UCF coach names Justin Holman starting QB
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Just a week into the 2014 season UCF sophomore Justin Holman has already tasted the pain, pressure and pleasure that come with being George O'Leary's quarterback.
Pain came the earliest, when inconsistency cost Holman the starting job entering the season to freshman Pete DiNovo.
Pressure came next, when he relieved an ineffective DiNovo halfway in the Knights' season opener last week and guided UCF to three touchdowns in nearly pulling off a comeback win over Penn State.
''Coach on the sideline was like `Three-and-out and you're not going in again,''' receiver J.J. Worton recalled Holman being told as he entered the game. ''So, it's literally your career on the line. He came in and made plays when he had to.''
That performance has now led him back to pleasure at end of the Knights' bye week: Being named the starter for UCF's trip next week to Missouri.
''I think game time lights go on and everybody reacts different. But Holman will get the nod,'' O'Leary said in announcing the change Friday. "We'll see if he can continue doing what he did.''
Holman was not available for comment Friday.
The heir apparent to the position following Blake Bortles departure to the NFL, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Holman has much of the same skillset of his predecessor: A big arm, command of the huddle and the ability to make plays with his feet.
So it was a surprise to many of his teammates when he was beaten out by DiNovo.
But offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said Holman also has something even more intangible that aided him both in his preseason disappointment not getting the job and now going forward.
''Quarterback, more than any other position, you've gotta have a short memory - good or bad,'' Taaffe said. ''I think anytime you have success, it kind of helps reinforce your confidence level. He struggled in camp. That's why we started the way we did (starting DiNovo).
''We knew Justin had a lot of ability. The thing he struggled with over camp, and really since last spring, was his ability to be consistent. Hopefully now he's gained some confidence coming out of the first game.''
Receiver Breshad Perriman, who was on the receiving end of three of Holman's passes for 81 yards against Penn State, said Holman's presence in the huddle should carry him the rest of the season.
''He's very loud out there, he's not too laid back,'' Perriman said. ''He's not nervous or scared to speak up. That's what I like about him.''
The UCF coaching staff likes it, too, and is hoping to see more of the same.
Though O'Leary didn't hesitate to make a change in the opener, he has never been a fan of a two-quarterback system.
Taaffe said the hope is that they won't have to keep Holman on a game-to-game leash
''There's a fine line there. It's a performance-based position, and it's a performance-based game for everybody. But quarterbacks have to perform,'' Taaffe said. ''We have to settle in hopefully, and he'll go out there and perform and we won't have to deal with that.''
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