Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:13 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 7:15 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
What a difference a year makes--unfortunately for UCF and now-former Knights quarterback Jeff Godfrey.
In 2010, Godfrey ranked among the nation's top 15 most efficient passers and won Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors while leading the Knights to a surprisise conference championship. Just one season later, with the Knights coming off a bitterly disappointing 5-7 campaign and Godfrey's passer rating having dipped by 15 points, Godfrey's father confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel Monday that he will be transferring out of the program.
"It was the right time to go when he started to have lack of playing time," Jeff Godfrey Sr. said. "He never had any problem with competing for the starting job. It was just a question of whether he would get a fair chance to compete."
The Knight program itself may take a different view, announcing itself Monday afternoon that Godfrey would be ineligible for the spring semester. The ineligibility is unrelated to the school's recent NCAA investigation.
Godfrey started all 12 games for the Knights, but often gave way to freshman backup Blake Bortles, who played several fourth quarters and finished with more touchdown passes (6) than Godfrey's 5 despite attempting 122 fewer passes. Godfrey rushed for 160 fewer yards in 2010 as his coaches reportedly asked him to make more throws from the pocket.
According to Godfrey Sr., the team's handling of Godfrey and offensive philosophy changed when wide receivers coach David Kelly was forced to resign as part of the NCAA investigative fallout.
"I trusted David Kelly," Godfrey Sr. said. "Coach O'Leary never explained to me why David Kelly was fired. And Jeff told me everything changed the day after he was fired. He went to practice and he was the No. 2 quarterback. They started him to keep him quiet, but he was the No. 2."
Godfrey transfer rumors have bubbled up over the past several weeks, with no less a personage than Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell writing for the UCF student newspaper that Godfrey (a Miami high school product) needed to leave the Knights unless head coach George O'Leary resigned. Godfrey Sr. suggested to the Sentinel that UCF may not have as much success recruiting Miami schools in the future after Godfrey's treatement.
Frankly, Godfrey Sr.'s willingness throughout this season to publicly complain about O'Leary's regime and its coaching decisions is a headache O'Leary and his program will likely be glad to be free of. But the bottom line is that Godfrey showed himself in his dynamic freshman season to be one of the brightest young quarterbacking prospects in the country, and that whatever development he might make from this point on won't come at the benefit of the Knights. However much promise Bortles may show, there's no way to spin the loss of a talent this substantial as a positive, particularly for a program suddenly in need of positives as it makes the transition to the Big East.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 4:16 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The world of college football this year seems to be about everything but the games six days a week. Saturday, of course, things stop. There's tailgates and touchdowns, quarterbacks and queso, defensive backs and racks full of ribs.
Likewise, much to Mark Emmert, Donna Shalla and E. Gordon Gee's chagrin, Saturday's primetime match up between Miami and Ohio State has seemingly been about everything but what will take place at Sun Life Stadium. The Ineligible Bowl. The Tats and Cash Fiesta. The Yahoo! Sports Bowl. Convict Boosters vs. well… Convict Boosters.
For what it's worth though, there will be no boosters on the sideline according to Miami officials.
Everyday this week, it seemed that each program was in the news for off the field distractions. Tuesday, the NCAA reinstated three Buckeyes after accepting money - via disgraced quarterback Terrelle Pryor - from a booster. On Thursday, Miami's most famous booster, Uncle Luke, announced plans to sue Miami's most infamous booster, Nevin Shapiro. Before the game on the field, games were played in the headlines during the run-up.
"What has been our strategy? Just focus on what we can control," Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said. "Again, I keep saying it. No one on our staff was involved with anything that occurred here, and 90% of our team wasn't.
"There are some distractions there. There are a lot of things. I'm sure Coach (Luke) Fickell has the same issues in terms of every move that you make requires a double move basically."
Golden's starter at quarterback tomorrow, Jacory Harris was suspended for the opener, a loss to Maryland. He's looking to make up for his performance in the Horseshoe last year when he threw four interceptions in a 36-24 loss. For a team looking to put it all out on the field after a rough month off of it, perhaps it is fitting that the Hurricanes' fate will rest on someone who was taken off of it for eligibility issues.
Beyond last year's loss and Harris' issues though, this game means something to Miami. They're looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 1978 and end their four game losing streak. It's Golden's home debut leading the Hurricanes as well, something the team is clearly focused on - not the nicknames for their Ohio State showdown.
“He's been through the thick and thin with us through this whole [NCAA investigation]," senior Travis Benjamin said. ”We just want to come out and get a W for coach Golden.”
The Buckeyes are not without their own issues as they take their slightly less talented roster to South Beach. The team struggled last week and almost lost to Toledo were it not for John Simon's interception of the Rockets' backup quarterback late in the game. They'll be without four key players due to suspension in receiver DeVier Posey, tackle Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and backup end Soloman Thomas. Those four will stay in Ohio while the other member of the Buckeye Five will be in Oakland. Not that anyone will bring any of that up.
"We hope and we think that this is what the game is all about, to be able to handle adversity and we believe it's going to make us stronger in the long run," Fickell said. "It starts from the top down. We can't let it affect me so that we can't let it affect them, as well."
Speaking of suspended players, Miami has at the early lead going on: they'll get back five players to Ohio State's three.
The Hurricanes will likely play a key role in the game as well. Linebacker Sean Spence will be a key defender in the middle of the defense behind linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo. A speedy receiver, Benjamin should also provide a boost for the offense. Starting running back Jordan Hall, corner Travis Howard and reserve safety Corey Brown are back for the Buckeyes.
It won't quite be the 2003 Fiesta Bowl in terms of talent on the field but there's no ignoring how big a game it is between the two programs who are not on friendly terms.
"We try not to focus on, `Hey, this is a national game because of Miami and their great history and Ohio State's great history,'" Fickell said. "We're still making sure we understand it's one game at a time, like we always say, but it's still about getting better. It's a chance to obviously test ourselves."
Miami's home opener will be emotional. Ohio State is no doubt looking to silence critics. There will be story lines aplenty.
But as 7:30 eastern rolls around, it will - finally - be just a game.
Tags: ACC, Adewale Ojomo, Al Golden, Big Ten, Boise State, Bryan Fischer, Buckeye Five, Corey Brown, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Donna Shalla, E. Gordon Gee, Fiesta Bowl, Jacory Harris, John Simon, Jordan Hall, LSU, Luke Fickell, Marcus Forston, Mark Emmert, Maryland, Miami, Mike Adams, NCAA, Nevin Shapiro, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Sean Spence, Soloman Thomas, Sun Life Stadium, Terrelle Pryor, Toledo, Travis Benjamin, Travis Howard, Uncle Luke
Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 6:44 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
One of the tidbits to come out of the explosive investigative report by Yahoo! Sports into Miami was that infamous booster Nevin Shapiro thought of himself as, "Little Luke."
The nickname is a reference to Luther Campbell, a rapper and record label owner known for his connection with the Hurricanes during their infamous run as the bad boys of college football during the late 80's and early 90's. "Uncle Luke" as he is better known as, was notorious for being around the program and offering bounties for hits and touchdowns, just as Shapiro did.
You've heard the pundits, you've read the very good columns (here, here and here for example) but Uncle Luke also decided to weigh in on the allegations as well. Writing on his "Luke's Gospel" blog for the Miami New Times, Campbell says - in a not safe for work manner - that Shapiro can go ahead and kiss his butt.
"That punk could never be me," Campbell wrote. "First of all, I have never been a UM booster. I have never given a dime to the school. I have and always will support the players and the program out of civic pride, but I never violated any NCAA rules when I was the team's biggest fan in the '80s.
So tell us Uncle Luke, how do you really feel about the man who is calling himself a little version of yourself?
"Shapiro is nothing more than a jilted groupie who ------ over a lot people. He is an opportunistic schemer who now wants to play the role of jailhouse snitch. His word isn't worth squat, especially if Yahoo! paid him for the exclusive. Nevin is angry because he couldn't get former players to invest in his Ponzi scheme or come to his rescue when his criminal enterprise was exposed."
Gotcha, we know how you feel now.