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Posts from February 2010

A look at FAU's path in Hot Springs

The regular-season is over, and everyone is 0-0 heading into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, Ark.

At least that's what coaches and players will be saying ad nauseum this week.

But all of those 0-0 teams are not equal.

Three teams don't have to play in the first round - No. 1 seed Troy, No. 2 seed North Texas and No. 3 seed Middle Tennessee. And that's a big advantage to play your first game on Sunday against a team which played the day before.

FAU didn't earn a bye so must win four games in four days to win the tournament. Impossible? No. Unlikely, Yes.

Let's look at FAU's possible road to the winning the tournament.

  • vs. South Alabama (No. 9) Saturday, 3:15 p.m.
    The Jags and Owls split the series, with the road team winning each game. The Jags are reeling following the late-season suspensions of F LaShaun Watson and G Raymond Sims and a knee injury to Bryan Sherrer and were 4-7 down the stretch. This is a game FAU should win.

  • vs. Troy (No. 1) Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
    FAU was 1-1 vs. the Trojans this year, winning at home 83-69 on Jan. 7 and losing 86-80 in Troy, Ala. last week. Of the three teams tied for the No. 1 seed, this is the one FAU matches up best against and presents a winnable game.

  • Semifinals, Monday, 6:30 p.m.
    This would likely be against WKU or Arkansas State. The Owls should pull for ASU, which lost to the Owls 78-63 on Jan. 23, to beat the Hilltoppers, who were 2-0 vs. FAU this season. WKU is hot, but just last week the Red Wolves and WKU played in game which went to OT before Hilltoppers G A.J. Slaughter took over (sound familiar?) and the Tops prevailed,

  • Finals, Tuesday, 6 p.m.
    Either Middle Tennessee or North Texas will likely survive out of this portion of the bracket. Both present problems for the Owls and would represent a huge challenge should FAU advance that far.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    It was quite a long day for FAUOwlAccess.com at The Burrow. We covered the loss to the Blue Raiders in women's hoops in the televised Noon game, before the men's team played in the nightcap and lost to the Blue Raiders as well.

    We also provided a report from Saturday's baseball 13-2 victory vs. Boston College.

    Today we'll be following the action from Auburn, Ala. as the Owls face Auburn.

    And others:
  • Sun-Sentinel: Middle Tennessee (sic) beats Owls to win Sun Belt


    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events
    Today
    4 p.m. Baseball vs. Auburn, Auburn, Ala.
  • Sun Belt seedings still a mess

    I kept hoping a list of possible tournament scenarios would be released by the Sun Belt Conference on Friday, so I was quite excited when an e-mail should up from the league honchos in the morning.

    Instead it was a list of things to do in Hot Springs (yes, it was a very short e-mail).

    So I've been trying to figure out the seedings and here's what I have determined - Nothing.

    This is quite year for the Sun Belt with five teams who could tie for the division lead, although FAU is not one of them.

    Over at the North Texas message board, GoMeanGreen.com they appear to have a good grasp on what the possibilities are.

    Here's something interesting. If the season ended today, Troy would win the East Division and be the No. 1 seed even though the Trojans lost to UNT during the season. The reason is that there is a 3-way tie for the top seed and Troy wins the 3-way tiebreaker.

    This is kind of important since the No. 1 seed is assured of a NIT bid. It would make more sense to me to decide the division champions first and then apply their head-to-head record (UNT beat Troy).

    This raises the possibility that a team could finish second in its division, but win the No. 1 overall seed.

    No wonder UNT fans are upset.

    FAU is currently No. 7 and could drop to No. 8 or finish in a possible four-way tie for fourth, although the Owls would lose the tiebreakers with WKU and ULL.

    Owls coach Mike Jarvis said he wanted the No. 3 seed, but beyond that he wasn't concerned on any potential match-ups.

    That's a good thing, because there certainly plenty up in the air on the last day of the regular-season.

    Owl Links
    What's being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we reported that safety Austin Jensen was released from the hospital after a car crash two weeks ago today.

    Also we have a preview of today's basketball game vs. Middle Tennessee.

    We also had a report from the baseball team's loss to Mizzou in the Auburn Classic.

    Others...
  • The Sun-Sentinel has a preview of the basketball game and a story on Jensen's release.

    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events

    Saturday
    Noon, Women's hoops, Middle Tennessee at FAU, FAU Arena (TV: CSS)
    Noon, Baseball, FAU vs. Boston College, Auburn, Ala.
    7 p.m., Hoops, Middle Tennessee at FAU, FAU Arena
  • Owls stumbling down stretch

    A week ago in this space I was writing about FAU making a claim for the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Conference.

    This morning it's analysis of a team that just lost four out of its last six games following a 78-69 overtime loss to Western Kentucky on Thursday night.

    And the news may get worse before it gets better. Coming into town for Saturday's regular-season finale is Middle Tennessee, which is still battling for the East Division Championship and possibly the top seed in the Sun Belt.

    Not only is FAU reeling, but earlier this week FAU coach Mike Jarvis talked about resting guard Sanchez Hughley this week. Hughley played 29 minutes and Jarvis said that was too many, so look for him to be on the bench for a good portion of the game Saturday.

    Off topic, but Jarvis said after the game Hughley will be back next year after there was some discussion about him not returning for the 2010-11 season.

    Returning to the present, the Owls (14-14, 10-7) face the possibility of heading to Hot Springs in a free fall unless they can beat a Blue Raiders team with plenty of motivation while the Owls have one of their top players resting up.

    Quite simply MTSU has everything to play for and FAU? Nothing, after the No. 3 seed is a mathematical impossibility following Thursday's developments.

    This certainly isn't the script I was thinking about at this time last week, but how quickly things can change.


    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we provided team coverage including our game story, analysis, photo gallery and video highlights to be posted soon.

    We also have a story on FAU junior 1B Dan Scheffler and a preview as the FAU baseball team heads to the Auburn Classic for today's game vs. Missouri.

    Today, we'll have a report on the baseball game and a preview of Saturday's basketball game vs. Middle Tennessee.

    Others...
  • Here are game stories from the basketball game from the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel
  • We usually link to articles here, not blogs because, they tend to be updated quite often, but I'm breaking the policy today. The reason is to give a heads-up to a Auburn baseball blog that asked for our help to preview FAU in the Auburn Classic. I'd be remiss if I didn't let everyone know about the fine blog, Plainsman Parking Lot. Nice job!

    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events

    Today
    3 p.m., Baseball, FAU vs, Missouri in Auburn Classic, Auburn, Ala.
    4 p.m. Softball, Loyola at FAU, Miken Invitational Tournament, FAU Softball Stadium
    6 p.m. Softball, Providence at FAU, Miken Invitational Tournament, FAU Softball Stadium


    Saturday
    Noon, Women's hoops, Middle Tennessee at FAU, FAU Arena (TV: CSS)
    7 p.m., Hoops, Middle Tennessee at FAU, FAU Arena
  • Resting Hughley a huge gamble

    The last two games of the regular season vs. Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee are huge for FAU, which could finish anywhere from first in the entire conference to seventh.

    Then why is Owls coach Mike Jarvis raising the possibility of trying to get some rest for junior guard Sanchez Hughley?

    Jarvis said he wasn't sure how many minutes he thought Hughley, who is averaging 10.2 ppg, could play this week because of his lingering injuries, especially a sore hamstring that has slowed him for the last few games.

    "With Sanchez, I don't know how many games he can play," Jarvis said. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do with him Thursday night. I am not sure how much I am going to play him. Because as much as I want to win this week. It isn't about this week."

    Jarvis is concerned about Hughley's availability for next week's Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

    "I have to have him for next week and it's very difficult for him for two games in a week," Jarvis said. "I could totally kill him this week and then not have him for next week but I'm not going to do that."

    Jarvis said the situations would dictate when Hughley would get his rest and he wouldn't give specifics, but if Hughley can play effectively, I say worry about next week when you get to Hot Springs.

    If Hughley is banged up as much as it appears, I don't see the Owls winning four games to win the title next week. If the Owls are still in a battle to earn a first-round bye it would make sense to have Hughely give it his all vs. WKU and MTSU and then rest for an entire week.

    Of course, once the No. 3 seed is unattainable for the Owls, Hughley should only play limited minutes - if any at all.

    However, as they say in the NFL "You can rest when the season is over." I like the Owls chances of trying to earn that No. 3 seed and getting an extra day of rest next week better than resting Hughley now in hopes he can play four games in four games next week - especially when Jarvis is concerned that Hughley can't play two games in a week.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com check out our preview for tonight's big game vs, the Hilltoppers. We were also at FAU Arena Wednesday night as the women's basketball team lost to Western Kentucky.

  • I usually don't go looking for articles from student newspapers, but I didn't see a story from the Bowling Green newspaper on-line. My wife said to link to the College Heights Herald- the WKU student newspaper. Full-disclosure is that my wife is WKU graduate and former editor of the College Heights Herald, which she swears is more respected than the Daily News. At least the Herald posted an preview of the game and here it is.

  • The Sun-Sentinel has a capsule of the FAU-WKU game


    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Western Kentucky at FAU, FAU Arena
  • Dalai Lama holds court on FAU's court

    The next two games will largely determine FAU's post-season fate, but the Owls don't have to battle just Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee.

    On Wednesday, the Owls were up against the Dalai Lama. You guessed it, the Dalai Lama won.

    The FAU basketball team was booted off its home court because a certain Tibetan spiritual leader had dibs on FAU Arena in the morning, when FAU usually practices. Instead of Ray Taylor working on his jumper, the Dali Lama was preaching peace.

    Owls coach Mike Jarvis took it in stride. When Jarvis was coaching at St. John's, his team's practice schedule was disrupted by the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

    After being relegated to behind a french poodle, I'm sure having the Dalai Lama on your home court doesn't seem quite as bad. And it might even bring some good luck to the Owls.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    In what I think is one of the best stories we've written since we started FAUOwlAccess.com, I hope you will check out Chuck King's story on the support the FAU football team has given teammate Austin Jensen since he was in a car accident.


    Check back later today for our preview of the FAU-Western Kentucky game and we'll also be at FAU Arena tonight for the WKU-FAU women's basketball game.


    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events
    Today
    7 p.m. Women's Hoops, Western Kentucky at FAU, FAU Arena

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Hoops, Western Kentucky at FAU, FAU Arena
    New FAU student ID check a positive step
    For years former FAU students have received what amounted to a free pass into athletic events by flashing their outdated student ID. Ticket takers were basically powerless to check whether the ID being shown corresponded with a student currently enrolled at FAU.

    That pseudo-open door policy will change beginning with Thursday's basketball game against Western Kentucky - and that's a positive for FAU athletics in general.

    In the past, checking the IDs properly had been too expensive. On Thursday, though, FAU athletics will have four portable scanners at the gate on loan from another university department to ensure the validity of student IDs. Students will still be allowed free access - they pay athletic fees to the university which cover, among other things, entrance to events.

    "We'd like to have as any people as we can, but if they are coming to the game we'd like to have them buy a valid ticket," FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said. "Current students are the only ones who are actually paying the athletic fees."

    Like it or not, tickets sales are one of the few streams of revenue for schools with athletic budgets the size of FAU's. FAU officials aren't sure how many fans used invalid IDs to enter the near-sellout game against FIU a few weeks back (photo). No matter what the number, the Owls simply can't afford to leave meat on the bone.

    Some believe the timing of the announcement is unfortunate - that FAU is trying to pull extra money from fans at a point when fans are just starting to come out to basketball games. While that may be true, this is also the best time to recoup revenue being lost to those pulling the outdated ID flash-by.

    "The push back is going to be where the people are used to sliding right through, now there is going to be line," Angelos said.

    With Thursday's game against Western Kentucky and Saturday's regular season game against Middle Tennessee arguably being two of the 10 most important basketball games ever played in The Burrow, most fans are likely to spend the 12 bucks for a general admission ticket to see their team.

    Those that don't want to? Well, hey, at least the game will be televised. Although fans may end up spending more than the ticket price to purchase a television package that carries Fox College Sports.

    So we figured we'd do our part to help some alums adjust. FAUOwlAccess.com will give a pair of tickets to Thursday's game to the fan who puts the best message board post on our site between now and the end of Wednesday. Think you're good enough? Well, we'll the the judge of that.

    By the way - Thursday's televised game will be one of three games in a three week stretch televised from The Burrow. Saturday's women's game against Middle Tennessee will be on CSS. ESPN2 carried the Pine Crest vs. Winter Park high school basketball game on Feb. 5 played at The Burrow.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what is being written about FAU

    FAUOwlAccess.com offered this story on the latest step in the football stadium project.

    Owl Cal
    A daily calendar of FAU athletic events

    Wednesday
    7 p.m. Women's basketball vs. Western Kentucky

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Basketball vs. Western Kentucky

    chuck
    Langer's eagle big for FAU
    Not only was Bernhard Langer's chip-in from the sand to win the Allianz Championship on Sunday good TV, it was also great exposure for FAU.

    Check out this video from the PGA Tour's official web site. I'm not sure how long they will keep it there, so get it while it's hot. It's worth sticking around past the 15 second commercial.

    Florida Atlantic had a partnership with the golf tournament, sending members of the Owls' golf team to serve as volunteers at the event. Among the things FAU got in return was their logo on some of video screens at the course.

    The screens cycled ads from all the tournament partners and sponsors. Guess who's ad happened to appear on the board behind Langer after he sunk the winner. OK, you don't have to guess because the photo above is a screen capture of the video, but you can still be surprised.

    Apparently even in golf timing is everything. Nice product placement by FAU.

    chuck
    FAU's Alvarez had eyes, guns popping
    Starting pitcher Kevin Alexander wasn't the only FAU hurler to make a stirring debut on Saturday.

    After Alexander dazzled FAU fans with a sharp breaking ball that helped strike out six batters in six scoreless innings, he watched fellow freshman R. J. Alvarez (photo) bring the gas.

    The Cardinal Newman grad pitched a relatively uneventful 8th inning - unless you consider striking out two of three batters faced with a fastball clocked at 95 mph interesting. (If you don't, slow pitch softball leagues are now forming).

    Alvarez fought through a sore arm during the pre-season.. In the weeks leading up to the opening series even FAU coach John McCormack wasn't sure he'd have Alvarez for the first weekend.

    Doctors cleared the 6-foot-1, 180-pound righty last week and McCormack was eager to get him into a game against Cincy. He needed 10 pitches to retire the side in order and looks like a closer in the making.

    "We'll see how his arm responds on Tuesday," McCormack said. "If he can do that maybe once a weekend or twice a weekend, I'll take that."

    While the starters garnered much of the accolades this weekend - that will happen when you combine to allow one earned run in 19 innings - the success of the pen shouldn't be overlooked. Andy Mee, who will be called on to close some games this season, walked one and struck out one before turning Saturday's game over to Glen Troyanowski. The Owls' regular closer surrendered a hit but no runs to preserve the win.

    On Sunday Alvarez, Hugh Adams, Lou Morey and Jason Boyer combined to blank the Bearcats. The two runs in three innings allowed by Ryan Garton on Friday were the only marks against the pen this weekend, and one of those runs was unearned.

    Could it be that the low run totals were partly a product of facing a Cincinnati team that had been limited by inclement weather to two outdoor practices prior to coming to Florida? Sure, that probably played a factor. But when northern teams head south for early season battles, it's their fielding and pitching, not their hitting, that suffers from a lack of outdoor work. Hitters tend to hibernate in batting cages. That being said, Cincinnati's lineup isn't going to scare too many coaches this season.

    Next weekend's tournament at Auburn, where the Owls face Missouri, Boston College and Auburn, might provide a better gauge by which to measure the Owls' staff.

    For now at least, the best measuring stick counts as high as 27. That's how many runs FAU pitchers surrendered to Fordham in last season's three-game opening weekend.

    Owl Links
    A daily guide to what is being written about FAU

    FAUOwlAccess.com covered all three games of baseball's opening weekend. Here is the game story from Sunday's outing. We also put together this photo gallery.

    Owl Cal A calendar of FAU athletic events

    Today
    6 p.m. ESPN760's FAU sportspage with Mike Jarvis at Boston's in Delray.
    FAU's seeding tumbles after loss

    By now everyone knows FAU lost its chance to control its own destiny with a tough 86-80 loss at Troy on Saturday.

    How far did the Owls tumble? I took it upon myself to try and make sense of what the tournament seeding looks like after Saturday's games.

    After poring through the data, here are the conference tournament seedings as I see them.

    It looks like the loss knocked FAU from a tie for the No. 1 overall seed to a tie for the No. 4 seed with four teams. Based on tiebreakers FAU wold be the No. 5 seed.

    The big news is that FAU not only has to win the rest of its games, but would need help to win the division or the No. 3 seed to earn a bye in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament.


    There are still plenty of possibilities for the remaining two games, and we'll know much more after Thursday night. But this much I do know - FAU can't afford to lose any more games or the free-fall down the standings board will continue.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
    At FAU OwlAccess.com, we covered the baseball team's 3-0 victory and also had coverage of the women's basketball team's victory and the loss by the men.

    We'll be out at FAU Stadium again for the final game of the three game series vs. the Bearcats.

    Here are accounts of the basketball game from the Dothan Eagle the Sun-Sentinel.

    Owl Cal
    Your calendar for FAU events
    Monday
    6 p.m. Hoops, FAU SportsPage with Mike Jarvis, Boston's on the Beach, ESPN760
    FAU's Sincere, Joseph show hoops skill
    The athletics side of FAU's campus couldn't get much busier Friday. Baseball and softball were both in action, and the Hoops for Haiti charity basketball game took place in The Burrow. I slipped away from the baseball game for a few innings to put together a video from the event. It's worth taking a look if only to see the stellar defensive play by Joseph. Seriously.



    Former FAU linebackers Cerge Sincere and Frantz Joseph played for the celebrity all-stars, joining former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, former All-Pro wide receiver Cris Carter, ESPN 760 radio host Evan Cohen and FAU AD Craig Angelos.

    Their opponent: the Harlem Ambassadors, who are essentially a Globetrotters knock off. Parts of the game were entertaining, though the pre-game droned on for an exceptionally long time. Those who came to The Burrow to see basketball didn't get to see much - it was more shtick than pick (and roll).

    But, hey, the Ambassadors played for free, donating their talents to help raise money for victims of last month's earthquake in Haiti. And there was actually a pretty good crowd.

    It's good to see the FAU community continuing its efforts to help our island neighbors.

    Owl Links
    A daily guide to what is being written about FAU

    FAUOwlAccess.com had a blast covering baseball's season opener. Here is a link to the game story. This is the pre-game photo gallery. And, of course, our video recap.

    We also put together this look at tonight's basketball game at Troy.

    Here is the Dothan Eagle's preview of tonight's basketball game.

    Owl Cal
    A daily calendar of FAU sporting events.

    8:30 p.m. Basketball at Troy
    6:15 p.m. Women's basketball at Troy.
    2 p.m. Baseball vs. Cincinnati
    6 p.m. Softball vs. Minnesota
    8 p.m. Softball vs Mississippi

    chuck
    FAU controls destiny in Sun Belt
    No, someone didn't slip something into your morning coffee. Those Sun Belt standings are correct.

    FAU is the best team in the conference - at least today they are. FAU's 77-74 victory over FAU last night combined with a couple losses by teams ahead of the Owls vaulted FAU into a 5-way tie for the conference's best record.

    If the season had ended Thursday, FAU would not only have a bye in the Sun Belt tournament, it would also be the No. 1 seed.

    Shocking? Absolutely, especially after last year's 6-win campaign. The Owls didn't win a game away from home all of last year, but are now 4-4 on the road in conference this season.

    FAU didn't play all that well in Miami. The Owls allowed far too many open threes in the first half and a few late turnovers let FIU back in the game. The Golden Panthers had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds but were turned away by a Brett Royster swat.

    Alex Tucker, Sanchez Hughley and Ray Taylor were all in foul trouble down the stretch and the Owls missed late free throws, yet FAU still won the game.

    This is not the kind of game FAU would have won earlier in the season. The Owls are learning to win in tight situations, a trait that could come in handy in the tournament.

    FAU still has games against Troy, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, so the Owls control their own destiny. Two of those teams are currently tied with FAU. The third, WKU, is probably the best team in conference.

    The Owls may not end up with a conference regular season crown or even a first-round bye. Even so, no one figured they'd be in this position. You can't blame the young Owls if they take a moment or two to enjoy the view from this high up the mountain. They've earned it.

    Razor's edge: FAU baseball coach John McCormack has a simple rule when it comes to facial hair on ballplayers: it's not allowed.

    But the rule doesn't apply in the preseason. FAU closed its final practice of the pre-season on Thursday by judging the team's beard-growing contest. McCormack gave his players a couple of weeks to grow their best facial hair. This group of baby faces could have used a little more time.

    Andy Mee, Mike Spano, Nick Delguidice and Barry Rooks reached the finals, with Spano (photo) - a freshman - being selected the winner.

    The whole squad will show up to the ballpark on Friday clean shaven. First pitch of the season is scheduled for 6:30.

    Owl Links:
    Your daily guide to what is being written about FAU

    FAUOwlAccess.com made the long, traffic-filled drive to Miami and was rewarded with an exciting finish in FAU's 77-74 hoops victory over FIU. And here's our video highlight package from the game. We also previewed FAU baseball's season-opening series against Cincinnati, which pits two long-time friends as skippers.

    Here are the Palm Beach Post's, Miami Herald's and Sun-Sentinel's take on FAU's victory in Miami.

    Owl Cal
    A calendar of events for FAU sports

    6 p.m. Softball vs. Kentucky
    6:30 p.m. Baseball vs. Cincinnati
    7 p.m. Hoops for Haiti benefit basketball game at The Burrow
    8 p.m. Softball vs. Maryland

    chuck
    FAU safety Jensen no longer in ICU
    FAU safety Austin Jensen has been moved from intensive care into a regular room and is making progress, an FAU official said on Thursday.

    Jensen had been in ICU since Saturday after fracturing his skull and pelvis while being thrown from a vehicle during an accident on I-95 while en route to FAU's football banquet.

    No timetable wasannounced for Jensen's release from Delray Medical Center.

    Jensen recorded 11 tackles as a reserve defensive back in 2009.

    chuck
    This time FAU vs. FIU about the game

    The first time FAU played FIU, there were so many off-the-court storylines, the game itself was almost secondary.

    It was Bury-the-Burrow in Red, Isiah vs. Jarvis, and the plea from Jarvis to "Stay classy, FAU."

    But once the game tipped, the Owls dominated - that is until a late game rally by the Golden Panthers that put a scare into the Owls before FAU finally held on for the 106-88 victory.

    Looking back, that late game spurt by FIU may have been beneficial for FAU. The FAU coaches have certainly brought it up this week, lest the Owls be taking the Golden Panthers lightly.

    The emphasis will be on the actual game tonight, and that's a good thing, because a loss to FIU could bury FAU's hopes for a first-round bye in the SBC Tournament.




    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    FAUOwlAccess.com was the first media outlet to talk to new defensive backs coach Dick Hopkins and we have the story right here with some highlights of his lengthy career.

    We also posted our preview of the basketball game between FAU and FIU.

    Also, here's our recap of the women's basketball team's loss to FIU on Wednesday.


    Owl Cal
    Your calendar to FAU events

    8 p.m. Hoops, FAU at FIU

    Friday
    6 p.m. Softball, Kentucky at FAU, FAU Kickoff Classic
    6:30 p.m. Baseball, Cincinnati at FAU
    7 p.m. Benefit, Hoops for Haiti basketball game, FAU Arena
    8 p.m. Softball, Maryland at FAU, FAU Kickoff Classic
    Schnellenberger: FAU DB Jensen healing
    FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger returned from Delray Medical Center on Tuesday with positive reports regarding Owls' safety Austin Jensen, who remains in intensive care.

    "He was sitting next to his bed for the first time and the swelling is going down," Schnellenberger said. "He's going to be in intensive care for another day or two and then he'll be moved down the hall to a normal room."

    Jensen suffered a fractured skull and a fractured pelvis on Saturday when the car he was riding in rolled multiple ties on I-95 en route to FAU's football banquet. Offensive lineman Max Karrick, also a passenger, incurred a concussion in the wreck, Schnellenberger said.

    "He must have hit the top of the roof, as big as he is," Schnellenberger said of the 6-foot-6 tackle. "He broke his seat-back off."

    The driver, punter Mickey Groody, and another passenger, student trainer Kevin Thorton suffered scrapes and bruises. FHP concluded that Groody was not at fault in the accident. The driver who caused the accident fled the scene and has not been found.

    Schnellenberger said Jensen's parents are by his side, and numerous teammates and friends have visited the hospital. The coach updated the entire team on Jensen's condition during the Owls' weekly Monday meeting. There are no plans for the team to make a trip in unison to the hospital.

    "I think the impromptu show of compassion and love far outstrips anything that we could orchestrate," Schnellenberger said.

    Trade time: It's not exactly the hot stove league, but there is baseball news coming in. Case in point: Yesterday the St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association announced they had traded former Owl Alex Fonseca to Pensacola.

    Back in Boca, the Owls have only two practice days remaining until they open the season against Cincinnati. Coach John McCormack made a change to the rotation on Tuesday, deciding that junior college transfer Taylor Everist will take the hill on opening night. Mike Gipson shifts to Saturday while Kevin Alexander remains the Sunday starter.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what is being written about FAU

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we examined what the FAU basketball team needs to do to earn a bye in the Sun Belt Tournament.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar of FAU events

    Wednesday
    12:45 p.m. FAU Sports Hour on owlradio.fau.edu. Lineup includes former FAU linebacker Frantz Joseph, basketball guard Sanchez Hughley, new DB coach Dick Hopkins and FAUOwlAccess.com's own Marcus Nelson.
    7 p.m. Women's basketball at FIU

    Thursday
    8 p.m. Basketball at FIU

    Friday
    7 p.m. Baseball season opener vs. Cincinnati

    chuck
    FAU G Ray Taylor unmasked

    I hope fans in the FAU student section didn't rush to go buy the Rip Hamilton-style mask (pictured) to show love for FAU freshman guard Ray Taylor.

    I was kind of looking forward to see many of the fans looking like Jason from Friday the 13th at the next home game.

    If you did rush out and buy a mask, I hope there is a return policy.

    It was believed Taylor would have to wear a mask for the rest of the season after fracturing his nose in the Owls' last game vs. ULL.

    However, after further tests were done, Taylor won't have to wear the mask after all, FAU coach Mike Jarvis said on his weekly radio show on ESPN760. You can listen to the entire show here. The remarks on Taylor are at the 27 minute mark.

    That's good news for Taylor. That thing couldn't have been comfortable.

    Also Jarvis told Ken LaVicka on the show that DeMonte Simpson "is fine" after missing the last game with a toe injury.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    The college baseball season opens Friday when FAU plays host to Cincinnati and we rolled out our preview of the 2010 season.

    We also had the expected news that Dick Hopkins was officially announced as the new defensive backs coach.

  • Sun Sentinel: Owls hire defensive backs coach

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar of FAU sporting events

    Wednesday
    7 p.m. Women's Hoops, FAU at FIU

    Thursday
    8 p.m. Hoops, FAU at FIU
  • FAU guard Taylor to wear protective mask
    He stands only 5-foot-5, making it easy to identify Ray Taylor on the basketball court (Unless, of course, he's standing in the paint awaiting a rebound. Then he kind of disappears.)

    Beginning with Thursday's game at Florida International, Taylor's going to have an even more distinctive look.

    When Taylor takes the court in Miami he will be wearing a mask designed to protect a hairline fracture of his nose incurred last Thursday in the Owls' 76-72 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.

    With five and a half minutes remaining ULL's Lamar Roberson inadvertently stuck Taylor in the face while going for a loose ball. The incident is included here as part of our video recap of the game. It happens about 30 seconds into the video.

    Taylor was down on the court for about a minute before heading to the bench to try to stop the trickle of blood that began to flow. Trainers gave him the mask on the sideline and Taylor would have worn it against the Ragin' Cajuns, but he never re-entered the game.

    The week off between the ULL and FIU games likely afforded Taylor time to become comfortable with his new on-court accoutrement. He will likely have to wear the mask at least through the remainder of the regular season.

    Taylor's 14.4 points per game is second most on FAU and his 6.1 assists per game leads the Owls.

    Owl Links:
    A guide to what is being written about FAU sports

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we delivered updates on safety Austin Jensen, who had to be hospitalized following a rollover accident that occurred while heading to Saturday's football banquet. For the story we talked with the FHP trooper on the scene who said the driver who caused the accident fled the scene and, if located, faces at least one felony charge.

    Later today we'll have our baseball season preview. Yes, it's Spring. Can't you tell?

    Owl Cal:
    A daily calendar of FAU events

    Monday
    6 p.m. ESPN 760's FAU Sportspage featuring Mike Jarvis at Boston's on the Beach in Delray.

    Wednesday
    7 p.m. Women's basketball at FIU

    Thursday
    8 p.m. Basketball at FIU
    Our thoughts are with Austin Jensen
    What normally would have been a festive occasion - FAU's football awards banquet - was dealt a significant blow when three football players and a student trainer were injured in a car accident on I-95 on Saturday.

    Austin Jensen remained hospitalized overnight following the crash, which happened while the players were en route to the event. Here is the story we posted last night.

    FAUOwlAccess.com has received numerous calls from fans and friends checking on the condition of Jensen. FAU understandably did not want to release anything other than the most basic information before Jensen's parents arrived at the hospital. That was scheduled to happen last night.

    We expect to receive an update on Jensen's condition in the coming hours and hope to bring Owl fans good news about Jensen soon.

    Jensen went through 2009's spring practice as a starting safety, but lost that role during fall workouts. At the time we admired the way Jensen accepted his new assignment. He's always given full effort on the field. We look forward to seeing him in uniform again - hopefully soon.

    Banquet notes: Aside from a microphone that worked intermittently, which was likely a problem with the hotel hosting the event, the banquet itself was a well put together affair. Every year the most anticipated portion of the banquet is the season highlight video produced by Steve Cutcher. Great job again this year, Steve. They get better every season.

    We got our hands on a copy of the DVD and figured we'd share it. They are all posted in our video center. Here are the links:

    Intro
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Finale

    Enjoy. And congratulations to Alfred Morris, David Matlock, Edward Bradwell, Willie Rose and all the other winners.

    Owl Links
    A listing of what is being written about FAU.

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we provided complete coverage of the awards banquet with this story and a photo gallery.

    Owl Cal
    Your calendar of events for FAU Sports

    Today
    11:30 a.m. - Softball vs. Chattanooga at the Elite Invitational, Clermont, Fl.
    2 p.m. - Softball vs. Georgia at the Elite Invitational, Clermont, Fl.
    Hoops team needs time to heal

    Becuause of the odd-number of teams in the Sun Belt Conference, each weekend there is a team that doesn't play.

    This weekend, that team is FAU and the Owls couldn't be happier.

    All the proof you had to have was junior forward Sanchez Hughley limping to do post-game interviews after Thursday's victory vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.


    And it wasn't just the Greg Oden-like beard that made him look old. Hughley played plenty of tough minutes, hurt his hamstring and is really showing the effects of the season.

    "I think old age is all it is," Hughley joked.

    And here's the best part for Hughley and the rest of the players - they have a few days off from practice as well.

    Earlier in the week FAU coach Mike Jarvis said he would give the team off for a few days if he liked the way they played on Thursday. After the game he admitted, he was going to give them some R and R time no matter what.

    So the team is off and the players defintetly deserve it.

    "I was going to do it whether we won or lost, but it's always better to do it after a win, so they think they are getting a reward," Jarvis said. "But we do need a few days off."

    Owl Links
    Your guide to what's being written about the Owls
    At FAUOwlAccess.com we posted our video highlights package from Thursday's game ansd had our season preview for the 2010 softball season.

    And while the basketball team is off, the FAUOwlAccess team will be working at today's football banquet. Check back later for the list of award winners.
    FAU to host basketball game to raise money for Haitian relief
    The FAU community continues to find ways to aid the victims of last month's massive earthquake in Haiti.

    The school's latest venture, dubbed Hoops for Haiti, is a basketball benefit game at The Burrow on February 19 featuring the Harlem Ambassadors against a group of local celebrities.

    Former FAU football players Frantz Joseph and Cerge Sincere are scheduled to headline the local team, which is also expected to feature ESPN 760's Evan Cohen and FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos. A few weeks ago Sincere led a hugely successful relief drive at the Oxley Center for the victims of the quake (photo).

    The Harlem Ambassadors are a traveling basketball entertainment group similar to the Harlem Globetrotters.

    FAU student government has become the driving force behind the event, and they are partnering with the SGA over at Lynn to help make it happen. Lynn, of course, had a group of students and faculty members in Haiti at the time of the quake.

    Admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring water, non-perishable food, hygiene supplies or monetary donations. The donations will benefit Food for the Poor and the Lynn University Haiti Crisis Fund.

    Tip-off isn't slated until 7 p.m., but the Ambassadors begin their entertaining warm-up routine around 6:15.

    It's great to see that FAU is still involved with getting relief to the people of Haiti, and is also willing to help a fellow university in a time of mourning. For those who can't make it, FAUOwlAccess.com will be on hand to bring highlights of the game.

    Owl Links
    Your daily source for what is being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com, we brought you coverage of last night's thrilling basketball victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Video highlights from the game will also be posted shortly.

    Here are the Palm Beach Post and the Sun-Sentinel's accounts.

    Owl Cal
    A calendar of events for FAU athletics

    Today
    Noon - FAU softball opens the season vs. Chattanooga in the Elite Invitational in Clermont, FL.
    2 p.m. Softball vs. Tennessee

    chuck
    FAU set to play Michigan in 2012


    FAU might as well start paying taxes in Michigan.

    It appears the Owls will play at Michigan in 2012 barring any snags in the final negotiations.


    "It looks like both sides are ammenable to it," said FAU AD Craig Angelos.


    FAU has played at Michigan State, played in Detroit for the Motor City Bowl, will play Michigan State in Detroit on Sept. 11 this season and will finish the three-game series with MSU in 2011.

    A game with the Wolverines, who have won more games than any other college football team, would be big for the Owls, who have played traditional powers Texas and Nebraska the past two seasons.

    The game could bring in close to $1 miilion for FAU.

    Connections with Wolverines? I could come up with a couple: Defensive tackles coach Rody Payne played for Michigan (1993-97) as did football operations assistant Grant DeBenedictis (2004-08)

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    FAUOwlAccess.com had a preview of tonight's basketball game vs. ULL and also was at the women's basketball team's victory vs. ULL.
  • Sun-Sentinel: FAU gets defensive after losing streak


    Owl Cal
    A daily calendar of FAU events

    Today
    7 p.m. Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU
  • FAU hoops has an eye on future

    As most of you saw, FAUOwlAccess was at Friday's nationally televised high school basketball game between Pine Crest and Winter Park.

    Of course, we were there to see Winter Park guard Brett Comer, who has already committed to the Owls even though he is just a junior.

    Those who saw the video we shot Fridayknow Comer did just fine in his FAU Arena debut.

    But an added bonus to covering the game at FAU Arena was finding out that FAU is also recruiting Pine Crest guard Tray Henry.

    "It's a real nice program and I liked the atmosphere here," Henry told FAUOwlAccess after the game. "I really want to see what it's like for a college game."

    The 6-foot-1 Henry also played well in the game including a nice dunk that got the crowd going. Check out the video of the dunk here.

    Look, I don't know how good a player Henry is or how serious FAU is even looking at him, but to me it spoke volumes about the state of FAU basketball recruiting.

    Henry is just a sophomore and already FAU is working on him. And I believe if they are recruiting Henry, they likely are recruiting more underclassmen.

    Most college programs do it this way, but for years FAU wasn't like most programs. Back in the day, FAU's recruiting seemed to almost rely on picking up players in the late signing period after most of the good players had already signed.

    Under coach Mike Jarvis, the Owls are doing it like they should - recruiting players early and building the program for the long haul.

    After watching the game Friday night and seeing the caliber of players FAU is looking at, you have to get a good feeling the future is going to be pretty bright for this program.

    Owl Links
    A daily guide on what's being written about the Owls

    FAUOwlAccess had this update of possible lineup changes and reported on the status of center DeMonte Simpson who may miss Thursday's game with a toe injury.


    Owl Cal
    A daily calendar of FAU sporting events
    Wednesday
    1 p.m. FAU Sports Hour with Brian Rowitz, Owl Radio
    7 p.m. Women's Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU

    Hopkins to be next DB coach?

    FAU isn't expected to officially announce its new defensive backs coach anytime soon but all signs are pointing to the Owls bringing in veteran coach Dick Hopkins to replace Kirk Hoza.

    Sources expect Hopkins to become FAU's next defensive backs coach and if hired, Hopkins will bring with him some 30 years of coaching experience including serving as defensive coordinator for several I-A and I-AA teams.

    Most recently, Hopkins was the defensive coordinator at Duquesne, where he coached last season, but Hopkins also has plenty of defensive coordinator experience at the I-A level. Hopkins was the defensive coordinator for Vanderbilt (1986-88) Rice (1984-85) Cincinnati (1983) and Duke (1981-82).

    Hopkins also was the defensive coordinator at Chattanooga (2008) Rhode Island (2006-07), The Citadel (2004-05) James Madison (1999-2003) and Yale (1993).


    Hopkins is familiar with the area, having coached at Forest Hill High School and the former Twin Lakes High School after graduating from Florida State where he played tight end and quarterback in the early 1970s.

    If FAU officially annouced its Hopkins, it sounds to me like the Owls may be getting a coach with plenty of experience.


    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what is being written about the Owls
    At FAUOwlAccess.com we talked to Rusty Smith to get an update on his week at the Texas vs. Nation All-Star Game.

    Today we also had an update on the possible lineup changes basketball coach Mike Jarvis has hinted at recently.


    Owl Cal
    A daily calendar of FAU sporting events

    Wednesday
    7 p.m. Women's Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU
    Let's see more super events for FAU

    The Super Bowl and Pro Bowl are over and it's always special when the attention is on South Florida like it was the last two weeks.

    However, I was hoping FAU could have been more involved with some of the activities.

    There was the Art and Jazz on the Avenue in Delray Beach event almost two weeks ago that featured FAU football players and coaches (see photo) and the Pro Bowl teams held a practice at the home of the Owls' home - Lockhart Stadium.

    However, I think FAU should be in the running to hold some of the practices when the Super Bowl is in South Florida and the same goes for the Orange Bowl teams.

    When you see the Pro Bowl practices held at St. Thomas Aquinas High School with cars driving down a residential street in the background, one can't help think it would have looked better to have those workouts at FAU.

    Geography is the biggest issue, but maybe in the future (like when FAU has its own on-campus stadium) some team will think its worth the extra few minutes to travel to a place with major college facilities.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we talked to Howard Schnellenberger about his one-time assistant Jim Caldwell, who coached the Colts in Sunday's Super Bowl.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar for FAU sporting events
    Today
    6 p.m. Hoops, FAU SportsPage with Mike Jarvis, Boston's on the Beach (ESPN760 and ESPN760.com)

    Wednesday
    7 p.m. Women's Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU

    Thursday
    7 p.m. Hoops, Louisiana-Lafayette at FAU
    Harmon improves draft status in Texas
    Jason Harmon's two catches for 17 yards in the Texas vs. The Nation game on Saturday in El Paso, Texas may not have been impressive, but his workouts in the week leading up to the game were.

    And looking good in those workouts is really what's most important.

    Prior to the start of practice only three NFL scouts had scheduled individual interviews with Harmon (right, photo by Ralph Notaro), a late addition to the Nation roster. By the time the week concluded seven more teams wanted to learn more about Harmon.

    Practice, not the game, is when scouts get their best looks at players and Harmon made an impression.

    "They told me they loved my hands," Harmon said on Sunday. "They noticed that I had the best hands out there - that I was really impressive."

    While the game's announcers consistently hyped Harmon as an H-back who could line up in the backfield, tight on the line or split wide, Harmon said most of the teams he talked with considered him a wide receiver at the next level.

    While he's not opposed to playing fullback, Harmon did not line up in the backfield during the game. Scouts also told Harmon he would need to add plenty of pounds if he intended to stay at tight end.

    "I like playing receiver," Harmon said. "I've not really played H-back so I don't know what to expect with that."

    The main drawback for Harmon at wide receiver is a perceived lack of speed. The scouts did not time individual players during workouts in El Paso. Harmon said many scouts told him they will be in Boca Raton with stop watches in hand for FAU's pro day on March 4.

    Rusty's mixed bag: Quarterback Rusty Smith's afternoon did not go as he would have liked, but there were some positives. With a 1:29 remaining in the first half, the Smith-led nation took over the ball at their own 1. Smith marched them to the Texas 13, allowing the Nation to kick a field goal as time expired.

    Even that drive had its disappointments, though. Smith missed an open receiver near the goal line that could have resulted in a score - a connection that likely would have been made had the quarterback and receiver enjoyed more familiarity. He also nearly connected on a TD pass to Harmon, but his hometown tight end couldn't corral the football in the end zone.

    The rest of the afternoon was forgettable. Smith's first two passes were incomplete, although the first one was dropped by former Atlantic High School and Florida State wide receiver Preston Parker. Smith fumbled the first snap on his second series. The ball was scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

    He didn't enter the game in the second half until the closing minutes of the game. The Nation once again had the ball on its own 1, but this time Smith stepped on the end line while trying to evade a pass rusher, which by rule is a safety. He also took the snap on the final play of the game, but handed off.

    Smith finished the afternoon 5-12-63 yards. Harmon said Smith garnered the attention of many scouts during the week.

    "Rusty looked pretty good," Harmon said. "In practice the receivers were dropping a lot of his passes. The receivers out there didn't have the best of hands. Everytime he put it on the money they dropped it."

    Owl Links
    A check of what's being written about FAU

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we covered the men's basketball loss to Denver and the women's victory over the Pioneers.

    Here is a look at the game from the Denver Post's perspective.

    Here is the Sun-Sentinel's.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily look at the FAU sports schedule

    Wednesday
    Women's basketball vs Louisiana-Lafayette 7 p.m.

    Thursday
    Basketball vs. Louisiana-Lafayette 7 p.m.
    Comer's national TV appearance at The Burrow caps rough week
    FAU recruit Brett Comer only scored six points and dished out five assists in his first game at his future home, but after the week he's had he'll take it.



    Comer, a junior point guard at Winter Park High School who committed to FAU over the summer, lost his father Troy to lung cancer last week. The memory of his father was still in the front of him mind when Winter Park defeated Pine Crest on Friday in a game shown to the nation on ESPN2

    "It's all for him - I'm doing this in memory of him," Comer said.

    The video above is from last night. Here is an Orlando Sentinel story about Comer's strong performance the night his father died.

    A card from the FAU basketball team signed by the players and coaches was among the condolences Comer's received over the last week.

    Comer's tough statistical night on Friday can partly be attributed to having to guard Brandon Knight, who many regard as the best high school player in the nation. After picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, Comer spent a good portion of the second half on the bench.

    Playing in a Burrow packed with nearly as many people as there were for last Saturday's FAU-FIU game, Knight finished with 48 points.

    "I thought I did all right," Comer said. "I got in foul trouble early trying to guard Brandon. When he's shooting like that you just try to hold him below 50."

    Comer's teammate Austin Rivers, son of former NBA player Doc Rivers and current Celtics coach, scored 41 points to pace Winter Park. Rivers has verbally committed to Florida.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what is being written about FAU.

    At FAUOwlAccess.com, we offered a couple previews of games FAU fans will find interesting. Here's a look at the Texas vs. The Nation game, which features Rusty Smith, Jason Harmon and Howard Schnellenberger. And this is the advance of tonight's FAU basketball game at Denver.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily look at FAU events

    Saturday
    2 p.m. Texas vs. The Nation CBS College Sports
    4 p.m. Women's basketball at Denver
    6 p.m. FAU basketball at Denver

    chuck
    Pro Day set for March 4, other key dates

    If you're like me, National Signing Day just gets you jonesing for actual football. While the real season is a few months away, spring football will be here before you know it.

    In fact, FAU has set up some dates for spring drills.

    Spring practice is set to open on Wednesday, March 31 with the spring game set for Saturday, April 24.

    Of course, none of the signees will be going through spring drills, but grayshirt Cory Henry will and there will be plenty of other things to watch. The team will definitely have a new look, so I can't wait to see how the spring drills go.

    Before that, there will be FAU's Pro Day for NFL scouts, scheduled for Thursday, March 4. Some portions of the sessions will be closed to the public, but some will be open such as the drills at the track and field complex.

    The season opener is still Sept. 4 at UAB, and AD Craig Angelos said it's starting to look like that will stay in place even though there has been some discussion about UAB wanting to move the two remaining games vs. FAU back a few years.

    The game vs. Michigan State in Detroit is Sept. 11 and the Spartan fans may not be as ticked off as we thought since it appears MSU has backed down from using a new logo.

    On Oct. 2, the Owls will travel to Tampa to face first-year coach Skip Holtz and USF.

    And, as we told you a month ago, the game at Texas is Nov. 20 in Austin, Texas.

    The Sun Belt portion of the schedule will be set possibly by March, Angelos said.

    You can always check the latest on the 2010 and other future schedules here.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    At FAUOwlAccess.com we had a report on the basketball team's 86-69 loss at North Texas

    Later today, we'll have a preview of the next game of the road trip - Saturday's contest at Denver.

    We'll also have a preview of Saturday's Texas vs. Nation game featuring FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger, quarterback Rusty Smith and tight end Jason Harmon.

  • Sun-Sentinel: North Texas dominates FAU, ending Owls five-game win streak

  • Denton Record-Chronicle: Tramiel back on track, UNT drops FAU

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar of FAU related events

    Saturday
    2 p.m. Football: Texas vs. Nation at El Paso, Texas (CBS College Sports)
    3:30 p.m. Women's Hoops: FAU at Denver
    6 p.m. Hoops: FAU at Denver
  • FAU class isn't done so don't rush to judgement
    Are the accolades and criticisms behind hurled at FAU's 2010 class warranted?

    Before answering that question remember: Signing Day isn't the end of the recruiting process. FAU really only signed 11 players yesterday - defensive end Cory Henry signed as part of last year's class but didn't enroll until January. The Owls intend to give up to three more scholarships in the coming days.

    Judging a class that still could increase by 20 percent is kind of like assessing your Christmas goodie haul before your grandparents arrive for dinner with their gifts - the next box could be the best gift of all.

    On Wednesday, FAU coaches were already talking with coaches of players who, for multiple reasons, didn't sign on the first day. Players are sometimes left with nowhere to sign after thinking they are going to a larger school only see the deal fall through in the final hours. Others don't produce qualifying test scores until late in the process. Can FAU get on or two of the good players still out there?

    The recruits FAU did sign on Wednesday fill needs. Pensacola's Jerome McClain could be a monster on the defensive line and fellow defensive tackle Willie Huggins is a bowling ball of brut force. In the coming days I expect the Owls to add another D-lineman to fill the spot vacated by Sean Watson and his Signing Day change of heart.

    Safeties Cortez Ash and David Lozandier are taller than the Owls' current safeties, have bodies that can add weight, and are fast. Could they play this year? If needed, but two years from now they could be true playmakers.

    The Owls needed at least on quarterback and signed two. I'm more impressed with Stephen Curtis every time I see highlights. He has an ability to throw on the run the likes of which no FAU quarterback has possessed. Sumter (S.C.) coach Paul Sorrells said he is the best QB that school has ever seen, which is saying something considering the school produced Penn State two-year starter and NFL backup Wally Richardson. And Nick Bracewell makes good decisions and has a strong enough arm to play at this level. Neither player appears afraid to compete for a starting job.

    Yes, FAU lost some players who were supposed to be in this class, but that may actually be addition by subtraction. I talked with Watson many times over the last couple days and it was clear he only committed to FAU to hold a scholarship while shopping for a bigger deal. Watson thought he belonged at a bigger school - and after signing with Baylor it turns out he was right - and never really wanted to come to Boca Raton.

    Quarterback Brandon Doughty rescinded his commitment after Curtis accepted FAU's offer, seeming to shy away from a quarterback competition. Is that the leader you want in the huddle?

    OK, so FAU's class is ranked at the bottom by national recruiting services. Why wouldn't it be? They don't care enough about FAU to know the players, and don't take into account the program's needs. One of the top headlines on today's FAU Rivals page celebrates senior-to-be Tavious Polo being named a freshman All-American. At least FAU has a team page on Rivals, which is more than can be said for Scout.

    Every year FAU has heard from these guys that it has been out-recruited by schools like Florida International, yet the Owls constantly batter the Golden Panthers head to head and in the standings. If a prognosticator kept telling you to bet on the Detroit Lions to win, you'd eventually ignore him, right?

    FAU signed some talented players in a small class on Wednesday, barely missing on a couple of homerun types. Those dwelling on the lack of name recognition among recruits might be wise to give the class a couple more days.

    Pioneer spirit: Wanted to thank the Darreyl Bethune and all the folks down at North Miami for their hospitality during Lozandier's signing ceremony. The photo at the top shows Lozandier receiving a celebratory fist bump from Pioneer AD Hector Gray. Beautiful new school and great bunch of people. Lozandier followed last season's signees Randell Johnson and Nexon Dorvilus from North Miami to FAU. Lots of budding FAU fans down there among the students and players. FAU fans in Boca Raton are going to love talking to Lozandier.

    By the way, FAU administrators also did a nice job handling and dispensing information on what can be a trying day. The ceremony at the end of the day in the Oxley Center was a nice way to bring the class together for the fans who attended. Fans following the action on FAUOwlAccess.com knew exactly where everything stood with the class. Which brings us to...

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what is being written about the Owls

    We had some fun at FAUOwlAccess.com, yesterday. Our Twitter updates were the first place Owl fans - and other members of the media - learned of signings. We immediately transferred the info to our Signing Central page, which provided biographical information on the players well before it was available anywhere else. Our story recapping the day was the only one featuring quotes from players telling why they chose - or in the case of Watson didn't choose - FAU. We wrapped it all up with a video highlighting the ceremonies in North Miami and in the Oxley center.

    The Sun-Sentinel offered this capsule.

    The Miami Herald's take.

    Owl Cal
    What's going on at FAU

    Thursday
    Basketball at North Texas, 8 p.m.

    chuck
    FAU may gain by losing some battles


    National Signing Day is over and FAU did not win every battle it entered to land recruits.

    In fact they lost a rather high-profile one in Pensacola-Rutherford DT Sean Watson, who had committed to FAU, but changed his mind Tuesday night when he was offered by Baylor.

    And FAU was in on a few more recruits until the last day before they decided to go to schools like Louisville, Baylor, Wisconsin and Maryland.

    I have been covering FAU recruiting since its first verbal commitment and this is the first time the Owls were in on so many players, who chose to go to schools in major conferences.


    Of course, the next step is to win some of those battles, but competing with the big boys on a consistent basis is certainly a step in the right direction.
    Things to watch on Signing Day

    Here's a few things we're watching for today's National Signing Day.

    It appears FAU has landed a solid class, if they all come in - and of course, that's a big if. And it could really be something if some of the top players they were still talking to late in the period, decide to sign with the Owls.

    Here's some things we'll be watching closely...

  • Pensacola-Rutherford DT Sean Watson, who had committed to the Owls, told us he really enjoyed his trip to Jacksonville State and has heard from Baylor and FIU in the last few days. He said he is giving other schools consideration - especially Baylor, who offered him last night. That could be trouble for FAU.

    EDIT: I'm not surprised but Watson has signed with Baylor, although Watson never took a vist there.

  • FAU was hoping to hear good news from Hialeah-American DT Roney Lozano. Lozano even went as far as buying an FAU hat Tuesday to put on the table at his signing ceremony. However, as expected, he reached for the Cincinnati hat this morning and will sign with the Bearcats.

  • I know there are those out there who are ready for this madness to be over today. However, it likely won't be as far as the Owls are concerned. FAU expects to sign a player or two in the next few days after the dust settles and players are left without an offer.
  • Let's make it official

    For college football junkies, today is the day of the year.

    It's National Signing Day - today those verbal commitments become official and fans will know who's coming to their school.

    We know it won't be the biggest class, but at the end of the day today we'll know if it's their best.

    We'll keep you posted on what's going on not only at the Oxley Center, where high schools will be faxing in the National Letters of Intent, but from the signing ceremonies of the recruits at their respective high schools.

    We'll be delivering breaking news via Twitter all through the day and you can follow all the news on our homepage. Also check out Signature Verification, where we will let you know who has signed as soon as we confirm the paperwork through our sources.

    You've seen throughout the last month who reported the verbal commitments first by talking to the players themselves. We embarked on a series we caled "30 in 30" where our goal was to bring you a recruiting story every day for a month leading up to today. It didnt turn out that way - instead we brought you more than 40 stories as sometimes news was happening too fast to limit it to one update a day.

    And we'll continue bringing you the best information today.

    Buckle up, it should be a fun ride.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls

    In addition to the final installment of our "30 in 30" series, we at FAUOwlAccess.com also posted our baseball training camp preview.

    And while we are headfirst in recruiting, we'll also have a preview of Thursday's basketball game at North Texas.



    Owl Cal
    Spartan fans seeing red

    With just a day to go before National Signing Day, we all could use a little levity.

    And I think I found something that will put everyone in a light mood before the fun begins on Wednesday.

    So FAU schedules a "home" game with Michigan State in Detroit, counting on Spartan fans to buy the bulk of the tickets so FAU can return home with a Brink's truck full of cash.

    Since the game is in a dome, it can't be affected by weather. The only thing that could keep the crowd down is a ticked-off Michigan State fan base.

    And the best way to get the fans up in arms? By rolling out a new logo that looks like it was designed in high school art class.

    Word has leaked out that MSU is considering altering its logo, replacing it with one that has Sparty fans irate to say the least.

    There has been talk of protests, including not entering the stadium until after kickoff to a boycott of new merchandise.

    Thankfully, I haven't seen any mention of boycotting the game vs. the Owls, but it appears FAU is going to be playing in front of a bunch of none-to-happy MSU fans on Sept. 11 in Detroit.


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    Your daily guide to what is being written about the Owls


    We posted a story earlier today about some of the players FAU is making a final push for today, including one player who is considering FAU even though Miami just entered the picture.

    Later today we'll have a look at the baseball team beginning its preparation for the 2010 season.

    Don't forget we are THE source for recruiting information on Wednesday.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar of FAU related events

    Wednesday
    8 a.m. Football, Players can sign National Letters of Intent
    8 p.m. Women's Hoops, FAU at North Texas

    Thursday
    8 p.m. Hoops, FAU at North Texas
    MT's Stockstill is now hightest-paid SBC coach

    I was going to touch on this last week before I got caught up with All-Isiah All-The-Time last week, but there was some pretty big football news out of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

    Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill was given a hefty $200,000 raise making him the highest-paid coach in the Sun Belt Conference.

    Is he worthy of that honor, sure - although I include Troy's Larry Blakeney and FAU's own Howard Schnellenberger in the discussion of SBC coaches who are great values.

    But, as many know until recently, the highest paid coach in the conference was FIU coach Mario Cristobal, who pulled down $403,000 last season. That seems a little out of whack.

    At any rate it's good to see MTSU step up and give Stockstill the support he needs and make the commitment to keeping him. The research I have done shows that no Sun Belt coach has left to take another job, although several have been fired. That's not good, but you also don't want to become a training ground for coaches who continuously bolt for bigger programs.

    Stockstill handled being pursued by East Carolina the right way, and was rewarded so good for him.

    Owl Links
    Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
    At FAUOwlAccess.com we broke the news about FAU's most recent commitment and had an update on what some of the players who have committed to the Owls are thinking heading into Wednesday's National Signing Day.

    If that wasn't enough, we also posted the video highlights from Saturday's basketball game vs. FIU.

    Owl Cal
    Your daily calendar of FAU related events
    Monday
    6 p.m. Hoops, FAU SportsPage with Mike Jarvis, at Boston's on the Beach and heard on ESPN 760 and ESPN760.com

    Wednesday
    8 p.m. Women's Hoops, FAU at North Texas

    Thursday
    8 p.m. Hoops, FAU at North Texas

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