UCF continued its overall team growth this weekend, as the Knights had their bright spots on both…
Season Preview: Quarterbacks
Depth Chart: Rob Calabrese, Brett Hodges, Joe Weatherford
Strengths: This is the most depth the Knights have had at quarterback in some time. Calabrese struggled mightily at times as a true freshmen, but after a mediocre spring, the now sophomore exploded onto the scene this summer. Calabrese looked bigger, stronger and much more confident, and that is likely to translate onto the field this year…Hodges is a solid backup and could see some action when the team is in need of his experience. He is crafty in the pocket and is a reliable passer who can manage the game. He lacks elite arm strength, but makes up for it with accuracy and headiness…Weatherford continues to be frustratingly hot and cold. The sophomore arguably has a better arm than either quarterback ahead of him and when he's on, he looks unstoppable…True freshman Nico Flores will likely not see any playing time this year, but he has a bright future ahead of him. Transfer L.D. Crow could push for the starting job next year when he becomes eligible.
Weaknesses: Calabrese hasn't yet shown if he can take a hit. His confidence was rattled pretty easily last year, but how much of that was a lack of confidence in his supporting cast? That's the question that could really determine the team's fate this year…Hodges has looked sharp but he doesn't have the physical tools to make up for a lack of experience with the team. It's a difficult task to come in for the summer and grasp the entire offense. He's done a great job of meeting expectations, but he is certainly at a disadvantage in that regard…Weatherford might have an extraordinary arm, but he's too inconsistent at this point to rely on. If he ever puts it all together, he can be an elite quarterback in the conference.
Overall: Calabrese is the undisputed starter after summer camp, but Hodges isn't far off and Weatherford likely won't fade away. It's a deep group of players and they all have their strengths. While Calabrese still has a lot of growing to do, he is miles ahead of where he was last year and that should give fellow teammates confidence in him.
Prediction: Expect for Calabrese to start a majority, if not all of the games this year. You'll still see him get rattled at times but he now has the confidence in himself and his teammates to not implode. He will likely be a game manager for the Knights this season but you'll see some big plays as well. Hodges should get some reps this season too and he will be a suitable replacement if Calabrese goes down with an injury or needs to take a series off to gather himself.
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