Seniors want to go out with similar legacy
Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 17:08
Senior tight end Adam Nissley said he was jealous of the way last year's senior class went out.
What he was jealous of was that the seniors ended their careers with an 11-3 record, a Conference USA Championship, Liberty Bowl victory and a top-25 ranking.
"To me, like I said it before, that's one of the best ways you can go out as a senior," Nissley said. "Now it's our turn."
The seniors on the UCF football team are aware of expectations, and they want to rise to the occasion. They're also aware that their time here is coming to an end. It hasn't been lost on anyone that this is their last time preparing for a first game as a Knight.
"I remember the first day of camp thinking, ‘Man, camp's going to be so long,'" senior receiver A.J. Guyton said. "But now, it's like four days away from game day … The season will go by quick; it will be December in no time."
Guyton is on the same page as Nissley when it comes to envying last year's senior class.
"We want to leave with that same legacy," Guyton said.
This group of seniors is entering a season ripe with expectations and high hopes. The Knights are facing a schedule where they could legitimately beat every opponent they face, a fact that both the media and the fans are aware of.
At the same time, UCF is not ranked to the start this season, and that is something that hasn't been lost on the players.
"I think people see us as a one-hit wonder last year," Guyton said.
But that level of doubt toward the program is something many Knights, seniors especially, are hoping to feed off of as motivation.
"That's always a motivating factor … It's like they're doubting us, so as a team we're just ready to come and prove ourselves once again," senior defensive end Darius Nall said.
The doubting is something that isn't new to this senior class, a class that has seen a variety of seasons while on campus. Seniors on the team now were here for the 2008 season, where, following 2007's Conference USA Championship, the Knights fell to a lackluster 4-8. That 4-8 outing in 2008 is something that is still in the back of the minds of some of the seniors.
"There's nothing worse than going from [being] 2007 conference champions to 4-8," senior offensive linemen Nick Pieschel said. "I would say it was the worst season of my life, pretty much. You never want to go through that again."
Things got better in 2009, with an 8-4 record and an appearance in the Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg. It was last season, though, in 2010, when everything seemed to come together in UCF's best season to date.
On the eve of their final season, UCF's seniors are hopeful and confident that last year's season was not a one-hit wonder and that they can go out on a high note of their own in 2011.
"Playing for four years, starting my fifth year, I want to be able to end my career at UCF on a high note," Nissley said.
Nall simplified it further.
"We're just ready to do our part," Nall said. "Go out with a bang and keep winning."