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Posts from March 2009

FAU football offensive coordinator Jackson building O-line foundation

Practice had ended for most FAU football players when new offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson spied a few linemen in the corner of the practice field working with O-line coach Dale Williams.

Jackson, the Owls' wide receiver coach last season, walked purposefully over to the group to see how he could help.

"Our season is going to go how our offensive line goes," Jackson said. "We know that Rusty is our signal caller, but we have got to be able to run the ball and we've got to be able to throw it whenever we want to."

The offensive line lost three starters from last season and an injury will keep David Matlock from participating in spring practice. The vacancies have left a leadership void on the offensive line that Jackson said is just starting to be filled.

Jackson pointed to center Ryan Wischnefski, tackle Lavoris Williams and guard Kevin Miller as players who are becoming more vocal. It will be interesting to see how that develops in the coming weeks.

Another new addition to this year's spring practice is the "perfect stance" drill. Those who have stuck around until the end of practice have surely noticed this little gem. All the offensive players get into their pre-snap stances and hold it. On the whistle everyone but the quarterback falls to the ground and bounces back up. Quarterbacks jump as though they are trying to reach a high shotgun snap. Here is a video that shows what it looks like. In this video Jackson explains why they do it.

Where did the drill come from? Jackson smiled and said he adapted it from one run by a major northern football program. He runs it when players are tired, forcing the line to concentrate when they are most vulnerable to mental breakdowns.

"A mentally tough O-line will win you ballgames when it matters most," Jackson said. "People probably didn't even realize that in the fourth quarter against Central Michigan, we did not throw the ball in that last drive. We ran the ball and that was probably the most explosive our O-line looked the entire season. We played with a purpose. We have to have that from Day 1."
FAU flavor at Palm Beach County Sports HOF
Florida Atlantic football brought in some more recognition on Sunday at the induction ceremony of the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame ceremony held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

Not only was Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger inducted into the Hall of Fame, but quarterback Rusty Smith won the award for being the county's top amateur athlete. It's the second time in three years Smith has won the award.

For those that don't know, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame is a big deal around here and includes such honorees as Jack Nicklaus, Chris Evert, Gary Carter and Anthony Carter.

This isn't the first Hall of Fame for Schnellenberger, but for is the first time he is being inducted into a Hall of Fame for his body of work at Florida Atlantic. That means so much more than just earning a "lifetime achievment award." I think that speaks volumes about what he is doing at FAU and it's good he is being recognized now because certainly in the future he will be given a lot of credit for bringing college football and with it big time college sports to Palm Beach County.
Troyanowski belongs in closer role

BOCA RATON - FAU coach John McCormack made a tough call on Friday when he brought in Glen Troyanowski instead of struggling freshman Hugh Adams to close the Owls victory. It was also the right move.

Both Troyanowski and Adams have struggled this season, but Troyanowski's issue has been a lack of stamina. Send him in to throw one inning and he's been pretty consistent. Remember, he threw that 1-2-3 ninth against Miami on Wednesday.

Adams, on the other hand, has struggled in his last few outings, failing to convert his last three save opportunities. After Friday's win McCormack said Adams has lost the feel of his slider. That's particulary troublesome because the slider is his out pitch. If it's not working, Adams tosses glorified batting practice.

McCormack intended to use Adams when it looked like the Owls might take a three-run lead into the ninth inning. He would have been on a short leash. When the Warhawks cut the lead to 5-4, there was no room for error.

Troyanowski gave the Owls their best chance to win.

"I didn't want to see them get some hits on Hugh's money pitch that isn't there yet," McCormack explained following the win.

Troyanowski came through in the most important half-inninng of the Owls season. FAU had lost four of their last five games. If the Owls lose that Friday game to ULM, suddenly they are looking at dropping their third Sun Belt series of the year.

Streaks - both positive and negative - have a way of taking on a life of their owm. Troyanowski halted the negative flow for at least one night.

McCormack said he will use Troyanowski against ULM in a similar situation but stopped short of naming Troyanowski his full-time closer. That reluctance shouldn't last long. Even if Troyanowski struggles in his next outing or two, he still passes the eye test. At this point he looks more confident on the mound than Adams.

That's not to say FAU should give up on Adams. He's a freshman, and freshman frequently experience these kinds of problems. McCormack liked Adams as a closer because he can pitch. But the closer role is not a place for a struggling freshman.

Role changes often change pitchers' attitudes, allowing them to throw more easily. Maybe Adams finds it easier to throw that slider in the seventh or eight inning.

Good coaches are willing to take risks, to push players to try new roles. Better coaches realize when the experiiment is unsuccessful. McCormack pulled the plug on Troyanowski as a starter. It didn't work.

Now he has the opportunity to solidify the backend of the Owls' bullpen. Another performance like the one Troyanowski turned in Friday night should make that decision easy.

You can read about how the remainder of the series goes on FAUOwlAccess.com

Gratton keeps going: Colby Gratton drew the start in right field on Friday and responded with two more hits, including the one in the above photo. Jeremey Griffiths continues to press at the plate. Gratton looks more and more like an everyday starter.
Wyoming is last team added to FAU football schedule
With apologies to FAU, I think this classifies as "official."

The Owls are on Wyoming's schedule, which was released just minutes ago.

It'll be Wyoming at FAU on Oct. 3

I give credit to FAU for getting the home-and-home series set up.
Wyoming missing from Bowling Green's schedule, paving way for Wyoming-FAU football game?
A few weeks ago I talked to Florida Atlantic Athletics Director Craig Angelos about the possibility of adding a home game with Wyoming to complete the 2009 Owls football schedule.

Angelos said for FAU to play the Cowboys a potential game between Bowling Green and Wyoming tentatively set for this year needed to be rescheduled for the future.

At the time he said the chances for such a game were "60-40" that it would happen.

Well, it looks like those chances just got a whole lot better Thursday after Bowling Green's schedule was released and Wyoming isn't on it.

Yes, I know "nothing is official," but if any readers of this blog have relatives in Wyoming, I'd be getting the spare bedroom ready.
FAU football already in mid-season form
Wide receiver Cortez Gent was jawing at the defensive back he had just beaten for a touchdown all the way back to the huddle.

A few minutes later, linebacker Chris Eterno had to put his jersey back on after tight end Jason Harmon had pulled it off in a minor skirmish after the whistle had blown.

It certainly was spirited for the first day of practice. Except this was the first day of spring practice. - when there is usually have as much contact as a game of Monopoly. But on Wednesday, the Owls looked like they are raring to go. Forget the spring game, these players looked like thet wanted a piece of Nebraska immediately after practice.


FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger liked the enthusiaism his team had on the first day of 2009 spring.

"When you step down and the calories are burning in the weighlifting room and the calories are burning in conditioningm, this is kind of fun," Schnellenberger said.

The players showed they are fired up - and the pads don't come on until Saturday.

I think this is going to be an interesting spring practice.
UM brings large crowd, changes to ticket policy

It's 1:17 p.m. and I just arrived at the Oxley for what will be a long day at what feels like my home away from home at times.

Fans going to the baseball game between Miami and FAU don't need to get here just yet, but I would advise those coming to FAU Stadium to arrive early.

Not only is the largest crowd of the season expected for the game, but FAU has changed the ticket policy for the game, with the grandstand behind home plate now being used as reserved seating and the berms used for general admission. Usually fans can sit wherever they want for the price of admission.

From the grumblings I've heard, the long-time fans who are used to sitting where they want aren't very happy with the change.

I heard one fan pleading his case to an athletic department official that his rear end had permanently left an imprint on a particular seat he had been coming to games so long.

I hope it goes off without a hitch, but FAU had better be careful of alienating its regulars by asking them to switch seats in order to placate the large crowd - many of whom will be UM fans who won't grace FAU Stadium with their presence again.
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Jarvis' tournament analysis right on
Villanova and UCLA are about to tip-off the second round of the NCAA's. The tournament hadn't been all that interesting until late last night, when Cleveland St. and Siena made a 13-hour day at the Delray Bru's Room worthwhile. (Does it mean you go to a place too frequently when the manager hands you the clip board and the remotes, and asks you to handle the TVs for the day?)

Figured it might be fun to take a look Mike Jarvis' pre-tournament analysis to see how he fared. So far, so good.

Jarvis chose Arizona as his upset special and the No. 12 seeded Wildcats promptly dispatched Utah. He also predicted an early exit for Wake Forest. The Deacons won't even get the chance to lose to Arizona after being throroughly outplayed by the Vikings.

Incidently, that makes Jarvis' selection of Arizona as a Sweet 16 team look pretty likely, too.

All of his Final Four teams advanced to the second round, though Memphis and Pittsburgh gave reason pause. Louisville and Carolina breezed, but Lawson's toe still raises concerns.

Jarvis also said to watch out for the PAC 10 and Big 10. USC joined Arizona as west coasters who pulled first-round upsets. Five of the six Pac 10 teams advanced to the second round. And while Illiois of the Big 10 did get sent packing by the Sun Belt's own Western Kentucky squad, No. 12 Wisconsin made up for it by knocking off No. 5 Florida State.

All-in-all an excellent record, and one I'm using to stay in contention the Dirty Bird's bracket challenge.

FAUOwlAccess
will check with Jarvis on Monday to get his opinions of the first two rounds and see what he thinks the rest of the tournament holds. Until then, enjoy one of the best weekends of the year.

chuck
Irish eyes weren't smiling Tuesday
There were plenty of smiles on the faces of the many Owls fans at FAU Stadium on Tuesday

However, chalk the giddiness up to an exciting come-from-behind victory by the Owls over Rutgers. Until then, the Owls faithful didn't seem to be in a celebratory mood.

Oh, the game was plenty entertaining, but many who made up one of the larger crowds of the season were there to take in some college baseball, and celebrate St. Patrick's Day. It's been an annual rite at FAU Stadium since former baseball coach Kevin Cooney, a true Irishman, turned the holiday into one of the most enjoyable days of the season at the ballpark when he took over in 1988.

Tuesday's game was indeed on March 17, but there were very few reminders that the game was anything out of the ordinary. Yes, it was nice to see the Irish flag paint-scheme on the bases and the Gaelic music in between innings was a nice touch. But unlike in years past, FAU didn't don the green T-shirts, socks or hats that really made the annual St. Paddy's day game an event.

The St. Patrick's Day game is - or was - an FAU institution, which is a a very rare thing.

Although we always knew Cooney worked hard at creating the festive atmosphere on this day each year, no one believes such things should be placed on the shoulders of new coach John McCormack. McCormack, another true Irishmam, is in his first year as a coach and his concern should be winning games - something he's doing a pretty good job of doing as the Owls' 13-3 record can attest.

The real question is could others on campus have been done more to help preserve one of the few, true "traditions" at FAU?

As with everything these days, the top excuse is that there is no money in the budget for such things. But how expensive would it have been to have bought green T-shirts to wear with FAU's sleeveless jerseys as the team did in the past? Cooney often used the washer at his home to dye socks green and that isn't going to bresak anyone's budget.

No, it just sounds like "no money" is code for "no interest."

But most of the fans at FAU Stadium had green T-Shirts (paid for by the FAU Student Government Association) which were given out before the game, which is a true sign that the student body is still supportive. Hey, maybe next year the SGA could give the team some of their green shirts if no one else will.

Unfortunately, those fans wearing the green had their pre-game enthusiasm zapped quickly when it became apparent this St. Patrick's Day at the ballpark wasn't going to be like in year's past.

It's just a shame that one of the few real traditions at FAU appears to be ready for an Irish wake due to a lack of interest by many of those who should be supporting the baseball program.

Someone please cue "Oh Danny Boy." I fear a FAU tradition is about to die.
BU has yet to contact Jarvis II
March isn't just a time for brackets, it's also a time for NCAA coaching searches. One of the rumors making the circuit has FAU coach Mike Jarvis II (pictured, right) being a potential candidate for the vacant head coaching job at Boston University.

I talked with Jarvis Sr. a few moments ago and he said BU has not contacted his son about the position. Jarvis, though, thinks his son would be a good fit.

"My hope is that he will get an invitation to be interviewed and if he does the rest is up to him," Jarvis Sr. said. "If they want to get the next upcoming, rising star, Mike definitely fits in that category."

Jarvis II was born and raised in Boston. He both played and was an assistant coach for the Terriers.

When Jarvis II joined his father on the FAU staff, many assumed he was being groomed to take over the job once his father retired. The elder Jarvis said that is not necessarily the case.

"I'm grooming him to be the best that he can be, and if an incredible opportunity comes along that is a good fit, he is certainly going to have my support," Jarvis Sr. said. "I intend to be at FAU a long time. To be honest with you, I expect him to be able to accept or decline coaching jobs long before I am ready to hang it up."

Look for more from coach Jarvis on the main FAUOwlAccess.com site shortly.
Atlanta wasn't really part of the plan

The FAU baseball team's wild weekend didn't end with the Owls sweep of Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday. In some ways it was just getting started.

The team chose to fly out of Lafayette's airport. There are no direct flights between Lafayette and South Florida and entire team couldn't fit on one flight, so half the team connected in Houston, while the other half went through Atlanta. Rain delayed the take-off of both flights and both landed minutes before their connecting flight was scheduled to depart.

The Houston group made their connection. The Atlanta group was not so lucky. Coach John McCormack (photo, right) and half the Owls spent the night in Georgia and have yet to leave the no-so-peachy state.

This after the Owls spent all of Saturday at the ballpark dodging raindrops only to have to finish the ninth inning on Sunday morning. That game then went to extra innings before the Owls prevailed. FAU won the second game 8-3. The third game was canceled.

As bad as getting stuck in Atlanta can be, the Owls did catch one break. McCormack already designated Monday as the team's off-day for the week, so they won't miss any preparation time before hosting a two-game series with Rutgers beginning Tuesday.

Glen Troyanowski is expected to start Tuesday's game, but will be on a pitch count after recording the save on Sunday morning. Brent Adheen will start on Wednesday. We'll have a complete preview of the series on FAUOwlAccess.com in a few hours.
Could BU have interest in Jarvis? (no, not that one)

Is the college basketball coaching carousel going to affect FAU again this year? Possibly, according to this interesting item in a blog by ESPN's Andy Katz today that mentions FAU assistant coach Mike Jarvis II - the son of the FAU head coach in mentioning candidates for the opening at Boston University.

"Skinner's top assistant Pat Duquette should be one of the top choices for Boston University along with Pitt associate head coach Tom Herrion (expect to hear Louisville assistant Richard Pitino as a candidate, as well as former Providence coach Tim Welsh and Florida Atlantic assistant and BU alumnus Mike Jarvis II). If Duquette were to ever leave, Skinner has a rising coaching star on the bench in assistant and former URI guard Preston Murphy. Talk to Murphy and you'll see someone who has a great grasp on the game, relates well to players and gets the biz."


It's no secret that Jarvis II is being groomed for a head coaching job by his father, who began his college coaching career at BU from 1985-90. That big break could be at FAU or it could be somewhere else - like BU.
With FAU away, Rutgers will play
This is a fantastic weekend for basketball, as anyone who enjoyed all six overtimes in last night's Syracuse win over UConn can already attest. I actually spent Wednesday night with an old high school buddy who is now a professor at Syracuse. It's his spring break, too. As we watched the Orange down Seton Hall, my buddy lamented the Cuse's season-long inability to sink free-throws.

Well, they solved that problem last night, didn't they?

Then woke this morning to see UNC hold off Va. Tech. Think I'll be spending my free moments over these next couple days watching hoops.

But there are those of you who aren't basketball fans. You can't get your FAU baseball fix this weekend without a trip to Cajun land. You can, however, perform some scouting duties for the Owls.

Rutgers is playing Penn St. today, tomorrow and Sunday at FAU Stadium. This afternoon's game is already underway. Saturday is a doubleheader starting at noon. Sunday's game offers a 1 p.m. first pitch.

After taking Monday off, Rutgers will be back at FAU Stadium to take on the Owls. The Scarlet Knights and Owls meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, by which time everyone on campus should officially be tired of the official state university of New Jersey (insert what exit? joke here).

For those looking for a slightly larger, day-glow ball, the Owls' softball team hosts the Parent's Weekend tournament, which also starts today. The Owls face Liberty, which they defeated 4-1 last night, at 6 p.m. and follow that with a game against Texas A&M.

Rutgers is the opponent on Saturday at 6 p.m., and the weekend concludes Sunday with a 3 p.m. game against Bethune Cookman.

As for FAUOwlAccess.com, join us regularly this weekend for stories documenting the Owls' play in the land of gumbo and any other news that may break.

chuck
FAU waiting to welcome Wyoming
Florida Atlantic is still trying to wrap up the last opponent for the 2009 football schedule, but rampant speculation that the opponent will be a home game vs. Wyoming appears to be just that - speculation.

Athletic Director Craig Angelos told me this morning that FAU is talking with Wyoming about a game, but those talks are far from complete.

The biggest stumbling block to playing host to the Cowboys this fall - and playing a game in Wyoming 2014 - is the fact that Wyoming will have to get out of a game with Bowling Green, which will set off a domino effect with a few other MAC teams who will have to switch opponents and/or dates.

Or to put it in simpler terms - the game will only happen if MAC teams are willing to shuffle some dates.

So it's really out of FAU's control and Angelos himself put the chances of having the game materialize at "60-40." That means there is a 60 percent chance the Owls and Cowboys will meet this season. I guess that's better than 50-50, but only by a little bit by my math skills.

Wyoming, off a 4-8 season, would be what Howard Schnellenberger calls a "C" team - an opponent that the Owls should beat. I think FAU would likely be a slight favorite in a game between the two schools at Lockhart Stadium

FAU has a "Plan B" and could involve a I-AA team, but probably won't involve a neutral site game such as playing South Florida in Orlando as we mentioned in this space a few weeks back. Also on the table was a meeting vs. Ole Miss in Memphis that didn't come to fruition.

Stay tuned as we try to sort it out, but it appears FAU officials are working hard to finalize the game quickly and we won't have to wait to find out if it's Wyoming - or whoever.
Will the right side be right?
It's not unusual for midweek line-ups to look dramatically different from the ones posted during the weekend. These games are traditionally looked upon as a time to get some of the younger guys more playing time. After all, weekend conference series are the ones that matter most.

Today's line-up for FAU should be particularly interesting, though, especially right side of the Owls' infield. First baseman Travis Ozga tweaked a hamstring in Saturday's game and didn't start the series finale. Sean Bukovich drew that assignment, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Ozga felt good enough to swing the bat, but not good enough to run the bases, which is why he was able to pinch hit late in the game, then was lifted for a pinch runner after drawing a walk.

It wouldn't be surprising to see FAU coach John McCormack play it safe and utilize Ozga in a similar role today against Monmouth, hoping Ozga can provide a mini Kirk Gibson moment if need be.

The more curious case may be that of William Block (in photo). Normally one of the Owls most consistent hitters, Block needed to be pinch hit for in a crucial late-inning at-bat because an injured hand wouldn't allow him to properly grip the bat.

Following Sunday's game, McCormack said that Block had aggravated a previous injury - likely while diving for a ball in the middle innings - which explains his failed bunt attempt and strikeout in the seventh.

McCormack wasn't sure of the extent of the injury, but if Block is suffering any lingering effects, it's a good bet he'll be resting on Tuesday.

If Block isn't in the lineup, look for Joey Burkhalter, who is 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs on the season, to take over at second.

FAUOwlAccess.com will be at the ballpark on Tuesday. We'll let you know the line-up before the game starts and have a full report following the game.
Basketball's future on display
UPDATED: You can see a big part of the future of FAU basketball this week in Lakeland, where the boys high school state basketball championships are taking place.



Of the three players from Florida who signed with FAU in the early period, two have a chance at a state title and another narrowly missed making it to the state semifinals.

Having recruits playing this deep in the season is not an accident.

FAU coach Mike Jarvis wanted players who were from succesful programs because those players know how to win.

"We have two playing and we almost had two more," Jarvis said. "We think we have some winners and that's exciting for our future."

Here's a look at how the future Owls and what they have on the line:


  • Greg Gantt, G Gainesville
    Gantt had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Gainesville to a Class 5A state championship victory vs. Clearwater on Friday night.

  • Jordan McCoy, F Orlando-Olympia
    McCoy had nine points and 11 rebounds in Orlando-Olympia's 63-44 victory over Winter Park in the Class 6A semifinals Thursday night. The Titans, which have six seniors who are projected to play in college, will play Miami-Coral Reef for the Class 6A state title Saturday at 7 p.m. UPDATE: McCoy scored just one point in Olympia's 69-60 loss to Coral Reef in the title game.

  • Ray Taylor, G American Heritage
    Had a game-high 27 points, but the Patriots lost to Pine Crest in a Class 3A regional semifinal last week.

  • Miami Pace F Darren Stewart
    Stewart, who who has verbally committed to the Owls, had 11 points but Pace lost out on its bid to win three consecutive state titles by falling to Cocoa 66-65 in the Class 4A Regional Final last week.

    But Stewart's pain isnt all bad news for Owl fans. The player that made the game-winning shot in that game was Cocoa's Winfred Strickland, who signed a football scholarship offer in February to play DB for the Owls.

    Strickland and 29-3 Cocoa play for the Class 4A state title Saturday vs. Springstead. UPDATE: Strickland had seven points in Cocoa's 75-60 victory vs. Springstead to win the state title. Strickland and Cocoa also won the state title in football, so the next statement still stands.

    Sounds like the football team has some winners, too.
  • McCormack still evaluating Owls as Sun Belt play begins
    Make no mistake, FAU baseball coach John McCormack is excited to see how well the Owls perform in Sun Belt play. He's been talking about the importance about starting strong in the Belt - and that begins with tonight's conference opener when the Owls host Arkansas-Little Rock.

    He just wishes the NCAA didn't force the Owls to schedule the game so early in the season.

    "I wish we had one more weekend before we got into it, but with our conference being so large, there's no other way to do it," McCormack said.

    The NCAA moved back the start of the baseball season. The condensed schedule kept the Owls from playing a couple weeks worth of pre-conference games that normally would be used by McCormack and his staff to evaluate players.

    The new scheduling is inconvenient, but it's fair in the sense that it affects every team in the Sun Belt. Trojans' coach Scott Norwood likely still has questions he would have liked answered about his team prior heading into the games that matter the most.

    Where the change affects the Owls the most is in their pitching staff. For the third week in a row FAU's weekend rotation will go Mike Gipson, Barry Rooks and Glen Troyanowski. If the trio pitches well, McCormack likely won't make any changes.

    If any one of them struggles, though, the Owls could turn to Adam Morrison, who made his first start of the season in the Owls' victory at Florida. The way McCormack talks gives the impression that he feels Morrison has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He simply got a late start on this season while rehabbing an elbow injury.

    McCormack wants to see Morrison pitch a couple more times before he considers moving him to the weekend. In previous years, McCormack could let Morrison get those starts and still make the change, if necessary, before the start of conference play.

    Keep that in mind as the Owls face the Trojans' top-two starters, Jake Sullivan and Adam Champion, who have combined to allow one earned run in their first 28 1/3 innings.

    I'm up at Roger Dean Stadium right now getting ready to cover Mets/Cards spring training game. As soon as I file that story, I'll be meeting up with Marcus at FAU Stadium. FAUOwlAccess.com will have complete coverage of the weekend series, so check back frequently. And if you have any questions, send them our way.

    chuck
    Even brief success a tall order for basketball team
    While this basketball season has probably felt like it couldn't get
    any worse for Owl fans, recently I've been thinking about a season
    that was, in fact, worse.


    In 1999-2000 I was on the first full year of covering the FAU beat
    for the Boca Raton News after covering the last few months of the
    previous season.

    If FAU faithful thought winning just six games was tough, how about
    watching a team win one game in the regular season - against a
    Division II team no less. That's right the Owls were 1-27 in the
    regular season under first-year coach Sidney Green, who ran off the
    players he didn't want to coach left over from the previous Kevin
    Billerman regime. With just one returning starter around plenty of
    newcomers who Green signed very late in the recruiting period the
    results were predictable.

    That's probably the biggest difference between Green's first team and
    the first team under new coach Mike Jarvis - most believed with Carlos
    Monroe and Paul Graham on the roster, perhaps the top duo of any Owls
    team in the past, FAU would at least be competitive in the Sun Belt.

    Instead this year's team indeed looked more like the team in the
    first year of the Green era than the teams in the first year of Matt
    Doherty or Rex Walters.

    However, with the conference tournament on our doorstep, here's what
    I probably remember most about the 1999-2000 season.

    With the team 1-27 it was the last-seed in the TAAC tournament, held
    in Jacksonvillle that season. No one really gave the Owls, who also
    failed to win a road game that season, a chance.

    Covering the game for the Boca Raton News, I packed one change of
    clothes expecting to be heading home after the Owls gracefully made
    their exit in the first round.

    However, FAU, playing in the first Division I conference game in
    school history, had other plans and won for just the second time that
    season by defeating Stetson.

    Not only had the Owls extended their stay, but I didn't have another
    set of clothes – including underwear – for the drive home after FAU
    lost the next game. I may have had to wear dirty clothes for a day,
    but it was worth it to see a team that had struggled the whole year
    celebrate a surprising victory.

    I guess the point is, anything can happen in these tournament games.

    I predict the basketball season will mercifully be over tonight with
    a loss to the Mean Green. The sooner the countdown to next season
    begins, the better.

    But stranger things have happened like at the end of the 2000 season.
    Blast from the past helps FAU women's basketball team
    At halftime of Saturday's women's basketball game between FAU and Florida International at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami, it was still a very real possibility the Owls would be playing on the road for the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

    The Owls, needing a victory to get back to The Burrow held a slim 21-19 lead over the Golden Panthers and it was still anyone's game.



    Many of the FAU players were struggling, especially junior guard Carla Stubbs, who had no points and was 0-for-3 from the field.

    As Stubbs and the rest of the team headed for the lockerroom - Stubbs really got an earful from her coach.

    Or more correctly, one of her former coaches.

    Kim Hicks, who coached Stubbs at Miami-Jackson High School, was in attendance and let Stubbs have it as she left the floor.

    "I felt like I was walking in mud and then my high school had a few words for me," Stubbs joked. "At one point I think she actually hit me."

    The pep talk helped. Stubbs scored 15 points in the second half to lead the Owls to a 57-48 victory that puts the Owls at home Wednesday vs. either UNO or La. - Monroe.

    Not only was Hicks trying to fire up one of her players, Hicks was also helping out her alma mater. Hicks (pictured above) played for FAU from 1989-91 and is the sixth leading scorer in school history with 987 points. Hicks also is fifth in career rebounds with 529 and the all-time school leader in blocks with 124.

    "Kim has a lot of FAU pride," FAU coach Chancellor Dugan said.

    And Dugan was certainly appreciative of whatever got Stubbs going.

    "I was going to let her do whatever she needed to do ," Dugan said. "Carla hit three shots in a row and I just turned to the stands and told her 'Thank You.' "

    The Owls will find out Sunday night who they will play on Wednesday.

    There is one more game - Denver vs. North Texas at 6 p.m. - remaining on the Sun Belt schedule and will impact the seedings.

    If Denver wins, FAU will be the No. 8 seed and face New Orleans. If North Texas wins, FAU is a No. 7 seed and will face Louisiana-Monroe.

    Check back to FAUOwlAccess.com when that game is over for the tournament schedule.

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    Go watch college football in Boca. It's that simple. Support your local team and go have a good time!

    Great article on Tyler Cameron. Let's put his skills to work with the QBs and make some plays. The Neighborhood fans are ready. Time to rally the...

    Nicely done Jake. Great addition to Owl Access.

    Then who do you think has the uper hand to be three yard directly behind the center.

    Sorry, I read the above question wrong. Who will be UNDER center? No one. They will operate primarily from the shutgun.

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