UCF coach George O'Leary told Blake Bortles to "be the leader on that sideline" when things are going badly. (Stephen M. Dowell / Orlando Sentinel / September 28, 2013)
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles set a career-high for passing yards with 358 in a loss to No. 12 South Carolina on Saturday, but you could also argue the junior had his worst game of the season.
Bortles tossed two interceptions – one on a slant route to Breshad Perriman in South Carolina territory that Gamecocks’ corner Victor Hampton jumped, the other a deep pass in the end zone to Jeff Godfrey that was underthrown – and also missed some open receivers during key moments in the first half.
The junior took responsibility for his mistakes after the game. You could tell he was angry with himself for being slightly off in one of the biggest games of the season.
UCF coach George O’Leary said he spoke with Bortles on Sunday not about on-field play, but a more important role he wants his quarterback to fill.
“Blake came to see me [Sunday] afternoon about what I thought,” O’Leary said. “And I told him, I said, ‘You know, Blake, you just got to do the things you’re supposed to do.’ The one thing I told him that he needs to do is, he’s not a senior, but he’s the leader of the offense. And when things aren’t going well he can’t worry about because he’s making bad plays. He’s got to basically be the leader on that sideline and get everybody else ready to go. So he took that and he understood it and then we move on.”