Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UCF's QB Derby Up in Air; O'Leary and Knights Don't Appear to Have Clear Favorite to Replace Bortles

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UCF's QB Derby Up in Air; O'Leary and Knights Don't Appear to Have Clear Favorite to Replace Bortles

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

ORLANDO | Central Florida had seven months to prepare for training camp - and life without quarterback Blake Bortles.

For the most part, players and coaches tried to focus more on the upcoming season than looking back at a 12-1 season, including a 52-42 Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor.

But it was hard to ignore that the Knights will try to defend their American Athletic Conference championship without Bortles, who was the third overall pick by the Jaguars in the NFL Draft.

It also wasn't hard to miss the fact that none of the four quarterbacks in camp were at Friday's media day, the second day of camp.

"Coach always says, not one guy can make a team," senior receiver J.J. Worton said. "We really haven't taken to mind what's going on around us."

Coach George O'Leary touched on Bortles, as well as running back Storm Johnson, when he met with the media Friday after practice. And then O'Leary started talking about the four-way battle between Justin Holman, Nick Patti, Tyler Harris and Pete DiNova to replace Bortles.

Holman is the only player who got snaps last season as Bortles' backup.

"We're trying to get all the small things right," Worton said. "When you do that, everything else falls into place. We've worked all summer, but now that we've put the pads on and they're facing a defense, I think they're doing really well. They've all got their strengths and weaknesses."

O'Leary said the quarterbacks were kept from media day because he doesn't allow first-year players to talk. Oddly enough, Holman was on the team a year ago and is a sophomore.

Besides identifying a starting quarterback, the Knights have to work past last year's success. O'Leary told the team Thursday night the 2013 season is done, and the only thing that matters is what's ahead.

While there are glaring holes to fill on offense - UCF also lost Johnson and three starting linemen - the Knights will have nine starters returning on defense. …

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