After Central Florida’s spring game on Saturday, it was apparent that junior Rob Calabrese was the starting quarterback heading into the summer.
Calabrese completed 11 of 17 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown and had 90 rushing yards, including a 66-yard run for another score. He made decisions on the field that he hadn’t in the past two years as a part-time starter and played like he was in total command of the offense.
“I think they all have opportunities to play, but I think when you list who the starter is, I think it it would be the same way we practiced all year: it would be one, two, three as far as [Rob] Calabrese, [Jeffrey] Godfrey and [L.D.] Crow,” O’Leary said. “I wouldn’t hesitate putting any of them in now in certain situations.
“But I think heading into the spring and the summer and the skellies [seven-on-seven skeleton drills] and the conditioning and the chemistry that’s required, I think the leadership has got to come from the guy with the experience and that’s Rob. Again, I was very, very pleased with those other guys and they’re obviously going to help us this year.”
Godfrey, a freshman, made a valiant push for the starting job, but his lack of his experience is what set the two apart. From the beginning of spring camp it was Calabrese’s job to lose and he never let go of it. He took almost all of the snaps with the first team and showed the poise and maturity O’Leary said at the beginning of camp that he wanted to see out of his starting quarterback.
After the spring game O’Leary also announced that starting running back Brynn Harvey might not be ready to play until after the nonconference season, which is a big blow to the Knights running game.
Harvey suffered a knee injury during spring camp and after meeting with doctors last week, the team determined that Harvey's injury is more severe than previously thought. Harvey was the team’s top rusher last season, though several other running backs, including Brendan Kelly and Jonathan Davis have played well in Harvey’s absence.
“Hopefully [Harvey will be back] sooner, but my experience is you don’t count on that,” O’Leary said of Harvey’s timetable. “But I think both of them [Kelly and Davis] are good enough to get into the game and get the necessary yards for us to be successful.”