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Posts from August 2010

FAU releases depth chart for opener vs. UAB

FAU's official depth chart is out for Thursday's opener at UAB.

Also out is the official injury report on the game. The only player listed on it is C Jordan Sessa. However, LT Sam McCroy, who hadn't practiced the last few days after being hurt, was back at practice Thursday, but not listed on the depth chart.

Also it lists David Kooi on the same line as Graham Wilbert.

But here it is, FAU's official depth chart for the first game of the season....

FAU OFFENSE

LT 64 Max Karrick
 63 DeAndre Williams

LG 56 Andy Czuprynski
 62 Chris White

C 65 Mike Nweze
 50 Jimmie Colley

RG 52 Chris Newbold
 51 Erik Hansen

RT 55 Joe Bailey
 64 Max Karrick

TE 81 Rob Housler
 85 Darrian Williams

QB Jeff Van Camp
 7 David Kooi

FB 8 Xavier Stinson
 36 David Muniz

RB 32 Alfred Morris
 4 Jeff Blanchard

ZWR 1 Avery Holley
   2 DeAndre Richardson

XWR 3 Lester Jean
 87 Byron Hankerson

FAU DEFENSE

LDE 92 Kevin Cyrille
 31 Cory Henry

LDT 58 Dino Cox
 94 Andrew Stryffler

RDT 96 Jimmy Jean
 93 Jarvis Givens

RDE 98 Jamere Johnson
 99 Daniel Jospeh

SLB 21 Malik Eugene
 48 Yourhigness Morgan

MLB 45 Michael Lockley
 11 David Hinds

NB 24 Brentley Harstad
 5 Tavious Polo

CB 5 Tavious Polo
 34 Keith Reaser

FS 27 Marcus Bartels
 24 Brentley Harstad

SS 38 Ed Alexander
 18 Tony Rodriguez

CB 9 Tarvoris Hill
 26 Curtis Cross

SPECIALISTS
P 17 Mickey Groody
 20 Ross Gornall

PK 20 Ross Gornall
 34 Vincent Zaccario

LS 74 Tim Raber

PR 1 Avery Holley
 5 Tavious Polo

KOR 5 Tavious Polo
 4 Jeff Blanchard

Schnellenberger MVP Award to go to top player in Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville game

There’s no doubt that Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger had an impact on the sport of football in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Now the best player in the biggest game between state’s flagship universities, Louisville and Kentucky, will win the Howard Schnellenberger Award.

It’s appropriate.
Without Schnellenberger, the annual game probably wouldn’t even be played. Schnellenberger, who coached Louisville, and played at Kentucky, was instrumental in getting the rivalry renewed and at having the high schools there participate in spring football and elevate their programs.
Here’s the full text of the release from the Louisville Sports Commission…
Louisville, KY (August 31, 2010) -- The Louisville Sports Commission today announced the creation of the Howard Schnellenberger MVP Award that will be presented annually to the most valuable player on the winning team in the University of Louisville - University of Kentucky football game. The announcement was made in conjunction with the athletic departments at both universities and the blessing of Schnellenberger, who has ties to both programs and remarkable football credentials.
 
"It is a source of great pride for me to become a part of the Governor's Cup Football Game," Schnellenberger said. "This intense rivalry has become the defining game for collegiate football within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. My hat's off to the Wildcat and Cardinal teams, coaches and fans."
 
Schnellenberger was recruited to UK out of Louisville Flaget (fla-jay') High School by the legendary Bear Bryant, earned varsity letters in 1952-53-54-55 and was an All-American tight end for the Wildcats under Blanton Collier as a senior. Schnellenberger was an assistant coach at UK under Collier in 1959 and 1960. As the head coach at UofL for 10 years (1985-1994), Schnellenberger is credited with rejuvenating the football program and boosted support for a new, on-campus stadium. He led the Cardinals to victories in the Liberty and Fiesta Bowls.
 
The annual renewal of the intrastate rivalry between the Cardinals and the Wildcats will be played September 4 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. The Howard Schnellenberger MVP will be selected by a vote of the working press covering the game as identified by the sports information directors from each school. Voting will take place near or at completion of the game at the discretion of the SIDs.
 
Schnellenberger currently is head coach and director of football operations at Florida Atlantic University, having built the Division I program from scratch starting in 1998. At Miami, Louisville and FAU, Schnellenberger-coached teams are a remarkable 6-0 in bowl games. Schnellenberger was an integral part of four national championships in college football and two Super Bowl victories. He coached the University of Miami to the 1983 national championship and was offensive coordinator under Bryant at Alabama for national titles in 1961-64-65. He was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula, including the 17-0 season in 1972, and assistant for the Los Angeles Rams under George Allen. 
 
 
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU’s training camp was long enough

It wasn’t too long ago when there were questions raised about the length of FAU’s training camp.

Why was it starting so late? Would there be enough time? Does going through 50 training camps in your career really make you qualified to determine the length of training camp?

Well, the answer is this year’s training camp, if anything, may have been too long. At least that’s what FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger appears to have decided. The last two days’ practices have been light – including the strange sight of the Owls going through a walk-through three days before the game. Today’s final practice before Thursday's opener at UAB will also be light.
“It’’s been a long training camp,” Schnellenberger said. “The legs are weary and we aren’t going to go up there with weary legs."
This training camp was tough and once players started getting injured, it made it tougher on the ones that stayed healthy.
 “I think something we need is to rest our bodies especially after Schnelly’s camp,” said quarterback Jeff Van Camp. “It’s always a little bit rough.”
Quite simply, the players couldn’t have taken much more pounding so it’s a good thing they didn’t start earlier.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com, we talked to quarterback Jeff Van Camp about improvement in the offensive line.
Other linkage...
Some UAB notes from The Birmingham News
 
Monday’s Daily Briefing: A look at the FAU depth chart

With regular-season practices underway, the FAU depth chart is beginning to solidify and take on extra importance.

There are a few areas that are still changing daily, such as the offensive line, but here’s my best guess at what the depth chart could look like.
> FLORIDA ATLANTIC OFFENSE

WR 3 Lester Jean / 83 Marcus Cunningham

WR 1 Avery Holley / 2 DeAndre Richardson

LT 64 Max Karrick / 63 DeAndre Williams

LG 56 Andy Czuprynski / 62 Chris White

C 50 Jimmie Colley / 52 Chris Newbold

RG 51 Erik Hansen / 72 Ricaldo Henry

RT 55 Joseph Bailey / 71 Chris Chappell

TE 81 Rob Housler / 85 Darian Williams

QB 12 Jeff Van Camp / 14 Graham Wilbert

FB 36 David Muniz /  8 Xavier Stinson

RB 32 Alfred Morris / 4 Jeff Blanchard

> FLORIDA ATLANTIC DEFENSE

DE 99 Daniel Joseph / 98 Jamere Johnson

DT 58 Dino Cox / 91 Andrew Styrffler

DT 93 Jarvis Givens / 96 Jimmy Jean

DE 92 Kevin Cyrille / 31 Cory Henry

WLB 42 Alex Pattee / 42 Yourhigness Morgan

MLB 45 Michael Lockley / 11 David Hinds

SLB 21 Malik Eugene / 44 Toney Moore

CB 9 Tarvoris Hill / 34 Keith Reaser

SS 27 Marcus Bartels / 18 Tony Rodriguez

FS 38 Ed Alexander / 24 Brentley Harstad

CB 5 Tavious Polo / 26 Curtis Cross

I can’t stress enough that this chart is unofficial and are just observations from watching practice. The chart could change by tonight’s practice.
There are still some interesting things however, as of Sunday’s workout. So here’s a few things that make you go hmmm…
  • Senior Fullback David Muniz is still ahead of Xavier Stinson. This probably has more to do with Stinson missing time than anything else, but if the UAB game was today, it looks like Muniz would get the start.
  • Center Jimmie Colley took most of the snaps with the starters Sunday, but Mike Nweze also had significant work with the 1s. Colley returned last week, but that may not have been enough time to get ready for the Blazers.
  • True freshman wide receiver Marcus Cunningham, pictured,  is battling with Byron Hankerson for the No. 4 receiver, but even if Cunningham is at No. 5 that’s high enough on the depth chart to see playing time. He’s my pick, besides grey-shirt Cory Henry, for the first true freshman to see action this season.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • The Sun-Sentinel concludes the Owls are lacking experience at tight-end
  • UAB's goal for this season is to make it to a bowl game, according to The Birmingham News
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Muniz among those put on scholarship

The good news just keeps coming for senior fullback David Muniz.

A few weeks ago he found out he had made his grades and was cleared to play after being ruled academically ineligible last season.
The most recent good news for Muniz is that he was put on scholarship for this season, one of several players who were walk-ons, but worked their way up to be put on scholarship.
I hear that list also includes SS Marcus Bartels, TE Alex Fick, DE Martin Wright, OT Joseph Bailey and DB Brentley Harstad.
For walk-ons, almost as important as the financial reward is receiving the recognition from the coaching staff.
So, congratulations to these player who have distinguished themselves in the eyes of their coaches.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we spent the least Saturday before college football season kicks off, watching football practice. Here’s some news and notes and our practice report.
Other linkage…
  • The Palm Beach Post’s college football special section is out today. Check out some of their stories here
 
 
Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Calendars adjusted at Oxley

It’s the weekend, but it’s Monday. Tomorrow, of course, is Tuesday and so on and so on at least as far as the FAU football team in concerned.

With Thursday’s opener at UAB just a few days away, the Owls are trying to make this week seem like a normal week so are moving their practice schedule up two days. Yes there’s an extra practice thrown in since FAU usually takes Monday off, but won’t this week.
It feels like game week now because after Friday’s scripted scrimmage it’s just regular-season practices from here on out.
Also, a word about Friday’s scrimmage. There were reports that it was “unscheduled” and “impromptu” and that it was even kept “secret from the players” until just before they took the field.
That’s pure fiction and couldn’t be any further from the truth.
The  game-prep scrimmage has been scheduled from the beginning of training camp. When players checked in on Aug. 5 they – and the media - were given a detailed intinerary of each day’s practice schedule. There on Friday, Aug. 27 at 3:30 p.m. it listed a “Game Prep Scrimmage.”  Pictured is what that schedule given to every coach, player and media member in attendance looked like.
If FAU was trying to keep the scrimmage a secret from anyone, that probably isn’t a good way to do it.
Heck, until yesterday we listed “Game Prep Scrimmage” on FAUOwlAccess.com in our practice schedule. Maybe those who are spreading the unsubstantiated bunk that the scrimmage was thrown together out of thin air should read our site more often.
So any Owl fans who think that Howard Schnellenberger called an audible because the team is way behind or so far from where he wants them to be that a “surprise” scrimmage was necessary, don’t worry – the team is sticking to its previously scheduled practice regimen.
Hopefully the team will be ready for its “surprise” game at UAB on Thursday.
> OwlLinks: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com reported on the progress of center Jimmie Colley, who was back with the starters on Friday.
We also had an update on pitcher Mike Gipson in our Former Owl Friday segment.
Other linkage…

 

Friday's Daily Briefing: Former FAU QB Rusty Smith hits big time, taken in fantasy draft

Slipped away from FAU’s practice the other day to take part in an ESPN 760 fantasy  football draft.

Don’t worry, I understand that the only thing worse to listening to someone drone on and on about a fantasy team is listening to someone talk about their bad beat in poker, so I won’t bore anyone with how bad my team is.

Do want to share one cool little nugget from the evening, though. ESPN 760 brought a draft board to Bru’s Room in Delray Beach, which is where the event was held. Each time someone made a selection, an ESPN staff member pealed the player name off a pre-made sticker sheet that came as part of the kit they were using and affixed it to the board.

Well, we got late enough in the draft that I decided to have a little fun. Stephanie Prince took the photo of me making my 13th-round choice: Rusty Smith.

Two interesting things happened then. The first was that people got vocal. One person sitting at the table yelled, “Oh, the hometown boy.” Another said “Way to support FAU.” To my knowledge, neither of these people ever attended FAU, which means Smith – and FAU football for that matter – has achieved recognition outside of mere “homers.”

Immediately following those responses, Prince peeled Smith’s name off the player list and put it on the board. The radio station didn’t make the draft kit. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure Smith would even have a sticker so the fact that his name was there provided a mix of surprise and satisfaction.

Face it. You haven’t made it in the sports world until you are on someone’s fantasy team. Welcome to the big time, Rusty. The NFL should be a piece of cake going forward.

> Owl Links:  Articles of interest to FAU fans.

FAUOwlAccess.com provided the kind of coverage of Thursday’s bonfire that FAU fans have come to expect. Video from the bonfire was included in the 3-2-See video, and more outtakes were included in this video that was the first to hit the web.  We also provided a photo gallery from the night, and this story containing Graham Wilbert’s comments about being named the No. 2 quarterback.

And since it was a Thursday, that also meant another edition of Owl Talk hit the net. Brian Rowitz talked with Alfred Morris, Tavious Polo and soccer player Janelle Blake.

Other linkage...

  • The Sun-Sentinel also looked at Schnellenberger’s decision to name Wilbert  as Jeff Van Camp’s backup.
Blaze indeed burns at Thursday’s bonfire

Standing not too far from where next season there should be a near-completed on-campus football stadium, FAU Howard Schnellenberger put the torch to what bears a close resemblance to UAB’s dragon mascot.

I may be a harsh critic since I was a student at UAB when the dragon mascot was unveiled, but it sort of looked like an alligator to me.
I’m just glad they didn’t paint “Alabama-Birmingham” on the side and got the name of the school correct.
Anyway, it was another great bonfire and its always great to see the student support for this event, especially the freshman.  
 
Check out these links for more...

 

> Photo Gallery: Images from Bonfire
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Blazers beware, FAU’s bonfire is tonight

I  will be making myself scarce tonight and I have locked up anything that says “UAB” on it, especially that diploma that took me almost seven years to get.

I don’t want Howard Schnellenberger, Mike Burdman or Crash Taylor to get their mitts on me or my Blazer stuff or else it could go up in flames.
That’s right, tonight is the vaunted FAU bonfire – a fine tradition that has its roots from before the program played its first game when Schnellenberger held its first bonfire.

Last year, it was a big “N” that memorably went up in flames, ticking off a few Husker fans who couldn’t see that this was in good fun.
I’m not sure what will be torched this year. UAB is the Blazers – so a sport coat would be appropriate. But beware, the UAB mascot is a dragon and doesn't mind a little fire.
I know this event – weather permitting – will be a success since a sign that says “no more wood” went up at the site last week.
If it rains much more, the football team may be practicing right next to the bonfire site at the Track and Field Complex.
The festivities begin at 8 p.m.
We’ll see you there, but I’ll be keeping away from those with torches.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAU cancelled its practice Wednesday night, so there were no interviews with coaches and players and only 30 minutes of practice to watch. We still had some notes, so check them out here.
Other linkage...
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Owls open wide

A trip to the dentist’s office doesn’t top many people’s lists of Fun Things to do on a Day Off, but judging by the jocularity among FAU players, it wasn’t the worst part of their day either.

Monday afternoon many FAU players took a field trip of sorts to Dr. Richard Staller’s Delray Beach office. A supporter of the FAU program since its inception, Staller helps the Owls by providing high-tech custom mouth guards for all the football players.

The group in his office on Monday consisted mostly of freshmen. The top photo shows wide receiver DeAndre Robinson getting examined by Staller. That’s offensive lineman Blake Parrish with one of Staller’s assistants in the bottom photo preparing to bite down on the stuff that creates the mold for the mouth piece.

It’s a fairly interesting process. I was there to record it for a video package that will be featured in the coming weeks.

Don’t forget to floss…

Owl links: Stories of interest to FAU fans.
We’re getting lots of interesting feedback on the story about Martin Wright’s second chance. In a couple of years we may look back and say that this was the biggest story from 2010’s fall camp. If you haven’t read it yet, grab a cup of coffee and get to it. Then let us know what you think of it.

By now you’ve probably already read Tuesday’s practice report and seen the play made by Tarvoris Hill in the 3-2-See video, but if not they are all on this page.

Other linkage:

Wilbert gets nod as the Owls backup quarterback over Kooi

FAU announced Tuesday night that Graham Wilbert is the No. 2 quarterback after training camp entering the UAB game.

I have to say I am a bit surprised. While I didn’t see much difference in the performance of Wilbert and David Kooi during training camp, it appeared to me the coaching staff was leaning more toward Kooi.
Obviously not, as Wilbert was given the nod and it’s an important designation as we all know Schnellenberger likes to put it a No. 2 in the second or third quarter to keep him fresh.
Wilbert had way more action in the scrimmages, but sometimes that’s not the best way to judge. Kooi was quick to run out of the pocket, a skill that just may come in handy behind this offensive line, but Wilbert’ arm looked to be pretty strong.
The coaches must have seen something they like with Wilbert so we’ll get more on the decision Wednesday from Schnellenberger. 
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU scrimmage was brief, but Owl fans saw more than UAB supporters

There were many people upset at the end of Saturday’s FanFest that the scrimmage ended earlier than they would have liked.

But, trust me Owl fans, it could be worse.
At UAB, the Blazers held their Fan Day – and then told their supporters to scram while they held their scrimmage behind closed doors.
Like FAU, UAB is a program that is relatively new to Division I-A and desperately needs to grow its fan base.
Closing practices and scrimmages is hardly the way to accomplish that. Even though I am a UAB graduate, I can concede that it’s UAB’s program and it can do what it wants.
But UAB isn’t alone. Many programs have taken the approach that the information that can be gleaned from watching a football practice is akin to gathering international intelligence.
As for FAU, I am appreciative that fans – and media – are allowed at the Oxley Practice Fields.
With many programs closing their practices to fans and media, Howard Schnellenberger keeps his open because he knows the program needs all the exposure and goodwill to the public it can get.
As far as being worried about word getting out about what is happening at practice, that didn’t seem to bother Schnellenberger. In fact he told me that he welcomes Owl opponents to come to practice to watch.
It’s classic bravado – you can know what’s coming, but it’s still your job to stop it.
Uncharacteristically, certain parts of practice were deemed off limits for filming in training camp, but most parts are still open.
Owl fans may not have seen very much of Saturday’s scrimmage, but they saw more than most programs allow. Let’s hope that as FAU tries to grow its fan base, that continues.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
We took a break from football at FAUOwlAccess.com, but that just meant we took a quick look at basketball with a story on the team’s trip to Europe. We also caught up with freshman guard Pablo Bertone, who just arrived on campus.

Other linkage...

FAU guard Pablo Bertone arrives on campus

Pablo Bertone’s first few days at FAU won’t be fodder for the next raucous movie about wild college life.
 
“I was alone,” said Bertone, an incoming freshman on the basketball team. “I didn’t meet anyone on campus at first.”
 
Bertone, shown in the photo filling out forms for the sports information department on Sunday, arrived in Boca Raton on Wednesday while the rest of his soon-to-be teammates were in the midst of their European tour.
 
Bertone expected to with his new teammates on the 10-day romp through Belgium, Holland and France, but issues with the Argentina native’s paper work kept him from being able to enroll in the final summer session. That lack of enrollment, Bertone said, precluded him from being able to join the rest of the Owls.
 
If he couldn’t go to Europe, Florida wasn’t a bad second choice. Bertone, 20, played prep school basketball at Philadelphia’s Rise Academy last year. After spending two years in the Northeast, Bertone was looking to get to a place that felt more like home.
 
 “When I got used to the life (in America) I felt so far from home and my customs,” said Bertone, who had visited the Sunshine State a few times before committing to FAU. “Every time I came to Florida I felt like I was home. There are a lot of Argentinian people. If you want to eat something  typical, I can get it. If I want to go home  I can do it in one flight.”
 
Bertone, who says he had offers from Temple, Rice, Northeastern and Niagara, is glad to be in Boca Raton.
 
“I had some other offers, but I couldn’t say no to FAU,” Bertone said.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: A day without football? Not quite

I admit it. I have had this day circled on my calendar for quite some time.

There it is in big letters. Monday, August 23: Players Off.
And, brother after 25 practices, do they need it - and so do I.
The Owls will be back on the field Tuesday, but there is just enough football today to keep you going.
For instance…
Kirk Herbstreit will be speaking in downtown West Palm Beach tonight answering questions from fans. Here are the details from our friends at ESPN 760. FAU fans are encouraged to ask about the Owls or at least ask Herbstreit if he has any eligibility left and can he snap a football. Also, don’t forget another shot to watch former Owl quarterback Rusty Smith get another shot as the Titans take on the Cardinals on Monday Night Football at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to Owl fans
It was just a light workout on Sunday, but FAUOwlAccess.com was there – just as we were for every practice during the pre-season training camp. Here’s our story on the newest Owls center, Ed Wertepny. On a related note, Howard Schnellenberger was not available after Sunday's workout, but the word around the Oxley is that Mike Nweze is fine and will be back at practice this week.
Other linkage…
 
FAU makes cheaper tickets available for Michigan State game

After ticket sales for the FAU-Michigan State game at Ford Field on Sept. 11 got off to a sluggish start Spartan fans pointed to high ticket prices as one of the main reasons less than 10,000 tickets were sold as of last week.

FAU officials must have been listening.
FAUOwlAccess.com confirmed Saturday that there was going to be a more affordable ticket made available to try to spark sales.
Well, it’s official. Through TicketMaster, there are now $19 (plus fees) tickets available to the general public for the game.
Those tickets were listed as $39 until this weekend. The estimate is there are around 7,000 tickets available for this price.
Will it be enough to stave off a small crowd at Ford Field, which would be embarrassing for both programs?
I guess, we’ll see.
Upper level in the end zone is hardly the best place to watch the game, but it still gets you in the building.

 

Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Blanchard shows off speed, healthy knee in FanFest scrimmage

Florida Atlantic senior running back Jeff Blanchard did more than just score the only touchdown in Saturday’s abbreviated scrimmage at FanFest.

Blanchard may have shown he is all the way back from the torn ACL injury that cost him the 2009 season.
At least it sure looked that way on his nifty 5-yard touchdown run against the Owls’ goal-line defense.
Blanchard, who needed an NCAA exemption for a sixth-year of eligibility to even take the field this season, showed he isn’t too far behind the form he had in 2008.
Blanchard made the cut that led to the score on the right knee. It was the most pressure he had put on the knee since the surgery – and it held in fine fashion as he made it to the end zone.
“My knee stood up and it held up,” Blanchard said. “My knee has been holding up very well since the spring time. I was very confident when I made that cut.”
I predict a healthy Blanchard will be a big part of this offense and his presence will help take some of the load off starter Alfred Morris.
Saturday may have shown he is physically up to the task.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest tro FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com has every angle covered from Saturday’s scrimmage including a recap, analysis, video highlights and photo gallery. Check out our coverage by clicking here.
 Other linkage...
Owls short on players, so FanFest scrimmage cut short

There was thunder and the lightning was visible in the distance, but it wasn’t a storm in the area that caused FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger to end Saturday’s FanFest scrimmage early.

Instead it was tsunami of injuries to the offensive line that had Schnellenberger convinced he had seen enough.

After the scrimmage, Schnellenberger said he called the contest early because he was running out of able bodies on the offensive line, especially after center Mike Nweze had to be helped off the field in the first half and didn’t return.

“I cut it short, even though it wasn’t as short  as you may might think since we have so many plays in the first half,” Schnellenberger said. “We were down low on offensive lineman. I gave them each a chance to score in the second half, but neither one of them did.”

Schnellenberger said he didn’t know the extent of Nweze’s injury, but was concerned after his top four centers have missed most of training camp, including projected starter Jordan Sessa, who is not expected to return this season.

“It’s a hurtful time to have another center go down,” Schnellenberger said. “We don’t know what Nweze’s situation is, but he couldn’t finish the scrimmage.”

In his place, senior Ed Wertepny was thrown into snapping with the starting unit and did quite well. Wertepny, is the Owls’ sixth center used this training camp – but who’s counting?
 

ESPN 760 broadcasting FanFest scrimmage live

I’d heard from plenty of people who want to go to today’s FanFest scrimmage but can’t make it. Good news for you. ESPN 760 will be broadcasting the scrimmage live, which means it can be heard on your car radio or across the net on ESPN760.com.

Ken LaVicka will be on hand to handle play-by-play and on-site producer Brian Rowitz is promising plenty of guests.

Basically, it will be just like being there, only without all that sun burn.

These guys do a great job covering FAU, so if you can’t make it to the scrimmage, make sure you tune in. And don’t forget that FAUOwlAccess.com will be providing twitter updates throughout the entire event.

For those who are getting ready to head to the scrimmage, make sure to stop by the FAUOwlAccess.com tent and say hi.
 

Saturday's Daily Briefing: What to watch at today's FanFest

At today’s FanFest, Owl fans will get a look at the 2010 edition of this FAU football team, most for the first time.

For the coaching staff, however, it’s the last time the coaching staff will see the team going full-speed in scrimmage conditions.
It’s a good mix of fan events followed by the most important scrimmage of the pre-season.
Here’s a few things fans can watch, because the coaching staff is watching these things as well.
 
  • Defensive line shuffling: This week in practice there have been many combinations used up front. Some were due to players missing practice because of injuries, some were not. At defensive end Kevin Cryrille, Daniel Joseph and Jamere Johnosn have been splitting time with the starting unit. True freshman Cory Henry isn’t to far behind either.
  • Center settling down: There weren’t too many fans at the first scrimmage, but most of them wouldn’t have stuck around very long after watching an offense struggle with getting the center-quarterback exchange. Guard Mike Nweze has taken snaps at center this week and had made progress. There will still be plenty of miscues, but probably fewer than last week    
  • Different defensive formations: While FAU will stick to its base defense of a four-man front and four defensive backs, the Owls have been experimenting with their nickel package with a three-man front putting Dino Cox at nose tackle. FAU will likely use these formations again today some of the time.
The event start at 2 p.m. with autographs and the equipment sale and the scrimmage will begin around 4 p.m.
Come by and visit the FAUOwlAccess.com booth for some free prizes and register to win FAU football season tickets, a free lube, oil and filter service from AutoStar SuperStore of Palm Beach or a $50 gift certificate from Anatolia Mediterranean Cuisine.
We’ll see you there.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Friday’s practice to get the final comments from Howard Schnellenberger before the scrimmage. Check out what he said on video and also our preview along with the Hard Knocks at the Ox practice report by clicking here.
Other linkage…
  • MTSU QB Dwight Dasher, the pre-season Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, is under investigation in a case which includes stolen checks
 
 

 

Friday’s Daily Briefing: More conference realignment could impact FAU

It’s not over. Did we really believe it was?

When word got out Wednesday BYU was leaving the Mountain West to become an independent in football, it didn’t take long for the chain reactions to start – and when they finish, FAU and the Sun Belt Conference could be greatly impacted.
The biggest developments in the aftermath of the Cougars’ foolish move to use Notre Dame’s playbook and compete as an independent was for the Mountain West immediately grab two schools – Nevada and Fresno State – from the WAC.
This just in…It ain’t stopping there.
Just what it will mean to FAU and the Sun Belt remains to be seen, but one can guess the Sun Belt won’t be standing pat through this round of shuffling.
FAU can save its breath. No, it can’t move to the WAC or the Mountain West. However Conference USA could become a possibility if some of its schools (namely Central Florida) jump ship.
The best case however, is for the Sun Belt to get off the sidelines and start grabbing some members.
If I were SBC Commish Wright Waters, I would have already called Louisiana Tech and be selling them on bolting the sinking WAC for the Sun Belt assuming the Techsters can check their attitude at the door.
I also would be looking at Texas-San Antonio (coached by Larry Coker) and Georgia State (coached by Bill Curry) to see if they would be good fits for the Sun Belt.
And the Sun Belt had better hurry, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said he has already talked to Texas-San Antonio and Texas State about possibly joining the WAC. That’s got to make North Texas, which has been lobbying hard with its high-priced consultants to leave the Sun Belt, feel pretty good that a team that hasn’t even played a game yet may have lept them in the Lone Star State pecking order
I think my strategy will be one that I hear used plenty. I’ll be monitoring the situation closely and see what happens.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAU finished the last of its “3-A-Days” practice sessions and FAUOwlAccess.com was there for all three practices. Here’s a report on the progress of senior linebacker Malik Eugene, our Hard Knocks at the Ox practice report, the popular 3-2-See highlight video and photo galleries from all three workouts. Check out all the features by clicking here.
Other linkage...
The Sun-Sentinel writes about DB Ed Alexander
Here’s a story from the Lansing State Journal on the FAU-Michigan State game
Schnellenberger appears on Detroit TV morning show

As most of you already know, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger traveled to Detroit last night to help promote the Owls’ Sept. 11 game against Michigan St. in the Motor City.

Schnellenberger actually flew up there last night so that he could appear on one of the local morning shows.
Here is the video from this morning:


Looks like the producers weren’t too intent on locating FAU highlights. Nothing screams FAU is coming to town like showing Michigan/Michigan St. highlights.

After the morning show, Schnellenberger attended a press conference designed to help generate interest. Here is the video from that.

Schnellenberger hoped to be back in Boca Raton for the Owls’ afternoon practice session. All in a day’s work for a grandfatherly coach…
 

Thursday’s Morning Briefing: Last day of 3-A-Days
Today is a significant day in FAU training camp. It’s the last “3-A-Day” session and that means the light is at the end of the tunnel for players and coaches.
We were out there for the last morning practice of training camp and, in addition to posting this photo galllery, saw a few things worth noting.
  • Perhaps no player has improved in the last few days of camp as center Mike Nweze. The snaps are starting to get better and that helps the offense have more productive practices. If the two centers with ankle injuries – Jimmie Colley and Ryan Houston – aren’t cleared to play soon, I don’t see why Nweze couldn’t be the opening day starter for the Owls.
  • School starts on Saturday and today is a day for many of the freshman to be moving in, but two prized freshman in the Owls’ recruiting class still aren’t here. It looks like defensive lineman Willie Huggins will join defensive lineman Jerome McClain in not enrolling at FAU in the fall, although some around the Oxley aren’t ready to give up on them just yet. Stranger things have happened, I guess.
  • It is strange when you go to a practice and Howard Schnellenberger isn’t there. By now you know that Schnellenberger will be at a press conference in Detroit today to drum up attention for the FAU-Michigan State game on Sept. 11. I think with less than 10,000 tickets sold, that shows the importance of that game for FAU's program.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Wednesday’s shortened practice and had a piece on Rob Housler, along with the Hard Knocks at the Ox practice report, 3-To-See Video and photo gallery. Click here to find all the features in one place.
Other linkage…
Ticket prices for FAU-Michigan State game have Spartan fans seeing red

While FAU is hoping to sell plenty of tickets to the Sept. 11 game at Ford Field vs. Michigan State, the fact is very few tickets have been sold.

The most recent figure from some Michigan State sources is fewer than 10,000 and I hear that MSU officials are getting a little antsy up there.
FAU is cranking up its marketing campaign and Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger left practice a few minutes early for a trip to Detroit in hopes he can stir up some interest in the game and sell some tickets to what technically is a “home” game for FAU.
The Owls have a big campaign that is just starting to get cooking, but the biggest problem appears to be the price of the ticket.
With a sideline ticket going for $69 (and the most expensive ticket topping out at $79 or $88.10 with fees) the game just may be a little steep for the citizens of Detroit, whose economy is in ruins.
Many of the grumblings from Spartan fans I hear from is that the tickets are the most expensive of the season – sideline seats at Spartan Stadium go for around $49 - and they consider this to be one of the worst games of the season.
FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said Michigan State, which should know its fan base better than anyone, was consulted and OKd the ticket prices.
Angelos said he consulted with Michigan State and Ford Field executives to determine the price of the tickets and the price mirrored a proposed game between Michigan State and Western Michigan proposed for 2009, but was moved to Spartan Stadium.
“We talked to Western Michigan and Michigan State ticket people about what they were thinking,” Angelos said. “This wasn’t a bunch of Floridians deciding on a ticket price. It’s what they were going to do and we adopted their model and then Michigan State signed off on it.”
Like many, I’m surprised Michigan State fans aren’t showing a little more enthusiasm for an extra home game – a gift from Florida Atlantic, as it were. However, it also looks like FAU may have overestimated what MSU fans in Detroit think about a game with the Owls. FAU may spend plenty of money making sure Spartan fans know about the game, but so far it appears they know about it, but just don’t care.
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU rolling out improved game uniforms

There have been a few public appearances by players wearing FAU’s new game uniforms at events, such as Media Day when QB Jeff Van Camp had the new threads on (photo). At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much difference between the new ones made by adidas and last year’s Nike uniforms.

To see if there were any differences, I went to the source for all things equipment-related at FAU, Equipment Manager Michael Short.
He told me of a few improvements that may not jump out to the casual fan, but ones the players will appreciate.
The letters are embroidered “Tackle Twill” – what many NBA and NFL uniforms are using these days.
Also the cut of the uniform is better, Short said. The jerseys will look smaller, but will have more flexibility thanks to a 4-way stretch technology.
This uniforms also use the adidas adiBody system and a different hem of the jersey which will help it stay tucked in with a system similar to a Velcro.
The jerseys do look good and if the players like them, then all the better.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
It was another 3-A-Day and FAUOwlAccess.com kept you updated on what was going on at practice from the first stretching of the morning workout to the last play of the day. Check out our story on defensive back Brentley Harstad, our Hard Knocks at the Ox practice report, 3-2-See Video and photo galleries of all three practices. Get the most complete coverage of Wednesday’s practices by clicking here.
Other linkage...
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: Early wake-up call for FAU football practice again

It’s the third of four of the ‘3-A’Days’ practice sessions for the Owls this morning, with the last one scheduled for Thursday.

The players are holding up fine. The FAUOwlAccess.com team, the only reporters who have been at each of the three morning practices, aren’t doing quite as well.
But, the ‘3-A-Days’ do have the intended effect. You do enough of these days and the days when there is only one practice seems like a day off.
Here’s a few quick observations from the morning practice
  • Drove by the stadium site on the way in. Most of the work being down now looks like re-clearing the ground that was cleared back in January. However, some of the asphalt that used to be parking spaces has been pounded into little pieces and cleared as well.
  • The Plantation-American Heritage football attended part of the morning practice along with former FAU running backs coach Michael Gribetz
  • Star of the morning practice? How about redshirt freshman defensive back Winfred Strickland who broke up or intercepted four of the five passes thrown at him during a late morning drill, earning the praise of DB coach Dick Hopkins.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Monday’s practice and fielded this report on the progress of the most recent new center, Mike Nweze. Check out the story, along with the Hard Knocks at The Ox practice and the 3-2-See video by clicking here.
Other linkage...
The Sun-Sentinel reports Jeff Blanchard is back and hoping for healthy year
The Birmingham News breaks down UAB’s first depth chart update of the fall
 
Monday’s Daily Briefing: FAU looking at night games
You used to be able to depend on death, taxes and FAU home football games starting at 4 p.m.
Since the Owls’ first season, unless an FAU home game was being shown on TV (which dictates the kickoff times) you could count on the game starting at 4 p.m.
When FAU set its kickoff times late last month, it included the rare 7 p.m. kickoff for the Nov. 13 game vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. When I inquired about it, the official explanation was that FAU was looking to see if the fans preferred later start times and if a night game would help attendance.
Well, over the weekend, FAU took it another step further and moved a second game under the lights by switching the kickoff from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
I haven’t heard too much of an uproar from Owl Nation, so I’ll assume the fans are fine with that. It might make it more comfortable and since FAU has more “casual” fans than “serious” fans, perhaps this is the right call.
I guess we’ll see after this two-game experiment.
And just to make sure there is no confusion, here are the kickoff times for the home games this season
  • Sept. 25 vs. North Texas 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 30 vs. FIU, 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 13 vs. ULL 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 4 vs. Troy 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
We were the only ones to be at all three practices Sunday and filed a report complete with a look at how Alfred Morris expects to fire up the offensive line, our Hard Knock at The Ox report, video, photos and audio of Howard Schnellenberger’s post-practice press conference. Don’t worry, you can get all the information in one place by clicking here.

Other linkage...

 

Schnellenberger impressed with play of Rusty Smith in NFL debut

During pre-season training camp, coaches don’t get much time away from The Oxley Center. Since I could barely keep my eyes on the Titans-Seahawks game late Saturday night, I figured Howard Schnellenberger may have turned in before former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith took the field in his NFL debut shortly after midnight Sunday morning.

Once again, I am proven wrong by Schnellenberger who went to bed later and got up earlier than me and must get by on an hour of sleep a night.
“Of course,” Schnellenberger said when asked if he stayed awake to see Smith play.
Schnellenberger said he was impressed with Smith’s play in the Titans’ 20-18 loss to Seattle.
“He looked like a veteran didn’t he?” Schnellenberger asked. “He made some nice throws.”
I thought he looked pretty good, too, completing 7 of 14 passes for 71 yards and an interception.
But the most important judge is his current coach, Titans coach Jeff Fisher.
Fisher said Smith made progress, but he wasn’t happy with Smith calling a timeout late in the game.
“I think we learned lessons there,” Fisher said. “He learned lessons there. The only person who calls timeout on the sideline is me. I’d rather take the delay call than the time out. There’s certainly a difference going into a two-minute drive with time outs in your back pocket compared to no time outs. The drive could have been executed differently and maybe he would have not forced that ball down there. But he made some throws. He got some guys lined up. I thought for his first time out, I thought he was OK."
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Owls rising early again

There’s no rest for the weary as the FAU football team rose around 5:30 a.m. to make it to the Oxley to get ready for the 8 a.m. practice.

We were out there for the morning workout and here are a few observations...
  • The Owls spent time working on punting early in the workout. It could be just me, but I see more emphasis on the kicking game. That’s probably a good thing after the many breakdowns last year.
  • There is a great deal of concern about the offensive line and rightfully so. But these players lack experience not potential. I could see several of these guys being solid lineman in the future. The question mark is whether that will happen this year or in the next few years.
  • Everyone around the Oxley wants to talk about the performance of one Russell Edgar Smith III in Saturday night’s Titans game. Everybody seems pleased with his performance and apparently some texts were exchanged meaning Rusty hasn't forgotten his roots. With that game ending in the wee hours of Sunday morning, there are plenty of bleary-eyes among the staff.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we gave an update on tight end Nexon Dorvilus along with some notes and our Hard Knocks at The Ox practice report. Also, don’t miss our photo gallery of the practice.
Other linkage...
 

 

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Owls offense struggles when QB can't get snap

It’s hard for an offense to get much accomplished when the center-quarterback exchange can’t be completed successfully. And when play after play was blown dead before it can develop, the rest of the offensive players don’t get the work they need to get in.

In short, the Owls problems at center aren’t that the center is struggling. It has a ripple effect that can stymie the development of the offense.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger says the problem will be fixed, but it’s a little more than two weeks before the opener at UAB.
It seemed like a big deal when it came out that center Ryan Wischnefski was giving up his last year of football at FAU because he had already graduated. Looking back, that decision will effect the program for possibly this entire season.
> Owl Links: Links of interest to Owl fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Friday’s scrimmage and has complete coverage with a recap, analysis, video highlights and photos. Click here for the most thorough coverage available of the scrimmage.
We also had another installment of the Former Owl Friday series and was even able to work in a little NFL news.
As reporters across the nation were trying to confirm if Brett Favre was visiting Dr. James Andrews, they could have just asked FAU pitcher Glen Troyanowki, who was  at Andrews’ clinic in Gulf Breeze with the Vikings quarterback. We talked to Troyanowski for this entry of Owl Things Considered
Other linkage…
FAU reliever Troyanowski shares a waiting room with Brett Favre

FAU reliever Glen Troyanowski’s wait to receive an MRI test at the Gulf Breeze office of noted sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews became a little easer to understand once he received a glimpse of the patient ahead of him: Brett Favre.

“I wasn’t really expecting to see him,” said Troyanowski, in a telephone call from the airport wile awaiting his trip back to South Florida. “I thought it would be more private, but he walked right by me in the waiting room. I was sort of in awe”

Favre’s on again-off again retirement has been one of the biggst football stories in the NFL off season. The future Hall of Fame quarterback reportedly underwent surgery on his ankle several months back and the lack of progress with that ankle appears to be what is keeping him from rejoining the Minnesota Vikings.

Always inquisitive, Troyanowski said he asked Andrews for Favre’s diagnosis, but didn’t learn any insider info.

Troyanowski met with Andrews because he’d been experiencing soreness while recovering from March’s shoulder surgery. Like Favre, Troyanowski underwent an MRI. It showed no serious setbacks.

He expects to miss all of fall baseball, but should begin throwing again by early 2011. That could lead to an interesting battle for the closer’s role come spring time. Last season Andy Mee inherited that role after Troyanowski’s injury and went on to lead the Sun Belt Conference in saves.
 

Friday's Daily Briefing: Cunningham should play significant role in scrimmage

FAU players and coaches figured the final session of Thursday's Three-A-Day practice to be hot. They didn’t expect that the morning sessions would actually be worse.

When the sun rose over the Oxley Center on Thursday it began to burn away the thick layer of morning dew that soaked the practice field. The resulting sauna nearly melted players and coaches alike.

“This morning it was so humid, even the coaches knew the first two practices were the toughest of the day,” defensive tackle Dino Cox said. “We’re used to practicing in the sun, but when it’s humid with the morning dew, it’s real tough.”

Most Owls were dragging by the end of the final session, but nearly all of them said the early morning heat offered the toughest test.

“We were surprised,” said freshman wide receiver Marcus Cunningham, who stayed late to work with quarterback Graham Wilbert and was one of the last players to leave the field. “The whole team was surprised that at that early in the morning it was that hot.”

Cunningham (photo) wanted some extra work, in part, because it looks like he will play a larger-than-expected role in today’s first scrimmage.

Already short on receivers heading into camp, the Owls have seen Avery Holley slowed by a hamstring issue and yesterday FAUOwlAccess.com’s Marcus Nelson reported that junior college transfer Paul Moore will need surgery on his hand. When camp started Moore was running ahead of Cunningham and fellow freshman Jerrard Hunter on the depth chart, but those who have been following our practice updates on Twitter over the past few days already knew that Cunningham has been moving up the depth chart.

Case in point, our Tweet from Tuesday:

The coaches really seem to be working to get WR Marcus Cunningham ready


FAU would have liked to redshirt Cunningham this season. While that still could happen, if Holley is limited or even held out of the scrimmage, Cunningham will likely be running with the second team.

“It’s going to be tough, but (I’ll) just keep fighting through it,” said Cunningham, who hasn’t been given much time to master the playbook.

> Owl Links:
Links of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was present for every minute of all three sessions on Friday, delivering a feature story on Cunningham’s fellow wide receiver DeAndre Richardson, who will draw the start in the scrimmage if Holley can’t go. Our coverage also included the now standard Hard Knox and the Ox practice report, 3-2-See video and Photo Gallery.

 

FAU signee McClain indicates he may wait to enroll

After missing almost the first week of practice, Owls signee DL Jerome McClain posted a message on his Facebook page that said he is headed back to Pensacola and will be back to enroll in school in January. If McClain, who hasn’t taken the field due to eligibility issues, sticks to that plan. it would work out for the Owls and probably would benefit him as well as he could practice next spring.
 

However, there is always the chance that he changes his mind and other schools start calling him. It’s a long time until January.
 

McClain, pictured chasing the quarterback, was one of Owls’ most highly recruited players and turned down offers from Florida International, Illinois, Southern Methodist and Memphis to sign with FAU.
 

In addition to McClain, two other members of FAU’s most recent signing class are also having problems.


David Lozandier, a strong safety from North Miami, won’t enroll in the fall, FAU officials said and Willie Huggins, a defensive lineman from Clewiston, also has not been cleared to play due to eligibility issues.
 

It’s believed that Huggins or McClain may be cleared to play soon, but it won’t be too many more days before it would be considered counterproductive to have them start practicing. 
 

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Breakfast with the Owls as Three-A-Days begin

It’s pretty apparent what the theme of the day will be today.

It’s the first “Three-A-Day” practice session of training camp.
The first practice is already in the books so we thought you might be interested in a few observations from the first practice of the day and don't forget to check this photo gallery from the morning session...
  • FAUOwlAccess.com may have been the only media outlet to make it to the 8 a.m. practice, but there were plenty of NFL scouts who were wtaching. Among those in attendance were scouts from the 49ers, the Lions, the Cardinals, the Seahawks, the Ravens and the Falcons.
  • It would have to be considered a productive practice since no centers were injured. It looks like Chris Newbold, will be moved from right tackle to center until some of the regulars get back.
  • A typical morning practice in sweltering heat - I can tell what several players had for breakfast. Defensive lineman Karl James had a little trouble with the conditions.
  • Will try and pin down why WR Avery Holley is limited at practice, but is it any surprise? It looks like the Owls are really working on getting redshirt freshman DeAndre Richardson ready for action and it also seems true freshman Marcus Cunningham is being pushed a little more than I thought.
Stay tuned here at FAUOwlAccess.com for updates throught the day as we spend a day of our life we will never get back at the Oxley Center.
 
> Owl Links: Links of interest to FAU fans
 
FAUOwlAccess.com has exclusive video with an Owls' Eye View of the Oklahoma Drills and a recap of the day's events here. In addition, we have the last installlment of our Position Primer series as we examine the Owls special teams.
 
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Three big days of practice coming up

We couldn’t wait until football training camp got here, but with the rain and the moving of a few practices to the Track and Field Complex, the last few days have been a little slow.

I suspect that’s about to change.
Today is the first day of full contact. That’s right, football players hitting football players, starting with the personal favorite of Howard Schnellenberger - the Oklahoma Drills. Everything prior has been just a prelude that the players and coaches look forward to.
Thursday is the first three-a-day practice session with the Owls hitting the field at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. This day will separate the men from the boys.
And Friday will be the Owls’ first scrimmage as the offense goes full-contact against the defense.
Yes it’s early in training camp, but by the time the day is over Friday, we’ll have a much better idea of where the team stands.
I think things are about to get more intense – and interesting – at the Oxley Center, so stay tuned.
> Owl Links: Links of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com, we braved the rain from start to finish at Tuesday’s practice for our report along with 3-2-See and video of Schnellenberger’s post-practice interview. We have it all packaged for you right here.
We also had an in-depth look at the offensive line in our Position Primer series.
Other linkage...
  • The Sun-Sentinel says the defense will simplify things 
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger wants Housler to step it up

Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger made it clear after Monday’s practice that he wants to see more out of senior tight end Rob Housler.

 

Here’s what Schnellenberger said about Housler (keep in mind this wasn’t in response to a question, but part his opening statement…)
“Housler sure needs a lot of work. He doesn’t look like the same guy right now. I can’t put my finger on it, but I expect him to be back and be one of the most productive and best, experienced players.”  
Housler, pictured during summer workouts, has dropped more than a few passes in the early days of training camp – and that will be something to watch. However, it might be expected since Housler is likely still shaking off a little rust after sitting out last season.
To follow-up on what Schnellenberger said, I asked tight ends coach Joe Corozza about what he thought about Housler after three days of practice.
Here’s what Corozza told me…
“He’s just been a little slow to get into the swing of things. I thought he had a pretty good day today. He didn’t have a great day (Sunday) but he’ll be fine. It’s probably that we expect so much from him and we need him to do things from a leadership standpoint. But he’s certainly got some people behind him, so he can’t rest on his laurels."
My guess is that Housler will get better as training camp progresses and will have a good season for the Owls. If he struggles, as Corozza alluded to, Darian Williams and Nexon Dorvilus will be there to pick up the slack.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Another long day for us here at FAUOwlAccess.com as we rolled another Position Primer, this one breaking down the Owls' tight ends. Then we were off to football practice where we filed this report along with video of 3-2-See and Schnellenberger’s post-practice press conference.
Monday's Daily Briefing: FAU ramping up efforts to sell tickets for Michigan State game in Detroit

It appears Florida Atlantic is ramping up its marketing efforts in Detroit to promote the Owls' game vs. Michigan State in Detroit on Sept. 11 at Ford Field.

FAU is allocating nearly all of its marketing budget for the season for the game vs. the Spartans at Ford Field because, as the Owls are technically the home team, FAU has the most to benefit financially from the game.
FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said the department is spending around $200,000 to market the game.
“Most of our marketing is being spent there because we can get the most return – up to $2.6 million,” Angelos said.
So far that hasn’t translated into very many tickets being sold. Angelos said late last week there have been around 7,000 tickets sold for the game.
But with many of the marketing initiatives just now getting underway, Angelos is confident that ticket sales will pick up as it gets closer to the game.
 “It’s (Michigan State’s) fan base and they would tell us if they were concerned, but they say they aren’t concerned,” Angelos said. “Our big P.R. campaign hasn’t started yet and second, they are like a lot of people and will buy late. Now if it’s September and we haven’t sold many tickets I’ll be concerned.”

FAU has initiated a billboard campaign with nine billboards in and around Detroit and is also advertising on radio stations in Michigan and has several events planned in the Detroit area as it gets closer to the game including a luncheon in the Motor City to promote the game and events with the Detroit Tigers for the weekend of the game.
> Owl Links: Links of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we stayed late for Sunday's rare night practice and posted this report complete with an update from Howard Schnellenberger on Xavier Stinson's injury and the latest on two freshman players who haven't practiced yet because of eligibility issues. We also have video of 3-2-See and Schnellenberger's exclusive post-practice talk with FAUOwlAccess.com.
Other linkage:
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Training camp scheduling explained

I know there are some that will say that FAU had to get its important first day of practice in Saturday even if that meant working out in view of a forming funnel cloud.

After all, the Owls are already light years behind other schools, such as UAB, which had already had its first day in pads before FAU took the field for its first practice.
Puh-lease.
I suspect the Owls will catch up quickly, especially with the three-a-day practices scheduled this week, but just for those who think this is a serious issue, here is FAU’s official response to charges that it is starting fall practice too late.
 
The NCAA has set the number of practices prior to the first game. The window varies according to when school begins and when the team opens the season. Once school begins, teams are allowed one per day and fall into the 20 hour rule as well as the mandatory day off. That is important to understand and here is why. For example, a school on the quarter system begins classes prior to a school on the semester system. Schools vary across the country when they begin so to compare is comparing apples to oranges. The clock starts when schools starts and compliance must count backwards to get the practice start date. There are several schools across the country that are already in camp and that is because they begin school earlier not because of when they open the season.
 
Days-off: Some schools build in days off. When they are off, they are off. Players are not supposed to be required to do anything on their day off. FAU elects not to schedule a day off prior to when school starts. That way they can meet with the team and lift should their practice schedule be altered due to weather. A day off is also a reward for working hard rather than being built in.
 
It is a system put in place to provide as much contact with the players under NCAA rules and a system that tests the players as much as possible under NCAA rules.
 
Should you ever doubt the strength of FAU’s preseason and the reasons and culture that is instilled in FAU’s preseason, take the time to watch “Junction Boys” a movie based on Paul “Bear” Bryant and the preseason workouts at Texas A&M. You can draw a direct line from that movie to Howard Schnellenberger, FAU’s head coach, who was an assistant coach under Bear Bryant during his days at Alabama.
> Owl Links: Links of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was all over the first day of practice with a recap, including our “Hard Knocks at the Ox” practice report, the 3-2-See video highlights package featuring the top plays from practice, a photo gallery and exclusive video of the play that drew Howard Schnelllenberger’s ire during the workout.
Here's a quick look at the FAU pre-season depth chart

As the Owls prepare to take the practice field for the first practice of the season, here’s my educated guess of what the two-deep depth chart looks like.

One thing we do here at FAUOwlAccess.com is try and keep up with the 1s and 2s (and sometimes the 3s) and our depth chart is unofficial, but is compiled by oour many interviews with coaches and, of course, our practice observations.
It’s an inexact science, and the depth chart often goes through changes so quickly that it has often had a few tweaks five minutes after we update it.
But, since we are at every practice, we will try and update the chart when we see a change.  
So here’s what we believe will be the two-deep for today’s practice.


> OFFENSE
X Lester Jean
Byron Hankerson

Z Avery Holley
DeAndre Richardson

LT Sam McCroy
DeAndre Williams

LG Andy Czuprynski
Ryan Houston

C Jordan Sessa
Jimmie Colley

RG Eric Hansen
Mike Nweze

RT Joe Bailey
Chris Newbold

TE Rob Housler
Darian Williams

QB Jeff Van Camp
David Kooi OR Graham Wilbert

RB Alfred Morris
Jeff Blanchard OR Willie Floyd

FB Xavier Stinson
David Muniz

> DEFENSE
LDE Kevin Cyrille
Cory Henry

LT Dino Cox
Andre Stryffler

RT Jimmy Jean
Jarvis Givens

RDE Daniel Joseph
Jamere Johnson

SLB Malik Eugene
Yourhighness Morgan

MLB Michael Lockley
David Hinds

WLB Alex Pattee
Randell Johnson

CB Tavious Polo
Keith Reaser

SS Marcus Bartels
Tony Rodriguez

FS Ed Alexander
Brentley Harstad

CB Tarvoris Hill
Curtis Cross

 

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Five questions as FAU starts practice today

Almost every day until Dec. 3 will be centered around FAU football practice. There are travel days, gamedays and even the occasional (but rare) off days for the team but mostly there is practice.

Heck, a few times there will even be three of them in one day.
At times they can be boring and tedious, but the daily workouts at the Oxley Center are where it will be determined if the Owls will be competing for the Sun Belt title this season.
So bring your bottled water and sunscreen and join us for Hard Knox at the Ox. It’s training camp time.
And here’s a few things we’ll be watching during the 2010 training camp.
Will the defensive line be more physical?  
The Owls did not get very much pressure on quarterbacks last season and will need more from defensive ends Kevin Cyrille and Daniel Joseph and tackles Dino Cox and Jimmy Jean.  Cyrille began to perform near the end of the season, but this line will take their cues from Cox, who needs to have a big year. A sub-plot will be the progress of Cory Henry, who I predict who will be rising up the depth chart by the season-opener.
How will the offensive line progress in training camp?
Of course, this is the biggest unknown as the Owls prepare for the 2010 opener, and the line took another hit before practice even started with the loss of likely starter Troy Niblack. The line is inexperienced, but the potential seems to be there with Max Karrick, Jordan Sessa and Andy Czuprynski, who moved over from defense in the spring. The Owls need time to get this unit playing together – and time is something there just isn’t a lot of.
Who will be the backup quarterback?
Is it Graham Wilbert and David Kooi or David Kooi and Graham Wilbert? Well, save the cute nicknames like Willi or Kilbert. There won't be two players sharing the role. The coaching staff wants one or the other to separate himself from the other with solid play in training camp. The winner may assume the role of taking game snaps in the second or third quarter and will have a huge advantage when it’s time to determine the starter next season.
What kind of impact will new receivers Jerrard Hunter and Paul Moore have?
Moore, a JUCO transfer, and Hunter, who signed with West Virginia but never enrolled there, could come in right away and make a name for themselves, depending on how fast they learn the offense. Their have been plenty of players (especially JUCOs) who were expected to come in and dominate, but these guys may be in the right place at the right time with a shallow receiving corps.  
Will the defense get better?
I believe it will be a completely different attitude on defense with more aggressive play and a new emphasis on forcing turnovers. It will also be interesting to watch defensive tackles coach Richard Lage work with his players and new defensive backs coach Dick Hopkins continue to get the most out of the secondary.  
Anything else we should be watching? Post it here and I’ll try to get an answer for you. And if you come out to practice this month, make sure you say hello to me or Chuck. We’ll be there for every practice and every day this season.
> Owl Links: Items of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we continued our Position Primer series with a look at the wide receiver position. We also had a piece on Daytona Cubs pitcher Jeff Beliveau for our weekly Former Owl Friday feature.
Other linkage...
 
A few coaches' poll notes of interest to Owl fans

The coaches’ pre-season poll came out today and no, I don’t see the Owls on it, but a few teams they play are.

Texas is No. 4 in the nation, Michigan State is receiving enough votes that it would come at No. 40 and USF at No. 44.
No Sun Belt team is receiving votes.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger is voting again in this year’s poll. Other Sun Belt coaches voting are ULM’s Todd Berry, North Texas’ Todd Dodge and MTSU’s Rick Stockstill. 
Click here for the complete poll
Friday’s Daily Briefing: Injuries caused Rose, Harmon to be cut

While Howard Schnellenberger and players were pumped up for FAU’s well-attended Media Day on Thursday, things weren’t going so well for a couple of former Owls in Nashville and Jacksonville.

In case you missed it, Tennessee fullback Willie Rose and Jacksonville receiver Jason Harmon were waived on Thursday.
However, these two former Owls shouldn’t hang their heads. Both needed everything to go their way in camp, but were slowed by injuries.
Harmon missed some early OTAs for the Jags and Rose was put on the PUP list over the weekend.
Could one or both of them made the roster if they had been completely healthy? I have no idea, but I do know that being hurt did not help their chances.
The hope is they can land in another camp and can overcome their injuries to show what they can do,
> Owl Links: Other links of interest
Check out our complete coverage of FAU Media Day with a recap, video and special edition of Owl Talk, the only weekly podcast for FAU sports.
Other linkage...
All the area daily newspapers were at FAU’s Media Days and here’s what they wrote:
  • Palm Beach Post: FAU intent on improving, but eyeing the near future with a new stadium
  • Sun-Sentinel: Media Day gets defensive at FAU
  • Miami Herald: Schnellenberger, Owls see room for improvement
  • TC Palm: FAU sees bright future on horizon as proposed new stadium moves forward
 
Owls lose another key offensive lineman

It appears FAU’s bleak outlook for its offensive line is taking another hit.

Team sources said offensive lineman Troy Niblack will not play this season for academic reasons.
Niblack was listed as the starting left tackle prior to spring drills and was one of the more experienced players on an offensive line that has to replace every starter this season.
Niblack played in eight games last season as a redshirt freshman and will have ample time to get everything in order to return next season. Niblack will be allowed to practice this season, but won’t be able to play.
Niblack joins wide receiver Grant Glover, who also will sit out for academic reasons.
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Look for Blanchard to get snaps at fullback

There is a good chance FAU will feature a combination of Alfred Morris and Jeff Blanchard in the same backfield after all.

This time it will be with Blanchard as the fullback.
Running backs coach David Serna said he plans to use Blanchard, pictured, at fullback this season in some formations, similar to how the Owls used Charles Pierre and DiIvory Edgecomb in 2007.
“(Blanchard) can be used in the fullback position to catch the ball and lead block a little bit,” Serna said. “That will be a way to get him involved. It also gives us a little bit of unpredictability.”
The pairing of Pierre and Edgecomb worked well for FAU and it could open up some more possibilities in the offense with Blanchard as the fullback and even lining up in the slot to catch passes.
Remember that until Blanchard, a senior,  went down with his knee injury last spring, he was thought to be the Owls No. 1 running back and Morris, a junior, was going to be a fullback.
1,392 rushing yards later, I’d say I’d leave the Morris kid at running back, but I like this idea of getting Blanchard involved in running and catching the ball.
What do you think?
> Owl Links: Your guide to what’s being written about FAU
We continued our in-depth look at each position with this piece on the stable of Owls running backs.
Also we got the details of the FAU basketball team’s upcoming trip to Europe and a few other notes, in an off-season notebook.
Check back later today for complete coverage of today's FAU Media Day.
Other linkage...
 
 
Wednesday’s FAU Daily Briefing: Women’s football clinic on tap

Just saw FAU is doing its popular women’s football clinic again this year.

Everybody I’ve talked to that’s taken part in this event has said it is a load of fun, so this definitely gets the FAUOwlAccess.com stamp of approval.
Here are the details...
Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic University's head football coach, will host "Coach's Ladies' Football Clinic 101.3" on Saturday, August 21 at 8 a.m. at the Tom Oxley Athletic Center, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
Schnellenberger originally brought the 'Ladies Clinic Football 101' three years ago to FAU as a way to teach female football fans the "ins and outs" of college football. Participants are provided a light breakfast and lunch, along with the opportunity to ask questions, learn about equipment necessary to play the game, go over NCAA rules, as well as the chance to meet FAU coaches and players.
The cost for the day is $30 per person. Attendees also will be invited to attend the final scrimmage and FAU Fanfest at 2 p.m.
To reserve tickets, e-mail Leigh Slowiak at gymlee@bellsouth.net or Katie Burke at kburke19@fau.edu. For more information call 561-297-1094.
 
> Owl Links: Your guide to what’s being written about FAU
We began our turn at breaking down the Owls’ offense with our Position Primer series installment on the quarterbacks.
Tuesday's FAU Daily Briefing: Polo should play more like a freshman

Cornerback Tavious Polo’s grand entrance onto the college football scene only served to set him up for disappointment. After intercepting seven passes en route to being named a freshman All-American, a decrease in production was predictable, if not expected.

One interception per year as a sophomore and junior, however, was more than simply an off-year, and has many wondering whether Polo still possessed the skills and the moxie to play what can be an unforgiving position.

Watching his play over the summer leads me to believe his senior season will be more like his first year. I’m not the only one who feels this way.

“He’s challenged himself,” FAU defensive backs coach Dick Hopkins said. “He has something to prove to himself.”

Watching him play this summer, it’s obvious that Polo (photo, in white) still has confidence in his ability. He also should benefit from an improved pass rush that will force quarterbacks into mistakes and a simplified defensive scheme where he can rely more on his instincts.

Like many, I was surprised Polo earned pre-season All-Sun Belt honors, but not because I doubted his abilities. I simply figured that after a couple years of sub-par seasons numbers-wise he would simply be overlooked. The voters in the poll – the same coaches who have to game plan against FAU – obviously feel the talent is still there.

When I told Polo earlier this summer that he’d been named to that pre-season All-Sun Belt squad, he seemed surprised – and somewhat ambivalent.

He said, essentially, that being All-Sun Belt wasn’t that big a deal. At the end of the season, he intended to be an All-American.

The moxie is still there.

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

To learn more about Polo and the rest of the defensive backs – including an interesting decision as to who will enter camp as the nickel back – check out Monday’s position primer on FAUOwlAccess.com.

Other linkage...

  • Jeff Van Camp’s hometown newspaper offered this profile on FAU’s starting QB.
  • Three weeks ago FAUOwlAccess.com told readers Richard Lage would be the new defensive tackles coach. Monday, Lage’s hiring was officially announced. Here is the Sun-Sentinel’s story. 
  • UAB opened practice on Monday, and The Birmingham News rported DE Tim Davis, a three-year starter is out for the season.
  • Troy was to open practice Monday, but weather forced the Trojans to hold just a walk-through andthe first practice will be today, the Dothan Eagle reports.


     
FAU announces Lage as DT coach

Nearly three weeks ago FAUOwlAccess.com readers learned that Richard Lage would be the new defensive tackles coach. Today, everyone else knows.

FAU finalized the announcement with a press release today, which means Lage will be in place when camp opens later this week.

Here’s the statement from coach Howard Schnellenberger contained in the release:

“We are delighted to have Richard as a part of the staff,” said Howard Schnellenberger, FAU’s head football coach. “He has experience and worked with Dale Williams, FAU’s offensive line Coach. Coach Lage has coached at every level and has a great deal of experience with the defensive tackles and the defensive side of the ball. He will also recruit the Jacksonville and south Georgia area.”

Lage has been coaching football for 18 years, most recently at Midwestern St. in Texas. Here is the article Marcus wrote about him in mid-July, complete with comments from his former head coach.

Monday's FAU Daily Briefing: Linebacker battles will be most fun to watch

The competition for the starting spots on the offensive line may be the most important showdowns in this fall camp. However, the battles for the linebacker spots are the most interesting.

Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh has plenty of pieces to manipulate and it will be interesting to how he integrates some of the new guys with the experienced players.

In particular, I’ll be watching to see how the middle linebacker battle between Michael Lockley and David Hinds plays out. Both players showed at times last year they belonged on the football field.

While one will earn the starting spot this fall, it’s probable there will be times when both players are on the field at the same time – particularly during the nickel defense.

Hinds or Lockley may also spend time at one of the outside linebacker spots in the Owls’ base 4-3 defense.

“They are going to have to be ready to play more than one position – at least a couple of them - and be able to go so we can put the best three out there at the same time,” Van Valkenburgh said.

Identifying the best three won’t be easy. This unit could have more raw talent than any other position on the field.

Senior Malik Eugene continues to gain confidence and should benefit from a more attack-style defense. Yourhighness Morgan looked like a playmaker in limited duty last season and during the spring. Randell Johnson (photo) has the size and athletic ability to make freakish impact plays immediately. Alex Pattee really stepped into the starting role during the spring. And Toney Moore has the talent to be the best of all of them.

“In our defense you have to have good linebackers, and we’ve had a tradition of great linebackers,” Van Valkenburgh said. “They have to step up and be a part of it right now.”

On more than one occasion last season Van Valkenburgh told me he couldn’t wait until these young guys took the field. That sun is about to rise.

Eight different linebackers are likely to see the field at some point this season. There may be different units for passing, short yardage, goal line and base. Van Valkenburgh has a lot of pieces to work with. It will be interesting to see what picture the puzzle presents in a month.

> Owl Links: Your daily guide to what is being written about FAU
On FAUOwlAccess.com, we continued our Position Primer series by examining the make-up of the linebacker corps heading into pre-season camp.

Other linkage...

  • Another ranking of Sun Belt coaches, this one by Josh Parrott of the Lafayette Daily Advertser, has Schnellenberger third behibnd Troy's Larry Blakeney and MTSU's Rick Stockstill

 

 

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

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

Nicely done Jake. Great addition to Owl Access.

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

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