Going into spring practice, Coach Barresi's primary goal was to find a solid backup for Ryan Schneider at the quarterback position.
"Ryan Schneider is doing fine. We're trying to find him a backup QB right now," said Head Coach Mike Kruczek.
At a glance, it appeared to be an easy task to find Schneider a backup, since the Knights have four quarterbacks including Schneider on their roster. Unfortunately, it was a difficult task for both Coach Mike Kruczek and Jamie Barresi to achieve.
The first quarterback who might step-up to backup Schneider is Jon Rivera. Rivera is a classic drop-back quarterback. He has a strong arm and excellent footwork. His mobility adds a dimension to the game that Schneider does not own, but Rivera missed almost half of spring ball due to an injury to his left ankle.
"Unfortunately Jon was hurt, for him it was unfortunate," said Coach Barresi.
When Rivera did get to play, he didn't take advantage of the opportunity. Rivera missed opened receivers and constantly made poor decisions with the ball. Although Rivera did show flashes of greatness at times, he appeared not to have a solid grasp of UCF's offense, at least, not yet. There's more work that needs to be done before he can establish himself as the number two quarterback come fall.
Brandon Sumner is a second candidate to backup Schneider. Sumner is a strong-armed quarterback with the ability to move around and make plays. Sumner showed that he could be a reliable backup coming out of spring practice. Since Rivera did not practice as much as he wished to and the coaches want to see players other than Ryan Schneider running the offense, Sumner took the advantage and showcased his talent. He pleased the coaches with his effort, and appeared to make better decisions under the gun.
"Brandon got a lot of repetitions and a lot of good works," said Barresi. "The guy is so athletic that he showed that he can do it.
Then there is the question "who is the number two quarterback" coming out of spring?
"Brandon has an edge right now," said Barresi. "The thing is both kids foot work were really, really good. Brandon shows that he can do a lot of things and he really stepped up. He's still got a way to progress. With work they'll be really good.
As for Schneider, he knows the system and feels comfortable with the scheme, but he needs to do more work as well. Coach Barresi has a lot of faith in his QB's.
"They're very talented kids. This is going to be very competitive for them and it means a lot to them," said Barresi.
Unfortunately at the end of spring, both Rivera and Sumner did not look as sharp as the coaches would have hoped.
Quarterback Ryan Schneider.
"I don't need to know what Ryan can do, I need to know what the other guys can do," said Coach Mike Kruczek.
When fall football camp starts, that is exactly what Coach Kruczek wants to see. With a new recruit quarterback, Steven Moffet, coming in the fall, the challenge of backing up Schneider will certainly be interesting.
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