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Ten things you need to know from Sunday's CFB training camps


A program making headlines twice in two days isn't always a good sign -- it's often an indication of injury issues, off-the-field trouble or a combination of the two.

Thankfully for UCF this weekend, neither of those issues popped up, but the Knights still found themselves in the college football conversation. There was a report on Saturday that George O'Leary was stepping down as head coach, possibly as early as after the first game of this season. He quickly dismissed the report, but it still led to a few "what-if" questions about the program's future.

On Sunday, the attention turned to the field.

In a surprise move, O'Leary told the media after practice that if UCF was playing its opener against Penn State tomorrow, redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo would be the Knights' starting quarterback. The head coach has been coy about naming a starter at the position, and he didn't seem to close the door on the competition on Sunday, despite the obvious nod to DiNovo.

Sophomore Justin Holman was considered the favorite to take over for No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles as UCF's quarterback. He was listed atop the team's depth chart coming out of the spring and seemed to have the best grasp of O'Leary's offense up until Sunday's announcement.

Boise State transfer Nick Patti and true freshman Tyler Harris also vied for the starting spot.

The 6-foot-2, 205 pound DiNovo enrolled early at UCF two years ago and sat behind Bortles and Holman while redshirting last season. He was considered a three-star quarterback recruit coming out of high school in the Tampa, Fla., area.

There appears to be room for O'Leary to start and/or play Holman this season, but for right now, the successor to Bortles for the defending AAC champions appears to be a surprising pick in DiNovo.

Here are nine other things we learned from Sunday's camps:

  1. Despite being known for its defensive prowess, Alabama has fielded impressive offenses the past few years under Nick Saban. The program replaced offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who departed for the same post at Michigan, with Lane Kiffin this offseason, but the Crimson Tide won't be doing a whole lot differently on that side of the ball in 2014, according to Kiffin.

"The last thing we'd want to do is come in and change a bunch of stuff," Kiffin told "As I mentioned before, it's a great offensive staff that's been together here. Had a great run here last year on offense, the number of players had great success last year."

  1. Speaking of solid offenses, it appears Joel Stave is inching closer to being named the starting quarterback at Wisconsin in his battle for the spot with Tanner McEvoy. Stave completed 9-of-17 passes for 115 yards with two touchdowns during the Badgers' Sunday scrimmage, while McEvoy went just 4 of 7 for 40 yards.

"Joel's done a nice job," head coach Gary Andersen told reporters. "He's poised. He's confident. He loves to compete. I think he's handling his team. I would say on the flip side of that, I think Tanner is doing the same thing. Again, they're competing well against each other. It's a great situation to be in."

  1. Also of note from the Badgers -- Melvin Gordon is not just a physical runner between the tackles, he also has a set of pretty good hands. He caught one pass in limited action during the scrimmage but has impressed observers with his ability in the passing game.
  1. All of the news regarding the NCAA, especially the new autonomy that is coming to the "Power Five" conferences, has not yet put a damper on Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville's spirits. The former Auburn and Texas Tech coach seemed to cautiously say that Cincinnati would do what it could to keep up with other programs in this new era of college athletics, but cautioned things wouldn't be full steam ahead for the Bearcats.

"You really don't know how all this stuff is going to shake out," Tuberville told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We need to find a bottom line. We don't need a pro sport, on a college level."

  1. Oregon State's Mike Riley has been known to set up a water balloon fight to keep things light during training camp. Well, Miami seemed to mix things up with a far more competitive game -- dodgeball. Perhaps Miami's pick is a much more productive choice when it comes to increasing the team's agility.
  1. With so few scholarship players on the roster once again in 2014, it appears USC is being increasingly cautious with injured players. Steve Sarkisian seemed to be taking that approach, as a number of guys who got nicked up before or during practice on Sunday were held out, most notably star defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who sat out part of practice due to shoulder soreness -- he later said it was just precautionary and that he's fine. Outside linebacker Jabari Ruffin (knee), defensive tackle Cody Temple (concussion), wide receiver Darreus Rogers and cornerback/wide receiver Adoree Jackson were also sitting out during Sunday's practice.

However, there was some good news, as offensive guard/tackle Aundrey Walker has been medically cleared. He still hasn't practiced as he's recovering from offseason ankle surgery, but is still expected to compete for a starting job along the right side of the line.

  1. At Sarkisian's old stomping grounds, Washington appeared to get wide receiver John Ross back in the mix after he was seen walking around in a boot earlier in the week. He apparently had a limp but still caught a 53-yard touchdown pass. The Huskies' quarterback battle continued to stay tight with reps evenly divided among the three main contenders, according to the Seattle Times. Tomorrow's scrimmage, closed to the media and public, could bring the first sign of separation.
  1. Urban Meyer met with the media on Sunday to give the latest update on Ohio State's camp and, naturally, the veteran head coach was upbeat about the Buckeyes going into 2014. He singled out safeties Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell, wide receiver Michael Thomas and pass-catcher Corey Smith as four of the standouts in camp so far. Meyer also said quarterback Braxton Miller is on schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery and figures to be ready for the opener against Navy.
  1. With a week of practice in the books at most training camps around the country, we also took a look at a few winners and losers from around college football.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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