Hodges, Calabrese both see time against Samford
Published: Sunday, September 6, 2009
Updated: Monday, September 7, 2009 12:09
Doesn't the adage go: if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one?
Both Rob Calabrese and Brent Hodges saw time under center in Saturday's season-opener against Samford at home.
"I still think its Calabrese's team, but I think you have to be able to play both quarterbacks," head coach George O'Leary said. "It's a long season. I don't see a quarterback controversy, if that's what people want to write about.
"Both have to be able to go into the game and play, and they both did today."
Except once Hodges came in, Calabrese would not see any action for the remainder of the contest.
Calabrese went 3-of-7 for 28 yards through a quarter and a half of work before being replaced by Hodges. O'Leary said he thought the offense was ‘stagnate' with Calabrese taking the snaps and the change was made to try to jumpstart the offense.
Hodges went on to lead the Knights to their first scoring drive of the game with just under a minute before the half. The eight-play, 43 yard drive was capped by a 1-yard run by Brynn Harvey to even the score at 7-7.
Despite an interception just a minute into the second half, Hodges transitioned well into the role and began to get the ball rolling.
Midway through the third quarter, he orchestrated an 11 play, 71-yard drive, highlighted by two completions of 20-plus yards and another 1-yard score by Harvey.
The intent earlier in the game was to put Hodges in and then put Calabrese back in. Coach Taaffe wanted to stay with Hodges and see how it panned out O'Leary said, and if it didn't work out Calabrese would go back into the game.
"Coach Taaffe talked to us throughout this preseason and early on this week that both of us were going to play in the first half," Hodges said. "I think when I got in there we were kind of moving the ball a little bit. I think coach didn't want to go away from the momentum we were having."
O'Leary said after the game he thought Hodges made the most of his opportunity, and he was pleased with the leadership and experience he was able to show.
Hodges finished the game 10-of-17 for 129 yards and a touchdown in the team's 28-24 win.
Despite all that, a dejected looking Calabrese trotted off the field to the locker room at the end of the game.
"I'm sure Rob's disappointed on some of the things he could have got done out there that he didn't get done," O'Leary said. "I think we have two guys that can win football games for us, and that's the way I'll look at that, and I'll address the offensive staff [Sunday] on what their thoughts are."
Both Harvey and Ross said they feel comfortable with either player at quarterback and it doesn't make a difference to them who is leading the huddle. They both think Hodges and Calabrese have what it takes to lead the team and all that matters is the ‘W.'
Following the game, Hodges said there is no animosity between himself and Calabrese and that they are each other's biggest supporters. Calabrese was right there on the sideline throughout the game and was routinely one of the first players to congratulate the team when they came off the field.
Hodges has been used to being ready at a moment's notice his whole career. A fifth-year senior, Hodges was a backup for four years at Wake Forest before transferring to UCF for the 2009 season.
"I played like that for four years, so I've got that under my belt," Hodges said. "You can't go into practice being the second string quarterback that thinks he's not going to play no matter what the case is, if you have a four year starter or not. That's the mindset I've always had, and I'm always going to have, whether I'm starting next week or not and just take it from there."
Hodges was also quick to note that he didn't think it was anything that Calabrese did or didn't do causing the change, but it was just a matter of both players knowing the other would play at some point.
Also one thing to note, at noon on "UCF Today," O'Leary said Calabrese will be the starting quarterback when the team goes to Southern Miss Saturday and that Calabrese has earned that role.