The start of the Scott Frost era of UCF Football was hardly even about football itself.
Of course there was still a spring game to end the day, but it was everything leading up to the game that made the UCFastival something truly special.
It all began early Saturday morning at the UCF Letterman Softball game chalk full of former UCF football players from current NFL players like Leger Douzable, Latavius Murray and Bruce Miller to local UCF legends like my man Kyle Israel.
The events then shifted to Jay Bergman Field where your UCF baseball team battled the hated USF Bulls for the 2nd game of a 3-game series. The Knights had fallen to the Bulls 6-4 on Friday night and were determined to kick off the days “fastivities” with a win over their rival…and they did just that. Robby Howell carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning and the Knights topped the Bulls 4-0, but that wasn’t the most important part of the game.
It was the crowd.
No, it wasn’t a capacity crowd inside Jay Bergman Field, but it was a very excited one and one that seemed to grow as the game went on, especially around the outfield fences.
As I stood in the press box for the 4th inning I even heard USF play-by-play man, Mike Lefko, remark, “These UCF fans are literally leaning over the fence into the ballpark, and they’re not drinking sodas.” He wasn’t lying.
Little by little more trucks pulled up to the outfield wall and groups began to pop up over the fence from the left field foul pole all the way around the stadium and they were fired up from the minute they arrived.
When the baseball game ended just before 3 pm I followed the majority of the crowd out of the right field exit of the stadium and found myself in the middle of what seemed to be a mid-fall tailgate party.
There were food trucks lined up for what looked like a mile, a zipline, carnival rides, motocross demonstrations and a live band out in front of Bright House Networks Stadium. On every other side of the stadium was a sea of tailgaters with UCF flags and tents up all over the place.
Every part of this day felt big time. Far more big time than anything I’ve ever experienced at UCF. Big time like…well, what I’d expect to find at an Oregon home game.
So it’s fitting that this was the dress rehearsal for new head coach Scott Frost.
The Gold team beat the Black team in the Spring Game 21-10, but the game really meant nothing in the long run. It was more about the experience, the energy and most importantly the hope.
There was a sense of hope all around this event. Every single person I talked to wanted to give me their take on how and why Coach Frost was going to make this program great. They wanted to talk about how things were going to change and change fast.
They were all on board with “#UCFast.”
To be honest, that’s all UCF needed to create today. You can’t win any football games until the fall, so today was about building excitement and nourishing the overwhelming sense of hope that Knights Nation can’t get enough of.
So let’s all just reflect on what an amazing event UCF gave us on this beautiful (mostly) Saturday in Central Florida and get some rest over the summer because I think this fall is going to be a lot of fun.
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