UCF Knights Choke Away 2 Games at a Most Inopportune Time
Coach George O'Leary could have been elected mayor of Orlando a couple of weeks ago, but now, he has some of the UCF Knights fans using the "F" word.
No, not that "F" word. (Well, maybe that one, too.) No—some were calling for his firing after Friday night's choke job against BYU on national television.
Before the season, there was talk of UCF being one of the "BCS Busters" this year. 12-0 was the goal and perhaps not an entirely unrealistic one. Without some stupid mistakes, UCF could easily be 4-0 right now heading into Conference USA play for the remainder of the season.
Now, UCF is realizing what happens when expectations are high and dreams go unfulfilled. The natives get a bit more restless than before.
After last night's game, there were many angry fans on their Facebook and Twitter pages calling for heads to roll—with O'Leary's and quarterback Jeff Godfrey's heads mentioned most often. Such is life for the head coach and quarterback: They love you when you win, but it's your fault when you lose.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the last two losses. Yes, Godfrey deserves some of it. He has made some plays that are, well, not very smart.
He fumbled on the last play of the first half against FIU last week. It was returned all the way back for a touchdown. So, instead of going into the locker room up 10-0, they went in tied 7-7.
Against BYU, they had the ball at the end of the game with over a minute left on the clock. Unfortunately, time management for that minute was terrible.
Would you, as a Knights fan, be happy with another C-USA Championship this year?
Godfrey threw a short pass which did not get a first down and kept the clock running. On the next play, he took a sack and kept the clock running. In fairness, he scored both of UCF's touchdowns and hit a couple of long passes for big gains—although, both of them were under-thrown a bit and, ultimately, could have gone for touchdowns.
There were several UCF fumbles in the last two weeks besides Godfrey's, however. Against FIU, Josh Robinson made an ill-advised attempt to field a punt that was rolling around on the ground inside his own ten-yard line.
Big mistake! He touched the ball and FIU fell on it. It was the difference in the game after they scored a touchdown from there.
Against BYU, freshman J.J. Worton replaced Robinson as the punt returner, only to do the exact same thing. It led to the game-winning touchdown as BYU won 24-17.
Are those plays Godfrey's fault? Hardly. Can they even be blamed on O'Leary? Some may argue that the buck stops with the head coach. And yes, that is true. But once the kid steps on the field, it is out of the coaches' hands at that point.
O'Leary made the prudent move: He replaced the kid who screwed up the FIU game. Shouldn't the new guy be smart enough on his own not to make the same dumb mistake?
Look, some fans seem to be under the delusion that UCF should be a national contender right away, but that is not how it works. Nobody goes from winning C-USA to winning the BCS overnight—just ask Louisville or South Florida how that works.
Winning back-to-back Liberty Bowls would be huge for UCF. Right now, that goal is still very much alive. It is not yet time to abandon ship.
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