“Injuries are a part of the game. As long as you play this game, you’re going to either be hurt or injured. If you’re hurt, you play. If you’re injured, you can’t go.”
UCF quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett knows that mantra all too well.
So when starting quarterback Justin Holman exited Saturday’s game against Stanford with a hand injury, Barrett hoped for the best, but was prepared for the worst.
“I had a conversation with Bo [Schneider] and Tyler [Harris] earlier in the week, trying to make sure we were on the same page for where we are, as far as the scenario,” said Barrett, who spent 15 years as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League. “I was telling those guys, ‘You have to prepare yourself as if you’re the starter.’
“Because you’re one play away [or] you’re two plays away from being on the football field. And it just so happened that it worked out like that.”
As Holman went off, Schneider came in. And then Harris. Each tested the waters against a tough Stanford squad that was third in FBS defense last season.
“As soon as the whole thing happened in the game, I kind of take that upon myself to [help],” former quarterback and current wide receiver Nick Patti said. “Having been a backup, you kind of know and understand how to transition into that role.”
Schneider didn’t seem to skip a beat.
“He was cool, calm and collected. I was very surprised, very impressed with him,” Patti said. “He’s continuing to get better and we’re going to rally around him.”
During the second half, the freshman was focused on the rush as opposed to defensive reads. Barrett tried to calm him down to get back into his first-half rhythm.
“That’s the first thing that happens with young quarterbacks,” Barrett said. “Been there, done that.”
Barrett was there, doing that for the University of Cincinnati in the early 1980s.
After playing quarterback his freshman year, the coach moved Barrett to free safety to begin his sophomore season. The 2001-inductee into the UC Athletics Hall of Fame started the first two games in the secondary and the third at quarterback after an injury to the Bearcats’ starter.
“When I’m talking to our guys, I can relate real stories from this position. So they buy into it and realize that things happen for a reason, and you’ve got to be ready to go," said Barrett, who missed the fourth game but played the remaining games in a splint with torn ligaments in his throwing hand.
With Holman sidelined for the next two to four weeks, coaches say Schneider, a true freshman, will take the reins. Even though Holman isn’t taking reps under center, he's helping in the film room just as former UCF star Blake Bortles did for him.
“Now, he’s passing it on to the younger guys. You can’t say enough about that,” Barrett said. “We win as a team. And he wants to be a part of a win whether he’s on the field or not.”
Schneider is unavailable for interviews because he is not on the team's media list. He will get the start when UCF hosts Furman Saturday at 6 p.m., but, this time, he knows.
Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JarrodHeil or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.