BOCA RATON – Even without suspended incumbent quarterback Chris Robison, FAU coach Lane Kiffin is more pleased with that unit than he was at this time last year when Robison battled De’Andre Johnson for the starting job.
“We seem to not be making as many mistakes as we were a year ago at that position,” Kiffin said.
With Robison suspended since the start of spring practices because of unspecified reasons, redshirt sophomore Nick Tronti and redshirt junior Justin Agner have been splitting time with the first team behind center.
Both enjoyed good performances in the first spring scrimmage, with Tronti out-dueling Agner. Neither played particularly well in the second one, with Tronti making the more critical mistakes by throwing interceptions and fumbling.
FAU’s offensive struggles during Saturday’s scrimmage weren’t the result of poor quarterback play but rather the performances – some good, some poor – of the players surrounding them.
“I think it was the defense and pressure, and the rush and plays not being made around them,” Kiffin said. “When you break down the film they weren’t perfect. They played similar to how they’ve been playing.”
Tronti and Agner played on Saturday behind an offensive line missing two starters much of the afternoon. Their statistics would have improved had receivers not dropped passes like they were allergic to them.
A former Florida Mr. Football, Tronti transferred to FAU from Indiana last season. Agner began his career at Kent St., where he started against Penn St. as a freshman, but various injuries and a couple of stops in junior college sidetracked his career to this point.
Kiffin doesn’t have a timetable for Robison’s return, but said that both Tronti and Agner “definitely” have the skills to succeed as FBS quarterbacks.
“I think they’ve been really consistent for two young guys that really haven’t played here,” Kiffin said. “I think, obviously, that was a concern coming in and they’ve managed it really well.”
That being said, Kiffin isn’t excited about the possibility of carrying into the fall a quarterback battle between two players – should Robison not return – who’ve yet to throw a meaningful pass for FAU.
“Both of these guys have done really well, but again, now you’re going into another year, like the year before, with a guy, whoever wins it, that really hasn’t played for the most part,” Kiffin said. “That’s always not the best case scenario.”
Tronti and Agner will have another chance to publicly display they progress on Saturday when the Owls host their spring game. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.