Monday, December 12, 2011

UCF, Magic stars packing their bags

In the immortal words of Ken "Hawk" Harrelson ... they gonnnnnnne.

Well, one is on his way out according to published reports. The other ... depends on your mood and level of fandom.

Pardon me, time to take this ball and go home.
Monday, UCF sophomore quarterback Jeff Godfrey reportedly received a release from his scholarship and is leaving the Knights football program. Godfrey, who became the starter as a freshman in 2010 and led UCF to a Conference USA championship title, and then to the school's first ever bowl win -- a 10-6 victory over Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl -- was supplanted himself for quality playing time by redshirt freshman Blake Bortles this season. Bortles was in the game in the fourth quarter in critical stretches of C-USA battles with Southern Miss and East Carolina. In the season finale at home against UTEP, Bortles entered the game late in the first quarter and played the rest of the game as Godfrey watched from the sideline.

Iliana Limon's story sums up the "Why" of all this. I can tell you all about the "How". My best guess is that George O'Leary had seen enough of the "Michael Greco Syndrome" -- drop back to pass, one-one thousand, two-one thousand, RUN! -- that he didn't want to revisit it with Godfrey, who did a helluva lot of that as a freshman. Well, a leopard doesn't change his spots, and Godfrey just isn't a pocket quarterback.

As for Bortles ... Knights fans, you saw it. He's got a cannon for an arm, can thread a needle at 25 yards and at 6-4, 225 with a little hop to his step, he's got the size and quickness to evade a mess. UCF could win with either one at quarterback, but that would mean the other would be sitting on the bench. Godfrey would still be a great option (stick him in there on a 3rd-and-3 or a 2-point conversion and watch the other defensive coordinator experience angina-like symptoms), but no QB wants to be an option. They want to be THE option.

Godfrey is reported to have said that the UCF coaching staff was not doing enough to "prepare him for the next level." Um, Jeff, you're 5-11 and 180 pounds. In the NFL, that's a kicker. Anymore you gotta be built like an outhouse to play QB, something more like, say, 6-4 and 225 pounds. Jeff's future? Not behind center. It'd be nice if we could trade him -- say, send him to Miami for an outside linebacker with a clue and a defensive end with some heart.

One other thing about Blake Bortles: when the Big East schedule starts in 2013, he'll only be a junior. Two years with an experienced QB before looking for Plan B against the likes of West Virginia, Boise State and the University of the Geographically Challenged Over By Tampa.

Think I'll just rent out my old place.
The housing market around here sucks.
As for the other guy dancing the Orlando Shuffle, Dwight Howard doesn't want to be the bad guy, but if you're a Magic fan with any common sense, you'll consider any games played with D-12 a bonus. The team needs to get a deal done because Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, won't be doing the Magic any favors -- like naming his price.

The trade that we're all hearing about will start losing value the longer the team wrings its hands. The closer we get to the March NBA trade deadline, the less other teams will offer and, to get something in return instead of nothing, GM Otis Smith will have to be content to get, figuratively, pennies on the dollar.

Besides folks, if there is a trade, it will be some other team's high-priced commodities for Howard -- the face of their franchise for the face of ours. Lateral move, and you move on.

I've heard the question asked more than once ... "Why don't the Magic just sign him to a long-term deal? They have all season." If I go on the lot to buy a car, and I like THIS car, but the dealer won't tell me the price, then can I buy the car?

Same concept here. The Magic can ask Howard and Fegan for their asking price, but they'll get no response. "How much will it take, Mr. Fegan?" ... "How much do you think, Mr. Smith?"

Why run the risk of getting their price and leaving any money on the table? With the threat of him leaving, Fegan wants the Magic to feel that any offer they make is too low, so they'll add a few bucks to it and overpay him to keep his Superman cape draped over the building he helped create down on Church Street.

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