Former UCF wide receiver Brian Watters, a team captain during the 2010 season, testified coach George O'Leary ordered water and trainers be removed from the fieldhouse during Ereck Plancher's final workout.
"Coach O'Leary, at times, he'll order water put out in a certain drill to build mental toughness," Watters told jurors Friday afternoon.
Watters stated no one came to Plancher's aid when he showed signs of distress.
When Plancher family attorney J.D. Dowell asked Watters if O'Leary ordered the water and athletic trainers out, Watters said yes.
O'Leary testified Thursday he never ordered any water or athletic trainers be removed from the fieldhouse.
Plancher collapsed and died on March 18, 2008, shortly after offseason conditioning drills on the UCF campus. Orange County medical examiner Joshua Stephany testified Plancher died from complications to sickle cell trait. UCF Athletics Association attorneys have argued Stephany failed to do a thorough autopsy, missing an undiagnosed heart condition that caused the player's death.
Watters is the third former UCF football player to testify O'Leary ordered water and athletic trainers out of the fieldhouse during what Plancher family experts have called a critical stretch of the workout for the wide receiver.
UCF Athletics Association attorney Kevin Taylor asked Watters whether he included information about the water being removed from the workout and Plancher's distress during a sworn statement he gave to a UCF attorney about a month after Plancher died. Watters said he did not.
While being questioned by a Plancher family attorney, Watters said Manny Messengeur, O'Leary's personal assistant, was present when the players gave their statements to a UCF attorney. Watters said Messengeur "just watched and kind of chaperoned on what we were saying."
Watters told the jury he ranked the March 18, 2008, workout among the top three toughest offseason conditioning drills he had done in five years at UCF. He said players were expected to jog from station to station with little time to rest.
He told the jury the team lifted weights and did agility stations before O'Leary ordered "water out, trainers out." Watters recalled seeing Plancher first showing signs of distress during an obstacle course that he testified he had never done before at his time at UCF.
Watters said wide receiver Anthony Davis helped Plancher complete the obstacle course. While the rest of the players were trying to follow the rules and jog to the sideline after the obstacle course, Watters said Plancher struggled to keep up. "He would jog some and he'd stop and breathe a little."
When he was asked if it was unusual for Plancher to struggle to jog, Watters said, "yes." Dowell then asked Watters if it was obvious Plancher was having trouble, Watters responded, "yes."
Dowell asked Watters if he consumed any water inside the fieldhouse during the workout, and Watters responded he did not.
Watters recalled seeing Plancher fall during a sideline-to-sideline sprint the players were doing near the end of the workout. Watters was asked how he would describe the way Plancher fell, Watters responded, "his legs gave out on him."
Watters said Plancher got back up and finished last, reaching the sideline shortly after the offensive linemen.
He testified when players gathered around O'Leary for a huddle, the coached cursed at Plancher and told him "you're better than that" after Plancher finished the sprints behind offensive linemen.
Watters said Plancher could not do jumping jacks to end the workout. He told jurors he noticed Plancher's eyes looked glazed. Watters said Plancher collapsed and he noticed four teammates, including Davis, helping carry Plancher out of the fieldhouse.
Watters was one of five witnesses the Plancher attorneys called Friday.