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Thursday, October 28, 2004

NFL Knights: Week 7 

The only bright spot for UCF football this season has been the alums.

In alphabetical order

#11 QB Daunte Culpepper (Vikings): Last week I said, "You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him." Well, the Titans contained him: 24-30, 183 yards, 1 TD, 103.2 rating and 3 carries for 4 yards.

#79 OL Steve Edwards (Bears): He entered the game against the Bucs early for Mike Gandy.

#22 CB Travis Fisher (Rams): "In his first game action since suffering a broken forearm on Aug. 23, cornerback Travis Fisher performed like somebody who hadn't played in two months." (Thomas, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): 4 tackles (3 solo).
FISH AGAINST THE FISH: Fisher made his return to the lineup after breaking his forearm against Kansas City on Aug. 23 in the second preseason game. Fisher had some good moments, but also struggled in some situations.

In addition to slipping on Chambers’ touchdown catch, he missed a chance to tackle Morris on his touchdown run. Fisher said he thought he struggled, but was more worried about aggravating his injury.

“I did get some good reps out there,” Fisher said. “Some bad things happened to me, but I had some good plays too. It (the arm) pretty much bothered me the whole game.” (Wagoner, StLouisRams.com)

#85 WR Doug Gabriel (Raiders): He made his NFL start against the Saints and had four catches for 59 yards.

#84 TE Michael Gaines (Panthers): He started against the Chargers and had a 14 yard reception.

#74 OL Cornell Green (Broncos): Inactive due to injury.

#82 WR Charles Lee (Buccaneers): Inactive due to knee injury.

#78 DE Elton Patterson (Jaguars): He made his first appearance as a Jaguar in a backup role.

#22 CB Asante Samuel (Patriots): He made his third start of the season against the Jets and had three tackles, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.

Notes:

  • Of the nine active players, five started in week 7.

  • Only Elton Patterson has never started an NFL game.
  • Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Wednesday Roundup 

    SportsLine.com: NCAA Football Notebook: O'Leary finds UCF in shambles, not bowls

    UCFAthletics.com: O'Leary Press Conference - Oct. 26
    Just to cover some things right away … Stanford Rhule will be out the rest of the year with a bicep tear, and he will miss the next four games. Gerren Bray and James Cook will move into that position. We were going to look at Rudy Taylor, a freshman, but he is out for the year as well. I hate to see Stanford out because he was one kid that changes a lot of things out there. (UCFAthletics.com)

    He's had horrible luck the past two years. If this injury occurred earlier (like say against Penn State) he could have been medically redshirted. Speaking of that, he should have been medically redshirted last season instead of playing overweight on a bum knee. Now his career is over and that's unfortunate. Good luck Stanford.

    NCAA: 2004 Graduation-Rates Report for NCAA Division I Schools

    The football numbers (for the 1997-98 class) are still bad in my opinion (38%), but not as bad as last year (29%). The numbers for all student-athletes have dropped this year compared to last year as well (from 49% to 43%). Still a lot of work to be done. Oh and because of the turnaround time with these graduation reports, we won't see how Coach O'Leary's first class (2004-05) does until 2010. But with this report, we can see how his 1997-98 class at Georgia Tech did (68%).

    Sentinel: Injuries force cut in practice time
    Redshirt still coming?

    Freshman SS Sha'reff Rashad was cleared to play by doctors after needing a pin to repair a broken thumb, but the Knights will try not to play him the rest of 2004 and will apply to get his redshirt back. Much depends on how quickly Bigby gets back up to full speed.

    Bigby played in reserve against Miami and was still hobbled. Rashad stayed in Orlando.

    "I'm not sure if I want him to play," O'Leary said. "We can get a whole year [back] for him. It all depends on how much Bigby comes back."

    In addition, coaches also were pleased at the improvement shown by the safety tandem of Brandon Marshall and Renford Parkes.

    Rashad got hurt on the first play of his first start, the third game of the year at Penn State. The timing of the injury gives him a chance to get the redshirt. In an 11-game season, the NCAA allows for a redshirt if a player gets hurt in the first three games. (Schmadtke)

    I asked Alan about this a month ago. That's what I hoped would happen. No sense in burning a 17 year old freshman's redshirt for a couple games. And since it will be a medical redshirt and not a regular one, it will be much easier for him to get a 6th year if he ever needs it.

    Culpepper a Moffett fan

    Even though his job as Minnesota Vikings quarterback takes up much of his time, former UCF QB Daunte Culpepper keeps tabs on his alma mater -- and on Knights QB Steven Moffett.

    "He just needs to continue to work," Culpepper said. "He'll be fine. He has nice skills. He throws the ball well. He needs to continue to work on his strength, and he'll be fine." (Schmadtke, Sentinel)

    I'm a big fan too. He has the look of a future NFLer.

    Recruiting central

    UCF received two more non-binding verbal commitments before Saturday's game: Lake Brantley LB Kyle Fowler and Milford Academy FB Shane Smith.

    Fowler (6-2/196) picked UCF ahead of Louisville, Temple and East Carolina. Smith (6-2/235) rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior at Honesdale, Pa., in 2003. He has gained 20 pounds since high school and is expected to join the Knights in January as a mid-year signee.

    In addition, Pompano Beach Ely CB Rodney Etienne is not considered tied to UCF any longer. Etienne is said to be considering other schools. (Schmadtke, Sentinel)

    When it comes to recruiting I'm not concerned about rankings anymore (look where that got us), but I do like to look at size and projectability and it looks like they are recruiting players with good size, frames, speed and quickness. They're also recruiting heavily at the prep schools, mainly Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, VA) and Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY).

    The 2005 Commitment List:

    T.J. Harnden, OLB, 6-4, 215, 4.6, Tallahassee-Lincoln
    J.R. Sandlin, TE, 6-5, 250, 4.73, Tuscaloosa (AL)-Northridge
    Travis Ferrer, TE, 6-5, 230, 4.7, Tallahassee-Lincoln
    Joe Burnett, CB, 5-10, 175, 4.5, Eustis
    Alex Thompson, QB, 6-1, 200, 4.56, Gainesville-Bucholz
    Terrell Skinner, WR, 6-3, 190, 4.5, Gulfport-Boca Ciega
    Justin Warr, MLB, 6-1, 235, 4.6, Winter Garden-West Orange
    Shane Smith, FB, 6-3, 220, 4.5, Honesdale (PA) / New Berlin (NY)-Milford Academy
    Kyle Fowler, OLB, 6-2, 200, 4.65, Longwood-Lake Brantley



    QUOTES

    I think these quotes are appropriate for our current predicament.

    Hill told Zaret that had he stayed, "Things would have gone on as normal. ... We would have been just good enough to be mediocre -- to just get to the first round and not get over that hump. The best way to get better is to get bad." (Sharp, Detroit Free Press)

    Grant Hill certainly made me feel better after reading that. The first part sums up most of the Kruz era. As for the second … I hope we get really good, because we're really bad right now. I could deal with a winless season this year, but next year I want to see at least one win (@ UWCF).


    "Brick and mortar doesn't make you play better, but it sure helps when you're committing a program to excellence," [Chuck] Amato said. (Chavez, The [Raleigh] News & Observer)

    This one kinda put things into perspective for me, mainly because I've been dumbfounded by how bad we've been the past two season with vastly improved facilities. I guess we'll see the benefits of having great facilities when the coaches are out there recruiting to dig UCF out of this horrible mess we're in.

    While I'm hopeful, I'd be lying if I said I didn't look at the success of Mike Price (UTEP) and Bobby Ross (Army) and wonder why GOL couldn't turn around our wayward program this year as well.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    NFL Knights: Week 6 

    In alphabetical order

    #11 QB Daunte Culpepper (Vikings): You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him. 26-37, 425 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 125.6 rating and 7 carries for 13 yards against the Aints. This was his third five TD performance of the season, which breaks the season record previously held by Dan Marino.

    AP: Culpepper named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, again
    NFL.com: Vikings thriving on third down
    Star Tribune: Culpepper's torrid five-game start could overhaul NFL records
    AP: Culpepper on pace to break Marino's records for season

    #79 OL Steve Edwards (Bears): He started at left guard against the Redskins for the injured Ruben Brown and did a good job pulling and leading up the hole for running back Thomas Jones.

    #22 CB Travis Fisher (Rams): Out indefinitely (broken arm - 8/27/04). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Healing Fisher is eager to return to lineup

    #85 WR Doug Gabriel (Raiders): He had a 17 yard reception, returned three kicks for 44 yards and injured his hamstring against the Broncos.

    #84 TE Michael Gaines (Panthers): He started against the Eagles and had a two yard reception.

    #74 OL Cornell Green (Broncos): Inactive due to injury.

    #82 WR Charles Lee (Buccaneers): He started his third game of the season against the Rams and had three catches for 31 yards.

    #78 DE Elton Patterson (Jaguars): Inactive (they just signed him on Friday).

    #22 CB Asante Samuel (Patriots): He made his second start of the season against the Seahawks and had four tackles.

    Notes:

  • Of the nine active players, five started in week 6.

  • Only Doug Gabriel and Elton Patterson have never started an NFL game.
  • Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Knights-Zips Gameday 

    Sentinel: UCF secondary turning corner | Akron at UCF

    FLORIDA TODAY: UCF hopes patience pays off

    FLORIDA TODAY: Knights be missing Haynes against Akron

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Golden Knights hoping to right their listing ship

    Central Florida: The Golden Knights (0-5, 0-2 MAC) seek their first win of the season when they host Akron (2-4, 2-1) in the Citrus Bowl.

    UCF is coming off a crushing loss last week, 30-28, to Northern Illinois. The Huskies kicked a 39-yard field goal with no time remaining to once again deprive coach George O'Leary of his first win at UCF.

    Alex Haynes, UCF's leading rusher, is doubtful with a shoulder injury. If Haynes is unable to play, Dontavius Wilcox and Curtis Francis will fill in for him. Wilcox rushed four times for 18 yards and scored two touchdowns against Northern Illinois.

    "I think Dontavius went in and really did a good job for Alex," O'Leary said. "He's just a guy who doesn't have enough reps because Alex has had a good year for us. I'm very comfortable with him.

    "Curtis is a freshman that I guess the more he plays, the more he sees. He's a slasher. He has good vision and he hits the hole pretty quick."

    Akron won last year's game 38-24. (The Palm Beach Post)

    AKRON AT UCF, 6

    Last weekend's 30-28 loss to Northern Illinois was painful, but the Golden Knights (0-5, 0-2) played better in the second half than they have most of the season and will try to build on that performance. UCF is hoping for its first Mid-American Conference victory and a little revenge: Akron beat the Golden Knights 38-24 in Akron last year. Senior running back Alex Haynes needs 198 yards to become UCF's all-time rushing leader. The Zips are led by Brett Biggs, who had a career-high 165 yards and three touchdowns last weekend in a 44-21 victory over Buffalo. (Ginn, St. Petersburg Times)


    The [Akron] Beacon Journal: Another win key for Zips | Akron at Central Florida  [Registration - BugMeNot.com]

    ``Central Florida had that game won,'' Brookhart said. ``They are the best 0-5 team out there.''

    I think we're the only 0-5 team out there.


    NFL KNIGHT

    For the second consecutive day, the Bengals lost a young player from their practice squad.

    Jacksonville signed second-year defensive end Elton Patterson to its 53-man roster.

    A Bengals seventh-round draft pick in 2003, Patterson played in two games this season.

    "It's a good opportunity for Elton," Lewis said. "They need a guy who can come in and play right away. He was excited about it. There was not much we could do about it." (Curnutte, The Cincinnati Enquirer)

    Defensive end Elton Patterson was signed to a contract after being claimed from Cincinnati.

    Defensive end Lionel Barnes, who had started three games, was placed on injured reserve with an injured shoulder.

    Patterson, 23, was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft and spent the entire season on the Bengals roster. He was inactive for all 16 games. He spent the first five weeks of this season on the practice squad. The 6-2, 271-pound defensive end from Tallahassee was a three-year starter at Central Florida where he recorded 30.5 sacks. He will wear jersey No. 78. (The [Florida] Times-Union)

    Elton Patterson's Jaguars Bio

    Good luck Elton.

    Friday, October 15, 2004

    Coach Speraw receives contract extension 

    UCFAthletics.com: Kirk Speraw Receives Three Year Contract Extention

    Sentinel: UCF signs basketball coach to new contract (October 14 2004, 1:52 PM EDT)

    Sentinel: UCF signs Speraw to 3-year deal
    Days before his newest team begins fall practice -- and seven months after his leading UCF to its third NCAA Tournament -- men's basketball Coach Kirk Speraw signed an incentive-laden contract that could be worth more than $235,000 a year.

    […]

    Speraw's annual compensation includes $135,000 in base salary, $10,000 more for radio and television appearances, $5,000 for speaking engagements, a family membership at Tuscawilla Country Club, a premium courtesy car, six season football tickets and 12 season basketball tickets.

    […]

    In sum, the incentives are:

  • $25,000 each for winning a regular-season title and a conference tournament.

  • $25,000 for each NCAA Tournament victory.

  • $20,000 for his program scoring 70 percent or higher of the points in the NCAA's new graduation-rate calculation or $10,000 each year the program's graduation rate exceeds that of the overall student body.

  • $5,000 for a National Invitation Tournament bid and another $5,000 for each victory in the NIT.

  • $5,000 for being named conference coach of the year.

  • $5,000 for averaging more than 1,800 for home games.

  • Another $5,000 for averaging more than 2,500.

    UCFAA's buyout is $150,000 for each year left on the deal. (Schmadtke)

  • FLORIDA TODAY: Knights reward Speraw

    AP: Speraw receives three year extension at UCF

    The Sports Network: Central Florida's Speraw receives contract extension


    FOOTBALL

    Sentinel: Moffett: Learning process continues
    The Knights landed another recruit when West Orange MLB Justin Warr (6-1/223) committed on Thursday. . . . UCF players on Thursday voted Haynes, WR Luther Huggins and LB Stanford Rhule as its permanent team captains. They'll represent the team at midfield the rest of the season. . . . Walk-on TE Shane Jarmin and walk-on DB Mike Maltesta were scout team players of the week and will dress Saturday. . . . Baltimore Ravens MLB Ray Lewis' visit on Tuesday was not limited to watching. He also addressed the team before the workout, telling them, among other things, to trust their teammates and coaches. Lewis, who has a home in Windermere, has been to UCF three times this season. (Schmadtke)

    Oh shit, they pulled out the Ray Lewis motivational speech. It's on now Akron.

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal: UCF's QB Moffett is quickly coming of age

    UCF's 0-5 record bothers ex-Knights

    Sometime before Monday night's showdown at St. Louis, WR Charles Lee will see CB Travis Fisher across the field at the Edward Jones Dome, and the two former UCF standouts will great one another.

    And it won't take long before the subject will turn to their alma mater.

    "We might be the worst team in college football,'' Lee said of the 0-5 Knights. "I mean, we lost to Buffalo! What is that?''

    It's bad.

    "What happened?'' Lee said, shaking his head at how the promise of George O'Leary's hiring has resulted in zero victories. "All the hype and hoopla about getting a second chance and developing a program ... man, it's just frustrating.''

    For Lee, the ancillary anxiety provided by UCF's woes merely added to his current professional situation that a few weeks ago seemed uncertain. Entering the final year of his contract, Lee was slowed by a pulled hamstring during training camp, but he rested it back to health toward the end of the preseason. Or so he thought.

    "Depends on who you talk to,'' Lee said.

    The Bucs chose to go with Tim Brown earlier in the season, with Lee inactive for the season opener and with only one reception (one for 35 yards) in each of the next two games.

    But the last two weeks, Lee has been on the field more and combined for nine catches for 123 yards, proving to be a nice complement to blossoming rookie Michael Clayton. Together, they'll try to do their part Monday when the Bucs (1-4) face the Rams (3-2) and try to put together a winning streak.

    "We know the kind of character that we have on this team and the kind of guys we have in here,'' Lee said. "Nobody is going to quit, so I am pretty sure we'll have a good outing.''

    Of course, The same can't be said for sure about the Knights, who will play Akron at home Saturday night. Whatever the outcome, Lee and Fisher, who is out with a broken arm, will break down their broken-down former team.

    "Oh, yeah, I'm pretty sure we'll talk about it,'' Lee said. "We're pathetic. We lost to Buffalo.'' (Harry, Sentinel)

    It bothers me too.


    MORE RECRUITING

    Here are some stories from the past couple of days:

    UCFSports.com: UCF Among Favorites for Georgia WR

    Sentinel: Burnett stays close to home with UCF

    Eustis' Burnett commits

    UCF picked up another oral commitment over the weekend from QB Joe Burnett of Eustis, Burnett confirmed to the Sentinel on Monday. Burnett (5 feet 10, 180 pounds) is fourth in Florida high school history in career interceptions (28). He is being recruited as a cornerback. Rivals.com reported that Gainesville Buchholz QB Alex Thompson (6-2/194) and QB Terrell Skinner (6-3/190) of St. Petersburg Boca Ciega also committed to the Knights. Skinner will be a receiver. (Schmadtke, Sentinel)

    Hmmm, Asante Samuel also played QB in high school. I hope Joe's career turns out to be just as good.

    And, here is an article about Terrell Skinner that I posted about a month ago.

    The 2005 Commitment List:

    T.J. Harnden, OLB, 6-4, 215, 4.6, Tallahassee-Lincoln
    J.R. Sandlin, TE, 6-5, 248, 4.73, Tuscaloosa (AL)-Northridge
    Rodney Etienne, S, 6-1, 170, 4.68, Pompano Beach-Ely
    Travis Ferrer, TE, 6-5, 230, 4.7, Tallahassee-Lincoln
    Joe Burnett, CB, 5-10, 175, 4.5, Eustis
    Alex Thompson, QB, 6-1, 197, 4.56, Gainesville-Bucholz
    Terrell Skinner, WR, 6-3, 190, 4.5, Gulfport-Boca Ciega
    Justin Warr, MLB, 6-1, 220, 4.6, Winter Garden-West Orange



    BASEBALL

    The Future: Conference-USA proves helpful for recruiting

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    NFL Knights: Week 5 

    In alphabetical order

    #11 QB Daunte Culpepper (Vikings): Another fine game. 36-50, 396 yards, 5 TDs, 128.4 rating and 6 carries for 30 yards against the Texans. Wow! This was his second five TD performance of the season, which ties the season record held by Dan Marino and he still has 12 games to go. I'm pretty sure he wasn't named player of the week because he already has two of them.

    #79 OL Steve Edwards (Bears): BYE

    #22 CB Travis Fisher (Rams): Out indefinitely (broken arm - 8/27/04).

    #85 WR Doug Gabriel (Raiders): He had a 24 yard reception and returned four kicks for 78 yards with a long of 41 yards against the Colts.

    #84 TE Michael Gaines (Panthers): It looks like he's the Panthers starting TE (third consecutive start). He had 2 catches for 18 yards.

    #74 OL Cornell Green (Broncos): Inactive due to injury.

    #82 WR Charles Lee (Buccaneers): He started his second game of the season and had four catches for 76 yards, with a long of 28. New `Dynamic Duo' Comes Through

    #22 CB Asante Samuel (Patriots): He made his first start of the season and had five tackles (one for a loss), a forced fumble and a pass defensed.

    Notes:

  • Of the eight active players, four started in week 5.

  • Only Doug Gabriel has never started an NFL game.
  • Friday, October 08, 2004

    Wow, what a sucky week! 

    I should have known it was going to be a bad one after that ass kicking Buffalo gave UCF. No, I didn't abandon the blog because we suck. My laptop went missing on Monday (I didn't post on Sunday because I was still in the Denial stage) and to cut a long story short, I had to buy a new one and I'm just now getting back into the swing of things. Fortunately, I backup my files every Friday to a Zip® drive so I only lost about two days of school work. And all the important things on the old one were PGP encrypted so I'm not too worried about that.

    Usually when I'm away from the blog I recap from the time I was away … ha, not this time. I didn't read most of the stories following that loss and I don't plan on doing so. I went through the whole "Five Stages of Grief" and I'm now in the Acceptance stage. UCF has a horrible football team and it's going to be that way for a while so I might as well make the best of it. At least it can't get any worse. Losing doesn't have to be depressing, so I'll find the humor in it. I'll be damned if I go through a weekend like the Buffalo one again. A winless season wouldn't shock me at this point, so I'm getting ready for one.

    P.S. Why is it that as our football facilities improve, the performance on the field declines? It should be the other way around. What happens next year when they get an indoor practice facility?

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

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