We have the first water fountain joke ...
Coaches and players on both sides of this week's USF-UCF game have been particularly careful about their comments, guarded in what they say so as to make sure not to give the other sideline any more motivation than they already have. So Tuesday afternoon was a refreshing change, with a handful of barbs aimed at the Golden Knights and Bright House Networks Stadium.
In UCF's defense, it seems the things that are upsetting the Bulls aren't coming from UCF's players or coaches, but mostly the Orlando Sentinel, which has taken some shots at USF in recent years.
"I just don't like people that talk a lot, and it seems like the last couple of years, they've done more talking than they needed to," Grothe said. "Last year, they had a guy (columnist David Whitley) come in here and ride on our bull, and the year before, they're (columnist Mike Bianchi) calling our program all kinds of bad names. Even this year, there was something in the paper about (UCF coach George) O'Leary saying you could bet they'd average at least 3 yards a carry."
I think what Grothe's referencing is this story, in which O'Leary talked about his team's effort against South Carolina State -- 59 carries for 228 yards, or 3.9 yards per carry -- and said "we can definitely build on this and do more." I don't even know that he was speaking directly about the running game, but a quote doesn't necessarily have to be accurate to be motivating in locker rooms these days ...
Asked if Grothe relishes the chance to go into a stadium where fans so passionately dislike him, he was at least initially complimentary of UCF's one-year-old stadium.
"It's a new stadium. It's going to be a nice place," Grothe said. "I'd kind of rather be on the field playing where we had water instead of no water, but sure."
Again, the water fountain joke is a little dated, as UCF added 50 water fountains this time last year after controversy in the stadium's opening game against Texas, when the facility had no fountains and ran out of bottled water for fans on a hot September day.
This time last year, Grothe brought up the point that UCF fans were bombarding him online as part of a Facebook.com practice called "Poke The Opposing Team's Quarterback." This year, he said it hasn't been too bad, but that might have to do with things not going so well for the Knights last season.
"Hopefully, they're trying a new strategy, since I got poked so many times last year, and we scored all those points," Grothe said.
-- Another sign USF-UCF is a rivalry? When fans edit a five-minute montage video of pictures and messages, gearing up for the game. Check it out on Youtube.com.