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Ranting About My Alma Mater

I apologize for not posting in quite a while. From Wednesday to Sunday of last week, I returned to Orlando to see some friends, roam my college campus once again and most importantly, go to a college football game.

The University of Central Florida hosted the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes. Sure, the Knights had never beaten a ranked team and were sporting an offense that Arkansas St. looks down upon, but I was looking forward to going to my first UCF football game as a fan since 2005.

It was incredibly hard to outwardly root for the Knights — not because it would be an insult to the flavor of vanilla to say that their offense is vanilla  — but because sports writing has trained me in the past four years to always unbiased toward UCF. But halfway through the third quarter and with Hurricanes up 17-7, there was reason to be excited. A snap over the head of the Hurricanes’ punter and a penalty gave the Knights possession on UM’s two-yard line.

First and goal at the 2. Six more feet and we’ve got ourselves a ballgame with the No. 9 team in the nation.

So what do the Knights call on first down? How about a play action pass to the tight end? Those always work around the goal line. How about just a simple dive play? You have basically four plays to get two yards. Just plow straight ahead!

But alas, with a chance to make a statement, head coach George O’Leary decides now would be a good time to turn UCF’s offense into Navy. The Knights run an option play. A collective question mark appears above the stadium. Running back Brynn Harvey —  who isn’t exactly the next coming of Usain Bolt — is pitched the ball on the short side of the field. I’m sure you’ve already guessed how this horror ends, but Harvey ended up getting crushed by the Hurricanes for the loss of four yards.

Next play, incomplete pass.

Next play, interception and it’s basically game over. The Hurricanes went down the field after the pick for a field goal. The Knights gained 30 yards for the rest of the game.

I’m not a fan of hyperbole, but I have no problem in saying that option was THE WORST OFFENSIVE PLAY CALL I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY SIX YEARS OF WATCHING UCF FOOTBALL.

I want to say “Keep it simple, stupid!” but it’s obvious that O’Leary is much more than just stupid.

He’s also gutless.

"Mrwaaa I'm a horrible, over-paid coach, mrwaaa"

"Mrwaaa, I'm a horrible, over-paid coach, mrwaaa"

O’Leary doesn’t call the offensive plays, but he certainly approves them. So when he was asked after the game about that option play call, he took about as much responsibility as a dog that just pissed on the carpet.

“”Offensively, I thought it was a bad series of calls myself.”

WHAT??? You didn’t like the play call?!?! Well, news flash: You’re the damn head coach! You have the right to change it!! You have the authority. You have the power.

But this isn’t exactly a new side of O’Leary. On Nov. 8, 2008, the Knights were 2-6 and needed to win out if they wanted any chance at a bowl appearance. They started that day’s game against Southern Miss by running ball very effectively. The Knights gave Harvey five carries on their first drive. He turned those into 40 yards as UCF drove the field for a touchdown.

As I wrote in my column following the game: “Obviously repulsed by the thought that UCF might score more than one touchdown on offense in a single game, O’Leary let quarterback Rob Calabrese handle the ball on 19 of the next 23 plays, all of which occurred while UCF was in the lead.”

The Knights ran the ball just eight times after that first drive as O’Leary left the game in Calabrese’s incapable hands.

The Knights went on to lose 17-6. Obviously, O’Leary was asked after the game about the sudden change in his offensive game plan following that first drive. Cue the urinating dog!

“It’s (offensive coordinator) Tim Salem, whatever he’s able to get done.”

Accountability

Pronunciation: \ə-ˌkau̇n-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\; Function: noun; Date: 1794; The quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

To no one’s surprise, Salem was demoted to tight ends coach after the season and Charlie Taaffe was brought in to be the new offensive coordinator. And after six games this season, he has moved this offense’s overall rank from 119th all the way up to — GASP — 106th! Weeeeeeeee, happy days are here again!

Facts are that O’Leary has not been able to develop a decent quarterback since he arrived in 2004. He has taken the Knights to two bowls (both losses), and his other four seasons have been atrocious. Specifically, 11-30. And for what? More than $1 million a year?

I don’t care who is next, but whomever it is, I’m sure that person is already a better football coach than George O’Leary just by default.

I also don’t care what his buyout is. The only saving grace for O’Leary would be a bowl game victory this season. Otherwise, UCF HAS NO CHOICE but to take this mutt to the pound.

I’m sure the people here would agree.

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  1. Ruzzo
    October 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Best caption ever.

  2. October 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Looks like you beat me to the punch, so to speak.

    Whatevs.

    You’re right, and there is not much to say.

    A new offense? They have included the always deadly “deep pass that they can’t complete” and “option play that doesn’t go forward.”

    I would call it a lateral move, offensively.

  3. October 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    400+ yards and 49 points!

    The U (CF) is back, baby.

    Seriously, Rice is fucking awful. Just awful.

    Three players threw touchdowns for UCF. Calabrese completed like 75 percent of his passes.

    The white running back actually saw playing time.

    What an insane game.

  4. spokes310
    October 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I know. I was waiting for all the UCF people to come out and say how this team has turned the corner. Yeah, about that …

    You beat a winless Rice team.
    You beat a Memphis team that has one win against a FBS team.
    You beat Samford, which really doesn’t count.
    And you beat a very mediocre Buffalo team at home.

    Congratulations, kids! You proved that you still belong in Division I.

    But looking at the schedule, this team could very well end up at 7-5, as long as it beats teams it should beat (Marshall, Tulane, UAB). I know I said that O’Leary needs a bowl victory to keep his job, but I fear that a 7-5 record just might do it.

    I am PRAYING for a slip up against the Blazers in that season finale!

    • October 24, 2009 at 8:46 pm

      Don’t sleep on my boy Joe Webb. Kid is a monster!

      1,700 yards of total offense and 13 total touchdowns this season.

      That is all but 800 yards of offense and four touchdowns for the Blazers.

      That is ridiculous.

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