceivably cede the starting position -- or at least the occasional snap -- to a prospect of Gabbert's talents. Despite a lackluster 2011 season as Godfrey and Bortles played tug-of-war under center, the Knights still boast one of the deepest rosters in Conference USA and could give Gabbert an excellent chance at guiding a bowl-bound offense or even a league title-winning team if he can beat out Bortles.

That's a big "if," but on paper, it seems to be worth the gamble for both Gabbert and George O'Leary's recovering program.

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:55 pm
 

Report: Ted Roof hired as Penn St. D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Ted Roof's tenure as defensive coordinator as UCF has proven to be a short one. 

According to reports, the recent Auburn assistant has joined Bill O'Brien's staff at Penn State and will serve as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator, replacing longtime Penn State DC and interim head coach Tom Bradley. Roof was hired at UCF by George O'Leary just less than a month ago after a disappointing season at Auburn.

Despite Roof's struggles on the Plains, his move to Happy Valley has been rumored since nearly the moment O'Brien was hired. The new Nittany Lion head coach worked as Roof's offensive coordinator during the latter's ill-fated head coaching tenure at Duke from 2003 to 2007. Just last Saturday, O'Brien referred fondly to the pair's shared time at Durham and called Roof "one of my closest friends."

Though few at Auburn were disappointed to see Roof move onto UCF -- and despite his professional ties to O'Leary, the lateral move has been widely rumored to be a de facto dismissal from Gene Chizik -- Roof's career is not without a number of high points. He helmed several top-30 defenses for O'Leary during Georgia Tech's early-Aughts run as an ACC contender, sparked massive improvements for both the Blue Devils and Minnesota in one-year stints as defensive coordinator, and of course helped Chizik's Tigers to the national title a year ago with the SEC's No. 1 rush defense. Roof's specialty has been shutting down run-first pro-style schemes, a plus when considering the presence of Wisconsin in the Nittany Lions' division.

That said, Roof was still the coordinator of this season's 80th-ranked total defense and a unit that seemed particularly at sea against strong passing attacks. (Even in his 2000 Georgia Tech season, when Roof was nominated for the Broyles Award, the Jackets finished 114th out of 114 in pass defense.) If O'Brien has let his personal friendship cloud his judgment of Roof's capacity to lead the Nittany Lion offense, that may not be the best sign for Penn St. going forward.

Though Roof is the most high-profile of the new Nittany Lion assistants, O'Brien made two other hires Monday. Ball State offensive line coach John Strollo has been hired to lead the Nittany Lion offensive line; a 30-year coaching veteran, Strollo also worked with O'Brien and Roof at Duke. Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Stan Hixon has also reportedly been hired, filling the receivers coaching position previously staffed by Mike McQueary.

For daily real-time updates on Penn State football, follow our Nittany Lion CBSSports.com RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush right here. 

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:14 pm
 

Report: AU's Roof new UCF defensive coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Tuesday, we mentioned that if you're discussing an SEC coordinator whose defense hasn't lived up to expectations, you can't be surprised if said coordinator suddenly finds other work. It was true of Willy Robinson Tuesday, and it's true of Ted Roof Wednesday.

After three years in charge of Gene Chizik's defense at Auburn, Roof has reportedly accepted the defensive coordinator's position at UCF under George O'Leary. The original report appeared at AuburnUndercover.com, which adds that it's uncertain whether Roof will remain on hand to make defensive play-calls for the Tigers in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Virginia or not.

Roof replaces former Knights coordinator John Skladany, fired in the wake of UCF's disappointing 5-7 season. 

But it's doubtful Roof would have taken a job in a lesser conference for less money without a gentle push from his superiors at Auburn. Though a drop-off from the national title-winning defense of 2010 was expected with the loss of Nick Fairley and seven other starters -- especially in rush defense, where Roof's charges led the SEC last season -- few expected the Tigers to be on pace for a school record for most yards allowed per-game, or to rank 11th in the SEC in both total and scoring defense.

Roof's defenses on the Plains have always been vulnerable to the pass, and this year was no different; the Tigers ranked 87th nationally and dead last in the SEC in opponent's QB rating. 

Of course, Roof was also at the helm of the 2010 defense that held high-flying Oregon to 19 points in the Tigers' BCS title game victory, so he's hardly going away empty-handed. And as a former Broyles Award-winning coordinator himself, Chizik must also bear some of the responsibility for the Tigers' 2011 plummet.

Though that national championship has earned him a long, long leash, Chizik's decision on who replaces Roof  -- and that replacement's 2012 performance -- will nonetheless be highly scrutinized on the Plains.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Big East additions: what do they bring?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Big East will go a long way towards remaining a solvent football league this week when, as reported by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphythey announce the additions of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, UCF and SMU.

The additions will bring the conference's total number of football-playing members to 10, with Nos. 11 and 12 possibly soon to follow. But just as importantly, the expansion also gives the league a bona fide headliner--Boise brings their impeccable record at the non-AQ level, national recognition, and their attention-grabbing status as the No. 1 lightning rod for the FBS's ongoing haves-vs.-have-nots discussion.

But what do we know about the other four teams joining up? What do they bring to the table? What issues might they have to deal with? We've broken it down team-by-team:

HOUSTON

PROS: The Cougars are riding a Case Keenum-led high, having won 22 games in their star QB's last two healthy seasons, including the program's first bowl win since 1980 in 2009. But Houston has plenty going for it off the field, too; their location smack dab in the middle of one of the country's largest television markets (this is going to be a repeating theme) and most fertile recruiting grounds should pay the Big East dividends both in their TV negotiations and on the recruiting trail. If the Cougars themselves can capitalize on their new BCS status on the trails in Houston and nearby Louisiana, they could be a power for years to come.

CONS: What happens when Keenum and head coach Kevin Sumlin --as seems increasingly likely -- both depart for greener pastures? This is still a program that, as mentioned, has just one bowl win in the past 31 years and was in truly sorry shape when Art Briles (with Sumlin in tow) arrived in 2003. The wrong hire in the wake of Sumlin's exit could return the Cougars to their doormat days in a hurry. And as nice as the Houston market is, the Cougars still need to make more inroads into it; fulfilling a promise to expand or replace 32,000-seat Robertson Stadium would be a plus.

SMU

PROS: As with the Cougars, Dallas-based SMU has the advantage of being located in one of the nation's biggest metro markets, a major plus for the television bean counters. But the Mustangs also have an administration that hasn't been shy about throwing its financial support behind its formerly woebegone program, and that's not a "Pony Express" joke; the school opened Gerald J. Ford Stadium just 11 years ago and four seasons back ponied up the cash (that pun's intended) to lure June Jones from Hawaii. Result: three straight bowl bids after a 25-year drought, some of the best recruiting classes in Conference USA, and noticeably increased fan interest and attendance.

CONS: If the Mustangs can hang onto Jones, or replace him with another smart (and duly expensive) hire, they have more than enough potential to be a respectable member of the Big East for some time to come. (The league's higher-ups have to appreciate that the Mustangs defeated Big East deserters TCU this past season.) But the Dallas market and surrounding recruiting grounds are so ultra-competitive, turning SMU's resources and location into a legitimate BCS contender may take quite a few years and even more support from the SMU fanbase, which was called out by an SMU player this season for its lack of enthusiasm.

UCF

PROS: If there's any school that's put its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting athletics, it's UCF, which opened the $55 million, 45,00-seat on-campus Bright House Networks Stadium four years ago amongst multiple other major facilities upgrades. Though a 5-7 2011 season has been a major disappointment for George O'Leary's program, this is still a team that's won two C-USA titles and earned three bowl bids in the past five years. As the second-largest school in the country in terms of enrollment and the only major college football program in the sizable Orlando market, a move to the Big East and a few years of consistent winning could give the Knights the push on the recruiting trail needed to become a legit BCS contender.

CONS: Of course, that's all assuming the NCAA Committee on Infractions doesn't give the program the USC treatment in the wake of the recent allegations against exiled athletic director Keith TribbleThough the Orlando market is an obvious TV positive, the Knight's central Florida location is both a blessing and a curse; while there's plenty of athletes available around which O'Leary (or his successor) can build a successful program, there's also few (if any) areas of the country where the competition for those athletes is more cutthroat. A few NCAA-hamstrung poor seasons could deal the program a blow that could take it years to recover from.

SAN DIEGO STATE

PROS: Long regarded as the "sleeping giant" of the Mountain West, the Aztecs finally went some way towards waking up with a 9-4 2010 season and just their second bowl berth in 19 years--a campaign that resulted in an attendance surge that ranked amongst the nation's best. Despite the loss of head coach Brady Hoke and multiple NFL talents, an 8-4 year and New Orleans Bowl berth wasn't a bad follow-up. Thanks to their access to California's bountiful recruiting grounds and the TV-friendly San Diego market, another good year or two for Rocky Long should lay the foundation for success for years to come.

CONS: As much potential as SDSU has on paper, this is still a program with just four bowl appearances and one win since 1969; just because it looks like it should be easy to win here doesn't mean it is. More than any of the other addditions save Boise, SDSU will add a sizable chunk to opponent's travel bills. And Long, already 61 years old, may not be the long-term answer at head coach; if he's not, will the Aztec brass be shrewd enough (or spend enough) to find another Hoke?

Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:32 pm
 

UCF WRs coach Kelly resigns in NCAA fallout

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman has already reported on the fallout at UCF from the school's NCAA notice-of-allegations, with athletic director Keith Tribble resigning and men's basketball coach Donnie Jones suspended.

But the scandal has also affected the UCF football program, as the involvement of wide receivers coach David Kelly in the recruitment of players with ties to Chicago-area runner/agent Ken Caldwell has resulted in Kelly's resignation as well.

"It's an unfortunate situation, and I just hope the best for the University of Central and the football program," Kelly told the Orlando Sentinel Wednesday, "but especially for the student athletes involved. It's much better for me at this time to step aside and let a great thing continue being a great thing."

Kelly added that he was in a "state of shock" over the NCAA findings.

Widely regarded as the Knights' top recruiter under George O'Leary, Kelly had been serving his fifth year on the UCF staff.

The Knights' impening self-imposed and NCAA sanctions are not expected to affect its potential invitation to the Big East.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 9:33 am
Edited on: September 9, 2011 9:33 am
 

Boston College RB Harris (knee) ruled out for UCF

Posted by Chip Patterson

Boston College got off to a rocky start in their season opener, turning the ball over on downs twice in the fourth quarter on the way to a 24-17 loss to Northwestern. Preseason ACC Player of the Year Montel Harris sat out the contest as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery. Harris told reporters he hoped he could be ready for the trip to face UCF this Saturday in primetime, but Frank Spaziani ruled the star running back out on Thursday.

Harris spent two days practicing in pads this week, but sat out on Thursday. His replacement, sophomore Andre Williams, looked sharp in Harris' absence and will be called on to step up again. Williams totaled 114 yards on 22 carries with a pair of touchdowns, but was unable to help as the Eagles offense constantly faced 2nd and 3rd downs with long distances on their fourth quarter drives.

The Eagles have battled health issues all fall, and things got immensely worse for the offense with wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Wildcats. The 6-foot-6 senior had eight catches for 157 yards in the opener, leading many to believe he could be that go-to answer sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig never had in 2010.

Boston College will take on UCF at 8 p.m. in Orlando. You can tune in to the game on CBS Sports Network or stream it here at CBSSports.com.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:58 pm
 

UCF QB Jeff Godfrey arrested

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey was arrested by campus police on Saturday night for driving on a suspended license.

According to the officer that pulled over and arrested Godfrey, he knew that Godfrey was driving on a suspended license because he'd already given him a ticket for it on April 9th. The officer also wrote on his report that he felt the tint on the windows of Godfrey's car were too dark.

Godfrey was booked into Orange County Jail on Sunday morning and was later released after posting $250 bail. His court date is set for August 5th.

Godfrey's license had been suspended after he failed to pay two traffic fines in 2009, along with another one last month. His license also expired on May 25th, so even if it hadn't already been suspended, it wouldn't be valid anyway.

UCF head coach George O'Leary is aware of Godfrey's arrest and said in a statement that he has "spoken with Jeff in regards to correcting his driver license status.

Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:11 pm
 

Storm Johnson heads north, lands at UCF

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Former Miami running back Storm Johnson has decided to take his talents from South Beach and transfer to UCF, multiple outlets reported Friday night. The talented back toured campus in Orlando earlier in the day and felt comfortable enough to commit shortly thereafter.

"Yes sir, Storm committed today and he will start classes on the 22nd," Wesley Johnson, Storm's father, told The Orlando Sentinel. "It actually feels quite good just to get the pressure off and be able to resume his college career. He starts off with a clean slate. Coach [George] O'Leary met with us today and coach felt good about [Storm] and Storm felt good about being there."

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Johnson was third on Miami's depth chart following spring practices and with a new coaching staff, felt it was best to move on to a better situation. A Georgia-native, he was restricted as to where he would be able to transfer to by Hurricanes' head coach Al Golden and many thought UCF and USF were the favorites to land him.

Johnson rushed for 119 yards on nine carries last season as a freshman and was also featured as a kick returner on special teams. He was a big part of Miami's recruiting class of 2010 and was an Under Armour All-American coming out of Loganville (Ga.) High School. All three of the Knights current running backs will be upperclassmen this year and the situation should allow for Johnson to be a featured part of the offense when he becomes eligible in 2012 after sitting out a season.

"UCF is on an upward swing and doing some great things and we just hope Storm can help them out," the elder Johnson told the paper. "We just thank Coach O'Leary a lot for his diligence and his understanding of some things that have happened. He understands Storm is 18 years old and things happen."

Once he is allowed to play next year, Johnson will be a redshirt sophomore and have three years of eligibility left following his transfer.
 
 
 
 
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