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Posts from September 2009

Two FAU Joseph's playing professionally?
Cleaning out the nest:

Florida Atlantic doubled its number of former players currently playing professional football on Monday when the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos announced they'd signed former FAU linebacker Frantz Joseph to their practice squad.

That number could increase again after this weekend.

I talked with former Owl defensive back Greg Joseph (pictured) at Saturday's ULM game and he said that the CFL's Hamilton franchise is bringing him up for another tryout this weekend. That's the same team that already employs Lawrence "Flash" Gordon.

Greg Joseph has been working in west Boca as a veterinarian's assistant and said he really likes the work, but would take the shot to play pro ball if it is offered.

Women's commit: The Owls women's basketball team appears to have picked up a commit this week. TampaBay.com reported that Latavia Dempsey has agreed to play at FAU. Dempsey averaged 16.7 points while leading Boca Ciega to the Class 5A final four last season.

How special?: Toward the end of Wednesday's practice, tight end Jason Harmon started picking up footballs and punting them. The video is below of the page. He really boomed a few of them - significant hang time, but I don't think he would have hit the scoreboard at the Cowboys' new field. (The Dallas Cowboys, that is). And some of them gave Chris Bonner difficulty when it came to fielding them. Time to make a switch? Time to see how many other tight ends can punt?

Well, leave Rob Housler out of the competition.

"I can't kick to save my life," he said.



Owl Links:
Owl Cal:

Thursday
3:30 p.m.
Practice, Tom Oxley Practice Fields
5:30 p.m. Owl Club happy hour. Miller's Ale House, Yamato rd. in Boca Raton
7 p.m. FAU SportsPage call in show featuring Howard Schnellenberger. Broadcast live on ESPN Radio 760 from Miller's Ale House.

Friday
8 a.m. Coaches' Breakfast, Founder's Lounge in the Tom Oxley Center.

Saturday
4 p.m. FAU vs. Wyoming

chuck
FAU's offense will benefit from Gent's return

After FAU wide receiver Cortez Gent was cleared to play after serving a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, it didn't take long for the second-guessing to begin.

The conspiracy theorists were ready to pounce when Gent was cleared shortly after FAU lost tight end Jamari Grant with an injury and when the Owls' offense could use a big-play threat the most.

Without knowing for certain what Gent's transgression was, I don't know if sitting out two games is the right punishment or was a slap on the wrist. Oh, there are plenty of rumors going around, but I'm not going to get into the speculation or innuendo to what Gent did. Until we know for sure it's not fair to Gent or the program and completely irresponsible to throw unproven theories against the wall to see which one sticks.

What I do know is that FAU's offense could use Gent on the field. The other receivers, especially Chris Bonner, Lester Jean and Avery Holley played well in his absence. But without Gent, it seems like FAU did not look down-field as much. Having him back as a big-play threat will help in that regard. I think there will be a few plays called by offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson (shown with Gent) to go to Gent for possible big gains this week.

Owl Links

Here are the links for today on a big news day, both in Boca Raton and in Wyoming where Cowboys coach Dave Christensen was hospitalized with kidney stones:
  • FAUOwlAccess.com: Here's our video report from Tuesday's announcement on Gent and our story Gent's return. Also check out The Howard Schnellenberger Show available exclusively on our site.
  • A great feature story on FAU OL Carl Spitale and the strength he gets from his father, from the Palm Beach Post
  • The Owls are missing big plays, according to the Sun-Sentinel
  • The Casper Star-Tribune is following the Christensen story

    Owl Cal
    Noon, FAU Sports Hour with Brian Rowitz on FAU Owl Radio (I will be a guest around 1 p.m. and there are player and coach interviews throughout the show)
    2 p.m. FAU weekly press conference
    3:30 p.m. FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Free and open to the public, Frequent updates on Twitter@FAUOwlAccess.com)
  • FAU's run game helping offense

    There has been plenty of criticism of the play-calling in FAU's 27-25 loss to Louisiana-Monroe and to be sure, there were some questionable calls on Saturday.

    OK, there were plenty of calls that were worthy of a second-guess.

    However, one aspect that is working well is FAU's commitment to using the run to set up the pass and not vice versa.

    Thanks to Alfred Morris' 122 rushing yards, the Owls rushed for 151 yards and threw for 347.

    Quarterback Rusty Smith said keeping the commitment to the run is helping the passing game - and the offense as a whole.

    "A lot of our offense has been play-action pass, but a lot of times in the past that hasn't worked because we haven't had a solid run game," Smith said. "This year we have been able to establish a solid run game."

    If the Owls can keep that ratio, I'd say FAU will be able to keep defenses honest and that's a step in the right direction.

    Today's links

  • FAUOwlAccess.com has the weekly Sun Belt Notebook and an early scouting report on the Cowboys
  • The Sun-Sentinel looks at Alfred Morris' performance Saturday night
  • The Cowboys may have a found a QB, the Casper Star-Tribune writes
  • But Carta-Samuels still has work to do, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

    Owl Cal
    3:30 p.m. FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live updates on FAUOwlAccess.com)
  • Tight end situation puts FAU in a bind

    FAU Tight end Jamari Grant was sporting a plaster cast at the Oxley Center on Sunday and his ankle injury means the Owls have a new problem to deal with for the next game at Wyoming and possibly longer.

    Grant's injury could have dire consequences on the offense as long as he is out.

    It's easy to look at the depth chart and say that tight end Jason Harmon will simply step up and replace Grant. Then plug in Darian Williams at No. 2 and problem solved. That's great for the first play or two, but with the schemes the Owls use, having two tight won't work for a whole game - unless the offensive gameplan is severely altered.

    Normally FAU uses two tight-end or even three-tight-end formations as part of its offense, not to mention the many times it lines up either Grant, Harmon or Williams in the slot or as a receiver - where the Owls need help thanks to the suspension of Cortez Gent and the academic issues of Conshario Johnson.

    Harmon played great in the game, but said he was struggling out there with no rest.

    "I was pretty much prepared but I was just a little winded at the end," Harmon said. "It was hard with just two tight ends because we run a lot of "Moose" two tight end sets, but I played through it."

    So does FAU need a third tight end? If Grant is out for any lengthy of time, I would say the answer is yes.

    Here are a few options:

  • We all know FAU would like to redshirt Rob Housler and bring him back next year, but can the Owls afford to do that now? The coaching staff said they wouldn't redshirt Housler if there was an emergency. They may have one on their hands.

  • Play a true freshman, such as Nexon Dorvilus, who might not be ready, but looks like he will be a good player someday.

  • Move an lineman such as Ed Wertepny, who has experience at FAU and at high school as a tight end.

  • A last resort would be to move defensive end Paul Muse back to tight end (again), but Muse is contributing for the first time on the D-line and would create a hole there where a player is part of the rotation.

    We'll see what is done, which could be nothing if Grant makes a fast recovery, but if the injury is a high ankle sprain that takes weeks to heal, something might need to be done sooner rather than later.

    Here's some links:
  • FAUOwlAccess.com has the grades from Saturday's game and Sunday's report featuring a look at the Toilet Bowl
  • Palm Beach Post takes a look at Grant's injury
  • Sun-Sentinel says Owls must get ready for Wyoming
  • The Casper Tribune has a report on the Cowboys' victory vs. UNLV
  • Wyoming Tribune Eagle says forcing turnovers was the key

    Owl Cal
    Monday

    Players are off

    Tuesday
    3:30 p.m.
    Practice, Tom Oxley Practice Fieklds
  • FAU has plenty to correct

    Each Sunday, the FAU football starters hold a light practice and go through "corrections" of the plays that didn't work during the game on Saturday.

    Today I suspect there will be plenty of things to correct. Here's a sampling:

  • Staying on-sides on a kickoff
  • Not hitting a kicker on a field goal attempt that gives a first down and ultimatley a TD to the opponent
  • Hitting wide-open receivers with passes
  • Catching passes when receivers are open

    And maybe cut down on the offensive line penalties such as the personal foul on Lavoris Williams the holding on Carl Spitale on the last possesion of the game.

    An intertesting tidbit from that drive. QB Rusty Smith was 8-for-10 for 81 yards on the drive that started on the 8-yard line with 2 minutes remaining in the game. but the two penalties and the sack kept pushing the ball back. Without the negative plays, FAU would have been on the 11-yard line.

    Clearly it wasn't the finest hour for the O-Line.

    FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger holds a late afternoon conference call with reporters on Sunday to discuss the game after the coaching staff breaks down the game film.

    Check back later and we'll let you know what develops out of that.

    Here's what the newspapers had to say about the game:
  • Palm Beach Post: Mistakes doom comeback bid / Warhawks' unusual defense no problem for FAU rushers
  • Sun-Sentinel: FAU falls to 0-3 as rally falls short
  • Monroe News-Star: Revell proves to be a dual threat in ULM's win over FAU
  • FAU defense answers questions in loss to ULM

    Florida Atlantic fans are going to be asking plenty of questions about the Owls' offensive performance in coming days, especially in the wake of a disjointed two-minute drill with the game on the line in a bitter 27-25 loss to ULM on Saturday.

    However, the Owls do have a glimmer of hope that this season can be salvaged - and at 0-3 with Wyoming coming to town next week - that is exactly what I would call anything that can reverse where this team might be headed.

    The bigggest positive Saturday is that the FAU defense is showing some real improvement. There was plenty of pressure on the ULM quarterback, there was FAU's first safety since 2006 (shown here with this photo of Daniel Joseph, who , along with Michael Lockley got to Trey Revell) and and some physical play from the defensive line.

    ULM had 345 yards in total offense, but 222 of those yards were in the first half. In the second half the Warhawks' could only muster one touchdown.

    There had been plenty of questions asked about a defense that was unimpressive in games at Nebraska and South Carolina, but against a Sun Belt team, the defense looked like a unit which can get the job done.

    And that's more that can be said about the offense at this juncture.
    FAU game is always THE game for FAUOwlAccess.com

    The last two times FAU has played, the game has been on the road and I've woken up in a strange city and grabbed the local paper to read the coverage of the game of the day. And when I mean the game, I mean the Florida Atlantic game. There's something special about going to the biggest game in town.

    All you had to do was look at the paper to know what game was the the game. First it was the Lincoln Journal Star, then it was Columbia's The State. Each had exhaustive, extensive coverage of the game between either the Cornhuskers or the Gamecocks and the Owls.

    The paper had multiple pages devoted to the game along with the prerequiste rosters and depth charts - everything for the real fan.

    Knowing the South Florida local papers wouldn't have as much coverage as I've become accustomed to the last few weeks, we at FAUOwlAccess.com made our own and you can download our guide to the game complete with depth charts and rosters here.

    We'll also be handing out Today's Lineups at the game, so stop by the FAUOwlAccess.com table at Rally Alley to pick yours up for free.


    Here's today links:
  • FAUOwlAccess.com's preview of the game
  • The Palm Beach Post looks at ULM's 3-3-5 defense
  • The Sun-Sentinel breaks down why the home team always loses in this series
  • ULM-FAU series is never dull, writes the The Monroe News-Star

    Owl Cal
    4 p.m. ULM at FAU, Lockhart Stadium
  • Flu now a serious concern for FAU

    When a few key FAU players missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday, Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger said since the flu runs its course in two or three days, he wasn't concerned.

    The real worry, Schnellenberger said, would be if anyone came down with flu-like symptoms on Thursday or Friday.

    Well, it's time to worry after starting right tackle Carl Spitale missed Thursday's practice with the dreaded flu-like symptoms.

    Spitale may be able to go Saturday, but obviously it's something to be concerned about, especially with Louisiana-Monroe using a defensive front the Owls don't see very often.

    The Warhawks 3-3-5 has been difficult to prepare for this week and now Max Karrick, Spitale's backup, will be counted on to figure the defensive scheme out despite the fact that until Thursday he didn't take many snaps in practice to get ready for the quirky formation.

    It appears whether Spitale will play will be a decision made close to game-time, but FAU fans had better hope for Spitale's speedy recovery.


    Here's this morning's links:
  • FAUOwlAccess.com's Chuck King explains how the Owls will prepare for ULM's 3-3-5 defense
  • Schnellenberger knows ULM quarterback Trey Revell, the The Palm Beach Post writes
  • FAU struggles in the second half, reports The Sun Sentinel
  • ULM ready for start of Sun Belt play, according to The Monroe News-Star

    Owl Cal
    Saturday
    4 p.m.
    Louisiana-Monroe at FAU, Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale
  • Revell not only QB who FAU lost in 2006

    I know some FAU fans are upset that ULM quarterback Trey Revell (pictured) changed his mind three years ago and decided to head to ULM after he had verbally committed to the Owls.

    When I talked to Revell earlier this week on the phone, he was quite complimentary of FAU and especially Howard Schnellenberger.

    Yes,he did drop the nugget about FAU coaches don't take recruits to Lockhart. Well, I hate to break it to you, but FAU coaches have told me the same thing. It's by design that they don't have many players visit during games.

    I don't think it was anything personal, he just simply liked the small-town feel of Monroe and if he's getting playing time now, who am I to second-guess his decision.

    Speaking of that 2006 recruiting class, Revell was actually the second quarterback to commit to FAU that year. Fans may (or may not) remember that Lakeland quarterback Billy Lowe gave a verbal commitment to FAU before Revell.

    Lowe also changed his mind - choosing to sign with Northern Illinois. But where is Lowe now? A quick Google search - I mean investigative journalism - reveals that Lowe is now at I-AA Georgia Southern - and still hasn't played.

    Of course, FAU landed Jeff Van Camp that year and he is getting plenty of playing time this season and is the heir apparent to Rusty Smith for the 2010 season.

    So it worked out for FAU and Revell. But Lowe? Not so much.

    Beware of Owl impostors: FAU officials have received complaints about scammers posing as FAU student-athletes going door-to-door asking for donations to support Owl athletics.

    FAU officials is very clear that they would never send athletes out to solicit door-to-door, so be wary of fake student athletes asking for money.

    Today's links:
  • At FAUOwlAccess.com, check out our interview with ULM quarterback Trey Revell, who originally committed to FAU before changing his mind and signing with the Warhawks
  • FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger is trying to motivate the defense, the Palm Beach Post writes
  • OL Kevin Miller overcame the flu to play vs. South Carolina, from the Sun-Sentinel
  • The ULM-FAU games often come down to the wire, writes the Monroe News-Star

    Today's Owl Calendar:
    3:30 p.m.
    FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live updates on FAUOwlAccess.com
    5:30 p.m. Owl Club Happy Hour at Miller's Ale House, 1200 Yamato Road
    7 p.m. FAU Sportspage radio show, ESPN 760 and live at at Miller's Ale House, 1200 Yamato Road

    Friday
    8 a.m.
    Coaches' Breakfast, Oxley Athletic Center

    Saturday
    4 p.m.
    Louisiana-Monroe at FAU, Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale
  • Do FAU fans remember ULM's celebration in 2007?
    Apparently there was some talk in Louisiana on Tuesday about how competitive the ULM-FAU series has been through the years. I was a guest on the ESPN radio affiliate in Monroe on Tuesday, and some of their people think the Owls should be in the conversation for the team ULM would most like to beat each year.

    I think the same could be made from an FAU perspective. After all there have been overtime games, comebacks and the interesting quirk that the road team has won all five games that has led to a 3-2 ULM advantage.

    And I'm surprised there hasnt been too much talk this week about the ending of the 2007 game at Lockhart Stadium that featured a near-altercation between FAU students and the ULM players as they celebrated their 33-30 triple overtime victory after Calvin Dawson's 31-yard game-winning run in the west end zone at Lockhart Stadium.

    Here's a video refresher from Sun-Sentinel writer Ted Hutton's blog after that game.



    Does that bring back memories? I seem to remember FAU fans saying they couldn't wait for the return game at Lockhart. Well, that happens this Saturday and it will be interesting to see what reception the Warhawks get.

    Morning Briefing:

    Here's the latest items we have posted on FAUOwlAccess.com
  • This week's The Howard Schnellenberger Show is available
  • Owls battle illness
  • And don't forget our Post of the Day contest where we are giving away two football tickets to a FAU football home game

    Also, here are some some links from this morning's papers:

  • Chris Bonner made the most of his chance on Saturday, writes the Palm Beach Post
  • FAU turnovers are mounting, and the flu has struck the Oxley Center, according to Sun-Sentinel
  • The Monroe News-Star takes a look at Warhawks quarterback Trey Revell. Guess where he almost played his college football?

    And new feature we'll have so fans can follow the Owls and what's coming up on FAUOwlAccess.com

    Today
    12-2 p.m. FAU Sports Hour with Brian Rowitz (Listen Live on Owl Radio)
    2 p.m. FAU weekly press conference, Oxley Center Founders' Lounge
    3:30 p.m. FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live Twitter updates and recap on FAUOwlAccess.com)
  • Tidbits and out takes from FAU coach Schnellenberger's show
    Updated to add bottom links.

    Hey there gang.

    Just finished posting the latest episode of the Howard Schnellenberger Show. Didn't spend a lot of time going over the South Carolina game. Coach instead opted to look forward.

    As a little preview to the show, figured I'd post a couple of things Schnellenberger said about upcoming opponent Louisiana-Monroe.

    On finally playing at home: Our players are going to enjoy being able to go out there in our home stadium in front of our home crowd for the first time this year in an opportunity to play with a team that probably is pretty even-steven with us as far as where people rank us now. One of us will move ahead, one of us will fall back. It's a very big game.

    On neither team having defeated a FBS team: We both don't know how good we are. We don't now how bad we are. We are going to play each other and see who's made the most improvement.

    On the road teams winning every game in the series: They've won three times, all of them down here. We've won twice, both of them up there. And we are certainly going to try to put a stop to that damn trend, I'll tell you that.

    Also included in this week's show is a piece wondering why a player would want to be an offensive lineman. Really enjoyed putting that package together and hope it offers a little insight into the psyche of the big guys.

    One clip that didn't make the show but deserves to be seen is posted below. I asked Lavoris Williams what was the funniest thing he'd see on the field. This was his response.
    (Above photo courtesy James Witherspoon)




    Update - Links for today:


    chuck
    FAU represented well in South Carolina

    On Saturday I looked down out at the crowd of 72,017 at Williams-Brice Stadium and made the statement that it was hard to find where the FAU fans were sitting.

    And it was.

    With FAU fans wearing blue and red, the Owls fans didn't really stand out among the South Carolina fans wearing their garnet and black.

    But close examination showed the FAU section was just that - a whole section of FAU fans near the end zone.

    The representation of several hundred Owls fans was easily the biggest contingent of fans for a road game not played in the state of Florida.

    While road games at USF, at UCF and at Florida have had large crowds of FAU fans, considering the distance, it was good to see FAU fans hit the road and support the team.

    On to some link for this Monday.

  • Owls ready to start Sun Belt play, the Palm Beach Post says
  • The Sun Sentinel takes a look at this week in capsule form
  • Turnovers hurt the Warhawks, writes the Monroe News Star
  • FAU not finished with training

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - A while ago, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger declared the Owls were no longer going through "Advanced Training" - his phrase for FAU facing BCS conference teams.

    When he said it in 2007, the Owls were supposed to launch a new era of being competitive agianst teams from BCS conferences.

    Someone forgot to give South Carolina the memo as the Owls received another beatdown by a big-time program. This time it was 38-16.

    That's slightly better than losing 45-6 to the Gamecocks in 2006, but not by much.

    It was painful to watch, but it will be nearly a whole year before FAU has to endure another game like this. The rest of the games on the 2009 schedule will be games FAU can win.

    To FAU, the Sun Belt season can't start soon enough - and it does just that on Saturday when the Owls face Louisiana-Monroe at Lockhart Stadium.

    Schnellenberger was already talking about playing ULM just minutes after Saturday's game was over.

    "I told the kids we're going to have to learn how to play football, and we're going to have to learn to play it fast because we have an important game coming up against (Louisiana) Monroe this coming week," Schnellenberger said.

    After falling to Nebraska and South Carolina, my guess is that FAU recieved some training after all.

    Here's some coverage from the papers that were at the FAU-South Carolina game:
  • Palm Beach Post: Game story / Notebook
  • Sun-Sentinel: Game story / Notebook
  • The State: Game story / Notebook
  • Charleston Post and Courier: Game story / Notebook
  • South Carolina tries not to look past FAU

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - Thanks to Florida Atlantic's off week occurring in the second week of the season, not only does it seem like it's been a long time since the Nebraska game, but also that South Carolina has been front and center for what seems like forever.

    Will the extra time help the Owls? I think it could, especially since FAU is treating this game as an opportunity to make a statement not only that it is a better team than it was way back on Sept. 5, but also in 2006 when the Owls were handled easily by the Gamecocks 45-6.

    On the other sideline, it's the exact opposite. USC had a tough game last week at Georgia and Thursday Ole Miss comes to Columbia for an early SEC battle to be televised nationally on ESPN. Guess which game the players are likely looking ahead to - FAU or Ole Miss.

    That's one of the biggest reasons the Head Ball Coach has been talking up FAU this week. Will it work? We (finally) will find out later tonight.

    Here's what we'll have on FAUOwlAccess GameDay:

  • Predictions from the FAUOwlAccess.com staff
  • Live pre-game coverage via Twitter from Williams-Bryce Stadium
  • We'll have a FAU-South Carolina game thread, with entries posted before midnight eligible for our Post of the Day Contest with the best post earning someone free tickets to a FAU home football game.
  • Live Twitter updates during the game
  • Complete coverage and analysis of the game after interviews with players and coaches
  • After the game, our GameBrowser will give you a quick look inside what happened and why
  • Photo gallery of the action on and off the field


    And here's a few Game Day Links:

  • The receivers had better catch on quickly, The Palm Beach Post writes
  • Schnellenberger, Spurrier each have won national titles, in the Sun-Sentinel
  • The State does a great job with its extensive preview of the game
  • Gent not only FAU receiver out for South Carolina

    It looks like Florida Atlantic will be down not one, but two senior receivers for this weekend's game at South Carolina.

    Not only will the Owls be without Cortez Gent, but also second-teamer Conshario Johnson, who was backing up Chris Bonner.

    It's believed to be an academic issue that will keep Johnson from playing.

    Johnson didn't play in last week's game at Nebraska either, but at the time it was believed he was just out of the rotation.

    Of course, the loss of Johnson isn't of the same magnitude of Gent. But it does make losing Gent that much more significant as all of the sudden, that depth at receiver is shrinking.

    Redshirt freshman wide receiver Amos Wood didnt travel to Nebraska but is expected to make today's trip to South Carolina.

    On to some links as I head up to South Carolina.

  • FAU receivers have to step up, according to the Palm Beach Post

  • FAU's offensive line gets high marks from the Sun-Sentinel

  • FAU or FIU? The State has a hard time figuring it out.
  • FAU offense will need Jean to progress quickly

    I'm having a tough time trying to figure out what the impact of the suspension of wide receiver Cortez Gent will have on the Owls football team.

    My first thought was Gent has not been the big-play receiver he was back in 2007 and has been in a slump lately. Plug in Lester Jean (photo) and let's see what the drop-off is - if any.

    However after further review, I'm now starting to think this could be a bit bigger blow than it appears on the surface.

    I'm not sure Chris Bonner can be the game-changer that Gent has been in the past so the load will fall on Jean - who has been one of my favorite players since he arrived at the Oxley. Jean looks great in practice and has shown signs in games of being a player who can spark an offense. Has he done it games? Not really, but then again, he hasn't had much of a chance. I'll wait until Saturday - Jean's best opportunity to date to show what he can do to date, before deciding how seriously Gent hurt the team.

    But I don't think Jean will put up Gent-like numbers right off the bat. Many times I've talked with Rusty Smith about communicating with his receivers and he always would bring up that he and 'Snoop' had been working together since they were true freshman in 2005 and know what each other are thinking on the football field.

    Jean and Smith won't have that chemistry yet, but they had better develop something close quickly.

    Here's the links for Thursday's morning briefing:

  • Coverage of Gent suspension: Palm Beach Post / Sun-Sentinel

  • Gamecocks upgrade their special teams, reports The State

  • Garcia, offense still working out the kinks, according to Charleston Post and Courier
  • USC's Spurrier and FAU's Schnellenberger not BFF's

    It's a far cry from 2006 when Steve Spurrier's most insightful comment about FAU was that the Owls stunk.

    "Florida Atlantic's not a great team. They're not a very good team," Spurrier said then. "If they hear that, they can hear it. They know they're not a very good team."

    Can't say I disagree with Spurrier's assessment after the Owls went down 45-6 to the Gamecocks later that week.

    But this year's it's different for the Head Ball Coach (not the old ball coach as some have called him.)

    Spurrier gave a history lesson on FAU at Tuesday's press conference in Columbia, S.C. to the assembled media.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    "Florida Atlantic is a team we played a couple years ago. They've improved tremendously. I think the last two years they've been to bowl games and had winning seasons. They won the Motor City Bowl, I think, beating Central Michigan."

    "They are a quality team with a lot of good athletes from the South Florida area. I think most of their players are from down that way. They are a very good, solid team and we are going to have to hope to have a chance to beat these guys."


    Q: How well do you know Howard Schnellenberger?

    "I know him a little bit. We don't call each other. We don't have each others cell phone numbers. But I say 'hello' to him when I see him. I think the last time I saw him was the game up here three years ago."

    "I have great respect for him. When you've been in our profession as long as he has you certainly are doing things the right way. Give him credit for building that program down there. I think they have been playing since what 2001? That's eight years and they've come a long way."

    "I think two years ago they were the only team in Florida to win their bowl game. Did y'all know that? I have got to give you all the trivia."


    While I'm looking for Howard's cell phone number to give to SOS (That's Stephen Orr Spurrier) here's a few links from selected media outlets today:

  • The word of the week is "tempo" the Palm Beach Post writes.

  • FAU could make almost $2 million by moving 2011 game vs. Michigan State to Detroit or Chicago, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

  • South Carolina looking for big play receiver, The State writes

  • Spurrier, South Carolina don't often lose to little guys, says the Associated Press

  • Stephen Garcia making progress, writes the Greenville News
  • FIU has more 'moral victories' than FAU

    With Florida Atlantic off last weekend I was able to follow more of the Sun Belt teams in their games than usual. I was paying special attention to the Florida International-Alabama game which I watched on Pay-Per-View at a local watering hole while I DVRd the South Carolina-Georgia game.

    It was an inspired performance by the Golden Panthers who had the crowd of mostly Crimson Tide supporters at Alabama Joe's in Lake Worth squirming in their bar stools when FIU went up 14-13 in the second quarter.

    As everyone knows, No. 4 Alabama pulled away, eventually winning 40-14 in game that Alabama was favored to win by 34.

    Still it was surprising to see the M-word invoked in a near four-touchdown loss. That's right, according to some FIU was able to earn the dreaded "Moral Victory."

    And FIU coach Mario Cristobal did nothing to rain on the parade on Monday's Sun Belt Conference teleconference.

    "We learned a lot about ourselves and certainly progressed in certain phases of our game and have to improve in several others, but we are pretty excited with the progress in our program," FIU coach Mario Cristobal said.

    I can attest that Howard Schnellenberger is rarely that chipper after a loss.

    You really would have thought the game was decided on the final play, instead of having scrubs for both teams playing in the fourth quarter.

    For all I care, FIU can print bumper stickers with the second quarter score and sell them at the bookstore on Calle Ocho, but the good feelings in the 26-point laugher raised this question: Has FAU ever claimed a "moral victory?"

    To be sure, there haven't been many chances to do that as FAU hasn't played many BCS teams close. Still I think it's a sign FAU has a "Big-boy" program that Owl fans don't high-five each other after three touchdown losses.

    For instance, in last year's 17-0 loss to Michigan State, I don't remember much boasting how the Owls kept it close. Instead most FAU fans were upset the chance of victory was wasted. The Owls also were competitive early in some games against Oklahoma State, but all I remember is Howard Schnellenberger in a bad mood after ech of those games.

    And let's not forget that FAU beat Minnesota in 2007. That's probably the difference: The Owls have a victory over a BCS conference team and the Golden Panthers have a "moral" victory.

    I know which one I'd take.

    Since it's back to game week, here are a few links to scout the Owls and Gamecocks:

  • Steve Spurrier has revved-up offense, shaky defense says the Palm Beach Post
  • Schnellenberger's disappointment filters down to players in the Sun-Sentinel
  • USC DT Melvin Ingram to make first start vs. FAU, says The State
  • DT Nathan Pepper out for game, reports the Charleston Post and Courier
  • FAU's Jackson digs speed on and off the field
    Had the opportunity to talk with FAU offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson after a practice this week for a feature that will run during Tuesday's Howard Schnellenberger Show.




    Jackson is in his first year as coordinator, taking over the position when Gary Nord left for Purdue.

    Part of the fun of putting these pieces together is finding out knew things about the people you cover every day. Jackson hasn't always been offensive minded. He played defensive back at the University of San Diego - was their Defensive MVP in fact. Jackson didn't move to the offensive side of the ball until after his playing days, when he was told that in order to be a good coach he needed to understand and teach both sides of the ball. Jackson has spent most of his time since then coaching the offensive side of the ball.

    Football is Jackson's first love, but when he isn't coaching football, he loves to follow NASCAR. And with the Chase positions finalized last night, we asked Jackson who he thought would ultimately claim NASCAR's points title. Jackson gave his prediction in the above video.

    Campus Changes: Students heading to the Oxley Center on Monday are in for a bit of a surprise. The hole in the ground that was next to the Oxley when they left for the weekend is now a building. Workers put the walls in place for what will be the ticket office on Saturday.

    Don't know when the building will officially open, but we'll be sure to let you know on FAUOwlAccess.com.


    chuck
    It should be FAU playing Alabama this weekend

    My friends in Alabama have been calling me wanting to know when to pick me up at the airport and I believe the Golden Rule Barbecue (the original in Irondale, of course) has a reservation in my name for Friday thanks to one of my helpful college roommates.

    The reason of course is that everyone expects me to be in town because the team I cover is playing Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday.

    The only problem is that I cover Florida Atlantic not Florida International.

    "Oh" is the extent of the responses I get when I throw that little technicality in there.

    Yes, it's FIU not FAU playing Alabama, not that anyone in the state knows the difference.

    But perhaps they should.

    As I think about that sliced pork that the Golden Rule serves that is the closest thing to heaven on a bun you'll ever taste, I do start to get a little upset.

    Why isn't FAU facing the Crimson Tide on Saturday - or ever.

    Alabama is facing two teams from the Sun Belt - FIU and next week, the Crimson Tide will play host to North Texas.

    Alabama has also faced Louisiana-Monroe (an upset victory by the Warhawks) and Arkansas State in recent years.

    But wouldn't FAU be a no-brainer as an Alabama opponent? I’d much rather be preparing for that game instead of having to hear the FIU-Alabama game being discussed on the FAU SportsPage radio show as it was on Thursday.

    After all, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger coached there from 1961-1965 under Bear Bryant, winning three national championships in that span.

    Schnellenberger also came close to being the head coach of Alabama in 1987 before the job eventually went to Bill Curry.

    Also one of Schnellenberger's signature victories was against Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.

    Those are some pretty good storylines and would add a little interest to a game against a Sun Belt team.

    Instead it's Alabama vs. the team that brawled with Miami. OK that’s not fair. It's Alabama vs. the team that every year crows about its recruiting class and how it will be really good in a couple of years. I mean, what else can you say about FIU?

    But at least the Golden Panthers got a game that FAU would have liked.

    Yes, the Owls have Auburn on the schedule in 2011, but that's a poor substitute.

    But not as poor as FAU playing UAB later this year, but at least I'll be able to eat some decent barbecue then.
    Hit on Howard goes global


    Some of you may have missed the shot that Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger took toward the end of the Owls-Cornhuskers game on Saturday.
    But some found their way to FAUOwlAccess.com for the video of Schnellenberger taking one of the hardest shots of the game, quickly popping back up and then delivering a line that instantly cracked up quarterback Rusty Smith on the sideline.

    Since the video was linked to by EveryDayShouldBeSaturday.com (scroll to fourth item and beware of foul, but possibly accurate, language) and SBNation.com it has been viewed hundreds of times.

    I've seen both of these sites have very funny stuff on Schnellenberger before including a running gag on Schnellenberger's resemblance to the Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials, which I liked before but now found hilarious because all I can think of is FAU's coach when I see them. However, I am not sure there is that much resemblance.

    Regardless - Stay thirsty, my friends.
    FAU foe Nebraska offered good team, better fans
    Howdy there Owl fans. It's a little after midnight on Monday night and I just put the finishing touches on this week's Howard Schnellenberger Show. It will be available for all to see at noon on Tuesday on FAUOwlAccess.com.

    While I'm waiting for it to render, figured now might be a good time to take one last look at the Nebraska weekend. I've never been a Cornhusker fan. In fact, I can't think of a single game I've ever wanted them to win. But as fans go, they were perhaps the best I've ever seen.

    I was standing on the field a half hour before the start of the game and the stands were already full. That's more than 85,000 fans who couldn't wait to see their guys beat a team most hadn't heard of.

    Nearly all of those fans were paying attention to the Nebraska marching band's pre-game performance, which included a rendition of the FAU fight song. Apparently, if their opponent's band doesn't make the trip, Nebraska's band will take it upon itself to learn the visiting fight song. Wow.

    I also noticed a bunch of fans carrying balloons. I couldn't figure out why. Then, the Cornhuskers scored their first touchdown and all the fans released their balloons, filling the sky with thousands of red dots. There is a shot of this in Tuesday's Howard Schnellenberger Show.

    Finally, as the Owls headed to the locker room after the defeat, they did so to a standing ovation. Cornhusker fans do it for every opponent. Classy.

    I'm not suggesting that FAU try to adopt any of these traditions - although Owl fans could do a lot worse. The best traditions aren't copied. They are germane to the host school and develop over time. But if FAU ever gets even half the traditions that I saw in Lincoln, the Owls will have accomplished something.

    The FAU game was Nebraska's 298th consecutive sellout. That kind of classy fanaticism doesn't emerge overnight.

    chuck
    Back to basics for FAU after loss to Nebraska
    It could be back to the drawing board for Florida Atlantic after its 49-3 loss to No. 24 Nebraska.

    After the sound thrashing at the hands of the Cornhuskers, it sounds like the Owls will be going back to basics to understand why the Owls are struggling with those basics - tackling, catching and staying mentally tough.

    You can bet that over the next 48 hours - and then some - FAU coaches will be examining each frame of film to try and understand what went wrong Saturday.

    "The next two days are going to be very difficult for our football program," said FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger.

    It really was the same song, different verse for the Owls from most of the other times they have faced teams from BCS conferences, but after talking with players and coaches after the game, the general consensus is these results are getting old.

    So the Owls will regroup and have an extra week to regroup and prepare for South Carolina and perhaps the beatdown by NU will help.

    "This can be a trip to the woodshed that we need most of all," Schnellenberger said.

    Here's some coverage of the game from varied media outlets:

  • Second half doomed Owls, the Palm Beach Post says.

  • Schnellenberger not happy with loss, according to the Sun-Sentinel

  • Extensive coverage of the game from the Lincoln Journal-Star and Omaha World Herald

  • Also kudos to Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post for tracking down Nebraska fan and former West Palm Beach resident "Larry The Cable Guy." Everybody could use a little levity after FAU couldn't "Git 'R Done" vs. the Cornhuskers

  • FAU may go bowling with 7-5 mark in 2009
    LINCOLN, Neb. - Way back on Aug. 7 Florida Atlantic players reported to the Oxley Athletic Center to begin preparing for the 2009 season.

    Ready or not - that season starts today. And I believe the Owls are ready. Ready to beat Nebraska? I doubt it, but ready to have a better season than in 2008.

    Here's my predictions for the season and of course we'll pick a score each week.

    Sept. 5 at Nebraska...L
    Sept. 19 at South Carolina...L
    Sept. 26 vs, Louisiana-Monroe...W
    Oct. 3 Wyoming...L
    Oct. 17 at North Texas....W
    Oct. 24 at ULL...W
    Oct. 31 vs. Middle Tennessee...W
    Nov. 7 at UAB ....W
    Nov. 14 vs. Arkansas State...L
    Nov. 21 at Troy...L
    Nov. 28 vs. Western Kentucky...W
    Dec. 5 at FIU...W

    7-5 and the Owls may get to the third consecutive bowl depending how many teams are bowl eligible, but it probably won't be as Sun Belt Champions in the New Orleans Bowl.

    That said, here are some links for the first game of the 2009 season opener at Nebraska.

  • FAU will be motivated by Nebraska crowd, according to Palm Beach Post
  • Howard Schnellenberger, Tom Osborne have storied past, the Sun Sentinel reports
  • The Lincoln Journal Star has extensive coverage of the game (4 full pages in the morning paper here)
  • Omaha World Journal also pulls out all the stops with 3-plus pages in the paper
  • FAU arrives in Nebraska, ready for a corn cob good time
    As the headline suggests, Florida Atlantic arrived safely and pretty much on time in Nebraska for Saturday's game. The top photo shows some of the guys waiting for the bus that will take them over to Memorial Stadium for the walk through. Howard Schnellenberger got stopped by a couple of young Owl fans as he walked to the bus.

    FAUOwlAccess.com is staying in the team hotel. We've got a little work to get ready the game, but we're looking forward to hitting "O Street" and experiencing the world-renowned Nebraska night life.

    Before we do, though, just wanted to give a heads up on what to look for during the coming days.

    Marcus is sitting across the room putting the finishing touches on the game preview. It should be up no later than 7:30 p.m. your time. In the morning we'll offer our game predictions, then keep your browser locked to FAUOwlAccess.com for constant real time updates starting as soon as we get to the stadium.

    The local ABC affiliate here in Lincoln is running their preview of the game. Kinda strange sitting in the middle of a strange city watching video highlights that feature Rusty Smith practice footage. Alfred Morris also made the tube.

    Right now, the local Nebraska radio station is hosting a show where callers give their predictions for tomorrow's game.

    The battle cry from every caller is "Burn the Owl." I guess those comments on our YouTube video featuring the bonfire weren't just some mega fans popping off. They really didn't like seeing their N on fire. The local ABC affiliate just showed our video of the bonfire during their newscast.

    Well, it's probably time to head back down to the lobby. Believe it or not, there is actually a wedding party in the hotel tonight. I'm betting I shot one of the best pictures of the bride. Of course, I'm not quite sure what I said that made her run to the elevator, but it was probably in her best interest.

    Gonna try to take it easy tonight. Cow tipping is out of the question. And I don't really know if there's such a thing as corn tipping. Every night is a new adventure.

    chuck
    Troy trips up in opener
    We'll have a quick morning briefing following the first Thursday of college football because the FAUOwlAccess team will be leaving for Lincoln very soon.

    Having each conference win a game in Thursday's unofficial "Sun Belt-MAC challenge" wouldn't have been a wild prediction, but raise your hand if you had North Texas winning and Troy losing last night.

    Not only did the Mean Green look pretty good handling Ball State, but Troy was soundly beaten by Bowling Green.

    Looks like some pre-season predictions could be out the window.

    Like I said we are on the way to Nebraska, so here's a few quick links:
  • FB William Rose wants to win, according to the Sun-Sentinel
  • The Huskers relase their depth chart and the Lincoln Journal Star has some analysis
  • Arizona players thriving at Nebraska writes the Omaha World
  • Non-football related, but Nebraska volleyball team has concerns about Swine flu, the OH writes
  • First production of Schnellenberger's radio show beneficial to FAU
    Just returned from Duffy's after watching ESPN 760's production Howard Schnellenberger's radio show.

    After a few early glitches the show seemed to go pretty well. Ken LaVicka hosted and former Owl Jason Pugh was also part of the team.

    There was a relatively small turnout from FAU fans but that made it a little more interesting to watch the reaction of average people as they walked by - and the table was right at the front door, so they had to walk by.

    Schnellenberger can still draw a crowd. Several restaurant patrons stopped by the broadcast table during commercials and after the show to give their "I remember when..." stories. Schnellenberger was quick to provide a hand shake and an autograph.

    The show was good and will only improve during the season. LaVicka will be handling the play-by-play of Saturday's game at Nebraska for ESPN 760, so next week's show should contain some insightful questions about the season opener.

    If tonight is any indication, the Owls' radio deal with ESPN 760 will certainly pay dividends.

    chuck
    FAU to be seen and heard
    There is an audio-visual theme to today's blog. Or maybe visual-audio theme to be more correct.

    On Wednesday, FAUOwlAccess.com and Florida Atlantic University jointly announced FAUOwlAccess.com would be the exclusive home of The Howard Schnellenberger Show.

    Quite frankly, this is the biggest step this site has taken to become the home to the most extensive home to FAU athletics news on the internet.

    The positive response has been overwhelming and we hope that continues.

    Now let's turn our attention to Owls audio with a few items FAU fans should be tuned to.

    First, Thursday night will be the first installment of the FAU SportsPage radio show featuring Schnellenberger and hosts Ken LaVicka and Jason Pugh.

    The show will air on ESPN 760 and espn760.com from the Boca Raton Duffy's at 21212 St. Andrew's Blvd._ from 7-8 p.m.

    Also, it's good to see that LaVicka will be the play-by-play voice for the season-opener at Nebraska. Next week the FAU play-by-play announcer shuffle begins when Dave Lamont will call the action from South Carolina.

    Former FAU player Jason Pugh will join LaVicka on the FAU SportsPage. Fans can ask questions by calling 888-760-3776. If practice ends early enough I plan to head over to Duffy's for a beverage. It should be a fun event and a great way to kick off the season.

    Also one more note concerning the radio broadcast. I am a big supporter of FAU moving up to the big leagues and having its games on 760-AM and I hear there are already some great changes on the way to the broadcast. Not only will there be a longer pre-game segment with interviews by ESPN 760's Brian Rowitz, but an extended post-game segment with calls from FAU fans following the game.

    I encourage FAU fans to call after the game to show the interest in the program that I know exists. It would be quite embarrassing if no one called after the game and since FAU has never bothered to have a post-game call-in show, Owl fans may not be used to such extensive post-game coverage like most I-A programs already have.

    On to today's links...
  • Ryan Wischnefski will have a tough task for his first start at center, says the Palm Beach Post
  • FAU offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson also will have a challenge on his hands, the Sun-Sentinel says.
  • QB Rusty Smith is in the spotlight, according to The Miami Herald
  • True freshman DT Randle is making an impression on Pelini, reports the Lincoln Journal Star
  • Nebraska also has inexperienced linebackers, the Omaha World Herald writes
  • The LJS has a scouting report on the Owls and also has an entertaining roundtable with its Husker beat writers
  • The Howard Schnellenberger Show hopes to give FAU fans more access
    When we first started talking about creating FAUOwlAccess.com, Marcus and I both felt that Florida Atlantic needed to be treated like the Division I athletic program that it is.

    I'm starting to think that in a few years we will point back at this week as being the one where we stopped talking the talk and started walking the walk.

    As many of you have already noticed, FAUOwlAccess.com made a pretty big announcement today. FAUOwlAccess.com is the exclusive site for The Howard Schnellenberger Show, which premiered this morning.

    But we are doing more than simply carrying the show. We are also producing it, and handling the recording and editing aspects. Personally, it brings me back into the world of television. It's what I went to school for. It's what I've done for a couple of television stations. It's harrowing - and a great deal of fun.

    We hope you find it useful in traditional and non-traditional ways. Traditionally, strong football programs use the coach's show to keep their fans updated on all the news within the program. In that aspect, our show will be similar to many of the coach's shows that highlight larger football powers.

    The difference between theirs and our version of The Howard Schnellenberger Show is that fans don't have to be in front of the tube at a certain time each week to catch the broadcast. By hosting it on our site, The Howard Schnellenberger Show will be available when fans want to watch it. Judging by the traffic visiting our site since the start of football camp, there are plenty of fans out there who want to see something like this.

    This show is for the fans, and as such, we want to incorporate the fans into the production. Those who have seen the first episode may have recognized Dave of Dirty Bird fame asking a question of coach Schnellenberger. We intend to include at least one fan question in every week's show. Feel free to stop us if you have a question you'd like to ask coach, or just to give us a tip about something you're like to see included.

    The Owls are quickly building a fan base. Our goal is to keep that fan base informed. The Howard Schnellenberger Show will be a big part of that effort.

    chuck
    NU fans fired up for Schnellenberger
    While monitoring the media reports out of Nebraska to assist with my scouting of the Cornhuskers, I can't help but notice the venom being spewed by Nebraska fans in their message boards and other Internet forums.

    There seems to be more animosity aimed at FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger than I've ever seen and that includes Texas fans upset after he called the Longhorns "soft."

    For instance, read the comments in this blog by Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star. If some of these hate-filled fans plan on attending Saturday's game between FAU and Nebraska, I wouldn't want to be on the sideline.

    In some ways it makes sense, because Cornhusker fans probably do have a reason for slinging barbs at Schnellenberger. The biggest reason is that Schnellenberger derailed the title hopes of one of the best teams in college football history when his Hurricanes defeated Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl. Also many fans remember when Schnellenberger was at Oklahoma - a bitter rival for the Cornhuskers.

    And of course, Schnellenberger through gasoline on the fire when he personally torched a Big Red N at last week's bonfire.

    FAU has played in some tough places recently - Clemson, Florida and Texas come to mind - but it seems Cornhuskers fans are ready to pop.

    Here's some links to today's coverage:
  • FAU cornerback Tavoris Hill likes being the underdog from the Sun-Sentinel

  • Huskers will benefit from competition for starting spots, says the Lincoln Journal Star

  • Backup DT says less could mean more for Suh in today's Omaha World Herald

  • Also in the OWH: Schnellenberger sees big-time talent in Rusty Smith

  • Singer Tony Orlando at "OK" practice from the LJS
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