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Posts from April 2010

Friday’s FAU Daily Briefing: Another perspective on spring practice

I like to think I know something about football, but when it comes to the Xs and Os of the game, I often defer to coaches who know much more about the intricacies of the game.

And there are people like former FAU coach Fred O’Connor, who have forgotten more about football than I will ever know.
O’Connor was on the original FAU coaching staff. These days is the color analyst on the Owls radio broadcasts and called the spring game on ESPN760 with Ken LaVicka.
A note some may not know about O’Connor. He was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers for the last seven games in 1978 and was also an assistant coach for the Bears and Redskins, where he was the position coach for Walter Payton and John Riggins.
When he talks, I listen and it's interesting what O’Connor told us after the spring game.
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
To preview the Arkansas State-FAU series we took a look at pitcher R.J. Alvarez, who has won the Sunday starting slot.
Other linkage…
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Arkansas State at FAU
Saturday
4 p.m. Baseball, Arkansas State at FAU
Sunday
1 p.m. Baseball, Arkansas State at FAU
Thursday's FAU Daily Briefing: Bukovich had to have faith

Wham! Sean Bukovich is out of his slam.

OK, maybe Wham! isn’t the right word.

George Michael would be more precise.

Mired in a season-long slump, Bukovich changed the pregame playlist on his Ipod prior to Sunday’s game at Louisiana Monroe and promptly went 4-for-4 with his first two collegiate home runs.

The last song the junior listened to prior to taking the field that day? George Michael’s “Faith.”

Not willing to mess with the baseball gods, Bukovich played the same set list before Wednesday's 2-for-3 outing. That’s six hits in two games – one more than he had in the first 39 games.

Following Tuesday’s game Bukovich made it a point to bring up his musical selection again.

Maybe Bukovich is onto something. After all, listing to George Michael makes me want to pound things with baseball bat, too.

Owl LinksA daily guide to what is being written about FAU

FAUOwlAccess.com attended the baseball team’s victory over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday, providing complete coverage that included this game story and a video. Later today we'll have a look at this weekend's all-important series against Arkansas St.

Other linkage...


Owl CalA calendar of FAU events

Friday
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Arkansas St. at FAU

Wednesday's FAU Daily Briefing: Morey next Mardi Gras king?

Lou Morey has become famous – at least in Louisiana, anyway.

The senior relied pitcher became a fan favorite during the Owls’ trip to Louisiana-Monroe last weekend.

“They kept yelling, ‘I want to see you walk on you hands,’” Morey said. “So, finally, I walked about 10 feet. I was like, there you go.”

Warhawk fans, of course, had seen Morey’s role in the Rain Delay Theatre video from two weeks ago when he was the focal point of the Shake Weight skit and later walked on his hands.

ESPN2’s First Take interviewed Morey via telephone during a five minute segment featuring the antics on Thursday. The interview, which occurred while the Owls were traveling to ULM., almost didn’t happen. The flight out of Florida was delayed because the plane experienced engine issues and had barely landed prior to the interview.

“We landed just in time and two minutes later they called - I was still sitting on the plane in my seat when they called,” Morey said. “I was a little nervous. I didn’t think I was going to get this nervous. Then I calmed down after they started asking the questions.”

Morey and his teammates are surprised at the way the video has taken off. When they arrived at Florida Gulf Coast for their April 20 game, Eagles players were some of the first people to tell the Owls they were on ESPN2.

Aside from appearing on several ESPN shows, including SportsCenter and PTI, Fox News, and CNN, the video has been viewed more than half a million times on the internet.

Despite the mass appeal, Morey isn’t having any trouble walking around FAU’s Boca Raton campus.

“I don’t think people recognize me,” Morey said. “Around here there are a lot of guys with long hair who wear the hat. But definitely in Louisiana, yeah they knew who I was.”

 

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

We were multi-sporting it again at FAUOwlAccess.com. Marcus Nelson provided our members with this analysis of FAU football’s spring practices. We also offered this look at Sean Bukovich’s big Sunday as part of our preview of today’s baseball game against Bethune-Cookman.

Other linkage:

FAUOwlAccess.com broke the news Monday that OL Eric Minemyer is the newest member of the recruiting class. Minemyer’s story is in today’s edition of The Altoona Mirror and also The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

Owl Cal: A calendar FAU events


Wednesday
4 p.m. Baseball, Bethune-Cookman at FAU
Tuesday's FAU Daily Briefing: Bracewell uses Spring Game for official visit

We told you yesterday that Eric Minemyer attended the Spring Game and became the 13th member of FAU’s 2010 recruiting class.

Saturday afforded Minemyer the opportunity to get to know several of his class members.

Cortez Ash, Nick Bracewell, Stephen Curtis, Willie Huggins, Tony Moore and Blake Parrish all made it to Boca Raton. You can hear Curtis’ breakdown of the scrimmage in the video here.

Quarterback Nick Bracewell had visited FAU before, but those trips were never NCAA sanctioned. When FAU coaches called to offer Bracewell a scholarship toward the end of the recruiting period, the Lafayette Co. product accepted on the spot.

“I’ve been down there before but I’ve never really gotten to see anything,” said Bracewell. “I wanted to get to meet the coaches who I’m going to spend time with.”

Prior to this weekend Bracewell had only talked on the phone with FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger and had never spoken with offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Darryl Jackson

“Me and coach Jackson sat down and watched film,” Bracewell said. “He’s a good coach.”

Bracewell wasn’t the only one watching film. Parrish arrived in Boca Raton on Friday and spent some hours with the team as they went through their routines.

“Coach Jackson threw me into the film room so I got to check that out – see how come of the guys play,” Parrish said. “The offense they run is similar to the one we run at Bartram Trail. Hopefully I fit in real well.”

While most of the signees stuck around following Saturday’s scrimmage to hang out with their new teammates, they all made it clear that their main reason for coming was to get their first extended look at their teammates-to-be.

“I want to watch my position, see what I have to beat,” defensive lineman Willie Huggins (photo, on left, with Tony Moore) said. “I want to play, to get in there hitting. I want to be in there crunching.”

 

Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
Football recruiting is essentially a year-round sport theses days, and FAUOwlAccess.com was the first to report another player is joining the Owls’ 2010 recruiting class. Check out the story of offensive lineman Eric Minemyer from Altoona, Penn. the newest FAU player.
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Wednesday
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Bethune-Cookman at FAU

 

Monday's FAU Daily Briefing: OL Spitale invited to Bucs try-out camp

Tampa Bay Bucs’ upcoming try-out camp could have a distinctive FAU look to it.

It looks like offensive lineman Carl Spitale was also invited to this week's camp, which will also be attended by Spitale’s teammate on the line, Lavoris Williams and wide receiver Chris Bonner.
The 6-foot-7, 327-pound Spitale didn’t start until his senior season, but started every game in 2009.
Spitale received a set-back when he slipped while running a drill during FAU’s Pro Day, but performed better when he worked out for the Dolphins. Spitale also worked out for a CFL team.
Owl Links: What's being written about the Owls
We were following the action as FAU defeated ULM using the Sunday 10-run rule in a 13-1, 7-inning victory.
Other linkage...
Here's an account of the baseball game from The News-Star
The University Press looks at spring practice
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Wednesday
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Bethune-Cookman at FAU
Isaac Newton helped Willie Rose become a Titan

When the Tennessee Titans traded LenDale White to the Seattle Seahawks yesterday my first thought was, that’s not good for Willie Rose. I should have remembered Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Knowing that Seattle brought Rose to the Rainy City for a meeting earlier this month, I figured heading into the draft that the former FAU fullback might have to start drinking Starbucks. When the Seahawks traded for White, who is a big back that could work out of the fullback position, I thought Rose’s door in Seattle – and potentially the NFL - had closed.


But the action of sending White to Seattle produced the equal and opposite reaction of creating an open space in Tennessee. A few hours later Rose signed with the Titans.

“I was not expecting to get drafted myself,” said Rose who offered the above video message to FAU fans. “I was pretty anxious waiting.”

Ahmard Hall was the Titans fullback last season, rushing once for 5 yards and catching 12 passes for 79 yards. If Tennessee sticks to they formula – and why wouldn’t they with Chris Jackson in the backfield? – that means they are looking for a blocking fullback who catch the ball. Rose has shown fantastic hands out of the backfield.

Rose may have an easier time making the opening day roster that his drafted former teammate, Rusty Smith, who also provided a video message to FAU fans. The Titans made Smith their sixth round pick despite already have three QBs on the roster.


Vince Young has a history of issues on and off the field, but at the end of last season he looked like the quarterback Tennessee thought it was getting with the third overall pick of the 2006 draft.

Kerry Collins, who has been in the NFL since before Tennessee seceded, began the season as the Titans starter but didn’t get the job done.

Chris Sims signed a free agent deal with Tennessee after spending 2009 with Denver. A former third round pick, Sims started 15 games with Tampa in the mind 90s, but has only seen action in four games since 2006.

Sims is in his second stint with the Titans, which means they trust him as a reliable emergency signal caller and could see him in the backup role.

For Smith to stick on the opening day roster, the Titans will likely need to decide they prefer his upside over the known quantity of Simms, or that they no longer need Collins as insurance against another Vince Young breakdown.

You don’t usually see many Tennessee Titans hats around South Florida. Let’s see if Saturday’s events change that.

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Smith deserves to be first Owl drafted

Quarterback Rusty Smith is going to be able to tell some good stories when he’s old.
 

The last few weeks are going to be ones that Smith will never forget.
 

First, and he better say it’s just as important as anything else, he was married to his longtime girlfriend, Nicole in early April.
 

But the day before the wedding, as you may have read here, the Patriots called and wanted him to go through a workout.
 

Smith didn’t waver and there is no truth to the rumor he threw 50 balls dresses in his tux.
 

The draft was a madcap process, but I think Smith would say it was worth it after he became the first FAU plyer ever drafted when he was taken in the 6th round the Tennessee Titans.
 

Now the man who led FAU to its first conference championship and its first bowl victory is the first Owl drafted.
 

Congratulations to Rusty Smith and the Smith family, some of the best people you could ever hope to meet. If anyone deserves the happiness that Smith is feeling it’’s him.
 

Owl Links:  A guide to what's being written about the Owls
Just minutes after Smith was drafted, the current Owls held their spring game, won by the offense 24-23. You know the drill – we had a recap, analysis, video highlights and photos and you can check it out here.
 

We also had every angle of the NFL draft covered including tracking down the players who weren’t drafted. Here’s our story on Smith’s selection by the Titans, Willie Rose and Jason Harmon signing free agent deals and special video of Smith’s career that is an exclusive to FAUOwlAccess.com.
 

Not to be forgotten was the baseball’s team split at ULM.
 

Other linkage…

Owl Cal: A daily calendar of FAU events

Today

11 a.m. Baseball, FAU at ULM

 

Former Dolphin Madison attends Spring Game

Former Miami Dolphins defensive back Sam Madison offered and easy to understand reason as to why he attended FAU’s Spring Game.

“When coach calls me, there is nothing else you can do,” Madison said.

Madison played for FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger at Louisville, where he was a teammate of current FAU defensive tackles coach Johnny Frost.

He said his first visit to the Oxley Center was impressive. See the full Madison interview in the above video.
 

RUSTY SMITH DRAFTED BY TITANS

FAU quarterback Rusty Smith became the first player from the school to be drafted when he was taken by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round on Saturday.

 
Smith was the 7th player taken in the round and the 176th pick overall.
 
Smith is FAU’s career passing leader after throwing for 10,113 yards in his career and 76 touchdowns.
 
More coverage to come on FAUOwlAccess.com
Saturday's FAU Daily Briefing: What we'll be watching in today's Spring Game

Is it just me or does it seem like there are more questions than answers as we get ready for FAU’s Spring Game today?

After three weeks of spring practices, it seems as if the Owls are still trying to figure out the basics on offense.
 
And while the defense has shown signs of improvement, is that really the case, or is it a result of FAU’s offensive line not being able to block or open up holes for running backs.
 
Whatever the reason, the Owls didn’t get as much accomplished this spring as they wanted. That’s in no way a sign that the season won’t be a success. But it does mean when FAU opens pre-season camp in August, there had better be a sense of urgency.
 
That said, here’s a few things to watch at today’s spring game
  • Starting defensive end Kevin Cyrille and second-team defensive tackle Jarvis Givens both missed Wednesday’s practice with injuries. If they don’t play today that could give a little breathing room to the offensive line.
  • Speaking of the offensive line, the Owls are still tinkering with combinations and trying to find one that will work. The only mainstay through spring has been center Jordan Sessa, who has been a bright spot up front,
  • Wide receiver Lester Jean has made plenty of progress this spring as he tries to become the game-breaking receiver the Owls will need. He’s had long receptions in the past two scrimmages and he’ll be a target today to go deep.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
At FAUOwlAccess.com we wrote about linebacker Alex Pattee, who is taking over the spot left vacant by Edward Bradwell.
We also had the news of  WR Jamal Davis transferring, which is a real shame. Davis would have been pushing for a starting job next season – if not sooner.
 
Other linkage:
The Sun-Sentinel has a preview of the Spring Game

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Saturday
2 p.m. Football, Spring Game
3 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe
5 p.m., Pride Night, Forkas Alumni Center
 
Sunday
11 a.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe
WR Davis plans to transfer from FAU

Florida Atlantic’s already thin wide receiving corps may have lost another body.

Freshman redshirt Jamal Davis has left the team and requested his release sources said.

Davis caught 53 passes for 682 yards and six touchdowns during his senior season at Coral Springs Charter. He didn’t play as a true freshman at FAU, during which time he underwent thumb surgery.

His departure leaves FAU with four scholarship receivers for Saturday’s spring game. Lakeland-Kathleen’s Marcus Cunningham is the lone wide receiver the Owls signed to their 2010 recruiting class.

Davis was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the Junior World Championship of American Football last summer. He caught a touchdown pass during the championship game.

Davis apparently told coaches that he is hoping to transfer to a school which holds a better academic reputation. Georgetown, Lehigh and Lafayette recruited Davis out of high school.

FAU has spent much of the spring searching for consistency at its second wide receiver spot. Avery Holley missed early practices with a leg injury. Amos Wood has missed time to further his academic progress and has usually just practiced on Fridays and Saturdays.

As a result, walk-on Grant Glover and freshman DeAndre Richardson have taken turns along side starter Lester Jean at different points during the spring.

 

 

Friday's FAU Daily Briefing: New deal coming for Dugan

After a season that saw FAU win more Sun Belt Conference games than ever before, women’s basketball coach Chancellor Dugan will be getting a new contract.

Dugan was in the last year of her current deal, but Athletic Director Craig  Angelos said he is pleased with the way the program has progressed the last two seasons.

“It’s moving in the right direction,” Angelos said. “I think there has been some progress in the last couple of years.”

Dugan is 137-183 in 11 seasons at FAU and led the Owls to their only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005 when they won the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. However, when FAU moved from the  A-Sun to the Sun Belt the program struggled for two seasons before showing some improvement in the last two seasons.

FAU was 12-17 and 9-9 in the Sun Belt in 2008-09 and last season was 14-15 and 10-8 in the conference.

“I don’t think anyone knew the monster we were taking on,” Dugan said. “It was a daunting task, but I think we contended in the league this year and we are moving in the right direction.”

However, in each of the last two seasons, FAU lost first-round games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to lower-seeded teams.

Angelos was not happy with the early exits in the Sun Belt Tournament, but said the whole body of work Dugan has done since moving to the Sun Belt was enough to reward her.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Angleos said. “I would have felt a lot better about it of we had won a game in the conference tournament or something like that. ”

There was some question if Dugan would be retained, but after meeting with Angelos when the season was over, the decision  was reached that Dugan had the program moving forward.

“There were some nervous moments along the way this season,” Dugan said. “But considering we’ve had to lay the foundation twice, I think we’ve done a good job.”

The length and terms of a new contract are still being negotiated.

And there could be even brighter days ahead for the FAU women’s basketball program.

Dugan’s incoming recruiting class is loaded with quality players – including 5-foot-7 guard Takia Brooks, a nationally-ranked player.

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

FAUOwlAccess.com’s weekly podcast Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz focused on the players who hope to land pro contracts for this week’s NFL Draft and of course, Saturday’s Spring Game.

We also posted our preview of this weekend’s baseball series at Louisiana-Monroe.

Check back later today for football coverage from the last spring practice of the season and we’ll have coverage of the baseball game including live updates as we follow the action in Monroe, La.

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events

Friday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
8 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe

Saturday
2 p.m. Football, Spring Game
5 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe
Following spring football game, Pride Night, Forkas Alumni Center
 
Sunday
11 a.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe
 

Thursday's FAU Daily Briefing: ESPN760 to broadcast Spring Game

There is good news for FAU fans who can’t make it to Saturday’s Spring Game at 2 p.m.. EPSN760 is planning on broadcasting the game with plenty of interviews and commentary from Ken LaVicka, who will be handling play-by-play duties, and analyst Fred O’Connor.

No, this isn’t as big as GameDay coming to town, but for ESPN760 to broadcast the FAU Spring game shows just how seriously the management at the station takes its partnership with FAU.

Since signing on before last football season I have been amazed at how much promotion and attention this station gives to FAU football and basketball.

Let’s be honest, the ratings won't be going through the roof for a spring game, but it just shows the station is sparing no expense or cutting any corners to promote Owls football.

Speaking of media matters, I hear FAU pitcher Lou Morey, star of the Shake-Weight portion of the Rain Delay Theatre video, will be on ESPN2’s First Take at 11:20 a.m.

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

At FAUOwlAccess.com we previewed the NFL Draft by looking at the chances for QB Rusty Smith and others to be drafted.

We also talked to true freshman defensive end Cory Henry about having to sit out last fall and the progress he has made this spring.

We also wrote about David Kian’s stadium presentation to FAU trustees.

Other linkage:

The Palm Beach Post reported on the stadium update

As did the Sun-Sentinel

The Ocala Star-Banner, the hometown paper of Brittany Bowe, noticed the senior guard's accomplishments at FAU.

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events

Friday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
8 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe


Saturday
2 p.m. Football, Spring Game
5 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe
Following spring football game, Pride Night, Forkas Alumni Center
 

Sunday
11 a.m. Baseball, FAU at Louisiana-Monroe

 

FAU trustees receive stadium update

FAU Vice President and General Counsel David Kian gave the FAU Board of Trustees Audit and Finance committee an update on the pursuit of financing for the on-campus stadium Wednesday morning.

Much of what was covered was in this story we wrote on Monday, but  Kian sounded a little more optimistic about opening the stadium by September 2011 then when we interviewed him.

"Our process is on schedule,” Kian said. “We are moving forward, and I'm very excited about the possibility of completing this in time for a September 2011 football game here on the FAU campus."

If you want to hear what Kian said, here’s audio of his 13-minute presentation this morning.

 

 

Wednesday's FAU Daily Briefing: Rain delay video breaks 30,000 mark (and climbing!)

There was a bit more activity yesterday  at the FAUOwlAccess.com beachside office – and at our branch office in Fort Myers.

That’s what happens when producers from SI.com, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports are calling trying to get their hands on video of FAU and Western Kentucky players putting on their skits in Friday’s rain delay.

The video shot, by FAUOwlAccess.com’s Chuck King, had been watched 30,000 times as of Wednesday morning.

It was pretty cool for us to see the words "FAUOwlAccess.com" shown on ESPN2’s SportsNation yesterday, but it was almost as cool to see that FAU logo on the screen for more than a minute.

Let’s face it, FAU doesn’t garner that kind of national attention very often and for the national media  to be talking about FAU - and favorably - for almost a minnte, it’s a good thing for FAU.

I’m just a little worried what will happen the next time skies darken and rain begins to fall at FAU Stadium.

Those FAU players who had the nation in stitches have a tough act to follow.

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

There were plenty of mentions for the viral video, but it wasn’t all rain delay at FAUOwlAccess.com.

We ventured across Alligator Alley for Tuesday’s game between FAU and FGCU won by the Owls 4-3 in extra innings.

Other linkage

  • Here's the game story from The Naples Daily News
  • Missed this one last week, but The Rock guard Dennis Mavin  has committed to play basketball at FAU according to courtcred.com.

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
 

Tuesday's FAU Daily Briefing: Stadium project moving forward

The news of the day is unquestionably FAU’s ITN committee being able to recommend one of the banks to work with to hammer out details for the financing of the construction of the on-campus football stadium.

As anyone involved with the porcess will tell you, there is still plenty of work to be done. But by selecting the $62 million proposal submitted by Regions Bank, it shows that what FAU wants and Regions wants to provide are in the same ballpark (pun intended).

It was always believed FAU would be able to select one of the six proposals to negotiate – Officials didn’t have much of a choice. But until Regions was selected as the bank to recommend, you never know.

Last week there were a few raised eyebrows when FAU officials said they wouldn’t be able to present anything to the Board of Trustees at the April meeting, but as Monday’s developments show, the stadium project is indeed continuing to move forward..

Owl Links: What's being written about FAU

A typical boring Monday? Not at FAUOwlAccess.com. The day started with former Owls QB Rusty Smith working out for Patriots quarterback coach Bill O'Brien with receivers Cortez Gent and Chris Bonner and tight end Jamari Grant.

Next it was the news of the recommendation of Regions Bank to help with the financing of FAU’s stadium project.

Need more football? We wrote about RB Jeff Blanchard taking his first hits in a year this spring, along with our practice report.

And we didn’t forget about baseball, which plays at Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday. We have the preview here and we’ll be at the game in Fort Myers, so check out our game coverage later today.

Other linkage:

  • Baseball America shows FAU some love (and even mentions a certain web site that provides the best coverage of the Owls)
  • ESPN 760's Brian Rowitz looks at the possibilities of Rusty becoming a Patriot

 

Owl Cal: Your daily calendar of FAU events
Today
6:30 p.m., FAU at Florida Gulf Coast

 

Patriots take another look at Smith

Updated: Monday, 7:45

It appears that former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith made a pretty good impression on Bill Belichick when he worked out for the New England coach two Saturdays ago in Jacksonville.

On Monday morning the Patriots sent quarterback coach Bill O’Brien to Boca Raton to get another look at Smith.

O’Brien put Smith through some passing drills on the wet Oxley Center practice field during a morning workout, having him throw passes to fellow former Owls Chris Bonner, Cortez Gent and Jamari Grant.

“We’re going to see if you can throw in the rain,” Smith said O’Brien told him. “I’m very pleased with the way I threw this morning.”

The drills were essentially the same ones Belichick put him through in Jacksonville, Smith said, only Monday’s workout emphasized throwing to receivers running routes instead of stationary targets.

Smith would like to believe the second workout for the Patriots in as many weeks is an indication the club is strongly considering selecting him for this weekend’s draft or, at worst, offering a subsequent free agent deal.

“I hope that is what they are thinking,” Smith said. “I don’t care if I get drafted or not. I don’t care where I go. I just want to play football.”

At least one of Smith’s targets agreed with Smith’s assessment of the workout.

“It went pretty well for Rusty,” Bonner said. “(O’Brien) said they were the same drills he did with Tom Brady.”

Bonner is also receiving more NFL attention. A Miami Dolphin official contacted Bonner on Monday requesting more information, including a number he can be reached at during and after this weekend’s draft.

The NFL draft will be held April 22-24.

Monday’s FAU Daily Briefing: Owls to get Gators at home in baseball in 2011?

The FAU baseball team will face another in-state rival on Tuesday when they travel to face Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.

In addition to FGCU and Sun Belt rival Florida International, the Owls have faced Miami this season and will play Bethune-Cookman, Central Florida and Florida later this season.

You can’t go wrong facing teams from the Sunshine State and next year, there could be a game that could be quite special.

The word I'm hearing is that FAU is talking to Florida about a home game next season.

That would be good home game for FAU but apparently, the Gators aren’t too keen on the idea of playing at FAU Stadium. UF would prefer to play at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium on a night when the stadium isn’t being used for spring training.

The way I see it is that if the FAU baseball stadium gets its much-needed renovations, FAU should demand the game be on campus.

I don’t see why if FAU Stadium is good enough to play host to a game between the 4-time National Champion Miami Hurricanes, it wouldn’t suffice for a game between the Owls and the Gators.

Let’s hope it gets worked out. It would be a good for FAU to face the Gators, who are coached by Kevin O’Sullivan, who was an FAU assistant coach in 1994 and 1995.

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

At FAUOwlAccess.com we posted a story looking at the success of the defensive line during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Check back later today for our coverage of today’s football practice (weather permitting) and a preview of Tuesday’s baseball game at Florida Gulf Coast.


Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Monday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice

Tuesday
6:30 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Florida Gulf Coast
 

Sunday's FAU Daily Briefing: Baseball has wet and wild weekend

As I write this on Sunday morning rain is indeed beginning to fall in South Florida, proving the right call was made for FAU and Western Kentucky to play a doubleheader Saturday instead of a game on Sunday.

And the Owls are thankful that third game of the series was played after pulling off a three-game sweep of the No. 19 Hilltoppers.

Simply put it was one of the wildest weekends ever seen at FAU Stadium.

This series had a rain delay that mean Friday’s game nearly lasted into Saturday morning. On Saturday, 18 innings wasn’t enough as the first game lasted 10 innings before Eddie Cassidy drove in the winning run on a bases-loaded single to end the game.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Owls trailed 5-0 before rallying back and won the game on a baserunning blunder by WKU.

Three wild games (all FAU victories) and if you saw them, you’ll remember them for a long time. (Shameless plug: If you wrent there here’s our coverage from Friday and Saturday.)

With the sweep, FAU moves up to No. 40 in the Pseudo-RPI's by Boyd's World and SoutheasternBaseball.com told FAU Saturday night that the Owls are now included in its regional projections to be released Monday.

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

We mentioned our full coverage of Saturday’s baseball action, but that was only half the day for us at FAUOwlAccess.com.

We also had full coverage of Saturday’s scrimmage with a recap, video highlights, Howard Schnellenberger’s post-scrimmage press conference, audio of player interviews and photos. Check it out here.

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events

Tuesday
6 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Florida Gulf Coast


 

Saturday’s FAU Daily Briefing: What to watch in second scrimmage

I could have written this morning's blog at FAU Stadium, since technically I was there when it was Saturday.

Because of a 2-hour, 13-minute rain delay, the game didn’t end until close to midnight and by the time we updated FAUOwlAccess.com it was close to 12:30 a.m.

Usually that wouldn’t be a problem, but there is the little matter of getting up early for today’s scrimmage – but it certainly was worth it to see the Owls pull off their biggest victory of the season.

Anyway, here are some things my bleary eyes will be looking for in today’s scrimmage.

  • Running back Jeff Blanchard was facing his first full-speed contact in a year during last week’s scrimmage, and it showed. I think Blanchard was probably just a little hesitant and he will have a better showing today.
  • The defensive front, led by defensive tackle Dino Cox, started out strong last week, but didn’t get much better as the afternoon wore on.
  • Wide receiver Amos Wood misses two practices a week to concentrate on hia academic work. That makes the scrimmages even more important for him. He needs to have a breakout performance during one of the scrimmages.

Owl Links: A daily guide to what;'s being written about the Owls

The game ended late, but we stuck though it and give you the exclusive video highlights and recap of the thrilling 10-3 victory over Western Kentucky, plus check out how players like Lou Morey, spent their time during the 2-hour rain delay. Get full coverage here.

Before our night started we were the only media outlet at football practice and provided a story on tight end Rob Housler’s return to the lineup and a practice report.

Check back later for our team coverage of today’s scrimmage.

Other linkage...

The Bowling Green Daily News has this account of WKU's loss

The Sun-Sentinel looks at the road of potential free agents, including FAU offensive lineman Carl Spitale

Owl Cal: Your calendar of FAU events
Today
11 a.m. Football, Scrimmage
2 p.m. Baseball, Western Kentucky at FAU (DH)

Friday's FAU Daily Briefing: Two key linebackers not with team

FAU’s lack of depth at linebacker was apparent during last week’s scrimmage when two walk-ons were running with the second team.

Early last season, the Owls seemed to be set for the next few years at linebacker, but that doesn’t appear to be the case any more as two players who seemed to be on the fast track to playing time are not with the team this spring.

Redshirt freshman Tony Walding, who looked to be honing in on a starting spot during pre-season training camp in August has left the team by mutual decision with the coaching staff. Walding seemingly was constantly in the dog house and wasn’t getting out any time soon. This isn’t a big surprise and these things happen often in a program.

The second possible defection isn’t nearly as clear cut.

One of the top players of the 2009 recruiting class, Toney Moore out of King’s Academy, had decided to not  practice with the team this spring.

I’m stopping just short of saying he has left the team, because it is hoped that Moore will have a change of heart and come to his senses.

Some believe Moore, who is recovering from knee surgery, is thinking about transferring, but if that is the case it sounds to me like Moore, pictured, is getting some bad advice.

If Moore was practicing he would be in the mix for a starting spot and at a minimum would be on the second team. If he does decide to return, he will have to work hard to make up for the time he has missed.

Moore’s abscense has clearly hurt the team, and FAU could be receptive to him coming back. But that window of opportunity appears to be closing and it’s pretty obvious the Owls are ready to move on without him. I think it would be Moore’s loss.

 

 Owl LinksA daily guide to what is being written about FAU

Thursdays are Owl Talk podcast time at FAUOwlAccess.com. Host Brian Rowitz spoke with baseball’s Dan Scheffler and Raymond Church, and football’s Marcus Bartels, among others.

The Owls’ baseball team is preparing for one of its biggest series of the season. No. 19-ranked Western Kentucky, the Sun Belt conference leader, is coming to Boca Raton and we offered this preview.

Other links

CBSSportsline’s Pete Prisco tabbed Rusty Smith as one of the top unheralded prospects.

Owl Cala calendar of FAU events

Friday
Football practice, 3:30 p.m.
Baseball vs. Western Kentucky, 6:30

Saturday
Football scrimmage 11 a.m.
Baseball vs. Western Kentucky 4 p.m.

Sunday
Baseball vs. Western Kentucky 1 p.m.

Steelers interested in Bonner

Could the trade of Santonio Holmes from Pittsburgh to New York benefit FAU?

Maybe.

On the same day that the Steelers traded the former Glades Central wide receiver a Pittsburgh representative contacted FAU wide out Chris Bonner looking to get his personal information.

Coincidence? Probably. You’d have to be a top-notch conspiracy theorist to believe that the Steelers traded Holmes to make room for Bonner.

However, it is good to hear that Bonner is receiving some NFL interest, and there is now one extra spot available in steel city. Jason Harmon said Bonner performed well at Tampa Bay’s local workout last Thursday. Bonner said he was pleased with his workout for the Dolphins a day later.

Bonner stayed in South Florida over the weekend and attended spring practice yesterday before heading back to the Tampa area. It’s unlikely Bonner will be drafted next weekend, but the Steelers’ request could indicate there is building NFL free agent interest.

Thursday's FAU Daily Briefing: Dolphins land brother of former Owl

 

The news of the day here in South Florida involves the Dolphins’ acquisition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

 
Wouldn’t you know it, but here at FAUOwlAccess.com we’ve found an FAU angle, with a little help from good friend Evan Cohen of ESPN760 and WPTV Ch. 5.
 
How many Owl fans remember Fred Marshall, who played on the FAU basketball team from 2004-06.
 
That’s right Fred, is Bandon’s brother.
 
My memory isn’t quite what it used to be, but in looking up some vital statitistics on Fred Marshall, he did much better than I remembered.
 
Fred started 18 games as a senior and averaged 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game,.
 
Perhaps most impressive was that Fred Marshall was the Male Student-Athlete of the Year for 2005-06. That’s the same honor that Alfred Morris brought home yesterday.
 
Let’s hope Brandon will be a solid citizen like Fred was his senior year.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
Speaking of Morris’ award, here is what we wrote about his award along with softball’s Blair Bodenmiler. He also appeared on this Sporting News’ list of the Top 10 power backs in the nation.
 
We also had this story on defensive tackle Jimmy Jean.
 
Check back later today for our preview of this weekend’s series vs. Western Kentucky
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Friday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Western Kentucky at FAU
 
Morris, Bodenmiller win academic awards

Alfred Morris experienced success on the field in 2009. Now he’s also receiving recognition in the classroom.

FAU named Morris its 2009 Male Student Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, four months after he completed his sophomore season by leading the Sun Belt conference with 1,392 yards rushing.

Morris carries a 3.13 GPA as an exercise science major, having exceeded a 3.0 in every semester except his first.

“Alfred averaged 5.3 yards per carry for us in 2009,” FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger said in a release. “He took on a role out of necessity and became one of the league’s premier backs. He is one of the special young men who understand and can balance an outstanding collegiate career, a demanding academic work-load and yet still find time to volunteer as a peer educator.  He does all this with humility and gratitude.”

Softball shortstop Blair Bodenmiller nabbed the Female award. The 2010 Sun Belt co-Preseason Player of the Year is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Political Science.

To be eligible for the award, an athlete must hold a GPA of 3.0 or better while excelling in their chosen sport.

FAUOwlAccess.com congratulates Morris and Bodenmiller.

Wednesday's FAU Daily Briefing: More time needed for stadium proposals

 

I’m sure the news of the day will shock those who have been following FAU’s pursuit of an on-campus football stadium since Howard Schnellenberger first mentioned the idea in 1998.
 
There apparently is another delay as FAU attempts to secure funding for the project, according to The Palm Beach Post.
 
Whether this development means a delay in construction remains to be seen, but as we know FAU has put itself in a position that any delay in construction could put the opening of the stadium by September 2011 in jeopardy.
 
Although FAU’s handling of this project for years makes this a dangerous position to take – I’m going to be an optimist here.
 
The next major step toward keeping the Stadium construction on its current 2011 timeline is gaining the approval of the Florida Board of Governors, and they don't meet again until June. FAU’s Board of Trustees green-lighting the deal in April or at the next full meeting in May doesn’t change that, so what’s another month while FAU continues to negotiate for better terms. With the benefit of hindsight, FAU should have just set the May meeting for the deadline in the first place.
 
However, if FAU officials don’t have anything to show the Governors in June, Owl fans are likely going to want the next thing some at 777 Glades Road negotiating is their own severance package.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
It was a busy day for FAUOwlAccess.com as our Chuck King provided details on Rusty Smith's workout with the Patriots and Dolphins.
 
We also were the only media outlet at the baseball game to witness Dan Scheffler’s two-home run performance in the Owls victory vs. Lynn. We have this recap and video highlights including shots of Scheffler's bombs.
 
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
 
Smith pleased with Pats, Dolphins workouts

Former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith underwent two different kinds of workouts on Friday and Saturday before his Sunday wedding.

The trip to Miami appears to have been far more thorough. Smith was one of seven former Owls who took part in the Dolphins local workout and many of those guys said they were surprised by the amount of paperwork they needed to complete before taking the field.

Smith said he also underwent X-rays on joints ranging from his knees to his shoulders. They also took a blood sample.

“I have no idea why,” Smith said. “I didn’t even ask. I just do what I’m told.”

Following the physical, Smith met with Miami coaches to provide background information. He also sat down with quarterback coach David Lee to break down game tape from the South Carolina loss.

“I thought I answered them right,” said Smith, who was 21-of-31 for 198 yards and two TDs against the Gamecocks. “He said I did well.”

When Smith did hit the field he threw to running backs, receivers and tight ends.

In contrast, Smith’s workout for New England in Jacksonville on Saturday lasted only about 90 minutes and didn’t include 40 times or shuttle runs. Instead, Bill Belichick concentrated on passing drills, choosing to talk offensive philosophy while conducting the drills.

“It wasn’t just a curiosity-type workout,” Smith’s agent Tom Mills said. “There was a real desire to see him.”

Rusty told his agent he was pleased with the workout.

“Rusty thought it went well,” Mills said. “Like most teams, they are very tight-lipped about their intentions. I suspect we’ll really know how well he did on draft day.”

Then NFL draft will be held from April 22-24.

Monday's FAU Daily Briefing: OL Karrick may miss rest of spring

Offensive lineman Max Karrick watched Saturday’s scrimmage wearing shorts, but on Monday walked out to the field dressed out and carrying a helmet for practice

 
However, it was window dressing. It is is now believed Karrick will miss the rest of  spring with the concussion he received in the car accident that injured Austin Jensen.
 
The unfortunate part is that the Owls need Karrick to get the work in this spring as he will likely be the right tackle this fall.
 
Chris Newbold will get plenty of work there and even Andy Czryprynski took some snaps there on Monday.
 
The goal this spring is shifting from building the line as a cohesive unit to just getting five guys ready to play and we’ll build the chemistry in the fall.

It’s not ideal, but FAU doesn’t have much of a choice.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
FAUOwlAccess.com was the only media outlet at spring football practice Monday and got to bring you the good news that linebacker David Hinds was back practicing with the Owls after his scary leg injury earlier in spring drills.
 
We also brought you the news that the Sun Belt Conference has a new agreement with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
 
Plus we posted our advance on the Battle of Boca game between FAU and Division II Lynn with the news that Anthony Mesa is out with a broken hand,
 
Other linkage…
 
Found this report on quarterbacks working out with the Patriots and it mentions Rusty Smith
The University Press looks at the Owls’ spring drills
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today 
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Lynn at FAU
 
Sun Belt Conference gets another bowl partner

The  Sun Belt Conference has added another bowl partner after striking a deal with the Little Caesars Bowl

 
FAU fans should be well familiar with this bowl, which is played in Detroit. It was formerly known as the Motor City Bowl.
 
FAU defeated Central Michigan 24-21 in the 2008 Motor City Bowl.
 
The Little Caesars Bowl has an agreement to invite the No. 8 Big Ten team to play the Nos. 1 or 2 MAC team. But, if the Big Ten does not have eight teams that are bowl eligible, the bowl will invite a team from the Sun Belt Conference, provided it has enough teams that are bowl eligible.
 
The Big 10 produced only seven bowl eligible teams the last two sasons.
 

The Sun Belt Conference has official tie-ins with the New Orleans Bowl and the GMAC Bowl to send its Nos. 1 or 2 teams provided the Sun Belt has two bowl eligible teams.

 
Monday's FAU Daily Briefing: Loss to UNO season's worst

FAU wanted to take a baseball game or two from Miami. The Owls were supposed to take all three from New Orleans.

That’s why even after losing all three to the Hurricanes, Sunday’s 8-7 loss to the Privateers provided the season’s most disturbing game.

Now, this is baseball. Even the best teams lose, sometimes to teams that aren’t very good. But the Owls didn’t have to lose on Sunday. In fact, they shouldn’t have.

FAU led by three runs twice before giving the game away. The same problems that have plagued the Owls all season appeared again.

Untimely errors? Check. Three UNO runs were unearned.

Shoddy base running? Check. One caught stealing, another thrown out at home.

Lack of offensive production in the clutch? Check. FAU had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth and couldn’t score.

Poor pitching? Yep, some of that, too. How many times can Taylor Everist be sent out to the mound without giving the players behind him hard hats for their own safety?

Instead of sweeping the worst team in the Sun Belt, FAU handed New Orleans only its second conference victory. Now what should have been a nice little tune-up against Lynn on Tuesday becomes a little more important.

It’s not really possible to fix these problems in one game. But with Sun Belt leader Western Kentucky coming to town this weekend, the Owls can’t keep making the same mistakes.

Winning two of three sounds pretty good, but giving away every third game isn’t helpful come tournament time.

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

FAUOwlAccess.com provided this story from the Owls' baseball loss to New Orleans.


Owl Cal: A calander of FAU events

Monday
Football - practice at 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday
Baseball - Lynn at FAU, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday’s FAU Daily Briefing: What we saw at scrimmage

 After the first scrimmage of the spring, I concur with Howard Schnellenberger.

 
There is still plenty of work to be done.
 
But Saturday's scrimmage did reveal a few items of note, so here are some observations after the defense defeated the offense 26-24.
 
The good:
 
  • FAU’s running attack was solid – and that was without the services of Alfred Morris. Damian Fortner looks like he will be a key part of the attack by 2011 if not sooner.
  • Cornerback Tavious Polo had an interception and nearly had another one-handed pick. I see a player who wants to make the most out of his senior season.
  • Jeff Van Camp’s performance almost got overlooked, but he looked good once he got in a rhythm. I liked his long pass to Lester Jean that set up one of the touchdowns.
 
The bad:
  • The offensive line is trying to develop as a unit, but there have been so many injuries it hasn’t been able to do that. Players listed as starters such as Max Karrick, Eric Hansen and Troy Niblack have missed a significant amount of time.
  • Running back Jeff Blanchard was in a full-contact scrimmage for the first time in a year and it showed. Six carries for no yards.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
FAUOwlAccess.com had the most comprehensive coverage of the scrimmage. Check out our recap, video highlights, post-scrimmage blog, printable stats, video of Howard Schnellenberger’s assessment and audio from players by clicking here.
 
If that wasn’t enough we followed every pitch from the FAU baseball game at New Orleans, a 9-3 victory over the Privateers.
 
Other linkage…
 
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Today
1 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans
1 p.m. Softball, Troy at FAU    
Lockley defense's driving force

Received a somewhat surprising answer after asking Jeff Van Camp if any defensive player stood out to him during Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Mike Lockley really stepped up today,” the senior QB said. “I think he is being really physical this spring. I think he is doing a lot better.”

I expected Van Camp to pick out one of the freshmen, someone he hadn’t seen play much, but after looking at the video it’s hard to argue.

Lockley (No. 45 in right still frame) frequently visited the backfield, stifling runners and batting down passes. He was a force.

That’s the same Michael Lockley who lost his starting job last season. The coaches showed faith in their middle linebacker by having him start the spring atop the depth chart.

He and David Hinds were actually listed as co-starters. A true freshman last season, Hinds took over Lockley’s job for the final three games. Hinds, of course, didn’t play on Saturday. He suffered a contusion to his lower right leg last Saturday during the Oklahoma Drill. He is now out of the protective boot he’d been wearing.

I do think it would be mistaken to believe that Lockley was handed the job because Hinds hasn’t been around. The coaches obviously saw something in Lockley before the start of spring to make them think 2009 would be an abomination.

Like Van Camp said, the senior has rewarded their decision by being active all spring. I suspect he will continue to do so throughout the next two weeks. He’s earned the spot at the top of the depth chart.

The big question that will need to be answered by Lockley and the Owls is whether he will be able to play at this level in September when he’s facing veteran offensive lines running plays he hasn’t seen a thousand times.

For right now, the talent and the effort are showing.  

Saturday’s FAU Daily Briefing: What you need to know for scrimmage

 

Today is the first football scrimmage of the spring, so here’s a few things you need to know:

 
  • The scrimmage is set for approximately 11 a.m. but will begin when Howard Schnellenberger says so.
  • The scoring system used has the offense scoring in conventional ways and the defense earning 3 points for a turnover and 1 point for stopping the offense on third down, although the offense can go for it on fourth down inside the defense’s 20 – or any other time Schnellenberger says so.
  • There will be a concession stand with hamburgers, hot dogs and other good stuff with proceeds going to FAU football. If you smuggle in your own food and drink you are stealing from the program and might as well be supporting FIU.
  • On offense, look for plenty of running backs besides Alfred Morris to get carries. It should be steady diet of Jeff Blanchard, Willie Floyd, Michael Barasch, Travis Jones and Damian Fortner. There is one name you wont be seeing today, or likely ever again: Tyrie Allen. Allen, who redshirted as a freshman last season, has left the team.
  • On defense, there has been some tweaking on the defensive front with Jamere Johnson starting ahead of Daniel Joseph at defensive end and Jimmy Jean ahead of Andy Czuprynski at defensive tackle. If you read FAUOwlAccess.com you know  Czuprynski is now on offense and Jarvis Givens is has a chance to crack the rotation up front.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
In an FAUOwlAccess.com exclusive, we reported that Owls quarterback Rusty Smith will have a workout with the Patriots today.
 
We also are the only ones who reported on Andy Czuprynski switching from defensive tackle to the offensive line and talked to  running back Alfred Morris about the amount of work he’ll be getting this spring.
 
Also, we have a recap of the baseball team’s victory over New Orleans.
 
Other linkage...
 
The Sun-Sentinel says new secondary coach Dick Hopkins is vocal on the field.
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events


Today

11 a.m. Football, Spring scrimmage (Live Twitter updates @FAUOwlAccess)
5 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans (Live Twitter updates @FAUOwlAccess)
 
Sunday
2 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans

 

Czuprynski moves to offensive side of the ball

 FAU’s offensive line could have at least one player who started a game last season after all.

 
Defensive tackle Andy Czuprynski spent Friday’s practice on the other side of the ball as a left tackle.
 
Czuprynski, who is listed at 6-foot-5, 270-pounds, said the move was his idea.
 
“Right now I’m still learning the plays so I feel a little hesitant, but overall I think I did pretty good.” said Czuprynski, who started two games last season at defensive tackle. “I think I might get in a few plays during the scrimmage.”
 
Czuprynski was behind Jimmy Jean on the depth chart and wanted to make the move to be able to help the team, which lost all five starters from last season on the offensive line.
 
“I think I can play on defense, but I’m probably better on offense,” said Czuprynski, who played on the offensive and defensive line at Venice High School.
Harmon hurts hamstring at Dolphins workout

Jason Harmon’s Friday morning workout for the Miami Dolphins had barely started when it ended abruptly with a pulled hamstring, his agent Glen Lansky said.

Harmon was working on a kickoff return drill when he felt a pop.

“He said he felt terrible that he pulled his hammy,” Lansky said. “If it was anything he could have run through he would have.”

Lansky didn’t believe the hamstring injury would last more than a week. Harmon is scheduled to visit with Jacksonville on Tuesday, but that trip does not entail a workout.

“He’ll be fine,” Lansky said.

The injury comes a day after what Harmon considered a good workout for Tampa Bay.

Former FAU teammates Rusty Smith, Chris Bonner, Willie Rose, Carl Spitale, Cortez Gent and Jamari Grant were all scheduled to participate in the Dolphins’ local workout.

Spitale estimated as many as 45 players showed their wares.

“These guys were coaching us,” Spiltale said. “Bill Parcels was watching. Head coach Tony Sparano was watching. It was cool.”

Friday’s FAU Daily Briefing: Tucker’s 16 assist performance stands up

 There will be plenty of baseball and football this weekend, so let’s take a quick look at basketball this morning.

 
The NCAA basketball season came to an exciting end on Monday with Duke edging Butler in a championship game for the ages.
 
That also means the 2009-10 statistics are final and in the record books.
 
Here are a few interesting FAU-national ranking tidbits :
 
  • When Alex Tucker (pictured) dished out 16 assists vs. FIU on Jan. 30, 2010 it was not only a school record but it tied the game-high for this season among all NCAA players. Demetri McCarney of Illinois and Kentucky’s John Wall were the only other players to gave 16 assists in a game this season.
  • Speaking of assists, guard Ray Taylor barely finished out of the top 10 in assists, finishing 11th in the nation  with 5.9 per game. Not bad for a freshman.
  • FAU finished the season with a team-ranking of 218 in the RPI. And before you go searching through all the rankings I’ll save you the trouble. San Francisco was 210 and SMU 211.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
FAUOwlAccess.com talked to Jason Harmon after his workout with the Bucs on Thursday. Interesting that WR Chris Bonner was there as well. Scheduled to work out for the Dolphins today in Davie are Harmon, Bonner, Rusty Smith, Carl Spitale, Willie Rose and Cortez Gent.
 
We also posted our preview of this weekend’s Sun Belt Conference series at New Orleans.
 
Other linkage...

The Palm Beach Post talked to Rusty Smith about his plans in case he is not drafted.

 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
7:30 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans
 
Saturday
11 a.m. Football, Spring scrimmage
5 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans
 
Sunday
2 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans
 
Harmon pleased with Tampa Bay workout

Former FAU tight end Jason Harmon is pleased with his performance at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ local workout earlier today.

“They said they liked what I looked like,” Harmon said of the Bucs coaches. “They said they know I have good hands and I looked good running routes.”

The Bucs didn’t put the players through any tests, so Harmon didn’t have a chance to improve his 40 time (He ran a 4.62 at FAU’s Pro Day). He estimated the hopefuls were on the field for about 45 minutes, spending most of the time running routes.

A tight end at FAU, Harmon is being told he projects as a wide receiver at the next level.

Chris Bonner also participated in the workout. Harmon said the former FAU wide receiver caught every pass thrown to him, including one catch that may have been the play of the day.

“He had a spectacular catch over the shoulder that no one thought he would get to,” Harmon said. “Everyone was in awe.”

Former USF quarterback Matt Grothe was among the approximately 15 offensive players at the workout. Grothe is working his way back from tearing his ACL last season.

“He looked pretty good,” Harmon said. “He wasn’t limited at all.”

Harmon and Bonner are hustling back to South Florida for tomorrow’s local workout with the Miami Dolphins. He expects to be joined by Rusty Smith, Willie Rose, Cortez Gent and Carl Spitale.

Players are eligible to participate at the local workout for an NFL team if they went to high school or college in the local area of that NFL team.

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: FAU didn’t get job done in toughest stretch of the season

 

No one thought the last two weeks for the FAU baseball team was going to be easy. In fact, I said before the Owls departed for Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks ago today, the Owls were entering the most difficult stretch of the season.

 
Here’s how the Owls fared in those games
 
  • At  ULL: L, 9-3
  • At ULL: W 4-3
  • At ULL: W 4-3 
  • At Miami: L12-5
  • Vs. MTSU: W 9-1
  • Vs. MTSU: L 10-6
  • Vs. MTSU: L 4-3
  • Vs. Miami: L 8-5
  • At Miami: L 11-0
 
As you can see it got off to a promising start, but quickly faded.
 
Since the ULL series, the hitters have generally been in a slump and the pitching has been generally uninspiring.
 
Last night’s 11-0 drubbing at the hands of the Hurricanes was the appropriate way to end these nine games. Losing to UM is nothing to be ashamed of, if the games are competitive. The first two vs. the Canes were. The last one wasn’t.
 
I’m not going to write off FAU because they dropped three to Miami, but FAU needs to start showing ot wants to contend in the Sun Belt.
 
Here’s a recipe for getting back on track: Sweep the road series from lowly New Orleans this weekend and then take 2-of-3 from Western Kentucky, the top team in the SBC, at home next week.
 
A tall order? Sure, but if FAU is going to be a team that can make it to a regional, it had better start doing things a team headed to a regional would do.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's  being written about the Owls
 
FAUOwlAccess.com was the first to report the new addition to FAU’s recruiting class along with the details on why the new player didn’t wind up at FAU last fall. Sign up here to get your Owl Access pass and be the first to know when big FAU news breaks.
 
We also have the only baseball story from last night’s loss written from the FAU angle.
 
Other linkage…
 
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Friday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring Practice
7:30 p.m. Baseball, FAU at New Orleans

 

Long road to Miami includes iguanas

FAUOwlAccess.com’s Marcus Nelson will be making the adventurous rush hour drive down I-95 to cover tonight’s FAU at Miami baseball game. That won’t come anywhere close to being the longest journey to get to the ballpark.

Chris Gray, father of starting pitcher Kenny Gray, works in Germany and is flying in to see his son’s first collegiate start.

A senior who graduated from Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Kenny Gray has struggled through injuries during his time at FAU. He underwent Tommy John surgery, then had to overcome a bone chip in that arm.

After pitching five innings as a freshman in 2006, Gray has only pitched 5 2/3 since. He’s held opponents scoreless in three of his four outings this season.

“Tonight will be the sleepless night, but I think I will do alright,” Gray said on Tuesday prior to FAU’s 8-5 loss to Miami.

Gray used a low-90s fastball to post a 0.90 ERA during his senior season at Atlantic. The injuries have removed some of the pep from Gray’s fastball – every once in a while he touches 90 – forcing him to rely more on a splitter and a big hook.

He’s hoping to pitch into the fifth inning with a lead against the Canes.

“It’s been a long road,” Gray said. “My goal is to pitch at the next level and (Wednesday) is an opportunity to show I can do that.”

If Gray is successful and the Owls pull out a victory, Gray may choose to indulge in a, shall we say, non-traditional celebratory meal.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Gray enjoys catching iguanas in his off time.

“They taste decent,” said Gray, lamenting that the cold winter killed many of his potential meals. “Most people think the tail is the good meat but it is actually the arms that I think are the best tasting. They are like chicken wings almost. Soak them in teriyaki and grill them up.”

If the Owls win tonight, I expect to see iguana kabobs at FAU’s next home game.

And is there anything Gray can do about all those parrots squawking at the FAU ballpark?

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU gets one more shot at Hurricanes tonight

 After last night’s 8-5 loss to Miami, FAU is 0-for-2 vs. the Hurricanes this season with only tonight’s game in Coral Gables remaining in the series.

 
The odds are against the Owls, but there have been some signs FAU has a fighting chance.
 
  • Up until the seventh inning it looked like FAU should have just cancelled the bus trip down I-95, but all of the sudden, the Owls came to life in the seventh inning when they batted around.
  • The Owls were also able to have some success off Miami reliever E.J. Encinosa, who might be the hardest pitcher on the UM staff to hit. Plus, just making UM use Encinosa may have helped because he may not even be available tonight.
 
FAU may indeed get swept by UM, but the games have been competitive and have made the Canes squirm a bit in the first two games.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about FAU
 
Did you see the video of FAU’s new 4th-string quarterback? It’s none other punter Mickey Groody and this is no April Fool’s joke. Watch the video to see why Groody is using his arm not his leg this spring.
 
FAUOwlAccess.com had complete coverage of the baseball game last night so check out our recap, video highlights and photos of fans enjoying themselves on one of the biggest nights of the year at the ballpark.
 
Check back later today for our coverage of spring football practice and coverage from Coral Gables for tonight’s game against Miami.
 
Other linkage…
 
The Sun-Sentinel had this story from the baseball game
 
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
6 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Miami
At long last, here’s the list of banks interested in FAU football stadium

An avid reader of this site passed along a tip, so I did a little digging and came up with the list of banks who accepted FAU’s Invitation to Negotiate to finance FAU's football stadium

Shortlisted for Comprehensive services
  • Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
  • PNC
  • Regions
 
Shortlisted for Trustee Services:
  • BNY Mellon
  • TD Bank
  • US Bank
 
If FAU officials  can come to an agreement with one of these (I think they will) they will present it to the Board of Trustees in a few weeks.
FAU Daily Briefing for Tuesday, April 6, 2010

 

The vaunted Miami Hurricanes are coming to Boca Raton for tonight’s game against FAU and Owls fans better be ready for an invasion of Hurricane fans.

 
When UM comes to town it’s always one of the biggest crowds of the season and it’s not just FAU fans who will be heading to FAU Stadium.
 
Our good friend Owlumni let us know about a good way for FAU fans to watch the game and have a good time.
 
For $25 - or $20 if you have season tickets or are a member of the FAU National Alumni Association - you get a access to a tailgate party including hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks and beer.
 
Click here for Owlumni’s announcement and give Jose Herrera a call 561.297.2301 or jherrer4@fau.edu for more information,
 
It sounds like a great deal and a lot of fun. If I wasn’t working covering the game, I know where I would be.
 
I hope FAU fans show up tonight and don’t let orange and green take over FAU Stadium.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
This week is a busy one for FAUOwlAccess.com and it started on Monday. We have a story on new starter at defensive end Jamere Johnson, with other news and notes from practice. Plus, check out our photo gallery featuring former Owls Frantz Joseph, Rusty Smith and Chris Bonner paying a visit to the Oxley Practice Fields.
 
We also posted preview of the two-game baseball series vs. Miami.
 

Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Today
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Miami at FAU
 
Wednesday
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
6 p.m. Baseball, FAU at Miami

 

Here's why FAU fans should pull for Duke tonight
 
At least two members of the FAU coaching staff will be pulling for Duke in tonight’s championship game against Butler, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that head coach Mike Jarvis’ revised pick following the Sweet 16 was for the Blue Devils to win it all.
 
Jarvis had Georgetown going all the way before the tournament started but picked Duke after the Hoyas lost in the first round.
 
But Jarvis’ son, Mike Jarvis II, and Tim Kaine, both on the Owls coaching staff had an interest in Duke all along.
 
In a little-known fact, Kaine is actually the godson of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
 
And Jarvis II, was at Duke from 2004-06 as the director of player personnel, helping the Blue Devils win consecutive ACC titles.
 
I’m sure there are plenty of people whose brackets are shot and have no rooting interest tonight, but those are a couple of reasons Owl fans can pull for Duke.
FAU Daily Briefing for Monday, April 5, 2010

 

A little more than a week ago, I wrote that FAU was entering its most difficult stretch of the season.

 
Since then FAU is 3-4 with two games left in a nine-game portion of the season that has featured three games at Louisiana-Lafayette, a game at Miami and three games vs. Middle Tennessee.
 
All that’s left is two more games vs. the Hurricanes, including Tuesday’s game in Boca Raton.
 
After trying to bounce back after a painful series loss to the Blue Raiders, especially Sunday’s 4-3 loss, the last thing you want to see is Miami coming to town.
 
If FAU can win one of the games vs. the Canes, the Owls will be able to forget this weekend. But if Miami wins both games and the Owls are on a four-game losing streak, you can point to this stretch where the season shifted in the wrong direction.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
 
FAUOwlAccess.com was at the ballpark for the early start on Easter and provided complete coverage of the game including a recap, video highlights and a photo gallery.
 
Today, we’ll have a preview of the home-and-home series against Miami and will be at football practice as spring drills resume.
 
Other linkage...
 
 
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Today
3:30 p.m. Football, Spring practice
 
Tuesday
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Miami at FAU
FAU Daily Briefing for Sunday, April 4

 

As we know there was plenty of hitting as FAU went through its first practice in pads on Saturday.

Maybe too much as the injury list is already getting long after several players were hurt during the physical workout.
Among them were two players who were listed as starters before the spring session began: LB David Hinds and DE Daniel Joseph.
Of those, Hinds’ appears to be more serious as he was carted off the field with an injury to his lower right leg.
When spring drills began Hinds and Micheal Lockley were both listed as starters at middle linebacker, however Lockley had been getting more work in the first few days of practice.
If the battle is considered neck and neck, if Hinds misses any substantial time, you can go ahead and put Lockley in that spot.
Joseph watched the end of practice with his arm in a sling with Jamere Johnson filling in admirably.
Second-team left tackle  DeAndre Williams was also hurt and if he is out, the backup for Troy Niblack will be Carlton Falconer, who is banged up himself.
Another sign the depth at offensive line is waning - reserve Chris Chappell watched Saturday’s practice in street clothes.
Byu the way, Happy Easter from your friends at FAUOwlAccess.com.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
FAUOwlAccess.com will soon qualify to change its address to 777 Glades Road if there are too many days like Saturday. We were at Saturday’s football practice  and also covered the baseball game.
From football practice we had a recap, exclusive video of the Oklahoma Drills and a photo gallery.
The baseball team lost to MTSU 10-6 and we had this recap and photo gallery featuring a big-league ballplayer in the house.
Check back today for our coverage of today’s rubber match between FAU and Middle Tennessee.
Other linkage…
The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal has some interesting comments from Blue Raiders coach Steve Peterson on Mike Gipson.
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Noon, Baseball, MTSU at FAU
1 p.m. Softball, South Alabama at FAU

 

FAU Daily Briefing for Saturday, April 3

Middle Tennessee came into Friday night’s game against FAU as one of the best hitting-teams in the Sun Belt Conference.

That was before the Blue Raiders faced Ryan Garton.

Garton struggled big-time in his first career start last week at Louisiana-Lafayette, but was masterful in his second start as he allowed just a run on nine hits and had 10 strikeouts along the way.
Along with his relief 120-pitch relief effort a few weeks ago at Troy, Garton now has two of the best outings of an FAU pitcher this season.
More importantly, it looks like the Owls have a solid Friday night starter. 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
FAUOwlAccess.com  was not only at the baseball game, but at the spring football practice as well.
Safety Austin Jensen, who was injured in a Feb. car accident, stopped by practice  for a few moments and we have a photo of him and some members of the football staff excited to see him.
Today will be another day of double duty, so check back for our recaps of football practice and the second game of the series with Middle Tennessee.
Other linkage:
 Miami Herald says Isiah Thomas not interested in DePaul, but he sounds sure sounds like he has interest in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
 
Today
11 a.m. Football, spring practice
4 p.m. Baseball, MTSU at FAU
6 p.m. Softball, South Alabama at FAU
8 p.m. Softball, South Alabama at FAU
Austin Jensen stops by FAU football practice

The player that turned heads at Friday’s football practice didn’t score a touchdown or make an interception.

FAU safety Austin Jensen, who was badly injured in a February car accident, stopped by the Oxley for a few moments at the beginning of Friday’s workout.
Players looked over and acknowledged Jensen, who has been recovering at his home in Bradenton from the injuries he received in a rollover accident on I-95.
Jensen watched a few minutes of practice while leaning on crutches wearing his white No. 37 practice jersey.
A few members of the football staff came over and gave Jensen a hug.
Jensen, who is not attending class, was on campus to take care of paperwork issues.
It was a neat scene to see his teammates react to seeing him, some likely for the first time since the accident.

 

FAU fullback Rose to meet with Seattle

FAU fullback Willie Rose impressed the Seattle Seahawks enough at Pro Day to earn an invite to Seattle next week.

NFL teams are allowed to bring a limited number of potential draftees to their facility to undergo physicals and meet with Seattle team officials. The team is not allowed to put a player through workouts during the visit.

“The teams can only bring in 30 guys, so they are obviously impressed with him,” said Brett Tessler, Rose’s agent.

Rose (6-1, 236) was the player who helped his draft stock the most at FAU’s Pro Day, running the 40 in 4.53 and bench pressing 225 pounds 21 times. A Seahawks scout was present at the event.

Rose averaged 5.0 yards per carry during his senior season. He also caught 29 passes for 302 yards. In his career, Rose rushed for 975 yards, added 739 receiving yards and scored a combined 14 touchdowns.

Tessler said Rose will also join former Owls Rusty Smith, Jason Harmon and Carl Spitale at the Miami Dolphins local workout on April 9. Tessler has been talking with Tampa Bay about the possibility of setting up a visit or workout for Rose.

FAU Daily Briefing for Friday, April 2, 2010

You never know who will be around an FAU football practice.

If there appeared to be a slight NFL aura around FAU’s opening of spring practice on Wednesday, it might have been because free agent defensive end Jevon Kearse was on campus working out (photo).

The former Tennessee Titan and Philadelphia Eagle has been training with Athletes Edge, a local sports training group that offers their services to everyone from little leaguers to professional athletes. The group often uses FAU’s facilities for their workouts.

Nicknamed “The Freak,” Kearse was the NFL’s 1999 Defensive Rookie of the Year and is a three-time Pro Bowler.

The Fort Myers native expects to continue training at FAU for the coming weeks. Kearse snuck a few peaks at FAU’s team between his exercises and asked me a couple of questions about the state of the team.

He hopes to talk with the defensive line before his workouts are finished.

Could FAU football practices become the new place to be seen? See you today at 3:30 p.m.

 

Owl Talk: Your guide to what's being written about the Owls

 At FAUOwlAccess.com, we get you ready for this weekend's Sun Belt series between FAU and Middle Tennessee with this preview.

Also, check out the latest Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz , our weekly podcast, as Brian talks in-depth to offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson. The show also features interviews with OF Andy Mee and P Kathryn Stauffer.

Other linkage...

  • The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports MTSU's Bryce Brentz,  the Sun Belt Pre-season Player of the Year, is not making the trip to Boca Raton due to a stress fracture in his ankle.
  • The Orlando Sentinel reports on rumors of Big East expansion.

Owl Cal: A daily calendar of FAU events

Friday

3:30 p.m. Football, spring practice

6:30 p.m. Baseball, Middle Tennessee at FAU

 

Is spring coming or going?

Spring began yesterday and ended today – well, sort of anyway.

Spent much of yesterday at FAU, where the Owls opened spring football practice. Today, I’m sitting in the press box at Roger Dean Stadium covering the Cardinals vs. the Marlins in the final game of spring training.

Even after this wacky winter, the big league clubs heading north is a sure sign that the hot, humid weather is on its way.

Did get one last spring treat today. Cardinals’ hitting coach Mark McGwire took batting practice before the game (photos).  He hit a half dozen or so balls out of the park – which is nothing compared to the roof-shot shows he once put on.

I asked St. Louis manager Tony La Russa manager whether he’d being using Mark McGwire as a pinch hitter today.

“Not from what I saw,” La Russa laughed.

How does that relate to FAU? It really doesn’t, but I know we have a lot of baseball lovers who read this blog. Thought y’all might enjoy the tidbit.

Back to the gridiron…

The most interesting thing I saw yesterday was David Hinds and Michael Lockley on the field at the same time during 7-on-7 drills. Lockley is the best athlete on the team and Hinds had a pretty good debut as a true freshman. It might not work out, but I like that it’s being considered.

Not sure if this is an omen, but Malik Eugene intercepted a deflected first pass on the first year of full-team drills. The year of the defense?

Max Karrick isn’t supposed to go through contact drills when the Owls don pads on Saturday, but it was good to see him on the field Wednesday. Coaches have said Karrick is still dealing with lingering effects from a concussion suffered when the car he was riding in rolled on I-95 in January.

Have another interesting nugget in a bit. Have to finish the Cardinals’ game story.
 

FAU Daily Briefing for Thursday, April 1, 2010
 
After FAU lost to Miami 12-5 on Wednesday night it’s easy to point out that mid-week non-conference games don’t matter nearly as much as the important Sun Belt Conference games.
There may be some truth to that, but games against teams like Miami do matter – and they matter a lot.
All you had to do was look into the eyes of the players as they made their way from the dugout to the bus for yet another unhappy ride home from Coral Gables to Boca Raton.
The Owls had better be able to move on quickly with Middle Tennessee coming to town, but FAU will get two more shots at Miami next week.
If the Owls can salvage a game vs. the Hurricanes, I doubt anyone will say the games are meaningless.
 
Owl Links: Your daily guide to what's being written about the Owls
Wednesday was the first day of spring football practice and FAUOwlAccess.com was there with this recap and of course, plenty of highlights of the workout and FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s pre-spring practice meeting with the media.
After watching the first few minutes of practice it was time to head down to Coral Gables for the baseball game between FAU and Miami.
Check back later today for the Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz podcast and also a preview of the FAU-Middle Tennessee series this weekend.
Other linkage…
The Sun-Sentinel reports on UM’s victory as does The Miami Herald
 
Owl Cal: Your calendar to FAU events
Friday
3:30 P.M. Football, Spring practice
6:30 p.m. Baseball, Middle Tennessee at FAU
 

 

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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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Nicely done Jake. Great addition to Owl Access.

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