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Posts from March 2011

Friday's Daily Briefing: Purposefully short outing on Wednesday leaves Meiers available for the weekend

FAU coach John McCormack wanted to get multiple members of his bullpen some work on Wednesday, but that wasn't the only reason he pulled Jake Meiers after three innings in what at the time was a 4-1 game against Bethune-Cookman.

Meiers (photo) had reached his pitch limit of 50. By keeping his pitch count well below a normal start, McCormack hoped to ensure that Meiers is available to work out of the bullpen this weekend at Louisiana-Lafayette.

“I want to see the composition of some of (ULL's) hitters, because they are a new group, and see how he matches up,” McCormack said following Wednesday's 12-7 victory over Bethune-Cookman.

Meiers (2-3), a sophomore, has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season. Heading into the weekend his 3.23 ERA trails only emerging ace Paul Davis among FAU pitchers who have thrown at least 10 innings.

The right-hander has proven effective as a starter and a reliever. Without a midweek game last week, McCormack called on Meiers to pitch the final three innings of Friday's 12-4 victory over Middle Tennessee. Meiers delivered three scoreless, limiting the Blue Raiders to two hits and earning his first career save.

McCormack expects to be able to use Meiers for short relief on Friday or perhaps longer outings as the weekend progresses.

Meiers doesn't overpower hitters, but he throws a ball with heaving sinking action, which leads to plenty of ground ball outs. That can be pretty useful.

“He's a guy that you can put in there and really depend on throwing strikes,” McCormack said, “And they play on that turf. Maybe we can get a double play ball.”

At this point in the season, winning the weekend Sun Belt games is the top priority. McCormack is making the right choice by taking Meiers to Lafayette. Meiers has earned trip and the Owls should benefit from his availability.

Owl Links

Football and baseball shared the spotlight on Thursday. OwlTalk with Brian Rowitz focused on the grid iron, talking about FAU's switch to a 3-4 defense. And here is the preview of the weekend baseball series at ULL.

Other linkage took notice of the path pitcher Ahmed Garcia took to get to FAU. It's worth a read.

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: FAU defensive coaches moving around

Not only has Florida Atlantic moved around some players for its switch of a base defense to a 3-4, but the Owls also have shuffled some defensive coaches around as well.

Assistant coach Richard Lage will move from coaching the defensive tackles to coaching inside linebackers.
That frees up defensive coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh, who was the linebackers coach last season, to focus on coaching the outside linebackers.
Johnny Frost (pictured) who coached defensive ends, will now become the defensive line coach.
It may be confusing, but this sound like a good change. Van Valkenburgh can concentrate on just two of the positions instead of having to be in charge of each of the Owls’ four linebacking slots.
Also Frost will be in charge of the defensive line, which will be most productive when all if its players are on the same page – and that may be achieved easier with one coach.
Earlier this month was also first to report changes in responsibilities on the offensive side of the ball with Jared Allen coaching quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson coaching receivers.
Owl Links
It was quite busy with a stadium tour, the beginning of spring drills and a baseball game against a regional team from last season.
Our readers got the first photo (thanks to correspondent Alyssa Barbieri) and video from inside the stadium and we also had this recap of the day’s events at the construction site and on the practice field complete with a video tour of the stadium.
A few hundred yards away, we also had this recap as FAU’s baseball team defeated Bethune-Cookman 12-7.
Other linkage
Here’s a report from the Sun-Sentinel on the stadium and what changes theplayers see from the 3-4.  
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU stadium donations increase in recent weeks

Today stands to be a pretty important day for the FAU football program.

At 2 p.m. FAU is holding a briefing for the media and potential advertisers about the progress of the construction on the football stadium. It will include a tour of the construction site. (Yes, we'll be there to update Owls fans).

Then at 3:30 p.m. the Owls begin spring practice. It's football time in South Florida again.

The fever seems to be catching. When I talked with Athletic Director Craig Angelos on Monday he was already in a pretty good mood. I suspect you would be too if someone unexpectedly handed you a six-figure donation to the stadium fund.

“When it's not someone on your radar screen it's even more exciting because it means people are getting on board with the stadium,” Angelos said.

Look for part of today's festivities to include the announcement of an even larger donation – something in the seven figure range. That million dollar contribution will likely include a name going somewhere in the stadium. It's not the Holy Grail of stadium naming rights, but still significant.

FAU had nearly $3 million in contributions prior to closing on the stadium financing loan in late November. Angelos said they are close to doubling that number in the months since.

To some it may not seem like a lot of money, but at this point FAU will take what it can get.

Once the stadium presentation concludes, we'll be running from our tour directly over the Oxley Center for practice. And don't forget the baseball game against Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m.
That's a pretty full FAU sports day.

Owl Links

Pitcher Cody Barnes learned during the winter that he had a potentially deadly heart problem. In recent weeks FAU decided the issue was worrisome enough to keep him from playing for the Owls. Here is the story.

Other linkage

The University Press has a review of the baseball season so far. ...The Sun-Sentinel also has a preview of the spring football practice


Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Angelos says contract extension meeting with Jarvis goes well

FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos is impressed enough with the accomplishments of basketball coach Mike Jarvis during his first three seasons in Boca Raton to begin talking contract extension.

Angelos and Jarvis (pictured with president Mary Jane Saunders) met on Monday, the first of what will likely be several meetings designed to keep Jarvis in Boca Raton after his current contract expires following next season.

“I just wanted to get a sense of where he was and how he felt about things,” Angelos said. “It went really well. I want to have him continue to be our coach for a long time.”

Angelos didn't make an offer on Monday, but he said he's already talked with FAU President Mary Jane Saunders and upper levels of the school's administration about what can be done financially to retain Jarvis.

He didn't give a timetable for the process.

The Owls are the reigning Sun Belt Conference regular season champions. FAU earned a bid to the NIT, and its 21 wins were the most in a season since the program moved to Division I.

Jarvis, who celebrated his 400th career coaching victory this past season, is 41-53 during his three years at FAU.

Angelos said Jarvis was receptive to the idea of an extension, but did not talk numbers.

“I think he just wants to be treated fairly and competitively with people in his conference, and that's our goal, too. We'll see what we can do,” Angelos said.

Money, of course, is going to be an issue, but it won't be solely about Jarvis' salary. Multiple times this season Jarvis complained about the lack of marketing of the program.

Look for Jarvis to attempt to garner assurances that additional money will put into the basketball program's budget to increase exposure and ease travel burdens, among other things.

And, yeah, he'd probably like a raise, too. After what he did with the program this year, Jarvis deserves it.

Owl Links

Spring football begins Wednesday right on time. On Monday we presented the five questions that need to be answered during the spring.


Davis earns Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week

 After his dominating performance in Saturday’s 3-0 victory vs. Middle Tennessee, FAU pitcher Paul Davis has been named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Davis pitched 8 2/3 innings, coming within just one out of his second consecutive complete game.

Here's what Davis told correspondent Alyssa Barbieri after Saturday's game.

""If you can come in and throw strikes, the hitters are going to get themselves out," Davis said. "I feel like that's what my strength has been. I've been able to locate my fastball to the best of my ability. My breaking ball has been there when I needed it. My changeup has been working for me, too. Everything has been working right now."

Here is the full release from the Sun Belt Conference:


Faulkner, Davis Earn SBC Baseball Players of the Week Honors

NEW ORLEANS - Arkansas State's Michael Faulkner and Florida Atlantic's Paul Davis have been named this week's Sun Belt Conference Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, the league office announced Monday afternoon.

Faulkner, sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., started all four games last week at designated hitter or centerfield and went 11-17 from the plate. He hit four doubles to lead the Red Wolves on the week with a .647 batting average. 

Faulkner posted seven RBI and six runs scored while going 3-3 on stolen base attempts adding a .882 slugging percentage while striking out once. He was perfect from the field in five attempts. Faulkner was 3-5 in both the Lyon's game and the first Louisiana-Lafayette game while going 4-4 with three RBI and three runs scored in the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. This past week's games marked the first action for the sophomore in three-plus weeks.

Junior right-hander Paul Davis tossed his second consecutive gem, throwing 8.2 scoreless innings in picking up his team-leading fifth victory in a 3-0 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday, March 26. The junior college transfer struck out seven batters and scattered nine base hits to shut down the Blue Raiders. 

Davis retired the first eight batters he faced and did not allow a base runner to reach scoring position until the sixth inning. He leads the Sun Belt Conference with a 1.30 earned run average and has allowed just two runs in 17.2 innings pitched in two league starts. Of the nine base hits he surrendered on Saturday, none of them went for extra bases. He stands 5-0 on the season and has an amazing 32 strikeouts to three walks issued on the season in 33 innings pitched.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: Troyanowski completes long road back

The biggest high-five after Sunday’s 13-2 victory over Middle Tennessee were reserved for a relief pitcher who merely got the last outs in a laugher.

But congratulations were definitely in order for FAU closer Glen Troyanowski, who pitched his last game exactly 13 months ago.
Troyanowski has been sidelined with a torn labrum ever since, but this weekend was cleared to play after surgery and along rehab process.
“People don’t see all the hard work you do after the surgery like waking up at 5 a.m. for rehab sessions at my house,” said Troyanowski, a redshirt junior. “To make it back, it’s very rewarding.”
 Troyanowski wasn’t perfect as he walked the bases loaded, but then appeared to settle down. The next batter flied out to center, scoring a run and the next batter grounded into a double play to end the game.
Interestingly enough is that if FAU hadn’t exploded for 10 runs, starter R.J. Alvarez would have stayed in the game.
However, with the big lead, it made a perfect situation to see what Troyanowski could do and if he can help the bullpen. He still has work to do, but just by making it back, Troyanowski gave the team a lift.
Owl Links
We were at the ballpark as the Owls completed the sweep.
Other linkage
The University Press wasalso on hand at the game.
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Owls wary of letdown, win series vs. Blue Raiders

After FAU easily defeated MTSU 12-4 on Friday to take the opener of the three-game series, a history lesson was in order.

Yes, the Owls had just destroyed the Blue Raiders, but last season, FAU did the same thing in the series opener only to lose the next two games. It was the only time the Owls lost a Sun Belt series all year.
And if FAU needed a more recent reminder that each series is three games long, it just had to go back to last week when FIU defeated the Owls in the opener on Friday. The victory gave the opportunity for Golden Panther Nation to begin the trash talking. There was just one problem. While the Golden Panthers were pounding their chest, the Owls did their talking on the field and took the next two games.
Those two reminders probably weren’t too far from the minds from FAU players when they arrived at the ballpark on Saturday. But history won’t repeat itself. The Owls won the game 3-0 to take the series and will go for the sweep today.
Lesson learned.
Owl Links
We were the only media outlet at Saturday’s game and provide this report including a recap and video highlights of the game.
Scheffler has broken nose, will miss Saturday's game

BOCA RATON – The pitch that hit FAU first baseman Dan Scheffler in the face on Friday broke his nose and will keep him out of the line-up today.

Scheffler, however, did not rule out playing as early as Sunday.

“I'll see how I feel tomorrow,” Scheffler said while watching the Owls take batting practice on Saturday afternoon. “They said they didn't want me to play today but tomorrow we'll just see how it feels.”

Scheffler doesn't remember much about the pitch that struck him during the fourth inning of Friday's victory over MTSU, though he did watch video of it on Saturday.

He was on the ground for a couple minutes, but managed to stay in the game – even scoring a run. He played the field in the fifth inning, but left before first pitch of the sixth.

“When I scored, I went back to the dugout and I messed with my nose and my whole nose cracked,” Scheffler said. “I was out in the field and it started swelling up and I couldn't really see out of this (left) eye. I was looking up and everything was blurry.”

After leaving the game, Scheffler went to the hospital. He was released shortly after 10 p.m.

Aside from swelling in his nose, the ball left stitching imprints above the left side of his upper lip.

When he does return to the line-up Scheffler doesn't believe he will need to wear extra protection.

“My first at-bat, we'll  see how it goes,” he said. “Next time I'll try and move out of the way.”

Saturday's Daily Briefing: FAU wide receiver Lester Jean finalist for PBC Amateur Athlete of the Year

Former FAU wide receiver Lester Jean's senior year caught the attention of numerous NFL scouts. Apparently the Palm Beach County Sports Commission took notice, too.

Jean (right, photo by NDM Images' Ralph Notaro) is one of three finalist for the Palm Beach County Amateur Athlete of the Year award, which will be presented on Sunday at the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.

“I'm hoping I can win that award. That would be good for the school,”Jean said.

Former Jupiter High School baseball player Matt Greener and former Cardinal Newman golfer Brooks Koepka are the finalists along with Jean. Here is how the commission described the field:

  • Matt Greener, Jupiter, Baseball - Matt Greener, a 2006 graduate of Jupiter High School, was a standout baseball player at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Matt was the NAIA Player of the Year and first team All-American. He led Cumberland to an NAIA World Series Championship. In addition to playing third base, Greener led the NAIA with 116 hits, 101 RBI and 225 total bases. He hit in 61 of 66 games. He compiled a .466 batting average along with 27 home runs and 26 doubles.
  • Lester Jean, Boca Raton, Football - Lester Jean, a senior wide receiver for Florida Atlantic University (FAU), led the Sunbelt Conference with an average of 82.3 receiving yards per game. During the season, he made 64 catches for 988 yards and 8 touchdowns. Over his career, Lester played in 50 games for FAU, totaling 146 receptions for 1,992 yards and 15 touchdowns.
  • Brooks Koepka, Wellington, Golf - Brooks Koepka played golf at Cardinal Newman High School before competing at Florida State University (FSU). Brooks was the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman of Year in 2009 and ACC Player of the Year in 2010, leading FSU to third in the NCAA Championship finals, which is the school’s highest finish ever. He led the team with 22 of 25 rounds scored at 75 or better and second on the team with 11 of 25 rounds scored at par or better. He also led the team in stroke average during the spring season (averaged 72.28 strokes in 25 rounds in nine tournaments) Brooks received the Palm Beach County Annual Sports Award for High School Athlete of the Year in 2007.

The entire event should have an FAU flair. Former Owl Jason Pugh, who now works for ESPN 760, will serve as master of ceremonies. Here is a list of all the nominees for the multiple awards that will be presented.

The ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. To purchase tickets for the event, call 561-233-3180 .

Good luck to Lester.

Owl Links

The Owls took Game 1 of the weekend series with Middle Tennessee, but may have lost a key member a little while. Here is the story.

Friday's Daily Briefing: Troyanowski's return to bolster FAU bullpen

Already performing well, FAU's bullpen could become a little stronger this weekend with the potential addition of the Owls' 2009 saves leader.

Former closer Glen Troyanowski faced live hitters on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing labrum surgery last season. Following the session Troyanowski said he expected to be available when Middle Tennessee comes to town today.

“My arm felt good – that's all I was really worried about,” Troyanowski (left) said. “I was around the strike zone, so I can't complain there.”

Troyanowki faced four batters in an inning of work in Wednesday's intrasquad scrimmage, allowing one run when walked leadoff hitter Nathan Pittman stole a base and later scored.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Troyanowski's fastball hit 92 mph – only a little less than his pre-surgery velocity. He needed 15 pitches to retire the side.

“Based on that I'd say that I'm on for the weekend,” Troyanowski said.

FAU coach John McCormack planned to check on Troyanowski's shoulder this morning before making him available for the weekend.

“If it's good, I anticipate putting him on the roster,” McCormack said. “If it's not ready we'll give him another week and maybe he can throw against Bethune (Cookman) on the following Wednesday.”

Troyanowksi moved from the Owls' rotation to the closers role during the 2009 season – saving six games. His 50 strikeouts were the second most on the team that year, as were his four wins. He began last season as the closer, appearing in two games before being shut down for the season.

While Troyanowski isn't quite sure what his role will be upon returning, he knows he won't be closing. Troyanowski said McCormack told him that job would remain with Andy Mee.

“As long as I'm pitching, I'm happy,” Troyanowski said.

A red-shirt junior, Troyanowski features a change-up and slider to go with his fastball. He'd been throwing a curve ball prior to the injury, but says the feel for that pitch has yet to return.

There will likely be some inconsistency during his early outings, but if Troyanowski can return to the form of late 2009 he could truly be an asset when tournament time comes around.

Here's a look at the make-up of the Owls bullpen.

  • Closer – Andy Mee
  • Set-up – Hugh Adams
  • Middle/Long – Josh Gonzaga (LHP), Ahmed Garcia (LHP), Mike Ruccio, Troyanowski, Jason Boyer, Taylor Everist

Owl Links

We've reached football and baseball time on the site. Here is the preview of the weekend hardball series against MTSU. Brian Rowitz talked a little spring football on Owl Talk. Looks like football is starting right on time.

Thursday's Daily Briefing: First look at FAU spring depth chart

We’re just a few days from FAU spring football practice, so I went down to talk to Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger about the drills, which begin Wednesday.

We’ll have plenty of football talk in the next few days, but I did get a look at the pre-spring depth chart on the magnetic white board in Schnellenberger’s conference room.
Of course, the first thing I was looking for was to see if it was David Kooi or Graham Wilbert on the top line for the quarterback position. But – as I expected - they were both on the same line. There were a few other surprises, and I’ll get to them soon, but for now, here’s a first look of what the pre-spring depth chart should look like.
WR         DeAndre Richardson
                Byron Hankerson
WR         Marcus Cunningham
                Jaybes Cross OR Paul Moore
LT            Sam McCroy
                DeAndre Williams OR Carlton Falconer
LG           Andy Czruprynski
                Ricarldo Henry
C             Jordan Sessa
                Jimmie Colley
RG          Chris Newbold
                Erik Hansen
RT           Joe Bailey
                Max Karrick
TE           Darrian Williams
Nexon Dorvilus
RB           Alfred Morris
                Travis Jones
FB           Xavier Stinson
                Tony Moore
QB          David Kooi OR Graham Wilbert
                Stephen Curtis OR Nick Bracewell
DE           Kevin Cyrille
                Cory Henry
NT          Jimmy Jean
                Jarvis Givens
DE           Jamere Johnson
                NO BACKUP LISTED
OLB        Martin Wright
                Michael Copeland
LB           Yourhighness Morgan
                Toney Moore
LB           David Hinds
                Alex Pattee
OLB        Randell Johnson
                Tony Walding    
CB           Treon Howard
                Curtis Cross
FS           Demetrius Williamson
                Cortez Ash
SS           Tony Rodriguez
                Brentley Harstad
CB           Keith Reaser
Winfred Strickland
Owl Links
We caught up with some of FAU’s draft hopefuls, who have been busy setting up workouts with NFL teams.
Other linkage
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger moves some coaches on offensive staff

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger has made a few tweaks to the offensive coaching staff.

Offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson, who also coached quarterbacks last season, will switch to coaching receivers in addition to his duties of calling plays.
Jared Allen, who coached the receivers last season, will be the Owls quarterback coach.
Both coaches will have their hands full this spring as not only do the Owls have to determine a quarterback from the likely candidates of David Kooi and Graham Wilbert, but also will give a shot to Nick Bracewell and Stephen Curtis. Meanwhile, FAU will be looking to replace Lester Jean and Avery Holley at the receiver position.
The reason for the switch, Schnellenberger told,  is to have a coach whose main responsibility would be to bring along the quarterbacks.
“I felt like with the four young guys coming into the system, they would benefit with help from a guy coming from this system who could be their tutor,” Schnellenberger said.
 And the move back to coaching the receivers will also help Jackson in his coordinator duties, Schnellenberger said. Jackson previously coached receivers before assuming quarterback coaching duties when Jeff Brohm left after the 2009 season.
This move should help both positions. Jackson has already shown he is a stellar receivers coach and Allen (pictured above) would seem to be perfect fit to coach FAU quarterbacks, since he was one himself. Allen also may have some help from a certain other coach who has developed a quarterback or two in his 50-plus years of coaching.  
Owl Links
FAU basketball coach Mike Jarvis continues to bring home the hardware, this time being named the NABC District 24 Coach of the Year.
Other linkage unveiled a new interactive 3-D stadium application to give fans a look at the view from each seat.
New FAU stadium select a seat app allows 3D look inside the stadium

FAU just added a pretty cool feature to its website. Fans can now see animated 3D views from each seat in the the stadium. Here's the link.

Basically, you can click on any section of the stadium and a seat number will appear. A window then pops up telling the section, row and price of the seat. There is also a button that allows you to see the view from the seat.

The feature works all the way up to through the loge boxes. You can't click on the top of the towers, though. I was hoping to see a built-in an ocean view.

There is also a button to buy tickets for that particular seat, but I'm told that feature won't be available until May. The button that allows the user to chat with the ticket service rep should be working.

Fan's can also get 3D looks at the stadium from all different sides. If nothing else, this seems like a pretty cool way to take your own tour of the new FAU football stadium – which is what I'm about to go back to doing....

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: FAU has edge over FIU in football, basketball and baseball

After talking to some FAU people following the Owls defeat of Florida International on Sunday to win the first three game baseball series vs. the Golden Panthers this season, the general consensus was that it’s good to beat FIU in any sport.

But that did get me to thinking, which victory over FIU was the sweetest this season?
Was it FAU’s continued domination over FIU in this year’s Shula Bowl?
What about Brett Rooyster’s last-second lay-in to defeat the Golden Panthers before a raucous crowd at The Burrow?
And now, add Dan Scheffler’s home run to deep center field to jump start FAU’s offense Sunday as the Owls defeated FIU 13-3 on the 10-run rule.
It’s a tough call, but here are some videos that may jog your memory...





Owl Links
We had a year-end review of the 2010-11 basketball season as we looked at the highs and lows of the season.


Monday's Daily Briefing: FAU makes statement by winning opening Sun Belt series vs. FIU

There wasn’t too much panic in the dugout Friday after Florida Atlantic lost the first game of the opening Sun Belt Conference series against rival Florida International.

The Owls knew there was plenty of baseball left to be played against the Golden Panthers. After Paul Davis pitched a masterful complete game , the team was loose on Sunday and that helped the Owls relax at the plate as they pounded FIU 13-3 to win the series.
How big was winning the series?
Consider that FAU is the defending regular-season champion and was picked No. 1 in the pre-season poll. FIU won the Sun Belt tournament and was picked to finish No. 2 in the Sun Belt pre-season poll.
It’s early, but let’s just say FAU showed it is better than FIU, just as the pre-season poll predicted.
And after winning by the Sun Belt’s 10-run rule on Sunday, the Owls showed it’s not even close.
How frustrated was FIU? Well, apparently Golden Panthers shortstop Garret Wittels was upset enough to challenge a group of FAU fans to meet by the team bus after Sunday’s game, issuing his invitation loud enough for many fans to hear.
The fans went to the bus after the game, but much like his on-field performance vs. FAU, Wittels failed to show.
The Sun Belt Conference pre-season Player of the Year was 3-for-13, and hitting at that .231 average isn’t going to attract many on the Golden Spikes Award committee.
FAU players, however, kept their attention on the field and won the series, setting a tone for the rest of the Sun Belt Conference season.
By the way, the regular-season ends with another three-game series between FAU and FIU.
I’m sure everyone will show for that one.
Owl Links
We are on hand to see FAU get the 10-run rule victory on Sunday. For recap, post-game reaction, stats and, of course, video highlights click here.
  • Other linkage
The University Press was also at the game and here is their report
Sunday's Daily Briefing: Contact, not homers, more important for Scheffler right now

Dan Scheffler's first home run of the season came at a pretty good time – both for him and the Owls.  The sixth inning two-run shot provided FAU with its margin of victory as the Owls defeated FIU 4-2 on Saturday.

It's still too early, though, to pronounce the end of the first baseman's season-long struggles.

More than any other Owl, the new bat regulations have hurt Scheffler. Many of the balls that went out last year when he led FAU with 15 home runs are now falling harmlessly in outfield mitts.

A bigger problem, however, has been the balls that aren't even touching Scheffler's bat. On Saturday he struck out three more times, bringing his season total to 28 – 10 more than any other Owl despite the fact that Scheffler missed the first five games of the season.

Yes, Scheffler (photo, right, with Mike Spano) did lead the Owls in strikeouts last year, but he's on a pace to obliterate that total of 67. He's fanned eight times in the past three games, alone.

FAU coach John McCormack suggests Scheffler, who is currently hitting .271, may be about to break out.

“I have to give hm credit, he worked his behind off this week,” McCormack said on Saturday. “He was in the cages before practice. He was in the cages after practice. It seems that he's swinging the bat better.”

Could that be wishful thinking on McCormack's part? Scheffler still only has three hits over his last three games, and one of those came courtesy some hometown score keeping.

But in a sense it doesn't really matter whether Scheffler's improvement is real or perceived. Here's what does matter: FAU can't and won't repeat as Sun Belt regular season champion if Scheffler doesn't start producing.

The less-potent bats are a mitigating factor, but a hitter with Scheffler's track record – his .371 average trailed only Andy Mee on the Owls last season – will eventually find his stroke.

McCormack likely realizes he has little choice but to leave Scheffler in the line-up until he starts hitting. Dropping him in the lineup is an option, but Sun Belt pitchers should have a book on him regardless of where he hits.

At this moment McCormack and the Owls need Scheffler to make contact more frequently. When that happens, FAU's offense will become more consistent. Until that happens, the occasional homer will help, but they won't be enough to make the Owls a title contender.

Owl Links

We were  the only media outlet at Saturday's game. We welcome our newest contributor, Alyssa Barbieri, who provided this story. Also, don't miss the hot tub on wheels that is part of the photo gallery.


Saturday's Daily Briefing: Next two games will decide series vs. FIU

It took a little while to get going, but the intensity level at Friday’s baseball game between FAU and FIU eventually got to where it was supposed to be.

This was, after all, the opening of the Sun Belt Conference opener for two expected contenders for the conference title.
The games now take on a little bit more significance, although it was hard to tell early Friday when both starting pitchers looked like they were only ready to face light-hitting teams from up North who hadn’t had much practice. FAU led 4-2 after just one inning, but things started to settle down – maybe things got a little too calm for the Owls, who would end up losing 9-7.
But FAU had its moments including scoring three in the seventh and mounting a charge. That’s when it felt like the conference season was underway.
The Owls didn’t get over the hump, but did make a game of it. And don’t forget – as much as FIU would like to – that FAU dropped the first game of the series last year against the Golden Panthers, but woj the next two and it was the Owls who celebrated winning the Sun Belt regular season title after the third game ( file photo)
Friday’s late surge has me thinking that the bats are starting to wake up and the next two games could be pretty interesting – the way Sun Belt games between two of its best teams should be.
Owl Links
We cover FAU and the Owls were playing their Sun Belt rival in the conference opener. We decided to head to the ballpark and report on the game. Click here for  our recap and video highlights of the action.
Other linkage
The University Press was also at the game
Friday's Daily Briefing: Florida Atlantic hoops slumps in post-season

After Florida Atlantic’s basketball season came to an end Wednesday, Owls coach Mike Jarvis spent almost an hour talking to his players in the lockerroom.

In the post-game news conference he told reporters in the next few days he will talk to them about what they need to work on for next season, but wanted to stay positive after such an emotional loss.
But that shouldn’t stop us from assigning our grade to the 2010-11 season.
I give the Owls a B+
FAU tied a school-record with 21 victories and won the Sun Belt Conference Regular-Season title. There’s no denying those accomplishments. However, In college basketball, you are judged by what you do in the post-season. Losing to Miami isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but getting blown out in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament by North Texas is. And so is finishing on a two-game losing streak in the post-season. The Owls were solid for nearly all of the season. The next step for the team is to be playing its best when it matters most.
 Maybe that’s a little harsh. If it is let us know or let us know your grade.
Owl Links
For some, the end of basketball season is the end of the sports calendar, but not for us. Baseball enters Sun Belt Conference play this weekend with a series against FIU. Here’s our preview.
Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel had this preview of the baseball series. …The St. Petersburg Times says FAU has offered Pasco’s Trey Dudley-Giles
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Time for FAU to make sure Jarvis can keep this going

CORAL GABLES – A few weeks after he took the job at FAU basketball coach Mike Jarvis, in one of his first lengthy interviews, told me that one of the things he was proudest of in his career was when his St. John’s team was able to ring the bell to open trading on Wall Street after winning the NIT in 2003.

Well, thanks to Jarvis and the enthusiastic fan base he has almost single-handedly created he is ringing lots of bells these days. OK, ringing the Taylor Victory Bell may not get the same attention as the one he rang as coach pf the Red Storm, but to him it feels pretty good.
And why shouldn’t it?
It was probably official a few weeks ago, but in case you didn’t know, FAU basketball has arrived. It’s relevant and it’s getting better even after a first-round loss in the NIT to Miami on Wednesday night.
We know about the accomplishments of the team. It tied the school record for victories this season, and that was good enough for Jarvis to be named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. But what Jarvis did to cultivate and market the program and grow a fan base from nothing – where it likely would still be without his efforts – into what it is now is even more remarkable.
Take Wednesday night for instance. A few moments before tip-off, the bus loads of FAU fans in attendance outnumbered Miami fans – and that’s not an exaggeration. By the time the game started Hurricane supporters finally got to their seats and made up the majority of the crowd – but they were never louder than the group of Owl basketball supporters sitting behind their team’s bench.
Let that sink in – UM fans not only had to watch as FAU fans took over their own building but also had to sit and marvel at the support the Owls get from their fan base.
Now FAU needs to make sure this special thing Jarvis has going continues. That should start with a new contract for Jarvis, who after losing to the Canes, is now officially in the last year of his four-year deal. When Jarvis was brought in, he was seen as a risk. Now it seems all reward and FAU should try to do the right thing and secure Jarvis before other schools decide they might want a coach who can turn a program into a winner in three years and energize a fan base where one didn’t exist before.
FAU isn’t exactly rolling in the dough right now, but the coach deserves a raise and a contract that could keep the 65-year old Jarvis in Boca Raton until he decides to retire. If FAU is too poor to do that, the university could load a new contract with incentives – real incentives – tied to attendance. Or perhaps it could show its commitment by making sure a Jarvis is on the bench for years to come by putting his son, current associate head coach Mike Jarvis, II in a coach-in-waiting role.
But it’s obvious the university needs to do something. Anyone who has been to games in the last few years can tell FAU basketball scarcely resembles the program it was just a short time ago. 
I think Jarvis can get FAU basketball to the point where an NCAA Tournament bid is possible every season and make the Burrow a special plase on game nights. That certainly has a nice ring to it.
Owl Links
We made yet another trip to Coral Gables for team-coverage of the biggest basketball game in years. Get a recap, post-game analysis, stats and video highlights by clicking here.
Other linkage
The University Press was at the game. ...So was Fly Like an Owl...Here's some UM-centric coverage from the area's newspapers including the Palm Beach Post, the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald.
WPTV Ch. 5 and ESPN 760 are all over the Owls today

"Owl News All the Time" is the slogan here at, but today it also applies to the WPTV NewsChannel 5/ ESPN 760 multimedia monster.

The folks that do more to spread the word about FAU than anyone around, are planning an all out media blitz today for the FAU-Miami game in the NIT.
Here's today's lineup...
  • 4-6 p.m. ESPN760's Evan Cohen will be broadcasting his show from outside the BankUnited Center
  • 6 p.m. During the WPTV Ch. 5 news, there will be a live report with coach Mike Jarvis from Coral Gables
  • 7:30 p.m. ESPN760 will have the broadcast of the game with Cohen and Ken LaVicka calling the action
  • 10 p.m. Cohen will be live on the WFLX Ch. 29 news with a report on the game
  • 11 p.m. Cohen will be live on WPTV with more from Coral Gables
No word on if Cohen will wrap it up Thursday morning on the Today show with Al Roker, but that is what I call compelete coverage - and I hope there is a response from Owl Nation.
I listen to ESPN 760 a lot and I can probably count on one hand how many times I have heard an FAU call in to talk about Owls basketball or football.
FAU fans like to complain about the lack of media coverage for the Owls, but won't lift a finger to do anything about it. If it looks like no one cares about FAU, the media coveraqge will only get worse.
Here's a chance to let people know that there are FAU fans out there by calling 1-888-760-3776 during Cohen's show.
Surely there are some FAU fans who want to talk to Cohen about the great steps this program has made this season?
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU fans will be heard in Miami tonight

As expected, much of the talk at Tuesday’s FAU-Miami baseball game centered around tonight’s FAU-Miami basketball game.

And what I heard from several Miami people might be considered good news for FAU fans.
Even Miami people think there could be as many FAU fans as Miami supporters at the BankUnited Center for tonight's NIT game between the Owls and Hurricanes.
A figure floating around was that Miami sold a whopping 400 tickets on Monday before tickets went on sale to the general public. Also if the crowd approached 2,000, UM officials would be ecstatic.
Miami is indeed on spring break this week and not much of a student turnout is expected.
At FAU, however, there appears to be some enthusiasm for the game – especially after FAU Student Government secured a bus to take students to the game for free. That’s in addition to a bus the athletic department has going down for FAU fans.
I didn't think FAU should get a home game in the NIT, but now I am rethinking that position. But the biggest thing is that everything seems to be shaping up for Owl Nation to make its presence known tonight in hostile territory.
Owl Links
Here’s our preview of the NIT game against Miami. …Of course, we were in Coral Gables on Tuesday for the baseball game between UM and FAU as the Canes evened the season series.
 Other linkage
The Palm Beach Post’s Dave George takes a look at the job Jarvis has done at FAU. …Here are NIT previews from the Sun-Sentinel and The Miami Herald.
FAU students mobilize to give Owls home-court advantage at Miami

Our good friend Ayden Pierce Maher announces FAU Student Government is also getting a bus for students for the NIT game at Miami. This is in addition to the one the athletic department is sending.  

Students should meet early, preferably by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, in front of the Student Union. The bus will depart with athletic buses at 5 p.m. Although students will be responsible for their own ticket to the game, it's first-come, first-serve and this bus is FREE for FAU students, who should wear red to the game, Maher tells us.

I hope students will take advantage of this opportunity. The players and FAU coach Mike Jarvis said the crowd that came to the FIU game gave them a boost in hostile territory.

Also, I hear that Miami is on spring break, giving FAU students a great opportunity to give the Owls a home-court advantage in Coral Gables.

Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU basketball looking for sponsors of Sun Belt rings

Florida Atlantic’s basketball program has come up with an interesting way to get the players, coaches and staff their rings for winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

The team is looking for sponsors for the rings and minimum pledges start at $750.
With that donation a sponsor will receive a ring for each player and also a ring for the sponsor, as well as a picture with a player, a signed team picture and an invitation to the team banquet.
The donations must be received by April 1.
It’s a bit of an unorthodox way to pay for the rings, but in these days of belt-tightening, it may be the best way to ensure the players get their rings in a timely manner.
For more in formation contact Peter Gash in the basketball office at (561) 297-0097 or at
Owl Links
Here’s our preview of Tuesday’s baseball game between Miami and FAU.
Other linkage
Here’s an in-depth profile of Owls coach Mike Jarvis by the University Press’ Ryan Cortes, who is also a regular contributor to …The Sun-Sentinel reports on Jarvis' bonuses and also has a look at the baseball game
FAU plans bus to Coral Gables for NIT game vs. Miami

FAU is planning a bus to take fans to Wednesday's NIT game at the University of Miami.

Here is the official info I just got from FAU...

Tickets for the 2011 NIT featuring Florida Atlantic and Miami begin at $10. Tickets can be purchased in person, but it is suggested to purchase in advance by calling 1-800-Go-Canes or on-line via

FAU Athletics is also offering a transportation package. Interested fans need to make a reservation by calling 561-297-0014. The package will include roundtrip transportation and a ticket. The bus will depart, from the Tom Oxley Center, at 5 p.m. and will return at the conclusion of the contest. Fans need to reserve a spot as it will be on a first come basis. The cost for the roundtrip package $25/$40 depending on your seating choice.

If not purchasing the transportation package, please request your seat to be located in the FAU section at the time of the purchase to assure you are cheering with the Owls. The section behind the FAU bench is sections 120 - 122. FAU Marching Owls will be in 114.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: FAU basketball conquers another travel problem in NIT

The FAU basketball team has endured a trip to Europe, a 12-day road swing in December and too many travel misadventures to mention.

On Sunday night the Owls found out they wouldn’t have to go far for their first round game against Miami.  I mean what can go wrong on a trip to Coral Gables?

Well, for starters, when the screen flashed the pairing, FAU players somehow thought the game was at The Burrow – and FAU officials also told boosters and students in attendance the game would be in Boca Raton.

It took a reporter (who shall remain nameless) to break it to the team that Miami also had the idea it was playing at home and somehow the game couldn’t be in Boca Raton and Coral Gables.

Meanwhile, while plans were being made on how to pack The Burrow for the big game, the TV screen showed the TV schedule for Wednesday and the confirmation that the game was indeed FAU at Miami.

The players were a little disappointed, but shook it of pretty quickly. After all they had been through, the latest trip was not off to a great start, but they do now how to deal with adversity.

Owl Links

Here’s complete coverage of the announcement with complete with video of reaction from coach Mike Jarvis and players

Other linkage

Plenty of coverage for the announcement from the Sun-Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post and the Miami Herald.

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Would FAU have made the 96-team tournament?

Remember last spring when the NCAA was discussing the idea of a 96-team basketball tournament, an idea that was universally mocked? Well, we know the NCAA instead decided to expand from 65 to 68 teams this year.

I wasn’t in favor of the 96-team field (was anybody?) but the last thing on my mind when the idea was floated was would it enable FAU make the tournament with an at large bid this season.
But after going 21-10 and winning the Sun Belt regular-season title, FAU would make a 96-team field right?
Well, it looks like FAU would still miss the tournament. According to the web site, RealTimeRPI,which updates its mock RPI ratings on Saturday, FAU has an RPI rating of 112 – not nearly high enough to make the field.
And if the field would have expanded to 96, the NIT was going to be shut down so the Owls’ season would have been over. Instead we’ll find out today who FAU will play in the NIT and there could be three more weeks of basketball for Owls fans.
Possible NIT Matchup of the Day: Harvard vs. FAU
The Crimson lost a heartbreaker to Princeton in a playoff game on Saturday and actually won’t receive an automatic bid to the NIT. However, Harvard is likely to be picked anyway and, since Owls coach Mike Jarvis was an assistant there from 1973-79, one doesn’t have to be a Harvard graduate to see why this matchup would be great.
Owl Links
The FAU baseball team snapped a three-game losing skid by defeating Seton Hall.
Other Linkage
The Sun-Sentinel says FAU is excited about playing in the NIT. …The University Press was also at the baseball game.


Saturday's Daily Briefing: Church puts team first as 24-game hitting streak ends

Florida Atlantic senior second baseman Raymond Church’s 24-game hitting streak came to an end vs. Seton Hall on Friday well before it approached the 56-game streak Florida International’s  Garrett Wittels had last season.

The duration of the streaks isn’t the only difference between Church and Wittels. It would be easy to point out  that Church, unlike Wittels, has never embarrassed his school by being arrested or that Church was available for interviews (without ground rules) at any time during the streak.

No, the biggest difference I believe is that Church would have been just fine with being asked to bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning because it would give his team the best chance to win the game. He was due up second in the inning and knew since the Owls trailed by one run if the leadoff hitter reached he would be sacrificing.

Contrast that with when Wittels argued with the umpire in the season-opener this year that he wasn’t hit by a pitch even though his team losing and desperately needed base-runners. The ump listened and let him keep hitting.

Of course you know what happened

Wittels “ grounded out to third in the sixth inning -- one pitch after successfully lobbying plate umpire Michael Baker that a ball which appeared to hit his hand actually hit the knob of his bat instead.
Afterward, Wittels acknowledged that he was hit by the pitch.
"Worst moment in baseball I've ever been a part of in my life," Wittels said. "I got hit by a pitch and I was selfish and didn't take my base. Honestly, I'm more [upset] about that than not continuing into history. ... I don't really know what was going through my head at the time."

Wittels was proud of his streak, and rightfully so, but he let it hurt the team. What Church was most proud that he was getting on base as a leadoff hitter consistently during the last 24 games – and the 25th as well. His 0-for-3 included two walks and he reached on an obvious error as he tried to break a tie with Kevin Connacher for the school-record.

“That’s my job at the top of the order - to get good at bats and get on base,” Church said. “If that’s good for the streak, then it’s good for the streak.”

Church’s streak may not be one people remember, but in some ways, it should be applauded just as much.

Possible NIT Matchup of the Day: FAU at Miami

The Hurricanes put a scare into North Carolina on Friday, but lost and are headed to the NIT. The NIT could save some travel costs by having the Owls travel down I-95 to face UM. Put the game on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. and you could get have the Canes-Owls baseball game at A-Rod Park before the basketball game at the BankUnited Center. Perhaps FAU AD Craig Angelos could drop in and pay a visit to UM President Donna Shalala while he is there to see how the search for UM’s next AD is going.

Owl Links

It’s never a dull moment at the ballpark as we found out when FAU coach John McCormack blasted the umps for an obvious blown call that played a big part in a 8-4 victory by Seton Hall in 10 innings.

Other linkage

Some students go out of town for spring break. The University Press’ Mark Gibson heads to the ballpark. ...Here’s a new site covering FAU, and since Alyssa Barbieri is smart enough to know where to get the best coverage of the Owls, we give this site our full endorsement.   

Friday's Daily Briefing: College basketball's big boys don't scare FAU in NIT

Although Florida Atlantic’s biggest victory of the season came against a team from the SEC, Owls coach Mike Jarvis usually isn’t a big fan of playing teams from power conferences.

Unless, of course, it’s the NIT where playing a name program could be just what he wants. Jarvis said one of the keys to success in the NIT is drawing teams that don’t want to be there.
“The biggest key with the NIT is there are going to be some big name schools that might be more disappointed than they should be and may not be ready to play their first game,” Jarvis said Thursday. “The biggest thing in the NIt is which teams want to play the most.”
One team that won’t have trouble being motivated is FAU.
“It’s still a great thing for our program,” Jarvis said.
Potential NIT matchup of the day: Boston College vs. FAU
Most experts believe the winner of today’s Clemson-Boston College game will make the NCAA Tournament, while the loser is headed to the NIT. Well, I say “Go, Tigers” because I would like to see the Owls be sent to Jarvis’ old stomping grounds to face the Eagles. Maybe some Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School alums could show and give FAU a sizable rooting section.
Owl Links
We were at the ballpark to see the Owls lose to Seton Hall, but also to see Raymond Church hit in his 24th consecutive game to tie the school record.
Other linkage
Even during spring break, the University Press is covering the baseball games.
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Jarvis has eye on his own post-season tournament

We’re heading down to The Burrow today to talk to coach Mike Jarvis, but the subject of the conversation might be a little different than in the past when we would discuss the post-season.

It used to be when we would be talking with FAU coach Mike Jarvis after the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, we would be discussing his plans for the next three weeks and when we could get together with him about the NCAA Tournament for the popular feature “Big Dance Breakdown”
Well, this discussion will be different because we will be talking about the post-season – but it will be FAU’s post-season on the front-burner.
I told Jarvis two years ago that while we enjoyed to his NCAA Tournament analysis, we also were looking forward to the day when he would busy preparing his team for a game this time of year. I wasn’t quite thinking of the NIT, but just heading down to a practice today instead of a talk in Jarvis’ office about the NCAA Tourney is a positive sign that soon Jarvis will be booked this week each season as he is getting ready for the NCAA Tournament.
Potential NIT Matchup of the Day: FAU vs. Alabama
This game could actually happen. Alabama is on the bubble to make the NCAAs, but if the Tide fail to make the Big Dance, let’s get an Alabama-FAU game going. It would be a re-match of a 2002 NCAA first-round game when the Owls put a scare into the Crimson Tide before eventually losing. Don’t forget than FAU defeated Alabama in baseball to advance to the Super Regional in 2002.
Owl Links
We have a look at Raymond Church’s 23-game hitting streak heading into a three-game series with Seton Hall beginning today.
Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel also previews the Pirates-Owls series
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU fans make bracket switch

Here’s some technical advice from us here at that may be of some use to many Owl fans.

In Internet Explorer click on Favorites. Then scroll down to the bookmark you created for “Joe Lunardi’s Barcketology” last month (or earlier) and have been checking every day to see what seed FAU was getting before even looking at your Facebook page.
Then right click and hit the Delete button.
Next, go to Add to Favorites and add these bookmarks
Like most of you, I have no idea how good these sites are at projecting seeds, but they do give us something to talk about before the NIT bracket is revealed on Sunday - although NITology looks a little behind. If you run a site projectecting the NIT field, you might want to update it before the bracket, you know, comes out.
Yes, FAU looks like an 8 seed, but the NIT has been known to switch a seed to put together an attractive matchup.
So that's why I unveil my Potential NIT matchup of the Day.
Today, it's  FAU at the College of Charleston  
It’s a battle of Mike Jarvis and former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins. Also would be a re-match of former TAAC rivals, although FAU wasn’t much of challenge back then. The Cougars have the automatic bid from the Southern Conference but lost to Wofford in the finals.
Owl Links
The baseball team didn’t play particularly well in a 14-2 loss to Virginia Tech.
Other linkage
FAU waits to see who and where it plays in the NIT, the Sun-Sentinel reports. …The Palm Beach Post’s Dave George has a column on former UM coach Larry Coker starting up the program at UTSA with a mention of what he learned from FAU
Latest travel adventure not what FAU needed to forget Sunday's loss

FAU basketball players have endured their share of travel indignities this season. Pablo Bertone appears to have gotten the worst of it, though.

As Ken LaVicka alluded to in this story, the door to the luggage compartment of their bus came open during the trip to the airport on Monday – the morning after the Owls were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament.

Hayden Trepeck was kind enough to send along this photo showing Bertone's belongings strewn along the road. As if losing wasn't bad enough....

This has been a difficult travel year for the Owls. In Denton, Tex. a few weeks ago their bus got stuck on the ice, prompting players and coaches to try to push it free.

Snow has re-routed travel plans and left the team sitting in the airport for hours. They even drove through a line of severe thunderstorms that produced multiple tornadoes – luckily none of them were seen by the Owls.

The NCAA takes care of travel for the NIT, although there are still stipulations (A team must bus to any venue within 350 miles; they might have to fly to a hub airport that isn't necessarily the closest to their destination and then bus the extra time).

Suffice it to say, after all the travel adventures this season, I don't think the Owls would mind a trip to Miami for the first round. At least then they could take their own cars... 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: FAU will make bid to host NIT game

Craig Angelos knows hosting an NIT game is a long shot, but he should be commended for taking the chance.

The FAU athletic director said his department plans on filing the necessary paperwork with the NCAA later today to attempt to bring one more game to The Burrow.

“We are going to put it in and see what happens,” Angelos said.

It's unlikely the Owls' application will be granted. The 16 host sites for last year's NIT were mostly the homes of power conference schools or established mid-majors. The one exception was Stony Brook, which hosted Illinois because Cirque du Soleil had already booked the Illini's arena.

The Owls earned their NIT bid by winning the Sun Belt's regular season title.

On Monday Angelos also approved a watch party for Sunday's NIT Selection Show. FAU basketball fans are invited to the Founder's Lounge in the Oxley Center on Sunday learn the Owls' first-round opponent and destination.

Update: Here is the Facebook page where fans can RSVP for the selection party.

The party starts at 8 p.m., with the brackets being revealed at 9. For those who can't make the party, the NIT Selection Show will air on ESPNU.

Memo to those in the Oxley Center: Now would be a good time to ensure you can get ESPNU in the Founder's Lounge.

Owl Links


As noted above, FAU's basketball season isn't over. As such, we delivered player reaction to Sunday's Sun Belt Conference loss which included a bit of a look forward to the NIT. Thanks Ken. ...FAU baseball is back on the field tonight. Here is a preview of the Owls' game against Virginia Tech.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel provided this insight into Ray Taylor's Twitter account.

Monday's Daily Briefing: Owls one-and-done in Sun Belt Tourney

There will likely be a time in the very near future that losing early in the conference tournament will simply not be acceptable and regular-season accomplishments can be thrown out the window.

Is FAU really at that level yet? I don’t think so.
On Sunday FAU, playing its first post-season game in school history where it should have been an overwhelming favorite, folded when facing the defending league champion.
A loss to North Texas has many fans upset – and rightfully so. But in a few days the sting will wear off and what happened this year with men’s basketball will be appreciated.
This program is at a place where making the NCAA Tournament should be celebrated and making the NIT also is seen as a great accomplishment.
It appears we are not far away from Owl Nation being depressed that its team had a great regular season, but didn’t show up for the conference tournament. However, if you look at it honestly, FAU should be happy it had the great regular-season and will have to wait another year for possible tournament success.
Owl Links
Here’s our coverage from the action in Hot Spings, Ark. with thanks from ESPN760’s Ken LaVicka for the first-hand account. …We also had the baseball action covered as the Owls completed the 3-game sweep of Monmouth.
Other linkage
The Denton Record-Chronicle was also at the game and had this account.
Sunday's Daily Briefing: Owls using last year's early exit as motivation

This year, FAU found a sure-fire way to keep from losing in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament first round – skip it.

Now the hard part begins.

After receiving a bye, the Owls' tournament potential tournament run begins tonight at 7:45 against North Texas, which defeated Troy on Saturday.

“I've been focused all week,” Sun Belt All-Conference guard Ray Taylor told me before boarding the bus to the airport on Friday. “I've been practicing hard. I'm ready to win three games. The NCAA tournament is every kids' dream when they come to college and it's right there at the door. I'm trying to let it in.”

Taylor is still looking back at last season's final-second loss to South Alabama as proof that the Owls' can't take anything for granted.

“Now I know no matter what you want, how easily something can be taken away from you,” he said. “I feel like the whole team is not going to leave anything to chance. The team is going to play the hardest basketball that we ever played. When we do that we are going to win. We have even higher hopes than last year.”

Taylor learned on Thursday that he'd been selected first-team all conference, an award he is more than willing to share with the others who put on the Owls' uniform.

“I've got to credit a lot of that to my teammates for making some plays and winning some games,” he said. “If we don't win the conference I probably don't make first team.”

Mike Jarvis shared similar sentiments about being named Coach of the Year.

“What it means is that we had a hell of a year,” he said. “It means that we all share in the award. Any award we win individually we all share collectively. It's an honor, it really is, and I thank the guys for putting me in a position to win it. Hopefully we've got some more good things in store.”

Owl Links


Paul Davis looked sharp again, allowing two runs in six innings as the Owls took the second of a three-game series from Monmouth.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel reports the Owls are looking for an NCAA bid.


Saturday's Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger boards bus to wish Owls luck

A surprise guest showed up at the bus to wish FAU basketball players good luck in the Sun Belt Tournament – Howard Schnellenberger.

The Owls football coach shook hands with basektball coach Mike Jarvis before climbing the stairs of the bus to deliver a quick and welcomed message to the team.

“For Howard to walk over and to personally wish all of us a good trip, a safe trip and a winning trip – it means a lot,” Jarvis said. "Howard's a legend. It means a lot to me. I think some of the guys might be a little too young to understand what he just did and what that took, and the class that it takes. That's why he's who he is.”

Schnellenberger's talk kicked off what was to be a long travel day for the Owls, who had to change planes in Houston and Dallas, then bus an hour and a half from Little Rock to Hot Springs, Ark. They weren't expected to get to the hotel until around midnight eastern.

That first round bye will really come in handy.

“We get to recover from a full travel day because we are traveling all day today,” guard Ray Taylor said. “We get to practice (on Saturday), get loose, get our legs back, and then Sunday we go on to win the first game out of three.”

The Owls won't find out who their first opponent will be until later today. They will face the winner of the Troy vs. North Texas game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.

FAU posted a 3-0 record against those teams this season, beating Troy twice – once in overtime – and downing the Mean Green in Denton.

Tip off for FAU's first game is scheduled for Sunday at 7:45 p.m.

Owl Links

Basketball fans looking for more info about the Owls and the Sun Belt Tournament should check out our preview. ...We also covered the baseball game last night, an 8-4 victory for the Owls.

Other linkage

Mike Berardino of the Sun-Sentinel wrote a great column about how Mike Jarvis is looking for a Sugar Daddy. ... The Sentinel also previewed the women's trip to the Sun Belt Tourney,

Friday's Daily Briefing: NFL teams showing interest in at least four FAU players

It appears as though Thursday's Pro Day workouts at FAU won't be the last for as many as four former Owls.

Rob Housler, Lester Jean, Jeff Van Camp and Michael Lockley are all expected to take part in either individual or team workouts in the coming weeks.

Housler seems to be off to the quickest start of the four. Next week will likely hold workouts for Arizona and Denver. Those requests came after his performance at last week's NFL Scouting Combine. Housler didn't do much on Thursday. His ran routes with Van Camp, hoping to show polish acquired during five years in a pro-style offense, and worked on some blocking drills (photo).

Jeff Van Camp has at least two potential suitors – Baltimore and the New York Jets. Teams that interviewed Van Camp during the combine were impressed with his ability to understand and diagram formations and plays.

Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco, St. Louis and Seattle have all shown interested in Jean. Unlike Van Camp and Housler, Jean chose to run the 40-yard dash on Thursday. He wanted to bring his time under 4.6, and did so with a 4.53 – the fastest time of the day.

Jean also made two highlight reel quality catches. Take a look at them in this video.

Michael Lockley went through all the drills, and appeared to get the attention of quite of few the 13 teams in attendance. Look for Lockley to participate in Miami's team workout. Scouts from about five other teams took the time to talk with the Owls linebacker or his representative on Thursday.

If the NFL can find a way to solve this labor issue, watching teams evaluate these four players could prove pretty interesting. We'll keep FAU fans posted as more information comes in...

Owl Links

We  arrived at the Oxley Center early and stayed late for FAU's Pro Day. Here's the story, complete with video highlights, a photo gallery and Pro Day stats.

Thursday was actually a pretty busy day for FAU fans. The Sun Belt released it's post-season basketball awards, naming Mike Jarvis Coach of the Year, Ray Taylor All Conference and Brett Royster Defensive Player of the Year. We also offered a preview of baseball's weekend series against Monmouth. And Brian Rowitz's weekly Owl Talk podcast also joined the fray.

Other linkage

The Sun Sentinel and The Palm Beach Post both highlighted the Sun Belt's basketball awards.

Jarvis named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year

The job that FAU coach Mike Jarvis is doing with this Owls basketball program has not gone unnoticed.

Jarvis (photographed at last night's baseball game with FAU President Mary Jane Saunders) was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year earlier today after guiding the Owls to the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship and the first 20-win season since FAU moved to Division I.
Also senior forward Brett Royster was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore guard Ray Taylor was named to the All-Sun Belt team. Sophomore guard Greg Gantt landed on the second team while Royster was a third-team selection.
Here are links to complete releases from The Sun Belt Conference and FAU.
Thursday's Daily Briefing: Looking for big numbers from Lockley at today's Pro Day

Of the 14 FAU players taking part in Pro Day today, Michael Lockley likely has the most to gain. Fortunately for the Owls former middle linebacker, this day plays to his strengths.

Pro Day is all about measuring physical skills, and Lockey has plenty of those. I talked with one of his trainers on Wednesday and he expects Lockley to run the 40 in the 4.4 range. Lockley will also demonstrate a vertical leap that could exceed 40 inches and a broad jump that could reach 11 feet.

In individual drills, Lockley impresses. A couple weeks ago former NFL running back Errict Rhett worked with him on the fields behind the Oxley Center and proclaimed that Lockley could have a 12-year NFL career as a special teams player.

In the video, former Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison says that Lockley has the physical ability to play safety, should a team want to try him there.

On Thursday, Lockley will be working out along side teammates Jeff Van Camp, Lester Jean and Rob Housler – all of whom are fresh off appearances at the NFL Scouting Combine. Talked with Van Camp at the baseball game last night. He is hoping to build on what he believes was a great showing in Indianapolis.

One player who won't be working out today is cornerback Tarvoris Hill. After breaking his arm in consecutive seasons, Hill has decided his football career is over.

Hill's secondary mate Tavious Polo told me on Monday that he is entering Pro Day with a sore hamstring and is not sure how he'll perform.

I'll also be watching Dino Cox closely. He's been working with the same trainers as Lockley - Athletes Edge / TEST Football Academy) - and they his quickness. If Cox can put up some good numbers in the stregnth portion of the day, he could turn some heads and maybe get a camp invite.

The indoor portion of the day – weigh in, measurements, weightlifting, interviews – should be concluded by 10 a.m.. At that point everyone will head outside for the running and agility drills, and some position drills. That portion of the workouts are open to fans, so come on over and say hi.

Depending on what time you are reading this, may already be at the Oxley Center. Stay glued to the site for updates, photos and videos. We'll also be providing instant updates via Twitter, so if you are not following us already, now would be a good time to start.

Owl Links


We got FAU fans ready for Pro Day with this story that features links to five video breakdowns of players who could make an impact today. ...We also covered Tuesday's baseball game, a 13-7 victory over Lynn.

And in case you missed it, in a blog last night we told you that safety Marcus Bartels is expected to miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery.

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FAU basketball expanding rotation at right time, the Sun-Sentinel says

Safety Bartels likely to miss spring practice

Safety Marcus Bartels has undergone surgery on his shoulder and is expected to miss spring drills, a team source said on Wednesday.

Bartels, whose 104 tackles in 2010 was the third most for the Owls, is walking with his arm in a sling.

The procedure was described as “nothing major,” - something that removed scar tissue from the shoulder.

A former walk-on and a starter since the middle of 2009, Bartels earned a scholarship before the start of the 2010 season.

Bartels, who will be a senior next season, is expected to be ready for summer workouts.

FAU's spring practices are scheduled to begin on March 30.

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU’s half of bracket is loaded with top teams in Sun Belt Conference tourney

After North Texas defeated UALR in a rescheduled game Tuesday night, the standings and seedings are finalized for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, which begins on Saturday in Hot Springs, Ark.

The Sun Belt also finalized the times for the games.
On Sunday at 7:45 p.m. on the Convention Center court, FAU will face the winner of a first-round game between North Texas and Troy. It seems like the top seed would earn the right to play on the main court, but since FAU isn’t expected to have a large (or even a small) crowd at the tournament I suppose it makes sense.
The biggest worry for the Owls should be that Western Kentucky is in their same half of the bracket along with Louisiana-Lafayette, which has won 11 games in a row. A potential semifinal vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns or Hilltoppers could be tougher than the championship game.
Here is the full release from the Sun Belt Conference.
Owl Links
The FAU baseball team had an easy time with Northeastern on Tuesday night. …We also brought you the news on FAU’s 2011 football schedule.
  • Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel and The Palm Beach Post report on the 2011 football schedule
Taking a closer look at FAU's 2011 football schedule

The Sun Belt Conference released the 2011 football schedule for its members, including Florida Atlantic on Tuesday.

Of course, what everyone wanted to know was the opponent for the first game in the new on-campus stadium.

As’s Chuck King first reported almost a week ago, the foe for that historic game is scheduled to be Western Kentucky on Oct. 15, so there was no surprise there.

Due to the stadium construction timetable, that first game couldn’t be any earlier than mid-October, meaning the Owls will open with five consecutive road games. However, despite the extenuating circumstances, this isn’t the first time FAU has opened with five games in a row on the road.

In 2006, FAU opened up with games at Clemson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, South Carolina and Louisiana-Monroe. This season the Owls will have an off week after two games, in 2006 they played five consecutive weeks.

Including the home opener vs. Western Kentucky, the Owls play three consecutive games at home before facing FIU in Miami.

Here’s the full release from FAU and the schedule is as follows…

  • Sept. 3 at Florida
  • Sept. 10 at Michigan State
  • Sept. 17 Open
  • Sept. 24 at Auburn
  • Oct. 1 at Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Oct. 8 at North Texas
  • Oct. 15 Western Kentucky
  • Oct. 22 Middle Tennessee
  • Oct. 29 Open
  • Nov. 5 Arkansas State
  • Nov. 19 at Troy
  • Nov. 26 UAB
  • Dec. 3 ULM
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: After combine, FAU players preparing for Pro Day

 With three players at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, FAU certainly got plenty of attention over the weekend.

It was interesting to see how bloggers and other draftniks reacted when TE Rob Housler had an exceptional workout on Saturday. The biggest surprise to them was that a player from FAU could do so well.

One would have to think if the Owls have a player drafted this year that would change and these so-called draft experts would start to recognize FAU regularly has pro prospects and the Owls roster is not stocked with players with one arm or are legally blind.

It will be interesting to see the turnout both in terms of scouts and players on Thursday when FAU has its Pro Day.

The plan is to have the players work out on the grass fields at the Oxley Center instead on the artificial surface at the track and field. We’ll see if that is any factor as most of the pro hopefuls go through their only chance to impress scouts.

The last few years, pro days have been quite interesting, but this year there are more than a few players I could see going to NFL camps.


Owl Links


In baseball, FAU is preparing for a Tuesday game against Northeastern. Here is our preview. Of course, we will have coverage of the game as well.

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Baseball team heads into busy week, the Sun-Sentinel says


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

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