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Posts from February 2009

Umpire heckles FAU fan
Managed to catch this little verbal full count following last night's 6-1 FAU victory over Stony Brook.

I guess a couple of the fans had been riding the home plate umpire John Laven and he got a little sick of it. I was rolling on the Owls' post-game celebration when I heard some yelling beneath me.

The umpire is off camera when he yells his first statement: "Come over and show me how it's done, will ya?"

The last utterance by the umpire as he headed into the dugout is a little tough to hear. He said: "That's really a stupid thing to say."

I've been at many a game where I cringed at some of the obscenities yelled at umpires. Last night was not one of those instances. I was moving around the ballpark all night shooting video and photos for FAUOwlAccess.com and never really noticed fans saying anything more than you would expect to hear at any game. The comments weren't vulgar, they simply challenged the consistency of the strike zone.

The umpire's remarks weren't all that out of line either, it just isn't often they respond to fans.

Hey, you're not going to go far as an umpire if you can't take having your strike zone challenged. Of course, you're also not going very far if your strike zone needs a GPS.

Checked the net to see if there were any good heckles out there and came across a site loaded with them. Some are pretty good.

Also found some funny umpire stories, like this link to one that contains a few big league stories.

chuck
Joseph's draft stock a product of his game play
Florida Atlantic is finally going to have a player chosen in the NFL draft, and that player is Carldayle Brantley. In case you didn't see the numbers, Brantley ran a team-best 4.45 in the 40-yard dash and benched 225 pounds 20 times. Click here to see all the numbers.

The numbers have some Owls fans wondering how scouts could possibly pass on the guy. Here's how: he wasn't a particularly good football player. By the end of the season, he was no longer starting on his own football team. FAU has come a long way in the past few years, but it still has a ways to go to reach the status of Southern Cal, where the backups have serious NFL potential.

The gem of the workouts was still Frantz Joseph. While the numbers he produced (4.83, 19 BP) likely didn't elevate his draft value, they really didn't hurt it either. Joseph will be judged by his performance on the field, and finishing second in the nation in tackles proves he can play the game.

This may not be best analogy, but consider Larry Izzo. The Dolphins signed him as a free agent in 1996 because Jimmy Johnson understood that Izzo was a football player. Three Pro Bowls and 12 years later, Izzo proved Johnson wise.

Joseph's performance on Pro Day likely served to reinforce what the scouts already thought of him, and all it takes is one team to like the way he looks on a football field.

Though Brantley may be fools gold, there were two players who did see their stock rise. The consensus seemed to be that Jervonte Jackson (5.07, 21 BP) impressed the most. I also heard several rumblings about Charles Pierre's (4.59, 26 BP) performance. That doesn't mean either will get drafted, but FAUOwlAccess.com be surprised if they get a chance to go the Izzo route.

The real number:
Pierre actually pussed the 225-pound weight off his chest 27 times, but one was disallowed. Several players had reps discounted because they didn't push to full arm length, lifted their butt off the bench or bounced the bar off their chest.
Out of time at timing day
Pro Day 2009 is in in the books here at FAU. After the sprints, there was agility drills before some positional workouts.



Who did well? I'm just an outside observer, so I will defer to who the scouts seemed to place under the most scrutiny.

I'll go with a pro day MVP of Jervonte Jackson. It's obvious a couple of months of not pounding bodies at practice is helping him. He also looked pretty agile and quick after working out with Brian Martin at TEST - the same trainer that Frantz Joseph is using. They even had Jackson working out in pass catching drills, and the big guy didn't do too bad.

There were 16 scouts from 19 teams out there this morning.

That's it for the live blog portion of pro day. We'll post a story on FAUOwlAccess.com with more pictures and video of the day later.
Sprints taking toll
Still out at the track...LB Andre Clark ran the first 40 but hurt his hamstring and didn't run the second round....Also DL Michael Hancock has a groin injury and only ran once. ...RB Charles Pierre hurt his hamstring and skipped the second run
A dash of sprints
Now we're on the track for the first round of 40 yard dashes...The ESPN camera crew is following every move by Frantz Joseph
Worth the weight
We're in the weight room now for bench presses...Charles Pierre had a surprising 26 reps...Robert St. Clair was impressive with 23 reps...Jervonte had 22
Pro Day underway
BOCA RATON - The FAU pro day is off to an exciting start. It's 8:34 a.m. and the first order of business apparently is to get guys weighed-in and measured.

So, gentlemen, start your scales and tape measures.

Before the action gets going, here are some players I hear NFL scouts have expressed some interest in besides Frantz Joseph.

DT Jervonte Jackson - Jackson is said to be really wanting to have a good 40-yard dash time to prove he has some explosion. Because he is so big, his power is sort of deceptive.

DE Robert St. Clair - Was slowed by an injury his senior season, but still is quick and, when he's motivated, has a pretty high motor.

CB Corey Small - Small is expetced to be here today and take part in anything he can do after his injury in the Texas vs. Nation game.

RBs DiIvory Edgecomb and Charles Pierre - Both parts of the Owls' running back tandem have shown some good bursts in games and practices, but each is hurt by his size.

I'll update frequently, so check back soon.
Can the stimulus package help FAU's stadium quest?
The pieces seem to be a perfect fit. The government, through the recently-signed $787 billion stimulus bill, is looking for projects to stimulate the economy. Florida Atlantic has a project that will employee hundreds, if not thousands, of people during construction and will continue to provide jobs well after construction is completed.

So can FAU tap into the recently passed stimulus package to get the remaining funds necessary to begin work on an on-campus football stadium? After all, it's "shovel ready," - some would argue it's "shovel late" - and the influx of funding could feed optimism that the stadium will open for the start of the 2010 season.

Here's what the stimulus package purports to accomplish:

Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.

Now, setting aside political discussion pertaining to whether this package can be effective, FAU's stadium proposal does seem to have a prima facia case for inclusion. That is, until you get to page 414 of the 778-page package.

That's where you find this little nugget:

SEC. 1609. LIMIT ON FUNDS.
None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.

That would appear to send FAU back to the street corner, tin cup in hand. But there may be a sliver of hope. Remember, FAU's stadium proposal is more than just a stadium.

The Innovation Village project uses the stadium as its focal point, but plans also include housing, classrooms, shops and restaurants. None of those are explicitly prohibited from funding.

I talked with several members of the athletic department and the schools' upper administration over the weekend and got the impression that, although disappointed by the stadium prohibition, they are still looking to see if other parts of the project meet the requirements to be, well, stimulated.

Hey, if $2 billion can go toward battery research (page 73), part of the $2 billion for high-speed rail development (page 205) can help fund a magnetic, levitation train that links Disneyland and Las Vegas, and $30 million of an environmental agency's money could go to saving a mouse, Innovation Village could be worth a few mil, right?

Regardless of when it happens, FAUOwlAccess.com is looking forward to being there when the Owls finally do christen their new home.

chuck
Eyes of the baseball world watched McCormack

Former FAU head coach Kevin Cooney was not the only college baseball aficionado keeping track of John McCormack's debut weekend as the Owls head coach.

McCormack received texts or phone calls throughout the weekend from the likes of Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan, Arizona State's Pat Murphy, UCF's Terry Rooney, Clemson's Tom Riginos, Cincinnati's Brian Cleary and more.

All either wanted to wish McCormack luck, congratulate him on his opening-night win, or both.

"Baseball, although it's spread across the country, it's a very close-knit group," McCormack said following Saturday's 11-5 victory over Fordham. "I always say that it's easier to get elected to Congress than get a Division 1 head coaching job."

Prior to Friday's first pitch, McCormack honored junior right-handed pitcher Lou Morey as the first-annual FAU Iron Owl Award winner (photo).

During the off-season McCormack pitted his Owls in a series of contests of strength and wit. The physical drills included weightlifting and condition contests. The mental challenges asked the players to exhibit their knowledge of the rules of the game, the background of their teammates, college baseball in general, and even some political trivia.

"The one thing I wanted to instill in these guys was competition - that everyday we have to get up and we have to compete," McCormack said. "We've got to compete in the classroom, we've go to compete on the baseball field."

There were 32 players when the contest started, so the winner of each event received 32 points, second place received 31, all the was down to the single point awarded to the last-place finisher.

The results and running standings were posted in the clubhouse every day.

"The guys got into it," McCormack said. "We're going to do it every fall."

Dugan does good: As much as McCormack enjoyed his first head coaching victory - he jokingly threatened to retire with a winning percentage of 1.000 - no one had a bigger smile over the weekend than women's basketball coach Chancellor Dugan.

Her Owls defeated No. 25 MTSU on Saturday for the biggest victory in program history. FAU is on pace to host a Sun Belt tournament game, something no one realistically expected heading into the season.

FAUOwlAccess.com congratulates Dugan, her staff, and the Lady Owls on the big win.

chuck
Saturday was super for women's hoops
Of all the possible outcomes for the myriad of sporting events held at FAU on Saturday, leave it to the women's basketball team to pull the biggest surprise of the day.


Chancellor Dugan's team had the longest odds to overcome by playing a team ranked in the most recent coaches' poll.

But the Owls didn't waver, leading through most of their game vs. Middle Tennessee and pulling off the upset of the No. 25 Blue Raiders 73-30.

It is the first time FAU has defeated a ranked team and the first time a Sun Belt team beat MTSU this season.

After the game the first thing Dugan said was the victory won't mean anything unless FAU can keep the momentum going.

"The biggest thing about this game tonight is that we have to back it up and keep playing well on Wednesday," a happy Dugan said in the post-game news conference.

That's not entirely true. The women's team still has much to play for, but it has already accomplished plenty this season.

The stock of the program wasn't very high this time last year, but there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future if some of the naysayers bothered to look hard enough.

"Last year and before that we hadn't even picked up our second win in the league at this point," Dugan said.

The Owls can still earn the right to play host to a game. A win on Wednesday at Western Kentucky or in the season finale at FIU will all but clinch a home game in the SBC Tournament.

The success couldn't come at a better time - at least one team playing at The Burrow is giving fans something to cheer about this season.
Super Saturday underway

BOCA RATON - A very busy day at 777 Glades Road is underway. I arrived on campus at 3:40, just in time to see the Dirty Birds setting up their tailgate party a full three hours before the men's hoops game. That's when I know I am early.

The baseball game began at 4, and Fordham didnt waste any time getting on the board. As I was standing chatting with former FAU pitcher Mickey Storey, who ships out to spring training in March, Fordham's Bobby DiNardo hit one of the longer homers I've seen at FAU Stadium, clearing the scoreboard with plenty of room to spare.



I'm about to leave for the women's basketball game (don't worry, Chuck King is manning the baseball game for our site) and FAU leads 2-1 after three innings.



I'll update from the women's hoops game when I get there for the big tilt with the No. 25 Blue Raiders.

5:22 p.m. - The women's team got off to a hot start and a 10-2 lead over Middle Tennessee before the Blue Raiders rallied back to take a 13-12 lead with 13 minutes remaining on a trey by Anne Marie Lanning.

The game started a few moments late as seniors Susan Beauzil, Jana Momoh and Mercedes Thompson were honored bfore the game.

It may not be the last home game for the Owls, however. They are still in the hunt to play host to a first round game in the SBC Tournament on March 4. FAU is 7-8 in the SBC and if the season ended today would be No. 7 in the league and seeds 4-8 host.





5:57 p.m.
Upset alert? Behind 11 points from Carla Stubbs, FAU leads No. 25 MTSU 39-33 at halftime.

And a quick update from baseball ...it's 5-5 in the top of the seventh.

6:24 p.m. - In FAU's baseball game vs. Fordham the Owls lead 9 - 5 after seven. Criaris three run jack that landed atop the batting cage.

Here at The Burrow, the Owls are in control and lead MTSU 58-46 with 11 minutes remaining.


The softball team is facing Arkansas, so I walked over there during haftime, but the game didn't start on time, otherwise I would had an update on that.


7:29 The action is coming in fast now. The baseball team wins 11-5 thanks to William Block's 2-for-4 day and John McCormack is 2-0.

But the big news on Super Saturday is the women's basketball team defeating a ranked team for the first time in school history with a 73-30 win over MTSU.

8:24 p.m.
Men's game is at halftime with FAU leading 31-29.

On senior night Carlos Monroe got the start, scored the first basket for FAU and didnt score again in the first half.


9:55 p.m.
- The FAU men didn't follow the women's lead and fall to MTSU 74-68. Paul Graham had 18 points but it wasn't enough

FAU approaches its real Super Saturday

A few weeks back we ran the headline "Super Saturday" to describe FAU basketball's victory over Louisiana-Lafayette - the Owls' first conference win of the season - which occurred on the eve of the Super Bowl.


Perhaps we here at FAUOwlAccess.com were a bit premature. Take a look at how much "Super" potential exists for this Saturday.


Baseball jump starts the festivities with a 4 p.m. first pitch to Fordham. An hour later, women's basketball tips against Middle Tennessee. Softball is scheduled to host Arkansas at 6 p.m. Men's basketball will get started sometime around 7:15. And softball finishes the night by following their contest against Arkansas with one against Fordham.


There is reason to be intrigued by all of these games. For baseball fans, it's the opening series of the season. Had it been the opening game, which will be played tonight, it would be the must-see game of the weekend. Still, the weekend weather is expected to be beautiful and a trip to the ballpark is pretty good way to start an FAU sports buffet.


Joan Joyce's Owls won six of their first eight before falling to Florida and Coastal Carolina over the weekend. Arkansas of the Southeastern Conference enters Friday's softball action with a similar 6-3 record. FAU and Arkansas will have played an afternoon game on Friday, so the Owls will either be looking for a sweep or revenge. Both have their merits. And regardless of what happens against Arkansas, FAU will have to stay focused to beat Fordham.


Men's basketball would normally be considered the marquee game of the day. After all, it's Senior Night. The Owls will say goodbye to Paul Graham, one of the most prolific scorers in program history. It will also be the last home game for Carlos Monroe, a preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year candidate. But this game is pretty much meaningless for the Owls. FAU has to win its final three games and three other Belt teams have to lose out in order for the Owls to possibly not finish last. Did your pulse just quicken?


As surprising as this would have seemed a month ago, the game to watch on Saturday is the women's game. It's also Senior Night for Chancellor Dugan's crew. The Owls will honor Mercedes Thompson, Jana Momoh and Susan Beauzil, but it is the underclassmen most responsible for the Owls being in contention to host a Sun Belt tournament game. Middle Tennessee, Saturday's opponent, enters FAU Arena undefeated in conference play. The Blue Raiders handled the Owls 90-64 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. earlier this season, but FAU has been competitive at home this season.


And don't forget the odd ending of last year's game at FAU Arena. MTSU's Latoya Barclay drained a last-second three pointer to tie the game. As the shot was released, FAU's Andrea Taylor was whistled for a foul away from the ball. MTSU's Jackie Pickel couldn't win the game from the free-throw line, but the Blue Raiders proved superior in overtime.


Think that game has been talked about this week? The Lady Owls should produce a spirited effort, and a win would go a long way to bringing one more basketball game to FAU Arena.


FAUOwlAccess.com will be all over FAU's campus on Saturday. For those who can't make it, we'll keep you updated. For those who head over there, make sure you stop either Marcus or me and say 'Hi.' These are the kinds of days college sports fans live for.

More Sun Belt games on TV sound like a remote possibility
The Sun Belt Conference announced a new agreement with ESPN today that opens up some new opportunities for the league to get more than two football games televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU in the future.

You can read the full official announcement here of the Sun Belt signing a new agreement through 2012.

More Sun Belt games on TV would certainly be something to get excited about, but the new deal doesn't say that is definitely going to happen. In fact, the agreement doesn't guarantee anything except for two games to be televised to a national audience. That's right - the same as last year.

Yes, there is the possibility additional games will be added, but I hardly see the Worldwide Leader in Sports telling the SEC to re-schedule a game because the Sun Belt has an important tilt coming up.

After all, ESPN is already busy coming up with its football schedule for the fall and if it was definitely going to show an additional Sun Belt game, why didn't
the Sun Belt just announce there would be more than two games on the ESPN Family of Networks in 2009?

I think I'm going to wait for the TV schedule to come out before I start slapping the Sun Belt honchos on the back for a job well done for getting a few more basketball games on the air.

Listen, the Sun Belt knows keeping status quo is the same as moving backwards and the leaders are showing they are aware of the things the need to do to raise the profile of the conference.

Now it's time to start making progress toward doing just that.

The Sun Belt doesn't need bowl "agreements" that allow their good friends in third-rate bowl games to shop elsewhere to fit their needs like what happened in 2008. The conference needs solid tie-ins with bowl games that GUARANTEE spots for Sun Belt teams that are bowl eligible.

And this most recent sign of progress sounds like more of the same.

The conference doesn't need the "possibility" of more games on TV, it needs to GUARANTEE more games will be on TV.

As they say, we'll stay tuned.

I hope I am proven incorrect, but I have a feeling what we'll all going to find.
Of phantoms, red-headed girls and crazy cars, FAU style
An obviously irritated (who could blame him?) Mike Jarvis made some interesting points during his post-game radio interview following last night's 79-66 loss to unheralded Savannah St.

Jarvis, perhaps drawing on some St. John's nostalgia, offered a Broadway metaphor to explain why the Owls played so poorly in the first half.

'You've got to follow the script," said Jarvis, shown on the right in an FAUOwlAccess.com photo from a previous game. "Before the game we have a very detailed script. It's like actors on Broadway. You don't all of the sudden turn Annie into the Phantom of the Opera. You read the lines from Annie. And tonight we didn't read the lines from Annie. We read the lines from Phantom of the Opera and we were in the wrong opera house."

While the metaphor works, perhaps Jarvis was aiming a bit too high. What was hoped to be Annie actually seemed more like Carrie - Stephen King's story that was turned into a Broadway musical (Think about that!). While Carrie would be better than Phantom because the horror is presumed greater - at least in the original King version - it also works because Carrie came to the stage with plenty of fanfare only to become widely regarded as one of Broadway's greatest flops. Now playing at The Burrow...

Among the prime targets of Jarvis' displeasure was freshman Chris Watson, who provided a play that epitomizes the Owls' season. Trailing by 23 points in the first minute of the second half, Watson came up with a steal and raced down the floor all alone, only to blow the dunk.

"This is not a dunk contest," Jarvis said. "This is a game of basketball. Two points is two points. That should have been a lay-up off the backboard in case you miss, you get the rebound. We don't practice dunking the ball. We practice coming in, going up and laying the ball in.

"If you don't carry over into the game what you do in practice, no mater how much physical talent you have - and Chris Watson has all the physical talent in the world - he's not a basketball player. And the only way he is going to become a basketball player is if he carries over from the drills in practice into the game."

As can be expected, Jarvis was a little more upbeat prior to the game, especially when he talked about future scheduling. He said that while the Owls need to travel to some big-name schools to receive the financial payout, money isn't everything. He listed two other priorities.

First, he is looking to get home-and-home series with schools in areas where they recruit. Places like New York, so players like Shavar Richardson can return to play in front of family and friends. Philadelphia schools work, too. The hope is not to play the likes of Seton Hall or Villanova. Think mid-majors like Manhattan.

Jarvis' second priority is to try to play the best schools in Florida. He pointed to a game against UF and added that the Owls are trying to schedule Central Florida. FAU and UCF played twice a year when both were members of the TAAC and the Atlantic Sun conferences, but that relationship hasn't continued.

"We are trying to get balance," Jarvis said.

chuck
Baseball to unveil new look


Florida Atlantic's baseball team won't just have a new coach this season.

It will also have new uniforms.

Take a look at these - one of three home uniforms the Owls will have this season.

For those wondering, this is the first time since Kevin Cooney took over the team in 1988 "Owls" will appear on a uniform. Many will remember under Cooney, the team was often called "The Blue Wave" and had its own logo and uniforms and caps.

I kind of liked that and the school considered changing the nickname to The Blue Wave in 2003 during the branding initiative that gave us the current logos.

I don't mind the Owls, but the Blue Wave would have been really unique and would have had some cool merchandise with it.
JUST IN: Monroe makes trip, expected to return
FAU senior forward Carlos Monroe will make the trip for Wednesday's game at Savannah State and is expected to return to action vs. the Tigers.

Monroe isn't expected to play many minutes vs. Savannah State, but the hope is to have him gradually get better so he can be productive during the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, which begins March 4.

Monroe hasn't played since Jan. 8 due to a foot injury.

Check back later today for more in our game preview of Wednesday's game.
Bliss keeps swinging
It's hard to start a season much better than the way Caitlyn Bliss has launched the Owls' 2009 campaign. How hot is she? Bliss' .462 average over the weekend tournament in Gainesville actually lowered her season batting average to .500.

The Sun Belt named Bliss the conference Player of the Week following the season-opening week. The conference honored her again on Monday, this time handing her co-Player of the Week honors - sharing the award with Gabriele Bridges of Louisiana-Lafayette and Lindsay Antone of Western Kentucky.

Bliss' 13 hits lead the Sun Belt, as do her four doubles. She's fourth in the Belt in total bases with 19.

Bliss was one of two FAU softball players feature in the FAUOwlAccess.com season preview. We highlighted the fact that Bliss and teammate Becky Brandies like to hunt, which is why Bliss is holding the bat like a rifle in the photo. We didn't get to spend too much time with the Lady Owls, but the time we did have was enjoyable. There's plenty of interesting personalities in that group of players.

The Owls are off to a 6-4 start to the season. They return to the field on Friday as hosts of the FAU Strike Out Cancer Invitational. The Owls will face the likes of Arkansas, Missouri and Providence during the three-day tournament.

Chuck
Can FAU win on the road?
The 40 minutes that follow the tip-off of FAU's tussle at South Alabama a few hours from now stands to provide an interesting measuring point for the Owls.

The Jaguars' five-point victory at The Burrow on New Year's Day offered a glimpse of what most of 2009 would be like for the Owls. FAU was competitive, only to come up shy when Carderro Nwoji's attempt to send the game to overtime with a late 3-pointer was rejected.

Today's Owls are quite different from the ones that came so close a month and a half ago. FAU was only beginning to cope with the loss of Xavier Perkins. Paul Graham led the Owls with 25 points, followed by Carlos Monroe's 21. Shortly after that game Graham fell into a shooting slump from which he just recently started to emerge.

Monroe played only one more game after the loss and the Owls have looked like they can play without him only in the past few games. Those lessons may pay off with a more balanced offensive effort if Monroe is able to return next week, but for now FAU has to take the approach that an out-of-game-shape Monroe will be a limited factor for the remainder of the season.

To beat a team like the Jaguars without Monroe, the Owls need to shoot well from the outside. That didn't happen in the first match-up, when the Owls were 2-of-13 from behind the arc. They will also need to play the Jaguars' big men to a draw.

South Alabama is not big - their tallest starter, DeAndre Coleman, is listed at 6-foot-7. With Monroe on the court, the Owls did a good job of containing what passes for the Jaguars' inside game. Brett Royster, who fouled out in 26 minutes in the first meeting but has done a better job of staying out of foul trouble recently, needs to stay on the court. If Chris Coleman can continue his surprising late-season play, that could provide an interesting match-up problem for the Jaguars.

If the Owls can produce some sort of inside presence, FAU's guards simply have to limit the damage from USA guard Domonic Tilford, who went for 27 points as part of his new year's celebration.

There's no questioning FAU's incompetence on the road this season. The Owls can boast a singular win away from Boca Raton, a 65-61 neutral site tournament victory over Santa Clara.

But FAU only recently has started playing like they understand what Mike Jarvis wants from them. Jarvis has said all year that the only games that really matter are the Sun Belt tournament games. He'd certainly like to see his Owls win at least one on the road prior to going to do-or-die mode. This may not be the one, but unlike most other road contests this season, there is reason to hope.
Rasheed takes job with Toledo
Florida Atlantic defensive tackles coach Eli Rasheed is taking a similar position at Toledo, sources said on Friday.

Rasheed had been at FAU since 2003.

Rasheed is the second coach to leave the Owls after offensive coordinator Gary Nord left in December for Purdue.

FAU officials would not confirm Rasheed's departure, but sources said Rasheed will be officially announced soon at Toledo, joining the staff of first-year coach Tim Beckman
High on the 'hog
Florida Atlantic basketball coach Mike Jarvis referenced the movie Groundhog Day recently because every game seemed the same when the Owls were mired in a 13-game losing streak.

Please! FAU has nothing on Denver, which lost its 43rd straight road game when the Owls defeated the Pioneers 67-61 on Thursday at FAU Arena.

Some perspective is order here: The last time Denver won a road game was at Middle Tennessee on March 5, 2006 in a Sun Belt Conference Tournament game. That was three days after Stetson ended the one-and done-season for FAU coach Matt Doherty with a 54-44 first-round upset of the Owls in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament in Johnson City, Tenn. Rodney Webb took the last shot for the Owls in the disappointing loss, but overall things looked to be on solid footing for the basketball program under Doherty.

Now that does seem some time ago!

Denver has had some close calls this season and may break the streak sooner rather than later, but suddenly FAU's 0-13 mark in road games this season doesn't look so bad, does it?
One more coming to FAU
Thought FAU football recruiting was over?
Not so fast.
The Owls' 2009 recruiting class, already hailed as the best in school history will grow by one.
Daytona Beach-Mainland offensive lineman Mike Nweze is expected to be announced as the 27th member of the recruiting class as soon as his paperwork is finalized.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Nweze was second team Class 5A All-state.
Nweze reportedly had early interest from Florida State.
Sincere still looking toward UNGL, CFL.
Cerge Sincere's career with the United National Gridiron League isn't off to the fast start he'd hoped for.

Three days before Sincere was to leave for Akron he received a phone call from the Bulldogs' general manager informing him that the start of the season, originally scheduled for this week, had been pushed back until March 22.

The GM told Sincere that two of the eight teams had yet to find a major sponsor for the coming season.

Sincere said he is still preparing as though the league will meet its March start date.

"I hope they come through," Sincere said. "I'm on the positive side. I've never been a negative person. There are a lot of economic hardships out there, so I can't really say."

Former Owls Quentin Swain and Mike Brown are also expected to join teams in the UNGL. Sincere said he hasn't talked with either player since the league postponed its start.

Sincere is still in South Florida, but he isn't simply waiting around for the UNGL's financing to come through. He also has tryouts scheduled with Edmonton and Hamilton of the Canadian Football League. Former FAU Owl Lawrence Gordon played for Hamilton last season.

"I don't know where I'm heading, I just know I'm going to play some ball," Sincere said.

In the meantime, Sincere may have some other duties. Belle Glade is trying to put together a parade for Super Bowl MVP and Glades Central graduate Santonio Holmes. Sincere and Holmes were teammates with the Red Raiders and it appears likely Sincere will speak during the festivities.

Check back frequently with FAUOwlAccess.com for updates. In the meantime, enjoy these videos featuring Sincere in action:

Video 1


Video 2
Signees on campus could be new tradition
If you didn't make it to Friday's Motor City Bowl celebration, you aren't alone.

FAU made the curious choice to combine the pep rally with the unveiling of the new recruiting class, which went off perhaps better than expected. It's a shame only a small, but hearty crowd of die-hard fans was there to see it.

Still Howard Schnellenberger was happy enough that he plans to perhaps unveil the recruiting class a few days after signing day next year as well since NCAA rules prohibit signees from being in attendance on signing day.

However, there will be serious consideration to having the event later than 5 p.m. if it is combined with yet another bowl celebration.

Perhaps the best part of the festivities was seeing the recruits in person and on film as their highlights were shown on the video replay board at FAU Arena.




So after seeing some of the players in action, talking to their high school coaches and the Owls coaching staff, here are who I think are the top three signees.

Cory Henry DE Carol City: Perhaps the most-highly recruited signee in school history, has a knack for fighting through blocks and getting to the ball.

Keith Reaser DB Killian: Reaser was first team All-Dade in an area that has plenty of good cornerbacks.

Nexon Dorvilus TE North Miami: He'll have to put on some weight, but looks like he would fit the mold of the fast, pass-catching tight end the Owls look for.

And here's one sleeper to watch:

James Oboh TE Sandy Spring (Md.)-Sherwood
The FAU coaching staff is happy they found Oboh and no one else did. The biggest reason is that Oboh wasn’t thought to be a prospect when he was a junior, but his high school coach said he grew four inches in time for his senior season. And the Owls are hoping his growth spurt continues.

  • It appears the coaching staff will go through a shuffle instead of hiring an offensive coordinator. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Schnellenberger will promote wide receivers coach Darryl Jackson to offensive coordinator.


    Jackson has more than 15 years of coaching experience and before spending the last two seasons at FAU, was receivers coach at Arizona State,


    If that happens, the Owls will hire a quarterbacks coach to replace Gary Nord, who was FAU's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but left after this season to become the coordinator at Purdue.

  • Switching to hoops, there is a column on FAU coach Mike Jarvis in Newsday. The thing that caught my attention was not the talk of making future NCAA Tournaments (most fans would settle just for a double-digit victories in a single season at this point) but a possible home and home series with Farleigh Dickinson and Manhattan.

    With so many snowbirds down here, those are exactly the kinds of non-conference home games that could draw a decent crowd (sorry fans of Southeast Louisiana and Missouri-Kansas City)
  • Troy vs. FAU women's live blog
    The Lady Owls are about to tip off against the Trojans for the second time this season. FAU lost the first one 62-53 at Troy. The Miami Heat dancers are here. I guess that could be inspiring.

    15:49 - FAU 7, Troy 7: Teri Stamps' 3-pointer gave the Owls their first lead at 7-5. Susan Beauzil's drive tied the game heading in the first break. Now it's time for the Dance Cam - only there really isn't anyone in the stands to dance.

    11:58 - Troy 11, FAU 7: Stubbs picked up her second foul of the afternoon on Donnette McNair's drive. Moments' later she nearly earned her third, but McNair was called for a travel. She went to the bench shortly before the timeout, replaced by Janah Momoh. Stamps also picke up her second foul entering the break.

    7:28 - FAU 13, Troy 12: Stubb's first foul has been changed to Andrea Taylor. Taylor's 3-pointer broke nearly as six-and-a-half minute scoring drought for the Owls. The Owls drew within a point when Brittany Bowe's no-look pass found Jaimie Givens alone under the basket. Bowe's look ahead to Stubbs on the break gave FAU the lead. The Owls look like they might be getting their transition game flowing.

    3:41 - FAU 20, Troy 15: The Owls are running, and it's Troy's turn to go cold. Kirsten Smith's baseline jumper was the Trojan's first field goal in more than six minutes. The Owls led by as much as seven.

    HALFTIME - FAU 26, Troy 20: Three questionable calls in a 30-second span had FAU coach Chancellor Dugan hollaring. She looked to be right on two of them. The Owls haven't played well but still head into the locker room up by a half dozen.

    SECOND HALF JUST STARTED - Enjoy the above pic taken by Marcus Nelson during the first half. Troy has outscored FAU 4-2 so far - a little more than a minute into the half. More at the first break.

    15:37 - FAU 32, Troy 26: The teams have traded baskets in the first four-plus minutes of the half. The Owls maintain their lead but this one has the feel of a ballgame going down to the final buzzer.

    11:45 - FAU 37, Troy 32: Jessica Knurick probably won't like seeing that photo at the top of the page, mostly because it's unlikely she'll want to remember this offensive performance. She's 2-of-11 from the field entering this break - though she did just grab an offensive rebound that Bowe converted for tw0. The Owls' are already shooting the bonus, but they have committed only 5 fouls.

    7:52 - FAU 42, Troy 39: Dugan burned one of her 30 second timeouts midway to the break. At the time the Owls led 40-35. Kylie Morrissy's jumper right before the expiration of the shot clock cut the lead back to three.

    3:57 - FAU 50, Troy 46: Troy's Morrissy, who led all scorers with 20 points in the team's first meeting, has just seven points so far. The baseball team just walked in sporting new uniforms. They will be signing autographs during the men's game - which follows this one. This will will go down to the last minute.
    Saying hello instead of goodbye on Signing Day
    Signing Day is one of the busiest days of the year for a reporter. It's also one of my favorites.

    It's the day where I see kids I've covered for as many as four years realize that all their hard work paid off. They get to go to college for free. They get to continue playing the sports they love.

    I get to meet their parents - many of whom never had the opportunity to go to college. It's a dream day for them, too.

    In past years I've hit as many as six local high school ceremonies in a day for the Palm Beach Post. Yesterday was a little different. Instead of concentrating in southern Palm Beach County, Marcus and I were all over South Florida for FAUOwlAccess.com.

    My day started at 8 a.m. in Opa-Locka for Cory Henry's ceremony (that's him signing in the photo). Wow, is he soft spoken. But when you see his highlight video, you understand why FAU wanted him so badly. Besides, Henry's uncle, Bo Phillips, bounded around the room with a combination of energy, pride and quotability that will make him a welcomed addition in the Lockhart Stadium stands.

    Like Phillips, Tyrie Allen's mom, Lesley, was bursting with excitement. She'd been there before. Her oldest son, Junior, plays for Missouri Valley College. Word is, she'll get to enjoy one more Signing Day. Youngest son Tevin, who will be a junior next season, may be the best player of them all. Will I be back there in a couple of years?

    The visit to Western High School also offered one of the oddest occurrences I've ever witnessed on a Signing Day. As the ceremony was winding down, the school held a tornado drill - which is similar to old school fire drills only everyone runs inside. Apparently yesterday was Tornado Drill Day across Florida. With all the excitement leading up to Signing Day, I somehow missed that little nugget. Luckily, no one had to dress like Dorothy.

    In non-windstorm related news, a large group of athletes, parents and administrators packed into what suddenly became a small conference room at Coral Springs Charter for Jamal Davis' ceremony. It will be interesting to watch Davis' development. People are discounting him because he didn't play against top competition at CSC. He certainly has the height to make an impact, and if he can maintain his speed while packing on a few pounds, he could make a huge impact.

    That's part of what made this year's signing day so interesting. In previous years I'd been saying good-bye to athletes, yesterday I was saying hello. Though I've talked with many members of the 2009 class, I'd never met them face-to-face. Now I'll get to chronicle their development – hopefully watch some of them blossom.

    It's a different perspective - a fresh way of looking at recruiting. And it offers yet another reason to look forward to football season.
    Sign, sign everywhere a sign
    A scant 24 hours ago I was all ready to question Howard Schnellenberger this year when he proclaimed this signing class the best FAU had ever had - an annual tradition at FAU.

    Oh, the class was solid to be sure and probably was up there as far as the top classes the Owls had pulled in. But THE best? There at least could have been an argument that some recent classes matched this one.

    It was a good class- but that was before King's Academy Toney Moore surprised everyone and put on an FAU hat instead of the Syracuse, Clemson or Virginia Tech hats in front him at his signing day ceremony.

    Just like that FAU's good class became great.

    So sure enough when Schnellenberger said it was the "best class" ever, I could only question how he pulled it off.

    I know the argument that you can't judge a class until a few years down the road, but the potential of this group looks pretty good today and that's the only thing I can do at this hour.

    What also kept this class' stock from steadily rising today was the fact that there were no so-called "commitments" that backed out at the last moment. We know about Donnie Jennert and Domonic Jones de-committing earlier in the process, but not a single commitment we reported was coming to FAU failed to come through.

    Usually there is one or two players who switch at the last moment and have coaches wandering the halls of the Oxley muttering under their breath.

    Not today, as the only surprises were pleasant ones.

    It is the best class in FAU history - and this time you can believe it.
    FAU lands Moore
    Just a quick post that King's Academy linebacker Toney Moore announced he was signing with FAU.

    We'll have more details in our Singing Day coverage, but this is a huge pickup by FAU as I noted in last night's blog.
    Twas the night before Signing Day
    There are some nervous coaches and high school players out there Tuesday night, but the vast majority of players know exactly what they are going to do on Wednesday - National Signing Day.

    Therefore Wednesday will be a happy day for most - and that looks to be the case for Florida Atlantic, which will welcome another solid class.

    We'll be updating our expanded chart on Wednesday as we verify signings and will update the main story often on our home page. Vistors to this site know we place a high emphasis on accuarate recruiting information and we plan to pull out all the stops Wednesday.

    It's time to get some shut-eye because Chuck King and I will be at signing ceremonies at some Miami high schools at 8 a.m. We will update the site then and multiple times Wednesday, but here's a few items before I turn in.

  • There will be an FAU hat in front of King's Academy LB Toney Moore when he reveals his college choice. Moore is deciding between an offer from Syracuse as well and was recruited by Georgia, USC and Oklahoma before a knee injury his senior year. The Owls stayed on him after that and we'll see if that paid off. Landing Moore could make this good class a great one.

  • FAU also is in the hunt for Pahokee CB Jarvis Byrd, who has committed to N.C. State. The Owls swayed another Wolfpack recruit two years ago when OL Ryan Wischnefski changed his mind.

  • The Owls have stopped recruiting St. Cloud receiver Donnie Jennert, who they beleive will sign with Iowa State after originally committing to FAU.

  • Added another verbal to our chart, and that's James Oboh, a TE from Sherwood High School in Maryland.

    And he's the final verbal for this class. Wednesday it's for real as soon as the NLI's are faxed in.

    There are always some surprises, so we'll have some fun on Wednesday.

    See you then,

    Marcus
  • Schnellenberger helps recruiting by coaching Nation
    I have heard some rumblings of criticism of FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger for coaching in the Texas vs. Nation All-Star game during the heart of recruiting season.

    However, when you consider that not only was Schnellenberger coaching in the game, he is lobbying for a "Florida vs. Nation" game to be played on FAU's on-campus stadium.

    Check out the mention of that at the bottom of this story from the El Paso Times.

    If he could do that, FAU would have a huge recruiting advantage for holding that game for years to come.

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