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Posts from September 2010

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: New FAU defense could get the party started

While watching practice last week, I mentioned to someone that FAU’s second-team defense in many spots, could be as good as its first-team unit.

The starters may have experience, but many of the young reserves appear to have more talent.
Well, one ill-advised post-game party later and a few of those young players will be getting plenty of action.
After two starters, defensive back Tavious Polo and defensive end Daniel Joseph, were suspended for their role in promoting an off-campus party, it looks like it will be Keith Reaser (pictured) starting at corner and Cory Henry starting at end.
Henry and Reaser are loaded with talent and this extra game experience should help them get better sooner rather than later.
There is no denying the defense is struggling this year but when you see what players like Reaser, Henry and redshirt freshman Randell Johnson do in practice, it gives you hope for the future.
To me there isn’t a doubt that all three are ready to contribute. This weekend, thanks to a few party animals, we’ll see for sure.
Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we broke the story of the four players, including two starters, being suspended and had this practice report of a soggy day at the track. Here is our report.
Other linkage...
Polo, Joseph in hot water after promoting party held after game Saturday

Will they play or won’t they? Florida Atlantic senior defensive back Tavious Polo and defensive end Daniel Joseph, who both started last week in the Owls’ 21-17 loss, were on the scout team for Tuesday’s practice.

That’s usually an indication of no – or very limited - playing time for the next game.
FAU promised “to put out a release” later today, so we’ll see then, but some have said they would be very surprised if Polo and Joseph are in the lineup vs. USF.
Usually, putting out a press release isn’t to announce players are good to go for the next game, but we’ll hopefully see by the end of the day.
The problem stems from a certain “After Party” following the loss to the Mean Green which was well-promoted with handouts at Lockhart Stadium.
Problem is, those handouts, descreetly placed on the wildshield of cars in the stadium parking lot, included a photo of Polo and Joseph, apparently with their permission since Polo is listed as a “host.”
The NCAA doesn’t look to favorably on these types of things.
According to NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.1  (Advertisements and Promotions Subsequent to Enrollment)
Subsequent to becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
(a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind, or
(b) Receives remuneration for endorsing a commercial product or service through the individual's use of such product or service.
 

If the student-athlete didn’t grant the permission, the business using the likeness is usually asked to stop running the image. But if the student-athlete did allow the picture to be used – and one can assume that since Polo was one of the event organizers complete with his phone number on the flyer – he knew about his picture being on it, then the player can be held responsible.

It’s believed no money changed hands for this perceived endorsement so this would likely be  considered a possible secondary violation.
It’s possible no NCAA-mandated suspension will come out of this, but even if Polo and, (to an apparent lesser extent) Joseph are eligible to play, I wouldn’t be surprised if Schnellenberger decided to sit them anyway.
It probably doesn’t go over to well that one (or more) of his seniors was more concerned about making sure who was on the guest list at a local party after one of the most disappointing losses in school history.
Save the parties for after the season, or else there won’t be very much to celebrate.
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Was FAU going through extra conditioning or punishment?

With the skies turning darker by the minute on Tuesday, no one would have blamed FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger for cutting practice short.

Instead, the Owls stayed late.



 

 

“We needed to do a little running,” Schnellenberger said. “It was time we did that and we haven't done that in a while.”

Schnellenberger didn't shy away when the leading edge of Tropical Depression 16 began pounding the Oxley Center practice fields with rain. Instead, he stood firm in the rain making sure his players didn't slack. (See above video)

The coach didn't say whether a lack of conditioning made him run the players, or it was punishment for the loss to North Texas on Saturday.

“A combination,” Schnellenberger said. “But they worked hard today.”

He also wouldn't commit to whether the Owls would run again today, when the weather is expected to be worse, in preparation for the Owls' game against USF. He left the door open, though.

“Well, that was just a one day thing,” Schnellenberger said. “But we used to do a lot of gassers. After losing two in a row that we could have won, maybe it will bring good luck.”

For those thinking inclement weather will likely keep the Owls from running on consecutive days, reconsider. This storm would have to intensify greatly to stop tomorrow's FAU practice. Remember - in 2008, the Owls practiced during Tropical Storm Fay.

That's not to say the Owls will definitely run on Wednesday – it simply means Schnellenberger isn't afraid of a few rain drops

> Owl Links: Stories of interest to FAU fans
Could a couple of senior starters miss the USF game? FAUOwlAccess.com subscribers learned that two defensive starters are being disciplined this week. The Howard Schnellenberger Show also made its regularly scheduled appearance on Tuesday, discussing the upcoming USF game and the progress of linebacker Malik Eugene.

Other linkage... 

 

Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU hoping to play USF in first game at new stadium

With all due respect to the juggernaut that is FIU football, FAU badly needs a competitive rivalry.

Thanks to domination by the Owls in the Shula Bowl which makes for a boring rivalry, FAU officials are trying to spark one up with USF - the team FAU will face on Saturday.
That’s a reason why USF is the leader to face FAU in the first game of the Owls’ new stadium on Sept. 17 next season, according to FAU officials.
Of course, that’s provided the stadium will be up and running by then.FAU AD Craig Angelos will have a much better idea on that possibility later this week after meeting with construction officials.
The first game at the 30,000-seat new stadium will likely be a sell-out regardless of the opponent, but if it’s USF, there will be some incentive for FAU fans to gobble up tickets before the Bulls fans do, creating a hard sell-out.
USF is a natural candidate for the first visiting team to play on campus. The 2007 game between USF and FAU was very competitive and anyone that was there will remember the many Bulls fans who made the trip to Fort Lauderdale.
I hope those USF fans get the chance to do it again.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we took our finals look back at the 21-17 loss to North Texas and also turned our attention to USF with our 1st and 10 look at the Bulls.
Other linkage...
 
Monday’s Daily Briefing: Improvement for FAU’s defense depends on how seniors respond

If Florida Atlantic is going to turn its season around, it has going to have to improve on defense.

And if its defense is going to get better, the Owls will likely need its seniors to lead the way.
That’s perhaps why after FAU defensive coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh talked to his defense briefly after Sunday’s practice, he called over his key seniors and had a heart-to-heart talk with them for more than 15 minutes (pictured).
The message was clear. These seniors – defensive linemen Dino Cox and Daniel Joseph, linebackers Michael Lockley and Malik Eugene and defensive backs Ed Alexander, Tarvoris Hill and Tavious Polo – need to show some leadership out there for the younger players to follow.
This isn’t the first time the group has been challenged. During a lackluster pre-season practice Van Valkenburgh also asked his seniors to step it up. They did just that and had one of the best practices of the season right after that.
We’ll have to see if Sunday’s discussion has a similar effect.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

Obviously, FAUOwlAccess.com was at Sunday’s practice and provided a report and analysis of the Toilet Bowl. Click here to check it out.
Other linkage...
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Owls can’t dodge criticism after loss to North Texas

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said, except for a good showing by the student body, he was "disappointed" in the crowd announced at 15,143 for Saturday’s game vs. North Texas.

Apparently for a good portion of those fans, the feeling is mutual. There were plenty of catcalls and boos from the stands in the closing moments of FAU’s 21-17 loss to the Mean Green.
I’m not going to say I don’t understand why fans would be frustrated. After the performance vs. winless North Texas, anyone associated with the FAU program, should be concerned.
But I can tell you the players and coaches, especially Schnellenberger, will quickly do some deep soul-searching as they try and diagnose the problems with this team that were exposed by the Mean Green.
Saturday, the Owls ran into a team loaded with players fighting for the life of their coach, especially UNT coach Todd Dodge’s son and quarterback, Riley Dodge. The Mean Green had a superior game-plan and the Owls were not ready for it.
It happens. Rest assured, FAU coaches will work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
However, this is the second consecutive game where some fans are questioning the direction of the program because the Owls didn’t convert plays late in the game. While some other programs in the state are racking up arrest records and shamefully turning their back on beloved coaches, FAU fans are on the ledge after two losses in games that were close until the bitter end.
FAU has problems. The fans know it. I know it. The coaches and players know it.
I’m willing to give the team a little time and the opportunity to sort it out. This is a young team that learned some harsh lessons vs. North Texas and I look forward to seeing how they respond.  They better quickly or the  “rush-to-judgement” segment of the fan base may not be around to see it.
What a shame it would be if those "loyal" fans who are ready to abandon the program took their huge donations and walked away.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com had every inch of Lockhart Stadium covered. Check out our recap, analysis, video recap and photo gallery by clicking here.
Other linkage...
More game coverage
 
Angelos says he has 'agreement' for games at Alabama

Folks outside Lockhart Stadium were able to catch up on the Alabama-Arkansas game before the Owls faced North Texas on Saturday.

It looks like FAU fans may have been getting a glimpse of a future Owl opponent.

We told you three weeks ago FAU was talking with Alabama about a possible series.

On Saturday, FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos told FAUOwlAccess.com he has "agreement in principle" with Alabama for game is 2012 and 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Ala..

It seems a natural with Alabama facing many Sun Belt teams recently.

Kudos to Angelos, if he is able to close this deal.

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: FAU will roll easily over Mean Green

Four weeks into the football season it’s time for FAU’s home-opener. Excuse me, I meant it’s the Owls’ South Florida opener. Does that mean next week’s game is the second game in South Florida since they are playing, you know, South Florida?

At any rate, FAU will face North Texas at Lockhart for the rare nighttime kickoff at 7 tonight,  so it’s time for a few predictions.
First, on the crowd. If the rain stays away for the whole day – and as I am writing this it doesn’t look so good – I could see a crowd approaching 15,000 as I hear that already there are more than 10,000 tickets distributed, plus the students appear to be ready for a home game closer than Ford Field in Detroit.
On the game, here is my 5-star lock of the season prediction.
FAU will put the ball in the air early in an effort to go up a few touchdowns on the Mean Green. Then North Texas will be forced to throw the ball instead of letting its dangerous running back Lance Dunbar run the ball. If Dunbar gets touches, the Mean Green will hang around in the game, but look for Jeff Van Camp to be looking for Lester Jean early…FAU 35, North Texas 17
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we have our preview, keys to the game and a video breakdown of the North Texas-FAU game. Check out what you need to know by clicking here.

Other linkage…

Other game previews...

 

 

 

Friday's Daily Briefing: Students disregard rain to be part of pep rally for FAU-North Texas game

Sometimes it's nice to be wrong.

When the rain clouds covered Boca Raton late on Thursday afternoon, I figured that would doom the scheduled pep rally.

That wasn't the case. More than 1,000 FAU students lined up in the alumni center complex to get their Beat North Texas shirts while coach Howard Schnellenberger made his way back from his weekly radio show on ESPN 760.

Schnellenberger arrived shortly after 7:30 p.m., rang the Taylor Victory Bell (he actually pulled the rope so hard that it broke) then addressed the enthusiastic crowd. When he finished, volunteers began distributing the shirts. They didn't last 10 minutes.

The coach spent a portion of his speech thanking the student body for their support in the effort to  put together financing for the recently-passed stadium proposal. These same students waited in the drizzle to see Schnellenberger and get their shirts for the game.

We've been told for years that one of the biggest reasons to support the on-campus stadium was that the students wanted it. On Thursday, I saw a pretty good sized group of those students who were willing to stand in the rain and talk football. FAU football.

When leaving the event I found myself walking with a pack of students talking about how excited they were to attend their first college football game. I explained to them that I didn't expect a huge student turnout to Saturday's game against North Texas – that crowds wouldn't begin showing up in earnest for FAU football games until the on-campus stadium was complete.

They assured me I was way off base, Truth be told, I wouldn't mind being wrong again.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.

> Owl Links: Stories of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com was the only media outlet to attend Thursday's practice. In our practice report our subscribers learned why they might want to get to know the name David Baptiste.

Other linkage..


  
Thursday's Daily Briefing: Owls prepared for first pep rally of the season

Howard Schnellenberger will have a busy afternoon today. He's expected to be on the field for the regular Thursday practice before heading over to Hooters for his weekly 6 p.m. radio show with ESPN 760.

He'll top it all off with a trip back to campus for a pep rally.

That event starts at 7 p.m., when Schnellenberger is scheduled to lead the Owls through the campus, finally ending at the Alumni Center Plaza. The dance team, marching band and pep band will also be on hand.

Fans who attend the event will receive a free Beat North Texas T-shirt. Other giveaways include footballs and posters.

FAU, of course, hosts North Texas on Saturday in the Owls' first home game played in Florida this season.

By the way, the Alumni Complex where most of the festivities will take place, has a lovely view of that big patch of dirt which will eventually house the team on football Saturdays. Think that will be mentioned this evening?

> Owl Links: Stories of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com subscribers learned about some of the defensive changes the Owls toyed with on Wednesday, including which linebacker may make his first career start this week.

Other linkage...

The Sun-Sentinel says the team that wins the battle on the ground will win this week's game.

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Owls sideline will be teeming with former players

If former Florida Atlantic linebacker Cerge Sincere has his way – and it looks like he will – FAU's sideline will be swarming with Owl jerseys Saturday against North Texas.

As part of a celebration of FAU's tenth year of college football, Sincere has organized a reunion of sorts for former football players. Shomari Earls, B.J. Manley Taheem Acevedo, Willie Hughley and Daveon Barron are among the 35 former players who have committed to attend.

They should be easy to identify since Sincere has asked all the players to wear their former jerseys.

There will be a tailgate party starting at 5:30 before all the players, including Sincere, will take to the sideline for the game.

“We're trying to make this home game memorable,” said Sincere (photo, making a tackle against USF in 2007)  “We only have four home games. Being as it is the first game, we wanted to make a statement.”

Sincere hasn't strayed far from Boca Raton since he last took the field for the Owls in 2008. Earlier this year he organized a highly successful relief effort for victims of the massive earthquake in Haiti, using the Oxley Center as a drop-off point.

Recently FAU has partnered Sincere's marketing venture, High Society Group, to conduct some grass roots efforts aimed at raising attendance at athletic events.

Along with getting a whole bunch of his former teammates to come to the game, Sincere also might be priming the pump for future talent. Saturday will also be Youth Family Night Out. Sincere's group is offering free tickets to area youth football league teams provided they wear their uniforms to the games. Parents of the youths have to purchase their own tickets, but those who do will be treated to  food and drinks.

Before long, maybe everyone who attends an FAU football game will be wearing a uniform. That can't be a bad thing, right?

> Owl Links: Stories of interest to FAU fans

At FAUOwlAccess.com we examined the progress made by redshirt freshman linebacker Randell Johnson, who started against Michigan St. in his first career game.

Other linkage...

 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Attendance boost will have to wait until next year

In theory, Saturday starts the beginning of the end. FAU fans will make the first of the final four trips south to Lockhart Stadium.

I'm curious to see what the passage of the stadium proposal will do for attendance this year. Will the extra publicity generated by the stadium's recent passage help bring more fans than normal to Fort Lauderdale?

Or, realizing that they only have to wait one more year, will the not-so-ardent fans of FAU simply choose to wait a year and start coming to games when they are on campus?

FAU is playing pretty well, so that could boost attendance, but then again, expectations were still high at this time last year. North Texas, Saturday's opponent, is pretty bad, which could actually serve to boost attendance. Fans love to see a winner.

Will the later-than-normal start time have any affect at all, other than perhaps making a well-lubricated crowd a little more rowdy?

I suspect it will be business as usual for FAU – last year' home opener against Louisiana-Monroe drew 14,429. I have a feeling that the announced crowd this weekend will be similar, with far fewer actually in the stadium.

Don't worry too much about the low number though. This time, “Wait 'til next year” carries real promise.

Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans.

On FAUOwlAccess.com, we started game week off right with out First and 10 look at North Texas.

The Sun Sentinel noted the injury problems have sent Riley Dodge back to quarterback during the Mean Green's 24-0 loss to Army.

The Denton Record Chronicle said North Texas is trying to re-adjust to Riley Dodge.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: FAU already looking to hire stadium fundraisers

Florida Atlantic is proud of the fact that the Innovation Village and the Owls’ football stadium will put more than 1,000 people to work as the handout distributed last week said.

I’m not sure if this caused a surge in the Dow Jones or the NASDAQ. That’s probably because there are a lot of temporary jobs included in that figure.
However, it looks like FAU is already creating at least two permanent jobs.
FAU has officially posted two job openings to raise funds for the stadium. The “Major Gifts Development Officer- Football Stadium Campaign” has a salary of $65,000 per year and the “Development Coordinator - Football Stadium Campaign" has a salary of $30-35,000 per year.
Here are the official job listings...
Let’s hope it don’t take as long to find the right candidates as some recent of the basketball and baseball coaching searches I seem to remember.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com filed this story on the Owls problems at stopping the run and also had this practice report.
Other linkage...
The Sun-Sentinel looks at the North Texas injury situation
The Denton Record Chronicle's Brett Vito looks at the future for the Mean Green

 

Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Wounded North Texas coming to Lockhart

By the time FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger walked off the practice field on Saturday, North Texas had already lost its center, wide receiver and quarterback to injury in its game vs. Army.

One of the Owls’ best advance scouts quickly relayed the news to the head coach.
The scouts’ name was Beverlee Schnellenberger who called her husband to report the details.
“She’s giving me a blow-by-blow report,” Schnellenberger said.
The report included quarterback Derek Thompson (broken leg), center Nick Leppo (torn ACL)and wide receiver Chris Bynes  (torn Achillles) who are out for the season.
Thompson and Leppo were substitutes for players who had already been injured.
FAU can relate after having so many centers injured in training camp, the Owls were practicing with their fifth center near the end of camp.
The interesting part is now Riley Dodge, who was moved from quarterback to wide receiver last year, will be back under center vs. the Owls on Saturday.
His task? Win enough games to save Todd Dodge’s job (7 is the magic number) this season. By the way Riley is Todd’s son. Talk about pressure.
And it all starts for Riley Dodge this week vs. FAU, which has beaten the Mean Green six consecutive times.
But other than that, things are going great in Denton.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
While games were going on across the country, FAU was practicing due to an off week. We filed a  report along with a photo gallery you can see by clicking here.
More linkage...
Saturday's Daily Briefing: FAU receiving naming rights inquiries, ticket requests

Thursday's stadium approval by the Florida Board of Governors is already translating into ticket requests.

I talked with Craig Angelos today for a video about the stadium that will run as part of Tuesday's Howard Schnellenberger show. Among the several interesting tidbits Angelos offered is that several members of the athletic department spent much of Friday answering phone calls.

“Many of the people who I've talked to have congratulated us but also said, hey, sign me up for some seats,” Angelos said.

Perhaps even more importantly, Angelos said he received multiple e-mail inquiries about stadium naming rights.

“I've always said that once we get it approved I think a lot of people will come off the sidelines who have been watching from afar and get in the game,” Angelos said.

It looks like the stadium project will turn into a mini-stimulus package for the school.

Angelos said FAU will also hire a person to sell the suites and premium seating, and another
to sell in-stadium advertising.

“We hope to scoop those folks in with the people who are already doing it and have a more concerted effort,” Angelos said.

 

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com was there as FAU President Mary Jane Saunders had her first face-to-face talk with Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger. Check out what she told us along with Friday’s practice report by clicking here.

Other linkage…

 

Friday’s Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger gets stadium after decades of lobbying

When the Florida State University System Board of Governors put the funding for FAU’s football stadium to a vote on Thursday, Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger yelled “Yea” at the TV screen in the Founders' Lounge in the Oxley Center.

There were no "Nay"s and the vote in Jacksonville was unanimous, but Schnellenberger didn’t want to take any chances and made sure everyone knew he was in favor of the project.

Since he was hired on May 1, 1998, Schnellenberger has been trying to convince the boards of trustees, regents, governors and university presidents to do this.

At Miami, he lobbied unsuccessfully for an on-campus stadium for the Hurricanes.

At Louisville, he was able to persuade the university higher-ups to move the Cardinals from a minor-league baseball stadium to an on-campus stadium. However, he left UL for Oklahoma  before the beautiful Papa John’s Stadium could be built.

When he leads the Owls out of the tunnel at FAU’s stadium next fall, it will be the culmination of something he has battled for almost half of his life – that his team deserves to play on its own campus.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com was all over the big announcement. In addition to our story and photo gallery check out our video from the Board of Governor’s meeting in Jacksonville and the Oxley Center. Here is the coverage.

 

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Stadium project waits for final approval today

First there was the Howard Dome, but it was going to take a while, so FAU’s first choice?

Lockhart Stadium, but the owner of Lockhart’s main tenant, the Miami Fusion (remember them?) wanted a million dollars for the trouble.
Then Anthony Catanese said a joint stadium with Boca Raton High School was the answer, but was quickly shot down.
But it was off to Pro Player Stadium, where the Owls played for two years in front of sparse crowds which looked even sparser in the cavernous stadium.
Then the Fusion fizzeled and the Owls moved closer to home – to Lockhart Stadium. It fit the bill, but it never felt like home.
Temporary stadiums on-campus were discussed, but never got very far. Does anyone remember the plan to put the roof on after the stadium is built? Thankfully I haven’t heard that one in a while.
Today, three presidents and many proposals later, FAU should get the final go-ahead today to finally build its football stadium where college football should be played – on its own campus,
There has been one constant however through FAU's search for a home. That’s Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger.
Around noon today, congratulations to Schnellenberger will be in order.
 > OwlLinks: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was monitoring the Governors meeting in Jacksonville and provided this report.
The Sun-Sentinel took a look at the stadium
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: All eyes at Oxley on Board of Governors meeting

The Florida University System Board of Governors kicks off its two-day meeting in Jacksonville today and by the time it is over mid-day on Thursday, FAU should have the go-ahead to begin construction on its new on-campus football stadium.

You can guess the events at the meeting will be followed closely.
And FAU may have some friends on the board including former FAU President Frank Brogan (pictured) and former FAU trustees Norm Tripp and John Temple.
Here are some of the documents the board will review before making their decision.

 

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com had the latest installemnet of the The Howard Schnellenberger Show.
Other linkage…

 

 

Details on Thursday’s vote to give final approval for FAU’s on-campus football stadium

The agenda for this week’s Florida State University System Board of Governors meeting is out.
 

Don’t worry, the item FAU fans are interested in is indeed on the agenda.

 

The facilities committee will go over the FAU proposal on Wednesday.

 

 

  • Resolution of the Board of Governors Authorizing the Florida Atlantic University Financing Corporation to Issue Debt to Finance the Construction of an Athletic Stadium, Main Campus, FAU
  •  

    Then, sometime between 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, the facilities committee of the board will turn their attention  to this item:

     

    • Resolution of the Board of Governors Authorizing the Florida Atlantic University Financing Corporation to Issue Debt to Finance the Construction of an Athletic Stadium, Main Campus, FAU 
       

    We’ll be monitoring closely, but for those wanting to follow the action for themselves you be able to do so with a live webacast here.

     

    Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: Stadium’s biggest detractor now supports project

    For years The Palm Beach Post has been the most vocal opponent of Florida Atlantic’s attempt at building an on-campus football stadium.

    Today, The Post’s editorial board called an audible – and endorsed the approval of the 30,000 seat stadium at this week’s Florida Board of Governors meeting.
    First, Howard Schnellenberger admitting he was wrong by kicking a field goal vs. Michigan State and now an about-face for The Palm Beach Post?
    The Post explains it here and apparently FAU stadium point man David Kian’s meeting with the Post editorial board didn’t hurt.
    I can already hear people saying, who cares what the newspaper says? Well, there was a time in the past when newspapers wielded a great deal of power. And, as anyone high up in the FAU administration will tell you, what The Post had to say often had an effect on policy.
    But the biggest reason this is newsworthy is that The Post’s editorials were the biggest and most influential critic of a stadium being built on campus. A sudden change in philosophy indicates the project is indeed on solid ground as judged not by FAU supporters but by its (former) detractors. That should give the public – and Governors - even more confidence in FAU’s soon-to-be constructed stadium.
     > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    On Monday, FAUOwlAccess.com finished grading each unit and handing out our game balls after the Owls 30-17 loss to Michigan State. Check out our report here,
    Other linkage…
    The Denton Record-Chronicle says the loss of QB Nathan Tune is not only worry for North Texas
    Monday’s Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger not the only one who should apologize
    Somewhere between Detroit and Boca Raton, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger finally realized he made a tactical blunder in the closing minutes of the Owls’ 30-17 loss to Michigan State at Ford Field on Saturday,
    I am glad he reached that conclusion and apologized to his team.
    Not because the media (especially one Michigan-based hack) or the fans who were so quick to jump on Schnellenberger immediately right after the game were owed an apology – perhaps that’s why Schnellenberger made it clear he told his team he was sorry.
    I’m just glad he came to the conclusion that going for the touchdown would have been the right call in case a situation like the Ford Field Fiasco comes up again.
    Schnellenberger’s decision making wasn’t his finest hour, but the knee-jerk reaction of those who called for a change immediately after the game was even worse. Did they not watch the same game I did? I thought I saw that the Owls were in a game against  a fine Michigan State team until the late fourth quarter. But apparently that was a mirage because some said the program was slipping fast because the Owls passed on a series events which would been next to impossible to pull off.
    Many thought before the season a loss to UAB was likely and a pounding at the hands of the Spartans was imminent. Instead FAU defeated the Blazers and gave the Spartans all they could handle.
    Schnellenberger was big enough to apologize for his mistake. I wonder if those who were calling for his job will do the same?
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    FAUOwlAccess.com was at Sunday’s practice and Toilet Bowl and had this report on Schnellenberger’s apology to his team.
    Sunday's Daily Briefing: Ford Field Fiasco overshadows progress by FAU

    A day later I’m still trying to figure out why FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger opted to kick a field goal with 2:50 remaining in the game when the Owls had the ball on the 6-yard line and the Owls were down 30-14 to Michigan State on Saturday at Ford Field.thumb

    Apparently they are wondering the same thing in Michigan, as this column shows.
    Here are three interesting decisions made in the final few minutes that perhaps some are wondering about. Schnellenberger addressed all these issues in his post-game press conference, which you can see in its entirety here.

    The decision to put backup quarterback Graham Wilbert late in the game

    • What happened: With 5:41 remaining in the game and the Owls trailing 30-14, Wilbert trotted on to the field for his first college action. He completed his first college pass, a 41-yard pass to Lester Jean who darted up the middle and then down the right sideline before being pushed out at the 2-yard line.
    • What Schnellenberger said: “I wanted to make sure we got my second quarterback some work in a good situation. I didn’t think it was the thing to do to try to get him in the first quarter or second quarter."
    • My take: Before anyone could Twitter “Why the hell is Wilbert in the game?” he answered the question by driving the Owls down the field. I have no problem with putting Wilbert in, which will benefit Wilbert down the road.
    The decision to not challenge if Lester Jean made it into to the end zone
    • What happened: On Jean’s pass, he appeared on some replays to have broken the plane in the end zone with the ball as he was pushed out of bounds.
    • What Schnellenberger said: “The thing I got from upstairs was that he stepped out and they had plenty of time to review it.”
    • My take: Remember in college football, every play is reviewed. I don’t know if the Owls would have won the challenge, but I’ll bet if the coaching staff knew a field goal was coming up, it would have been worth it to risk the timeout.
    The decision to kick a field goal with less than 3 minutes remaining
    • What happened: After lining up to go for it, the Owls called timeout and sent out the field goal unit. Gornall kicked a meaningless 24-yard field goal to the surprise of everyone.
    • What Schnellenberger said: "I did what I thought was best."
    • My take: Still can’t figure this one out. Seems to me like going for TD and 2-point conversion to cut it to a margin of eight would have been the strategy.
    It’s one thing to quibble about whether FAU should have tried to pull off a miracle finish or not, but it appears as if Owl Nation is letting those calls – which ultimately probably would not have made a difference in the game - question the entire direction of the program.
    That is foolish.
    The chances are highly unlikely the Owls would have scored a TD, made a 2-point conversion, recovered an onside kick, scored another TD and, finally, another 2-point conversion to tie the game - and then won it overtime.
    What fans should take from this game is the progress this team has made in the last two games. Going toe-to-toe with Michigan State certainly bodes well for the Sun Belt Conference portion of the schedule.
    Yes, it would have been interesting to cut the margin to 30-22 and watch the few Spartan fans who supported their team at Ford Field squirm in their seats.
    Let’s just hope that if the same situation appears again this season, the Owls do the math and go for the touchdown.

    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

    FAUOwlAccess.com had our usual team of myself and Chuck King in Detroit for the game. Our coverage of the game included a recap, our breakdown, video highlights and photos from Nine Digit Media's Ralph Notaro. You can check out our complete coverage of the game here.

    More Game Coverage:Sun-Sentinel / Lansing State Journal / Detroit Free Press / Detroit News

     

    Late field goal a strange call by Owls

    Late in FAU’s 30-17 loss to Michigan State on Saturday, Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger made a  curious decision.

    With 2:50 remaining and the score 30-14 he opted to kick a field goal on 4th and 6 instead of going for a touchdown.

    Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger was asked about the decision after the game

    “I did what was I thought was best,” Schnellenberger said.

    It was a strange choice because if FAU had scored a touchdown and made a two-point conversion, the score would have been 30-22. An on-side kick and another TD plus 2-point conversion would have tied the game.

    Even with the field goal, the Owls still needed two more possessions to win the game.

    It was an odd call to say the least.

    Saturday's Daily Briefing: FAU talking with Wisconsin, LSU about future games

    Last week, we told you that FAU is discussing a possible series with Alabama in the future.

    That’s not the only major program the Owls may be facing sometime soon.
    FAU is also discussing possible games with LSU and Wisconsin.
    As always, FAU fans shouldn’t book tickets to Baton Rouge, La. or Madison, Wisc. just yet. The discussions are just that – talk between the two schools.
    However, there is some interest from both sides about future games.
    Also, it appears the leading candidate for a game to possibly open the on-campus stadium is South Florida. FAU and USF are already involved in a three-game series, which continues this season. However, FAU thinks the Bulls would make a good opponent for the first game because they would bring some fans to the game adding to the atmosphere and would also create some demand for tickets since the game would easily be a sell-out.
    Friday’s Daily Briefing: Spartan fans don't make effort to see FAU-MSU game in Detroit

    A word of advice to the FAU fans heading to Detroit for Saturday’s FAU-Michigan State game at Ford Field in Detroit: You might want to think twice about wearing that Owls gear out on the town tonight or after the game.

    FAU is about as popular in Motor City right now as Toyota.
    Michigan State fans are not very happy with FAU right now, but it shouldn’t be this way
    All FAU wanted to do was help and make the best of the situation after the Owls new stadium wouldn’t be ready for the game. The next best thing, FAU officials surmised, was to play a game near East Lansing for  the Spartans’ incredible loyal fan base who will do anything to support their team – provided the price is right, the location suits them and there isn’t a more interesting game on TV.
    The Owls tried to do Michigan State a favor – so they moved the game to Detroit, essentially giving Michigan State another home game this season.
    The response has been, how shall we say, less than overwhelming. Sometime on Thursday, the 25,000th ticket was sold for this game to be played in a stadium that seats 60,000.
    It’s not going to look good – and Michigan State folks aren’t happy about it.
    The biggest complaint has been the ticket price, which top off at $79 for the game, quite a bit more expensive for a comparable seat at Spartan Stadium (around $49). So naturally, Spartan fans are staying away in droves.
    This was a huge miscalculation on the part of FAU, which set the price after consulting with MSU officials. FAU obviously confused Michigan State fans with University of Michigan supporters. You can bet that Wolverine faithful followers would have packed Ford Field to the rafters, no matter the price, no matter the opponent. Meanwhile Spartan fans will show their solidarity by cutting their grass during the game.
    Oh, we know about Detroit’s economic problems, but when FAU (finally) determined the prices were too steep, they slashed the price to make sure sports fans in that city wouldn’t be overcharged to watch what Detroit fans think is a subpar football game. Of course that doesn’t stop fans from watching the Lions.
    Did FAU make mistakes along the way? Without a doubt. The marketing plan didn’t start soon enough, they spent most of their money in Detroit proper failing to target the wealthier Detroit suburbs, and based their ticket price on a 2009 Western Michigan-Michigan State game that the market said was way too high.
    One thing that has been noticeable is that Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger had little to do with the marketing effort. That was tactical mistake on FAU’s part which could have used Schnellenberger’s expertise in an inexpensive strategy of pumping life into a game through the media.
    By the time Schnellenberger was brought in, it was too late.
    It’s easy to quibble with what was done (or not done) to promote this game, but the bottom line is that this game obviously has not have caught the attention of fans in and around the great state of Michigan.
    Who should feel worse about that - Florida Atlantic or Michigan State?
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    At FAUOwlAccess.com we wrote about the Owls’ strategy of using silent counts vs. Michigan State and also told you which three changes to the starting lineup to expect Saturday. Owl Access Pass holders can check out the information here.
    The Palm Beach Post looked into what is making WR Lester Jean successful
    The Sun-Sentinel wrote on FAU’s defense
    Spartan newspaper coverage: Lansing State Journal / Detroit Free Press / Detroit News
    Thursday's Daily Briefing: Plenty of free tickets for FAU-MSU game in Detroit

    Update: FAU Assistant AD for Licensing, Marketing & Business Development Dexter Lamont just confirmed around 25,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game vs. Michigan State in Detroit. But it appears there could be many more in attendance at  Ford Field. 
     
     Check out what just got announced in Michigan…

    Complimentary Tickets for Ford Motor Company Employees and Agency Employees

    As a partner of the Detroit Lions and Ford Field, we are offering Ford Motor Company employees and agency employees four complimentary tickets each to see the "Spartans in The D".

    Watch Florida Atlantic University host Michigan State University at Ford Field on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 12pm. This will be MSU’s first football game at Ford Field.

    Tickets will be available at the Ford Conference and Event Center on Village Drive in Dearborn from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, September 9 and Friday, September 10 or while supplies last.

     

    Ford has a few thousand people working at Dearborn, so you would have to think plenty of the freebies will be gobbled up. Not sure how much this helps FAU’s bottom line, but it will keep the game being played at a half-empty stadium.
     

    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

    FAUOwlAccess.com reported on the progress of the Owls’ offensive line in our daily report from The Oxley Center.
    Other linkage…
    Here's a nice video feature on DB Austin Jensen from WPTV
    FAU concerened about Spartans' size from the Sun–Sentinel
    Spartans newspaper coverage: Lansing State Journal / Detroit Free Press / Detroit News
    Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU safety Austin Jensen talks about recovery from auto accident

    Florida Atlantic senior safety Austin Jensen, who was badly hurt in a February car accident, has made a few appearances at football practice lately and has even started to work out on the sidelines as he prepares to make it back to the football team next season.

    Jensen, who is enrolled in school this semester but is not on the team, sat down with reporters on Tuesday and talked about his accident and the process of trying to make it back on the field next season.
    Jensen, pictured here a few weeks ago when he stopped by practice, has a long way to go, but is determined to play football again.
    “I want to put the accident as far away from me as I possibly can and I feel like if I were to be playing playing football again, that would be a pretty good showing that I am away from the accident. I feel very lucky. I know somebody was looking out for me. I ‘m obviously here for a reason. I’m ready to figure out what that it is.”
    Here’s a sampling of what else Jensen had to say…
    • Jensen said he doesn’t remember any of the crash which left him with skull fractures, brain swelling and a broken pelvis.
    “The last thing I remember was putting on my outfit to go to the football banquet and the next thing I remember is leaving the hospital in a wheelchair. I don’t remember any pain. Unfortunately I don’t remember a single visitor and I know there was a lot.”
    • Jensen said he still has short-term memory loss and problems with his balance, but the conditions are getting better.
    Everything is OK to play, but I have some brain issues I can’t get past right now. …It was a very severe concussion. I was diagnosed with short-term memory loss and the doctor said there is a good chance it can come back, there is a good chance it won’t come back.”
    • Jensen said he has the full support of his neurologist in Bradenton and once he is cleared by FAU, hopes to make it back to the field by next season.
    “They know it’s best for me to sit out this season and take the time off for my brain to completely heal. They never said ‘you’ll never play football again’ but they encouraged me to not play this season.”
    Let's wish Austin the best of luck and a speedy recovery.
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    FAUOwlAccess.com talked to WR Lester Jean and his work with FAU track and field assistant coach Owen McGregor this summer. We also had our practice report and a photo gallery. Check out all the coverage here.
    Defense gets back-to-basic look says the Palm Beach Post
    The offensive line is improving, the Sun Sentinel reports
    Spartans newspaper coverage: Lansing State Journal / Detroit Free Press / Detroit News
    Tuesday's Daily Briefing: The Howard Schnellenberger Show makes 2010 debut today

    Later today, we’ll debut 2010’s first edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, the weekly look at the previous week’s game and preview of the upcoming opponent with exclusive commentary from Schnellenberger himself.

    The show is hosted by ESPN 760's Ken LaVicka, who is well known for his work on the FAU radio broadcasts for football and his play-by-play duty for the Owls basketball team. We think you’ll enjoy seeing LaVicka, who also serves as host of The FAU Sports Page radio show (picture), as well as hearing him.
    For the second consecutive year, FAUOwlAccess.com is producing the show with our game highlights and video features.
    In addition, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of FAU football we will have a segment each week on a significant moment in the growth of the program.
    So sit back and enjoy Schnellenberger and LaVicka as they take a weekly look at FAU football on the official home of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, FAUOwlAccess.com.
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    We got the week started on Labor Day with a first look at Michigan State, with our 1st and 10 preview that features the 10 things you need to know about the Spartans.
    Other linkage…
    • WR Lester Jean was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week and LB Michael Lockley was the Sun Belt’s Special Teams Player of the Week, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
    Spartans newspaper coverage: Lansing State Journal / Detroit Free Press / Detroit News
     
     
    Monday's Daily Briefing: Where does Thursday's wild finish vs. UAB rank?

    After Florida Atlantic blocked a field goal on the last play of the game to defeat UAB 32-31 on Thursday, I started thinking about other Owls’ games with wild finishes.

    If you didn't see Michael Lockley's blocked field goal on the last play of the game, here's the video and the radio call from ESPN760 along with Alfred Morris' fourth-quarter TD.

    Of course, the craziest finish in FAU history has to be the game-winning 62-yard touchdown from Jared Allen to Roosevelt Bynes to beat Middle Tennessee 20-19 in 2003 giving FAU its first victory over a Division I-A team.
    One FAU fans may not want to remember is MTSU returning the favor in 2008, winning on a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game.
    What other wild finishes stick out in your mind?
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    FAUOwlAccess.com was at Sunday’s practice and filed this story on linebacker Randell Johnson who could be making his college debut – and first start Saturday vs. Michigan State.
    Other linkage…
     
    Sunday's Daily Briefing: FAU plans stadium ground-breaking on Oct. 15

    FAU officials are still working out the details, but the ground-breaking ceremony for the new on-campus stadium is planned for Oct. 15.

    It sounds like this is going to a day full of festivities celebrating the effort to finally have construction beginning on the new home for Owls football scheduled to open by late September 2011.
    Understandably, FAU officials want to wait until the project is approved by the state Board of Governors in less than two weeks before getting into to many of the details, but what I’ve heard, it will be a celebration worthy of the hard work so many have put in for the last few years.
    So keep Oct. 15 open – the Owls are off that weekend. You’ll be glad you did.
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    The FAUOwlAccess.com team of reporters was working hard on Saturday covering the Owls. We closely monitoring the Titans roster cuts as Rusty Smith attempts to become the first Owl on an NFL regular-season roster. In addition, we also were at Saturday’s practice with our Straight Flushes report from the Toilet Bowl and video highlights. Check it out here.
    Other linkage...
     
     
    Rusty Smith makes Titans' final cut, close to becoming first Owl on opening day roster

     

    Congratulations are in order to Rusty Smith, who survived the final cut day for the Titans and made the 53-man roster.
    It appears that, barring anything strange happening this week such as a trade or the Titans picking up a quarterback who was waived today, Smith will make the opening day roster for Tennessee. Stranger things have happened and one has to think Matt Leinart, who was cut by Arizona, is going to land somewhere.
    NFL rules require opening day rosters to be submitted by Sunday morning, but it appears there is better than a good chance Smith will be on it.
    If he is, he will become the first FAU player to make the opening day roster for an NFL team, but the good news today is Smith has cleared the final hurdle to do just that by making the final cuts for the 53-man roster.

    Our Chuck King caught up with FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger at today's practice to get his reaction. Schnellenberger was pleased to hear Smith could be officially a Titan by the end of the day and possibly will be the first FAU player in school history to make the opening-day roster for an NFL team.
     

    “It is very encouraging that my first (FAU player) to be drafted and get a legitimate contract, get a bonus and play in several of the preseason games, which means they felt good enough about him to give him every chance to show them he was a good fit for them, is still there,” Schnellenberger said.  “If it works out that he’s on the roster on game day, I will be much happier for him than I am now.”  
     

    Smith is set to be the third-string quarterback behind starter Vince Young and Kerry Collins.

    Earlier in the day, the Titans cut quarterback Chris Simms paving the way for Smith to make the team for the regular season if the Titans decide to keep three quarterbacks.
     

    Smith, who was the first Owl drafted when he was taken by the Titans in the sixth round this season, was one of four quarterbacks in pre-season camp for the Titans.
     

    Saturday Daily Briefing: FAU returns to practice field today

    It won’t really feel like a college football Saturday today in Boca Raton.

    Most of the programs around will be playing their openers. At FAU, the highlight of the day will be the Toilet Bowl – the full-contact scrimmage between players, including the redshirt players, who didn’t play Thursday.
    It will be usual Sunday practice down there after the wild victory 32-31 victory over UAB on Thursday.
    We'll be there, of course, but most fans will be in front of the TVs today. But don't forget to check back at FAUOwlAccess.com for Owl news from today in between watching games.
    The game to watch for FAU fans will be Michigan State vs. Western Michigan at Noon on ESPN2.
    It may look like a horror show as the Spartans defense is looking good.
    Here’s some other games to watch of interest to Owl fans.
    • ULL at Georgia, 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network)
    • North Texas at Clemson, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
    • Bowling Green at Troy, 6 p.m.
    • WKU at Nebraska, 6 p.m.
    • Arkansas State at Auburn, 6 p.m. (Sun Sports)
    • Stony Brook at USF, 7 p.m.
    • Texas at Rice, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    We posted our review of the game with our unit-by-unit grades and gave out our gameballs. Plus check out this photo gallery from Nine Digit Media photographer Ralph Notaro.
    Other linkage…
    Friday's Daily Briefing: Lockley’s block saves the day, possibly season for Owls

    I saw some hats flying from coaches in frustration on the sideline before UAB lined for an easy field goal with five seconds remaining that would have won the game.

    A few seconds later, after senior linebacker Michael Lockley came through with one of the biggest plays in Owls history, there were helmets, caps and other headgear flying through the air.
    Lockley, shown here right after the block with running back Willie Floyd,  came up the middle to get a hand on the kick and preserve a 32-31 FAU victory.
    Rallying from 16 points down in the third quarter to take a late lead, then still lose would have been a bitter pill to swallow. And losing this game would have the Owls staring at a likely 0-2 start – not exactly what you want to do to bounce back from a lousy season in 2009.
    But after Lockley’s heroics, FAU started off the season on a winning note for the first time since 2007 and we all remember what happened that season.
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to Owl fans
    FAUOwlAcccess.com covered all angles of FAU’s thrilling victory over UAB with our recap, video highlights and analysis of what happened. Check it our coverage here.
    Other linkage…
    Minnesota 24, Middle Tennessee 17: The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal 
    FAU officials visit University of Alabama, talk about possible series

    FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos and other members of the athletic department spent Thursday morning at the University of Alabama to take a look at the Crimson Tide’s facilities.

    While there, Angelos said he talked to UA Athletic Director Mal Moore about setting up a series with the Crimson Tide in 2012 and 2014.
    Assuming Howard Schnellenberger is still the Owls’ coach, it would be a no-brainer. Schnellenberger was an assistant at Alabama under Bear Bryant from 1961-65, winning three national championships in that span, and was often considered a candidate to be the head coach at Alabama when he was at Louisville.
    The discussions are in the early stages, Angelos stressed, but Alabama has played several Sun Belt teams  with no connections to the school in the past few years. Bringing back Schnellenberger to a place where he had great success would be a great move.
    Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Gameday is finally here

    It’s going to be a long day here in Birmingham, Ala. With plenty of time to hang around the hotel until the late afternoon bus trip to historic Legion Field.

    But around 8 p.m. toe will meet leather and the 2010 football season will be underway.
    Here’s my predictions on the season and I’ll go in-depth on today’s game a little later.
    • S2 at UAB…L, Game goes down to the final possession, but Owls lose a close one
    • S11 Michigan State…L, It sure doesn’t feel like a home game as Spartans role
    • S. 25 vs. North Texas…W, Owls have never lost to the Mean Green and it doesn’t start now
    • O2 at USF…L, Owls play well, but not enough to win
    • O9 at ULM…W, FAU has easy time with Warhawks
    • O23 at Arkansas State…W, FAU wins low-scoring game
    • O30 vs. FIU…W, Golden Panthers getting better, but not good enough to win Shula Trophy
    • N6 at WKU…W, Owls win another close one
    • N13 vs. ULL…W, FAU on a roll after victory vs. Ragin’ Cajuns
    • N20 at Texas…L, Momentum killed in ugly game vs. Longhorns
    • N27 at MTSU…L, Blue Raiders a bit too much for Owls
    • D4 vs. Troy…L, Owls struggle again vs. Trojans team battling for Sun Belt title
    That puts my prediction at 6-6 and 6-2 in Sun Belt. But the margin for error here is plus or minus 2 games.
    FAU could sneak up on UAB tonight and also has a chance to beat MTSU or Troy at the end of the season.
    Too optimistic, or too pessimistic?
    Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Award winners from pre-season practices

    The pre-season practices are over.

    Up ahead is the 2010 season beginning with Thursday’s opener at UAB.
    Since FAUOwlAccess.com was at every single practice (hey, even Howard Schnellenberger had to miss one when he went to Detroit) we are uniquely qualified to give our awards to the best players in the pre-season.
    MVP: Let’s start with senior linebacker Michael Lockley. Remember when Lockley lost his starting job last season? It’s safe to say he does, because since then he has played like a man possessed. There is no doubt he will be looked to for solid play and even more solid leadership this season.
    Biggest surprise: Cornerback Tavious Polo is playing like a freshman out there. But for him, that’s a good thing. Polo has been pretty quiet since his memorable freshman season in 2007. However, Polo has shown in three weeks of practices just how much his skills can flourish in the Kurt Van Valkenburgh’s new defensive philosophy.
    Best leader: When offensive linemen began going down with injuries, it made life miserable for senior quarterback Jeff Van Camp. However, Van Camp stayed positive as snaps were sailing over his head or falling at his feet. He also didn’t get discouraged when he was sacked or had to tuck and run. It may be difficult to keep that brave face on all season, but he hasn’t shown much frustration, which is a calming influence on the team
    Best true freshman: No contest here, as defensive end Cory Henry showed in training camp that he is going to be a big-time player for years at FAU – starting with this one when he will make an impact. Henry had the benefit of going through spring training, so if you are looking for a “true” true freshman, keep your eye on wide receiver Marcus Cunnigham who has plenty of speed and a knack for the ball.
    Biggest busts: The late signings of wide receivers Paul Moore, a junior college transfer, and Jerrard Hunter, who signed with West Virginia out of high school, had everyone excited. But that enthusiasm has waned as Moore hurt his hand early in training camp and Hunter hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself. I’m not saying they won’t amount to anything, but the notion that they would make an immediate impact was way off base.
    > Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
    FAUOwlAccess.com couldn’t miss Tuesday’s “Thursday” practice – the last one before the big game vs. UAB. Here’s our report featuring defensive end Cory Henry.
     

     

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