Going into the season, the Knights’ quarterback situation is very clear, it is Blake Bortles team. However, UCF head coach George O’Leary likes to have two quarterbacks ready to play so expect like in years past to see other signal callers get some early season action prior to conference play starting.
Here is how the depth chart should look like by the time the Knights season open at Akron on August 30.
1 – Blake Bortles– Bortles got playing time last season coming in for Jeff Godfrey which turned into one of the main controversial storylines of the 2011 season. Godfrey left the program after the season looking to transfer but came back to UCF to play wide receiver. Bortles is entering his sophomore season out of Oviedo High School. He can make all the throws that you need from a quarterback and may be the best pure passer UCF has had since Daunte Culpepper. How UCF uses Bortles remains the question as critics outside of the program questioned offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe’s conservative use of Godfrey. Bortles gives the Knights the opportunity to open up the playbook in the passing game.
2 –Tyler Gabbert – Gabbert comes to UCF after transferring from Missouri. The younger brother of Blaine Gabbert who is starting quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars figures to get some snaps early on in the season and be solid back up but should not pose as a threat to Bortles.
UCF must avoid any quarterback controversy like they had last season and stick to one quarterback to have a successful season. In 2005, The Knights were led all season by Steven Moffett and Moffett helped lead the Knights from 0-12 into program’s first bowl game. In 2007, Kyle Israel was under center handing off to Kevin Smith all the way to a CUSA Championship. In 2009, Brett Hodges took over for Rob Calabrese in late September and help lead the Knights to a bowl game including a win over Case Keenum and nationally ranked Houston. In 2010, Jeff Godfrey took over for Calabrese following a loss to North Carolina State and never looked back as the Knights ended up ranked in the top 25, won CUSA and won program’s first ever Bowl Game in the Liberty Bowl over Georgia.
Blake Bortles is the right quarterback to lead the Knights in the final season of Conference USA and into the new Big East in 2013.