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Posts from November 2009

Move Shula Bowl to Thanksgiving weekend

So while Florida was playing Florida State and South Florida playing host to Miami this weekend, FAU countered with a game vs. Western Kentucky.

The result was predictable - the smallest crowd to see a FAU football game in some time.

In my opinion FAU would have been better served by playing the Shula Bowl on Thanksgiving weekend - and should do it every year since USF and Miami have decide to play their game that weekend for the next several years.

Yes, there is a chance of getting lost with so many big games, but it could bring some excitement that a "rivalry" that could use a little boost.

If going head-to-head with other big games makes some skittish, the Owls and Golden Panthers could consider playing on Friday or even Thursday.

FAU just needs to do something to make sure a crowd like it had Saturday doesn't happen again.

Owl Links

At we love it when the fall and winter sports overlap. So on Sunday not only did we have our Sunday Review for football when we grade each unit and hand out our Game Balls, but we also had a preview of Monday's basketball game between Albany and FAU.

And we have double the fun today as well as we post our 1st and 10 for FIU with the 10 things you need to know about the Golden Panthers as well as live coverage from the Burrow when the Owls play host to the Great Danes.

  • The Palm Beach Post: Schnellenberger expects Owls to be fired up for Shula Bowl
  • The Sun-Sentinel: Shula Bowl, FIU up next for the Owls

    Owl Cal
    Albany at FAU, 7 p.m., FAU Arena

    Practice, 3:30 p.m., Oxley Practice Fields (Twitter updates @FAUOwlAccess)
  • Small wonder small crowd was on hand

    It was the perfect storm for Saturday's game to have one of the smallest crowds in FAU history.

  • The Owls were coming off a disappointing loss which eliminated them from bowl contention.

  • The opponent was winless Western Kentucky.

  • It was Thanksgiving weeekend when many students go home for the holiday weekend.

  • The game was not only going up against Florida State-Florida, but also Miami-South Florida.

    The result was an announced crowd of 14,671, which is tickets distributed. The announced attendance appeared to be off just by 1 - But it's the 1 in front of the 4,671.

    Owl Links had our normal team of reporters plus the Sports Editor of the University Press, Franco Panzio, covering the game Saturday. Panzio has done a stellar job covering the football team this season for the University Press and has gtreat insight into the team after covering every home game, but also travelling to most of the road games. We hope you enjoy Panzio's Post-game Notebook on the game. We also had our game story and of course our the most video highlights from the game available anywhere. We also are posting photo galleries from the game.

    Today we'll have our Sunday Review with grades for each unit and we'll give out or game balls. We'll also have our preview of Monday's basketball game between FAU and Albany. Should be interesting to see the crowd for that game since the contest was announced during every play stoppage Saturday.

  • The Palm Beach Post: Owls rally late to defeat winless Hilltoppers
  • The Sun-Sentinel: Owls need rally to beat Western Kentucky
  • The Miami Herald: Owls get scare vs. hapless Hilltoppers
  • Bowling Green Daily News: WKU still waiting

    Owl Cal

    Albany at FAU, FAU Arena, 7 p.m.
  • Blanket doesn't cover Owls problems

    FORT LAUDERDALE - It was a touching scene for the departing seniors to give FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger a quilt after Saturday's 29-23 victory vs. Western Kentucky on senior night at Lockhart Stadium.

    However, holding on for dear life to defeat a winless team should't really give anyone the warm and fuzzies.

    FAU struggled against a team which is winless in 18 games.

    I understand that when you only have four victories the entire season, you'll take them anytime you can get them.

    However, for FAU to have to sweat out Saturday's game out against winless Western Kentucky shouldn't give Schnellenberger or the Owls a false sense of security with an important game vs. FIU on the horizon.

    Yes, it was a victory, but there is plenty of work to be done this week.
    These seniors also made their mark

    FAU will say farewell to a solid class of seniors today, most of whom were being recruited as the the group of seniors led by Chris Laskowski and Jared Allen were walking out the door.

    The first group played its final game in the Fall of 2004 Just a few weeks later, Rusty Smith, Jason Harmon and Willie Rose among other signed with the Owls and redshirted in the Fall of 2005 preparing to see the first action in 2006.

    The first group was successful, but the second group also will leave a legacy at a higher level after making it to two bowl games. The first group has a monument at the practice field and this class is worthy of similar recognition.

    Here's the breakdown and congratulations to this year's seniors, who are playing their final home game today vs. Western Kentucky.

    Chris Bonner
    Cortez Gent
    Jamari Grant
    Jason Harmon
    David Matlock
    Kevin Miller
    Paul Muse
    Alex Pecorella
    Willie Rose
    Rusty Smith
    Carl Spitale
    Chris White
    Lavoris Williams


    Pierre Boisrond
    Edward Bradwell
    Erick McIntosh
    Josh Savidge

    Special Teams
    Keegan Peterson

    Owl Links
    At, we posted our preview of the Western Kentucky game along with a video breaking down the game and our predictions. We also were on hand in Tampa on Friday night as the basketball team kept it close before losing to South Florida.

  • Palm Beach Post:Despite a disappointing season, FAU's seniors today can be proud of a four-year body of work
  • Sun-Sentinel: FAU seniors bow out on a down note
  • Bowling Green Daily News: Toppers thinking only of winning

    Owl Cal

    4 p.m. Western Kentucky at FAU, Lockhart Stadium, (ESPN 760 or streaming live )

    Women's hoops
    Florida Atlantic/Boca Bridge Hotel Holiday Tournament
    2 p.m. Fordham vs. San Jose State
    4 p.m. Ole Miss at FAU (streaming live )
  • FAU, others over-thinking their names

    TAMPA - I have already arrived in Tampa for Friday's basketball game vs. South Florida - or is it USF? The major state university here in Tampa indeed may have an identity problem. It must be tough to explain that the University of South Florida is actually not in South Florida - or isn't anywhere close as my four-hour car ride can attest.

    From USF:

    We Are USF
    When referring to the University please be aware of the following policy regarding usage. First references to the school and its intercollegiate athletics program should always be the University of South Florida. The only secondary reference used should be USF or Bulls. Please refrain from using South Florida, S. Florida,
    South Fla. or any other similar combination.

    Anyway after the Owls play this team in basketball, they will play Western Kentucky in football on Saturday, right? I can hear Lee Corso now "Not so fast, my friend."

    On Page Three of this week's game notes from Western Kentucky is a paragraph asking people to not refer to Western Kentucky as "Western Kentucky."

    The university in Bowling Green, Ky. wants to be called "Western Kentucky University" or WKU.

    The only problem the entire free world - including my wife, who graduated from the school in question and all her hoops-crazed friends from college - all say the same thing when asked where they went to school - Western Kentucky (or sometimes just 'Western' which certainly is against the rules.)

    To wit:

    We Are WKU

    In all references, please refer to us as either Western Kentucky University or WKU. Please do not use Western Kentucky, Western, Western Ky., W. Kentucky or any other variation.

    This is a problem that FAU may have as well. Some of the bigwigs are in another battle over should the school be known as "FAU" or "Florida Atlantic.'

    You may have noticed a re-design on the official web site athletic department that doesn't refer to the FAU Owls anymore, but the "Florida Atlantic Owls." Don't think that isn't planned that way.

    It's an interesting discussion - FAU or Florida Atlantic. I'll just say the Owls are playing South Florida Friday and Western Kentucky on Saturday, no matter what those schools call themselves.

    Owl Links

    It's a light day for the Owl Links, but it wasn't a day of rest for as we were the only media outlet at the Thanksgiving Day practice and we also posted a preview for the FAU-USF basketball game.

    We'll be providing coverage from the Bulls-Owls game as we take the rare hoops road trip tonight before heading back across the state in the morning for the football game.

  • Palm Beach Post: Unlike defense, offense will keep lineup intact

    Owl Cal

    Women's hoops
    Florida Atlantic/Boca Bridge Hotel Holiday Tournament
    2 p.m. FAU vs. Fordham. streaming live )
    4 p.m. San Jose State vs. Ole Miss

    7 p.m. FAU at South Florida (ESPN 760 or streaming live )

    4 p.m. Western Kentucky at FAU, Lockhart Stadium, (ESPN 760 or streaming live )

    Women's hoops
    Florida Atlantic/Boca Bridge Hotel Holiday Tournament
    2 p.m. Consolation
    4 p.m. Championship
  • FAU recruiting heating up

    You may have noticed at we have been ramping up our recuiting coverage as FAU prepares for life after this dreadful season.

    Recruiting is the one area where the Owls are ahead of the last two years, having already procured one commitment - Belleview tight end Alex DeLeon - and could be close on several others.

    Things on the recruiting front should really be heating up in the next few weeks and we'll be on top of things.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't address a few misconceptions about FAU's rectuiting, namely that FAU doesn't give early offers.

    While FAU isn't in a rush to complete its recruiting class by the summer, the Owls are indeed players when it comes to pursuing some of the top atheltes in South Florida before their senior season.

    I'm not sure where this misconception came from or why it has persisted, but FAU does indeed work hard at recruiting year round - with a flourish of activity in January when the Owls bring in most of their recruits in for official visiits.

    We'll be talking to plenty of prospects - like Chuck King did in a story Tuesday on Fernandina Beach running back Tahj Kimble - in the coming weeks leading up to National Signing Day in eary February.

    Owl Links
    In addition to our recruiting story on Tahj Kimble, we stuck around for the rain-soaked practice Wednesday. Here's our report.

    We'll have a preview of Friday's basketball game at South Florida and be at football practice today before spending the rest of the day with our families and we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Palm Beach Post: Owls plan defensive changes for Western Kentucky

  • Bowling Green Daily News: WKU loose with nothing to lose

    Owl Cal

    9 a.m. Practice, Oxley Practice Fields

    Women's hoops
    Florida Atlantic/Boca Bridge Hotel Holiday Tournament
    2 p.m. FAU vs. Fordham
    4 p.m. San Jose State vs. Ole Miss

    7 p.m. FAU at South Florida
  • FAU DC Hoza tries to explain defensive woes
    Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza fielded questions from the media following Tuesday's practice and attempted to explain why the defense allowed more than 600 yards of total offense twice in its last three games.

    Hoza spoke for about eight minutes in total. The real meat of the conversation about the defensive woes is contained in the four-minute video snippet below.

    Did Hoza explain the cause of the defensive problems to your satisfaction? He chose to frequently lean on the crutch of inexperienced players, but the numbers don't seem intent on backing up that argument. FAU allowed a comparably paltry 490 total yards to Nebraska and 516 to South Carolina in the first two games.

    In contrast, UAB raced through the Owls for 622 yards three weeks ago, then on Saturday took a 651-yard Sunday drive over FAU on Saturday. If anything, experience seems to make this defense perform worse.

    Hoza also indicated that defensive grades handed out in the Alabama debacles and the Owls' most recent win against Arkansas St. were similar, which would suggest, among other things, the need for a new grading system.

    Most telling, though, was that Hoza looked like he either couldn't pinpoint the cause of the problem, didn't want to say it was the players, or didn't want to admit it might be the defensive scheme.

    Giving Hoza some benefit of the doubt, he is the type of coach who doesn't call out individual players in the media, so maybe he's trying to spare them embarrassment. But the problem lies with the players, doesn't that suggest the scheme needs to be adjusted to better suit the guys on the field?

    Admitting there is a problem isn't enough. Before the issue can be solved, the cause of the problem needs to be diagnosed. Watching the video, did you get the feeling Hoza is sure of the cause, let alone the solution?

    Yell "fire" in an empty auditorium: Those who read yesterday's women's basketball story learned of the fire that struck The Burrow. Care for a few more details? To begin with, that is a photo of the damage to the right, which should tell you that the fire itself was more birthday cake than conflagration.

    It started at about 11:30 a. m. when the facilities crew was setting up for the night's game. A couple of wires were pinched together, starting an electrical fire in a cement dugout beneath the floor. Administrators Melissa Dawson and Hunter Davis doused the blaze with a fire extinguisher long before the fire truck arrived. They should be lauded as heroes and have the floor they saved named after them - or at least get Thursday off.

    Aside from the singed boards, the only other damage kept the electrical outlets at press row from working, so most fans in attendance never even knew there was a problem.

    Electricians are coming to gym on Wednesday to fix any lingering comlications. The damage to the floorboards is so minor that FAU could easily get away without doing anything, but it so happens that the floor is already slated to undergo a face lift (a floor lift?) in the second week of December. Problem solved.

    Now, if we can cross a few wires at Lockhart...

    Owl Links:
    At, we covered the aforementioned women's game - a loss to Kent State. We also aired the latest episode of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, which offered a retrospective on Rusty Smith's career and a pretty cool look at Schnellenberger's coaching influences. There is also a story detailing the latest defensive youth movement.

    The Palm Beach Post notes that linebacker Edward Bradwell has learned from his on-field mistakes.

    Owl Cal:
    3:30 Practice on the Oxley Center practice fields

    FAU will try and finish up strong

    This may come as a shock, especially those who began following FAU football in the last two seasons, but there was a time when the Owls didn't go to a bowl game every season.

    Following the Owls' loss to Troy that ensures FAU will be home for the holidays, there was plenty of disappointment on the faces of players and coaches.

    But how will they bounce back for the final two games?

    We really won't know until the games are played, but FAU does have a history of finishing strong.

    In 2006, FAU lost its seventh game of the season late in the season to Troy to end the slim hopes of making it to a bowl game, but defeated North Texas and FIU to close out the season.

    Also last season, after losing to Arkansas State, it was assumed Sun Belt bowl "agreements" would send the Red Wolves and possibly Louisiana-Lafayette would be in bowl games before FAU. We know now the SBC agreements were worthless, but at the time FAU was on the outside looking and in and responded to rally to FAU.

    The guess here is that many fans have thrown in the towel and Lockhart Stadium will be a virtual ghost town on Saturday, but the team will still have plenty of fight in them for the final two games.

    Owl Links

    At we took our first look at Western Kentucky and also had coverage of the loss by the basketball team at Manhattan.

  • The Sun-Sentinel looks ahead to WKU
  • Apparently there was some news in Bowling Green, Ky. on Monday. Something about a football coach being hired. Here's coverage from the Bowling Green Daily News.

    Owl Cal


    3:30 p.m. Practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live Twitter updates)
    7 p.m. FAU SportsPage, Miller's Boca East Ale House (ESPN 760,

    Women's Hoops
    7 p.m.
    Kent State at FAU, FAU Arena (Live stream)

    3:30 p.m.
    Practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live Twitter updates)
  • Schnellenberger tips hat to Brown, Woods

    Troy was recognized for its thumping of FAU over the weekend by winning two of the three weekly Sun Belt Conference awards.

    Trojans quarterback Levi Brown was named the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Week after torching the Owls defense for 477 yards.

    Also, linebacker Bear Woods was named the SBC Defensive Player of the Week for his 13-tackle performance vs. FAU.

    There was a funny moment on this morning's Sun Belt Conference Coaches Teleconference when SBC Assistant Commissioner Travis Llewellyn announced Brown and Woods won their awards just before asking FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger to make a brief opening statement.

    "You almost made it for me with the two players of the week from Troy," Schnellenberger said. "The quarterback and linebacker certainly deserve it."
    Owls play soft as pillows

    It's a good bet FAU won't be staying at the Marriott in Prattville, Ala. on its next swing through Alabama.

    The team stayed at that hotel twice - and both times set records for the most yards given up in a game.

    The first time they stayed there, the Owls gave up 622 yards to UAB earlier this month. Two weeks later, they allowed 651 yards to Troy.

    The hotel has plush, soft pillows, but that doesn't mean games against the Blazers and Trojans should have been treated by the defense like pillow fights.

    It's time for a new team hotel - maybe one near a railroad track that keeps players up all night, so they'll have a mean streak when the game starts.

    Owl Links covered the game from every angle including our game story, video highlights and some post-game notes. We'll add some of the audio from the post-game press conferences today and post some more photos so check back often.

    Later today, we'll also have our regular Sunday Review with grades for each unit, our Game Ball winners and a report from the Toilet Bowl, which has some extra significance today as the Owls essentially begin preparing for 2010.

    Also we'll have a preview of Monday's basketball game between Manhattan and FAU, which had a nice victory Saturday that many may have missed.

  • Palm Beach Post: Embarrassing loss ruins Owls' bowl hopes / Morris' record-setting day 'bittersweet' for FAU running back
  • Sun Sentinel: Troy dominates FAU and Sun Belt
  • Dothan Eagle: Troy beats Florida Atlantic, clinches Sun Belt / Troy notes: FAU rivalry a bitter one
  • Montgomery Advertiser: Trojans clinch Sun Belt; New Orleans bound / TROY NOTEBOOK: Trojans QB Brown breaks more records
  • Troy Messenger: Trojans clinch fourth-straight title /
  • Easy to see why Owls lost

    Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger was brief and terse in his post-game press conference.

    He did have just enough time to say the loss was an "embarrassment" before saying he wanted to watch the film before declaring why the Owls lost.

    I haven’t coached much football, but I will go out on a limb here and say it might have something to do with the FAU defense.

    I know, it's a shock, especially considering the reaction to giving up a record number of yards to UAB two weeks ago was to bench the leading tackler and leader in sacks.

    After those adjustments, the Owls gave up 651 yards to Troy, but after giving up 408 yards at halftime, the Owls defense stiffened only allowing 243 yards to Troy's second and third teamers.
    Troy's program pulling away from FAU, rest of Sun Belt

    There was much discussion this week about Troy's dominance of the Sun Belt Conference and many at FAU didn't want to hear of it.

    But it's true. Like it or not, the Trojans are the marquee program in the Sun Belt right now and those who doubt it should show up at Movie Gallery Stadium today. It's a magnificent facility with all the amenities needed for a Division I-A program. Compare Troy's stadium to Lockhart Stadium and it's little wonder why the Trojans are pulling away from the Owls - and have been since that wonderful day in 2007.

    I hope by the time FAU's stadium is ready, the Trojans haven't left them in the dust.

    Owl Links
    At we wrote a preview of the game and had talked to players and coaches for our Owls Eye View video segment breaking down the game and of course our predictions on the game. We're pretty hard-core football today, but we didn't forget to write a preview of the men's hoops team taking on American today.

    And, now back to football for today where we will be providing Twitter updates from our team of reporters before and during the game from Movie Gallery Stadium. We'll also have our usual post-game coverage including video highlights and analysis.

  • The Palm Beach Post says the Owls are still striving for consistency
  • The Sun-Sentinel has a scouting report on the Trojans
  • The Dothan Eagle looks at the Troy seniors playing their last home game
  • The Troy Messsenger writes about the possibility of the Trojans clenching a SBC title

    Owl Cal
    Noon, Hoops:
    FAU at American, ESPN 760. (West Palm Beach),   or streaming live
    2 p.m. Women's Hoops: FAU at Eastern Kentucky, streaming live
    4:15 p.m. Football: FAU at Troy, ESPN 760. (West Palm Beach),  ESPN 1400 (Fort Lauderdale) or streaming live
  • FAU getting ready for wet weekend

    At the end of practice Thursday a member of the equipment staff poured a bucket of water over a ball, the long snapper, the holder and the kicker during field goal drills.

    And FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger was taking ball inventory.

    That can only mean one thing - rain is on the way. As of Friday morning, there is a 80 percent chance of rain for Saturday in Troy, Ala. according to the National Weather Service.This doesn't sound good, but could it be an equalizer?

    Last season, the Owls kept it close vs. Michigan State in a driving rain. And in 2002, it was also pouring in Troy when FAU, then a I-AA team, trailed 7-6 at halftime before losing 21-6 to a much better team.

    We're leaving a bit later today than usual, so the team is going through its walk-through in South Florida instead of driving to Troy this evening,

    Owl Links talked to FAU commitment Alex DeLeon and released our updated recruiting chart. We also were at practice and reported on the most recent lineup change for the Owls' defense.

  • The Palm Beach Post noted DT Andy Czuprynski and LB David Hinds are expected to start again,
  • The Sun Sentinel has a look at the Owls' offensive line
  • The Dothan Eagle looks at receiver TeBiarus Gill's practice habits
  • FAU coach Jarvis says NCAA should outlaw ESPN hoops marathon
    Florida Atlantic basketball coach Mike Jarvis didn't spend much time watching ESPN's College Hoops Tip-off Marathon on Tuesday.

    If Jarvis (left, instructing Brett Royster)had his way, the 24 hour basketball marathon which featured some games that started at 6 and 8 a.m. local time would be outlawed.

    "I don't think any team should be asked to play during the morning hours during a school day when they should be in class - nobody," Jarvis said on Wednesday. "I wish there was a rule that prohibited (early games) because it is unfair for kids to play at unnatural hours and to miss class to be on TV."

    Though neither St. Peter's nor Monmouth, which played at 6 a.m., received money from ESPN, the New York Times reports that that the network did pay for production costs, which doesn't always happen for mid-major schools.

    Jarvis understands that coaches and athletic directors can be temped by the extra exposure that comes from playing nationally televised games.

    He'd like the NCAA to remove that temptation.

    "That's a choice that should be made for schools and the choice should be made on the side of the student athlete," Jarvis said. "The NCAA should not allow those games to be played at that time of the day."

    Arkansas-Little Rock was the lone Sun Belt team to participate in the marathon, tipping off at 2 p.m. eastern at Tulsa.

    Jarvis said he wasn't sure how FAU administrators would have reacted had they been approached about playing an early morning game.

    "If it means that to be on TV we have to be on at six o'clock, then we probably don't need to be on TV," Jarvis said.

    Taking the tour: Jarvis will take the Owls on a tour of some old stomping grounds in the coming days. FAU will be in Washington D. C. to face American on Saturday and in New York to face Manhattan on Monday. Jarvis previously coached in D. C. at George Washington and in New York at St. John's.

    Jarvis said he plans to take the team to some historical places in D.C. and is trying to take them to a Broadway play in New York.

    "I have the opportunity to take these kids to two cities that are basically synonymous with the United States of America - the nation's capitol and New York City," Jarvis said. "This is part of their education."

    Owl Links:

    At we broke the story that center Justin Davis was cleared by doctors earlier than expected and should play against American. On the football side, we looked at the rising career of defensive tackle Andy Czuprynski.

    The Palm Beach Post writes that FAU's lineman have a strong bond.

    The Sun-Sentinel notes that Troy quarterback Levi Brown may want to thank FAU for getting him started.

    The Dothan Eagle writes that Jeff Van Camp has performed well.

    The Montgomery Advertiser considers Levi Brown's NFL stock.

    Owl Cal:

    3:30 FAU football practice
    FAU adopting the Coach Van look?
    I'll come clean. It isn't often we spend a lot of time paying attention to Florida Atlantic's scout team quarterbacks.

    On Tuesday, though, it was hard to miss Matt Billman.

    It seems Billman and fellow scout team member Blake Bierman are fond of video games and fonder of friendly wagers. Recently Bierman lost one such wager and as a result had to shave his head.

    Well, Bierman got his revenge. After winning this weekend, Bierman doubled the fun by making Billman shave half his head - the top half.

    They dubbed the look "The Coach Van" - a nod to associate head coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh (left). Teammates loved the look, telling anyone present with a camera to take a shot. I was happy to oblige.

    Billman said he enjoyed the look for a day, but he plans to show up to Wednesday's practice with a fully shaved head. Will anyone else dare to follow Billman with the Coach Van look?

    They say it will happen: FAU hasn't had much luck with its watch parties. Those on the second floor of the Oxley Center have frequently told fans to head to one location to watch Owls' football games, only to find that location couldn't show the game.

    This week's party is slated to be at Duffy's in Deerfield, which, if memory serves correctly, was supposed to host an earlier watch party but couldn't pull it off. Talked with one of the people planning the event who said that Duffy's recently installed cable at the venue and will be able to show FAU at Troy.

    Don't feel like risking it? Also talked with the owner of The Duck Tavern today. They have cable, they get CSS and they plan to show the game. As an added bonus, The Duck has a standing rule that an FAU work ID gets the bearer 20 percent off their bill. The Duck is located at the northwest corner of Federal and Jeffery St., which is one block north of Yamato Rd.

    OWL LINKS: had a busy day on Tuesday. We posted the latest installment of the Howard Schnellenberger Show at noon. Our practice report told readers that the Owls are getting a little healthier on defense. Finally, we wrote about the women's basketball loss to N.C. State.

    The Palm Beach Post notes that Alfred Morris is about to set the FAU single-season rushing mark.

    The Sun Sentinel writes about the surprising start of linebacker David Hinds.

    The Dothan Eagle writes that a Sun Belt championship doesn't necessarily mean Troy will go to the New Orleans Bowl.

    The Montgomery Advertiser took a turn looking back at last year's game against FAU and the hit that knocked their QB out for the season.

    OWL CAL:

    3:30 p .m. Practice behind the Oxley Center

    FAU rally falls short

    Those who turned off the radio early during Monday night's basketball game between FAU and Southeast Louisiana may have done a double-take when they saw the 90-77 score this morning.

    The Owls trailed by as many as 24 in the first half, before mounting what almost was a valiant comeback.

    FAU eventually cut it to 11 points late in the game before running out of gas.

    So what to take out of the game?

    First and foremost, those who were giddy as a school girl after the Owls routed a Division II team in the opener may want to wait before booking their trip to the Final Four. There are going to some real peaks and valleys this year - that's normal for a young team.

    Southeast La. is not an NCAA Tournament team yet had the Owls down by 20 in a matter of minutes.

    That said, it did show some character to mount a rally, which was led by Ray Taylor - the 5-foot-6 point guard who is just about as good as advertised - if not better.

    The bottom line - the Owls might be pretty good, but they need to win a road game before the corner is officially turned.

    Owl Links posted out 1st and 10 look at Troy featuring the 10 things you need to know about the Trojans. Also, we provided coverage of the basketball team's 90-77 loss at Southeast Louisiana. As a bonus, we just added a link to the post-game radio interview of Mike Jarvis by FAU basketball play-by-play announcer Ken LaVicka.

  • The Sun Sentinel says Jeff Van Camp is earning praise after two starts
  • The Dothan Eagle looks at Troy players accusing FAU of cheap shots
  • The Montgomery Advertiser looks at the Trojans' bowl options

    Owl Cal
    3:30 p.m. Football:
    7 p.m. Women's Basketball: FAU at North Carolina State
  • FAU's bowl hopes TBD on Saturday

    Got to the Oxley Center plenty early today for our taping of The Howard Schnellenberger Show and there wasn't much activity.

    I think that will be changing pretty quickly with an important game set for Saturday.

    The Owls will be playing at Troy, in the game which could determine if FAU has a any shot at playing in a bowl game. If the Owls lose, it's over. If they win, with only games vs. lowly Western Kentucky and struggling FIU remaining, they have a shot.

    For the last few games FAU players have said it's been like the playoffs, but the game this week will seem like a Game 7 - win and move on or lose and go home.

    Troy is clearly better, but strange things can happen so it should be interesting - at least more interesting than it would have been if FAU had lost to Arkansas State.

    Owl Links

    The players had a light Sunday with no practice and no Toilet Bowl, but it was still busy here at We had our Sunday Review with news from the Sunday evening conference call Howard Schnellenberger has with reporters as well as our unit grades and game balls. Also, we posted another video highlights package - this one detailing the first drive of the second half and the tone it set when Alfred Morris scored from the 7-yard line. This video is free for all fans so they can see the quality of videos puts together for our subscribers on a regular basis.

    Also check out this link for all the links to our game coverage. I think you'll find it's the most comprehensive coverage you can get anywhere.

    Turning to basketball, we had our preview of Monday's basketball game between FAU and Southeast Lousisiana.

    Not bad for a lazy Sunday.

    On Monday, we'll have our 1st and 10 look at the Trojans and also have a recap of the basketball game.

  • The Palm Beach Post details the decision to replace linebacker Michael Lockley with true freshman David Hinds
  • The Sun-Sentinel looks ahead to Troy
  • FAU answers critics, its own fans with victory

    When FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger grabbed the micorphone and addressed the "crowd" at Lockhart Stadium and urged them to keep the faith, he was talking as much to the fans that were there as the ones that weren't.

    The attendance was announced at 16,218 - in reality there was less than half that in the stands - and was the smallest crowd of the year.

    Schnellenberger told those there to hang in there and that good things were going to happen in the near future and in the long-term at FAU.

    But it's the ones that werent there that needed to hear Schnellenberger's message.

    Think about it. FAU has made it to two bowl games in the last two years and still is hampered in recruiting by the lack of a on-campus stadium. And in a year where the best player in school history goes down with a season-ending injury, the team has lost three home games by a combined 11 points.

    So naturally, some fans are screaming for a regime change.

    Schnellenberger wasn't speaking to the fans to get back on his side, he was imploring them to not give up on the players or the program.

    I think the fans at Lockhart to see Saturday's character-buidling victory heard him loud and clear. I hope the ones not there were listening as well.

    Owl Links provided the most extensive coverage of the victory vs. the Red Wolves available with our game recap, notebook and video highlights. We also have three photo galleries featuring the action outside and inside the stadium.

    Check back later today for our Sunday Review with grades for each position and our gameballs.

    We'll also have a preview of Monday's basketball game at Southeast Lousisiana.

  • Palm Beach Post: Game story / Notebook
  • Sun-Sentinel: Game story
  • Jonesboro Sun: Game story
  • Plenty on the line for FAU

    When FAU lost last season's game to Arkansas State, it seemed that the season was over, a bowl bid was out of the question and the program had reached a new low.

    As we know, the Owls did indeed make it to a bowl game and after beating Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl, the 2008 season turned out to be a succesful one.

    Fast forward to this season and the stakes are even higher when the Owls face the Red Wolves.

    If FAU were to lose this game, there will be no miracle rally down the stretch this season. In fact the next game the Owls don't win will officially signal the end of their bowl hopes.

    Ditto for Arkansas State, which also has six losses.

    That's not exactly what we thought would be the storyline in August, but it will have to do.

    The up-side? Should be a good game. There's nothing like seeing two teams with nothing to lose fighting for their lives.

    See you at Lockhart.

    Owl Links

    Check out's preview of the ASU-FAU football game along with a video breaking down what the Owls need to do to win. We also were at the basketball doubleheader, so check out coverage of the Owls' victory vs. Florida Tech and our video highlights. We also covered the women's team, which won its opener vs. Webber International.

    Today we'll be giving live updates via Twitter from Lockhart Stadium, and complete game coverage including a game recap, photos and video when the game is over.

    Football game previews: The Palm Beach Post / Sun-Sentinel / Jonesboro Sun
    Coverage of basketball opener: The Palm Beach Post / Sun-Sentinel

    Owl Cal
    4 p.m. Football:
    Arkansas STate at FAU, Lockhart Stadium
    Long fun day covering FAU sports
    After walking in the door of the Oxley Center this morning just after 7:30 a.m. it hit me.

    Not only would I be on campus only a little bit after the sun came up, but I would probably be walking out the door of FAU Arena around 10:30 p.m. tonight after posting our stories following tonight's season-opening basketball doubleheader.

    Perhaps I should just see if the university would let me rent a dorm room for a day so I could catch some sleep today.

    It's going to be a busy day for, but that's better than having nothing to write about.

    We were on campus bright and early to attend the Coaches' Breakfast - a great networking event that was well-attended and features the football coaches talking about the upcoming opponent.

    We were there filming an upcoming segment for The Howard Schnellenberger Show on the breakfast that you won't want to miss.

    Thanks to all the people there we talked to that said they were fans of our site!

    Since today is a busy day, let's get to the Owl Links and the busy Owl Cal and I'll see some of you tonight at The Burrow.

    Owl Links

    FAU Owl has an update on some of the expected lineup changes for Saturday's game vs. Arkansas State. We also have our season preview for the basketball team.

    Later today we'll have a video breaking down the football game vs. the Red Wolves and a bit later will have our preview of the game along with our predictions and key matchups.

    Then it's time to hit the hardwood with coverage of the women's hoops game between FAU and Webber International before the men open the season against Florida Tech. We'll have live updates on our site and on our Twitter page before we have a recap along along with our video highlights.

    Not a bad appetizer before Saturday's game.

    If you're a fan of Owl sports it doesn't get any better than this and we'll bring ot all to you on

  • The Palm Beach Post says FAU is preparing to face ASU quarterback Corey Leonard
  • The Sun-Sentinel looks at the Owls' woes at Lockhart Stadium
  • The Jonesboro Sun has an analysis piece detailing some expected changes in the ASU lineup.

    Owl Cal

    5 p.m.
    Women's basketball: Webber International at FAU, 5 p.m. FAU Arena
    7 p.m. Men's Basketball: Florida Tech at FAU, 7 p.m. FAU Arena

    4 p.m.
    Football: Arkansas State at FAU, Lockhart Stadium
    For tickets to FAU home games call 1-866-FAU-Owls
  • Jahvid Best's injury won't slow FAU tight end Harmon
    After feeling concern for Cal running back Jahvid Best, the thoughts many Florida Atlantic fans that saw Saturday's injury immediately turned to tight end Jason Harmon, wondering "Could this happen to him?"

    The top video show's Best's injury. To recap, Cal was at the Oregon St. 7-yard line when Best took the ball and raced toward the end zone pylon. When he got there Best found multiple defenders waiting for him, so he tried to hurdle them.

    A Heisman Trophy candidate, Best cleared one of the potential tacklers, but a second one got to him and propelled him even higher into the air. Best landed in the end zone on his upper back and neck, knocking him unconscious. Medics placed him on a stretcher and gave him oxygen before taking him straight to the hospital. Best suffered a severe concussion. Latest reports have him resting at his parent's home.

    FAU fans know that Harmon also likes to take to the skies to avoid defenders. A couple such examples from this year alone appear in the second video.

    I talked with Harmon following Wednesday's practice. He'd seen video of Best's injury, but didn't seem too worried about incurring the same misfortune.

    "That's inexperience," Harmon explained. "He tried it, but they were expecting that. That was crazy that he got flipped that high, though."

    Harmon added that the coaches haven't said anything to him about reining in the hurdles. He says spontaneity is what makes his hurdles effective.

    "It seemed like (Best) planned it the whole time," Harmon said. "It just didn't go his way."

    Owl Links:
    Owl Cal:

    3:30 p.m. Football practice, Oxley Practice Field, Live Twitter updates at
    5 p.m. FAU Happy Hour, Miller's Boca East Ale House
    7 p.m. FAU SportsPage Radio Show, ESPN 760-AM, Miller's Boca East Ale House

    8 a.m. Owl Club Coaches Breakfast, Oxley Center Founder's Lounge
    5 p.m. Women's basketball: Webber International at FAU, 5 p.m. FAU Arena
    7 p.m. Men's Basketball: Florida Tech at FAU, 7 p.m. FAU Arena

    4 p.m. Football: Arkansas State at FAU, Lockhart Stadium
    For tickets to FAU home games call 1-866-FAU-Owls
    FAU hoops to have new sound

    Ready or not basketball season starts this Friday at FAU and of course we'll have plenty of stuff in the next few days to help you get ready to follow the Owls this season.

    And perhaps, more than with any sport at FAU, the best way to follow the team when the Owls are on the road is on the radio where ESPN 760 will broadcast every game (home and away) live.

    There is some news on the radio front. ESPN 760's Ken LaVicka will be the play-by-play voice for all the games this season, taking the place of Evan Cohen, who has called home games for the past few seasons while FAU has rotated announcers on the road. Don't worry, Cohen will now be the color analyst for home games.

    Cohen (left in the picture, LaVicka is at right) stepped aside for good reasons. By giving up the play-by-play duties, FAU will now have consistency in their play-b-play guy for the whole season. That's essential for the Owls as they try to build an identity through their radio broadcasts. Imagine having one radio voice throughout the entire season, like most Division I teams do it. What a concept!

    FAU fans already know LaVicka's voice. He has done a great job calling most of the football games this season and had done a great job not only providing play-by-play, but has served as the host of FAU SportsPage radio show many times this season.

    And LaVicka is no stranger to Owls basketball, he called many road games last season and has a great knowledge of the team.

    I think this is another good move for FAU broadcasting, which is how plenty of fans make their first contact with the team.

    I look forward to hearing more of LaVicka calling FAU games in the future.

    Owl Links

    No one but covered both Tuesday's football practice and the basketball exhibition. Check out our report on Kirk Hoza's first public comments since the defense's abysmal performance Saturday vs. UAB. And then from The Burrow we wrote about freshman Greg Gantt's 18-point outing. Plus, we also posted this week's edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show.

    The Palm Beach Post had a well-written player feature on running back Alfred Morris.

    The Sun-Sentinel describes offensive lineman the David Matlock family's tailgating trailer

    The Jonesboro Sun says changes are coming for the Red Wolves, but ASU coach Steve Roberts isn't saying where.

    Owl Cal
    2:30 p.m.
    FAU Football Practice, Oxley Practice Fields
    FAU baseball releases 2010 schedule
    Florida Atlantic released its 2010 baseball schedule on Tuesday.

    The Owls open the season Feb. 19 vs. Cincinnati, which will feature a match-up of former Pope John Paul II teammaates who are now head coaches - the Bearcats' Brian Cleary and the Owls' John McCormack.

    The other key date, FAU fans always look for is to make sure Miami is coming to Boca Raton. The Canes will indeed be here on April 6.

    Here's the entire schedule:

    Date Day Opponent Site
    Feb. 19 Fri Cincinnati Boca Raton, FL
    Feb. 20 Sat Cincinnati Boca Raton, FL
    Feb. 21 Sun Cincinnati Boca Raton, FL
    Feb. 26 Fri vs Missouri at Auburn Auburn, AL.
    Feb. 27 Sat vs Boston College at Auburn Auburn, AL
    Feb. 28 Sun at Auburn Auburn, AL
    Mar. 5 Fri Boston College Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 6 Sat Boston College Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 7 Sun Boston College Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 10 Wed Pittsburgh Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 12 Fri at Troy * Troy, AL
    Mar. 13 Sat at Troy * Troy, AL
    Mar. 14 Sun at Troy * Troy, AL
    Mar. 16 Tue Rutgers Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 17 Wed Rutgers Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 19 Fri UALR * Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 20 Sat UALR * Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 21 Sun UALR * Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 22 Tue Cornell Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 23 Wed Cornell Boca Raton, FL
    Mar. 26 Fri at Louisiana-Lafayette * Lafayette, LA
    Mar. 27 Sat at Louisiana-Lafayette * Lafayette, LA
    Mar. 28 Sun at Louisiana-Lafayette * Lafayette, LA
    Mar. 31 Wed at Miami Miami, FL
    April 2 Fri Middle Tennessee * Boca Raton, FL
    April 3 Sat Middle Tennessee * Boca Raton, FL
    April 4 Sun Middle Tennessee * Boca Raton, FL
    April 6 Tue Miami Boca Raton, FL
    April 7 Wed at Miami Miami, FL
    April 9 Fri at New Orleans * New Orleans, LA
    April 10 Sat at New Orleans * New Orleans, LA
    April 11 Sun at New Orleans * New Orleans, LA
    April 13 Tue Lynn Boca Raton, FL
    April 16 Fri Western Kentucky * Boca Raton, FL
    April 17 Sat Western Kentucky * Boca Raton, FL
    April 18 Sun Western Kentucky * Boca Raton, FL
    April 20 Tue at Florida Gulf Coast Fort Myers, FL
    April 23 Fri at ULM * Monroe, LA
    April 24 Sat at ULM * Monroe, LA
    April 25 Sun at ULM * Monroe, LA
    April 28 Wed Bethune-Cookman Boca Raton, FL
    April 30 Fri Arkansas State * Boca Raton, FL
    May 1 Sat Arkansas State * Boca Raton, FL
    May 2 Sun Arkansas State * Boca Raton, FL
    May 4 Tue UCF Boca Raton, FL
    May 7 Fri at South Alabama * Mobile, AL
    May 8 Sat at South Alabama * Mobile, AL
    May 9 Sun at South Alabama * Mobile, AL
    May 11 Tue Florida Gulf Coast Boca Raton, FL
    May 12 Wed at Florida Gainesville, FL
    May 18 Tue at UCF Orlando, FL
    May 20 Thu FIU Boca Raton, FL
    May 21 Fri FIU Boca Raton, FL
    May 22 Sat FIU Boca Raton, FL
    May 26 Wed Sun Belt Conference Tournament Murfreesboro, TN
    May 27 Thu Sun Belt Conference Tournament Murfreesboro, TN
    May 28 Fri Sun Belt Conference Tournament Murfreesboro, TN
    May 29 Sat Sun Belt Conference Tournament Murfreesboro, TN

    All times are TBA
    No QB duel at ASU-FAU game

    We were supposed to get Rusty Smith vs. Corey Leonard in a battle of the Sun Belt Conference's pre-season co-offensive Players of the Year this week when FAU plays host to Arkansas State.

    Instead, it looks like it will be Jeff Van Camp vs. Ryan Aplin.

    After Smith sprained his shoulder last week to open the door for the Jeff Van Camp last week, Leonard was benched in favor of Aplin, a redshirt freshman.

    Although ASU coach Steve Roberts wouldn't reveal his plan and is guarding who will start this week as if it is a state secret, I'd be shocked if Aplin isn't under center at the start of the game Saturday.

    Busy news day: Western Kentucky fired David Elson on Monday, an odd move considering the Hilltoppers were still navigating the waters of moving to the FBS (I-A) level.

    Not sure what the WKU administration was thinking, but struggling in your first year as a I-A team should have been expected and really nothing to be ashamed about.

    Owl Links posted our 1st and 10 report on Arkansas State to give fans the 10 things they need to know about the Red Wolves and also updated our weekly Sun Belt Conference report with the latest standings and this week's schedule.

  • The Sun-Sentinel looks at the performance by Van Camp

  • The Jonesboro Sun reports on possible lineup changes for ASU this week

    Owl Cal

    3:30 p.m. FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields
    5 p.m. Women's basketball, Lynn at FAU (Exhibition), FAU Arena
    7 p.m. Lynn at FAU (Exhibition), FAU Arena
  • FAU's most telling play call
    Spent the last couple of days sifting through Saturday's game tapes and one particular play jumped out at me.

    On the final play of the first half FAU coaches faced what looked to be a no brainer of a decision. Trailing 35-14, the Owls faced a 4th-and-8 on the UAB 22-yard line. Normally the field goal team would have trotted out for a relatively easy attempt.

    Instead, Schnellenbeger chose to go for what was essentially a 4th and 22. That the Owls converted on a Jeff Van Camp-to-Jamari Grant score pleased FAU fans. It's telling, however, that Schnellenberger chose to go for it in the first place.

    He likely realized that Owls didn't have much hope of stopping UAB's offense - which they didn't. The recent special teams disasters also had to be in the back of the coach's mind.

    That amounts to the Reader's Digest version of the the FAU season - the offense needs to be near perfect overcome the fatalistic play of the defense and the special teams. The Owls have scored at least 44 points in their only two victories of the season.

    They've scored 20 points or more in four of their six losses. Certainly the defense or special teams could have helped produce a victory in one of those outings.

    The defensive and special teams units have given little reason for faith. Maybe every series needs to be treated as though scoring a touchdown is the only worthwhile outcome.

    Owl Links:
    At we covered Sunday's practice, gave out game balls, handed out our grades for each unit's performance in Saturday's game and recapped the Toilet Bowl.

    The Palm Beach Post advises not to expect many personnel changes on defense.

    The Sun-Sentinel notes that Tavoris Hill's injury is the latest defensive setback.

    The Jonesboro Sun says that freshman QB Ryan Aplin inspires the Red Wolves.

    Owl Cal:
    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.: Exhibition basketball vs. Lynn (women's game immediately preceding)

    FAU's most telling play
    Spent the last couple of days sifting through Saturday's game tapes and one particular play jumped out at me.

    On the final play of the first half FAU coaches faced what looked to be a no brainer of a decision. Trailing 35-14, the Owls faced a 4th-and-8 on the UAB 22-yard line. Normally the field goal team would have trotted out for a relatively easy attempt.

    Instead, Schnellenbeger chose to go for what was essentially a 4th and 22. That the Owls converted on a Jeff Van Camp-to-Jamari Grant score pleased FAU fans. It's telling, however, that Schnellenberger chose to go for it in the first place.

    He likely realized that Owls didn't have much hope of stopping UAB's offense - which they didn't. The recent special teams disasters also had to be in the back of the coach's mind.

    That amounts to the Reader's Digest version of the the FAU season - the offense needs to be near perfect overcome the fatalistic play of the defense and the special teams. The Owls have scored at least 44 points in their only two victories of the season.

    They've scored 20 points or more in four of their six losses. Certainly the defense or special teams could have helped produce a victory in one of those outings.

    The defensive and special teams units have given little reason for faith. Maybe every series needs to be treated as though scoring a touchdown is the only worthwhile outcome.

    Owl Links:

    At we covered Sunday's practice, gave out game balls, handed out our grades for each unit's performance in Saturday's game and recapped the Toilet Bowl.

    The Palm Beach Post advises not to expect many personnel changes on defense.

    The Sun-Sentinel notes that Tavoris Hill's injury is the latest defensive setback.

    The Jonesboro Sun says that freshman QB Ryan Aplin inspires the Red Wolves.

    Owl Cal:

    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.: Exhibition basketball vs. Lynn (women's game immediately preceding)
    FAU playing not for a bowl, but for the future
    A common question following Saturday's colossal Florida Atlantic loss to UAB was: What does FAU have left to play for?


    Though the Owls still could theoretically reach a bowl, it's a waste of brain function to try to figure out how. FAU, instead, needs to look toward next season and, frankly, next season began yesterday.

    With the injured Rusty Smith sidelined for the remainder of the season, Jeff Van Camp made his
    first start and provided reason for optimism. A few other young players also saw an increased role. Redshirt freshman Brentley Harstad recorded five tackles from his secondary position. True freshman linebacker David Hinds made a tackle and fellow linebacker Yourhighness Morgan - well he got laid out by a block, but that's beside the point.

    Those guys all saw time relatively early. Now, those defensive substitutions may have stemmed from defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza becoming fed up with the players on the field and trying find anyone who could make a tackle. (Didn't work).

    That doesn't matter. Forget about this team. These players, along with the regulars, need to show in the coming weeks that they can move the Program forward. FAU is in a precarious position right now. Consecutive bowl victories have failed to provide an appreciable improvement in attendance, and play like the Owls exhibited on Saturday certainly won't help.

    South Florida fans like winners. Even the University of Miami saw its attendance drop significantly during their losing spells. If a power like the Canes can have such issues, you can bet the Owls will, too.

    FAU needs to win to increase its base, otherwise the most inviting new stadium in gated Boca Raton won't make a bit of difference.

    Howard Schnellenberger consistently talks about moving the program forward. The play of FAU's youngsters in these next for games will go a long way toward preventing stagnation.

    Owl Links:

    At, we provided our game story, a post-game notebook and some audio of the post-game press conference. Our premium members also received a full length, quality, video highlight package from the game. Non-members can see a preview of the professionally-produced video here.

    The Palm Beach Post and the Sun-Sentinel offered their accounts of the program's "worst loss"

    The Birmingham News reports that UAB players are already looking forward to next week

    Owl Cal:

    TBA, Oxley Center: Football practice and Toilet Bowl.


    Owl time won't be bowl time this season

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Florida Atlantic is still technically alive in a quest to become bowl eligible and lobby some sad sack bowl game to take the Owls because of their exciting brand of football.

    Well, what has been on display lately from the Owls is exciting if you like offensive shootouts, because it is apparent the FAU defense will have a hard time stopping anyone - even a mid-level team in a mid-level conference like UAB.

    But this bowl talk will all be moot soon. Not that the Owls can't beat Arkansas State next week or Western Kentucky, but I can't see the Owls defeating Troy and, to be honest, the FIU game doesn't seem like a gimmie either.

    There are simply too many problems to be addressed - and just about all of them are on a certain side of the ball whose job it is to at least make teams work for touchdowns.
    Schnellenberger heading back to Legion Field

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger spent plenty of time this week on The Howard Schnellenberger Show talking bout his homecoming to Birmingham's Legion Field.

    Back in the day, Legion Field was the showplace for college football in the South. Schnellenberger spent many weekends coaching there when he was an assistant at Alabama inb the 1960s.

    To those who visit Legion Field today, it may look like that was the last time the place was painted. The stadium called The Gray Lady on Graymont has truly seen better days.

    Schnellenberger was so moved to be coaching the last game in the Orange Bowl - perhaps the only other stadium that could rival the history of Legion Field - that he dropped to one knee to pay homage to The Big Building in Little Havana when the game vs. FIU in 2007 was over.

    Schnellenberger probably wont go that far today - especially since FAU is scheduled to be back here next year, but it's clear he has plenty of prespect for the site of Saturday's game.

    Owl Links

    At we have our preview of today's game with the important matchups and also our video looking at the keys to victory.

  • Saturday's previews from the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel.

    Owl Cal
    2 p.m.
    FAU at UAB, Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.
  • No revenge for Rusty on Saturday

    It's probably frustrating enough for quarterback Rusty Smith to be sidelined, but even more so this because this week FAU faces UAB.

    The Owls-Blazers game doesn't have a rivalry-type of atmosphere, but to Smith it was an important game.

    Some may remember that Smith was originally offered a scholarship by UAB under a different coaching regime out of high school. However, the Blazers changed their mind and pulled the offer.

    I talked with Smith about that when FAU faced UAB last year and he was very direct and to the point.

    "I do not like them," Smith repeated over and over again.

    By the way, UAB pulled the offer to sign another quarterback - a fellow by the name of Joe Webb, who will start for the Blazers today.

    Recruiting heating up: Almost forgot to mention that there were plenty of recruits at last week's game between FAU and Middle Tennessee.

    Among those in attendance were:
  • Dyllon Mazzoni QB, Melbourne
  • Tyler Mugar CB, Melbourne
  • Patrice Pierre DB, Liberty HS Kissimmee
  • Jean Leon LB/S, Liberty HS Kissimmee
  • Willie Johnson Ath, Liberty HS Kissimmee
  • Skyler Skersick LB/DE, Boone
  • Ryan Orlando LB/FB, Boone
  • Andre Robinson LB-TE, Lyman HS

    Of course, will be following recruiting closely and we'll be updating our recruiting page often.

    Owl Links was at practice Thursday and reported that Rusty Smith will not have shoulder surgery, updated the status of several injured played and has a possible lineup change for Saturday's game in our report.

  • The Palm Beach Post updated Smith's decision
  • The Sun-Sentinel looks at Smith's influence on the team
  • The Birmingham News says the Blazers are concerned with FAU's running attack and have scheduled a rare Friday practice.

    Owl Cal
    2 p.m.
    FAU at UAB, Birmingham, Ala.
  • FAU running back Morris: MTSU played dirty
    There's been a great deal of hoopla over Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes' eye gouge of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey last weekend. The move will cause Spikes to miss the Gators' upcoming game against Vanderbilt. (Think they'll survive?)

    Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris says the Gators weren't the only team guilty of dirty play.

    Morris spent the week leading up to Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee recovering from a mild ankle sprain. Apparently the Blue Raiders knew all about it. He says MTSU went out of its way to try to re-injure that ankle, going as far as to to say MTSU players were dirty.

    Click on the video to hear Morris' remarks.

    Morris is a soft spoken-spoken guy - which is kind of surprising and somewhat refreshing considering the power he packs on a football field. As you can see in the video, he didn't appear to be trying to stir up trouble or to be making noise for noise sake. He did point to linebacker Cam Robinson as being one player who was intentionally trying to cause injuries. Robinson was second on the Blue Raiders with 14 tackles.

    It should be noted that Morris later said he felt fine after his 25-carry, 93-yard performance despite all the twisting going on at the bottom of those piles.

    The physicality of the MTSU game took it's toll on FAU. Quarterback Rusty Smith endured a career-ending shoulder injury during the fourth quarter of that game, which FAU lost 27-20. Tight end Jason Harmon left the game with a hip injury and several other Owls are banged up.

    Were the Blue Raiders intentionally trying to injure the Owls? Listening to Morris' explanation, he seems credible. He wasn't grandstanding or calling for sanctions - the usual MO of people looking for attention. His reaction was one of surprise.

    He didn't blame the Owls loss on MTSU's dirty play either. It should, however, make next year's trip to Murfreesboro a little more interesting.

    OWL Links:

    At, we told you that Jason Harmon practiced and should be ready to play against UAB this weekend. Marcus Nelson also writes that Rusty Smith will always be an Owl. We also posted the complete audio from Howard Schnellenberger's mid-week press conference.

    The Palm Beach Post looks at how special teams play continues to plague FAU.

    The Sun-Sentinel notes that the Owls are preparing for another running quarterback.

    The Birmingham News writes that the Blazers are concerned about their secondary.

    OWL Cal:

    3:30 p.m. Practice at the Oxley fields
    7 p.m. ESPN Radio 760's FAU SportsPage featuring Howard Schnellenberger - live from the Delray Beach Bru's Room

    Smith will always be an Owl

    It's a strange sight to see a football player on the practice field tossing a football around with his right arm and his left arm in a sling.

    It will be even more odd to see someone other than FAU's No. 11 take the field Saturday when the Owls face UAB.

    On Saturday, it won't be senior Rusty Smith under center for the first time since 2006, but junior Jeff Van Camp. A sprained left shoulder will keep Smith relegated to doing what he was doing Tuesday - helping and encouraging his teammates. And Smith said he is looking forward to helping the program the rest of the season in that capacity.

    "Any role they ask me to," Smith said, when asked what he would be doing with the team going forward. "If they put me on a headset and ask for input I'll do that. If I'm just there for moral support, I'll do that. ...I'm still an FAU Owl and I will always be an Owl. This is my team and i will help them any possible way I can."

    It's admirable that Smith will be helping the team. Considering all he's done for the program, it's hardly necessary.

    Smith has done more than earn the tuition, books, room and board his scholarship provided since he arrived in 2005.

    Good luck, Rusty. You will be missed.

    Owl Links covered the Rusty Smith story and sent out our first alert on Twitter, seconds after Smith announced to reporters his career at FAU was over. Follow us on Twitter @FAUOwlAccess to get breaking FAU news when it happens. Also check out our videos of Smith talking with the media about his options and his refelctions of his career at FAU. Also we just posted a video looking at how Van Camp is preparing for his first start.

  • Here's more coverage of Smith's announcment from the Palm Beach Post and the Sun-Sentinel
  • The Birmingham News reports on the Blazers preparing for Van Camp
  • Rusty Smith was heart and soul of FAU

    Does anyone remember those wobbly passes thrown by a wide-eyed redshirt freshman in the FAU season-opener in 2006.

    OK, so it was against Clemson, ranked No. 18 at the time, in front of 77,000 at a stadium known as Death Valley.

    FAU quarterback Rusty Smith was still joking about his performance that day earlier this year. And he'll be laughing about it years later when he recalls the game. It's a great story because Smith got better - a bunch better.

    In fact Smith, who said Tuesday he has played his last game at FAU, became the best quarterback ever at FAU and one of the best ever coached by Howard Schnellenberger.

    We'll look at Rusty's career a bit later, but suffice it to say, he was the right guy at the right time to quarterback FAU and it was his arm that brought the program out of the awkward "transition years" to a point where if the team stumbles and doesn't make it to a bowl, fans are up in arms.
    Van Camp era to begin for FAU?
    Do you remember FAU's 35-14 loss at Middle Tennessee on Nov. 4, 2006 -?

    You do if you are Rusty Smith.

    That's the last time Smith didn't start a game for the Owls - he entered the game to replace starter Sean Clayton and has been under center at the start of each game since.

    That's a stretch of 36 games, that apparently will come to an end this week as FAU is planning for Jeff Van Camp to be under center this week vs. UAB.

    Of course, the bigger question is, What about after that? When Howard Schnelleberger was asked Monday afternoon, he didn't know.

    But less than an hour after that, Rusty Smith slowly walked into the Oxley Center and had a closed-door meeting with Schnellenberger.

    One can assume the extent of Smith's injury - and a possible timetable for a return - was a major part of the discussion.

    When it was over FAU released the following statement.

    A Full Report on the Status of FAU QB Rusty Smith Expected on Tuesday
    BOCA RATON, FL (Nov. 2, 2009) - Florida Atlantic University's quarterback Rusty Smith was examined on Monday. A full status report is expected by Tuesday.
    "Rusty was examined today (Monday)," said Howard Schnellenberger, FAU's head coach. "We will have a full report on Tuesday and will begin our game preparation then. At this juncture, we will proceed as if Jeff Van Camp will be this Saturday's starter."

    After results were said to be released on Monday, the decision to wait another day sent speculation into overdrive last night.

    There are numerous theories, but it appears some light will be shed on the situation later this afternoon (hopefully).

    We'll bring you the news as soon as we get it.

    Owl Links broke the news on our blog that FAU is preparing to start Jeff Van Camp, had the 10 things you need to know about UAB and also had the debut of our new weekly guide to the Sun Belt Conference that brings you the latest SBC standings, schedule and notes from each game over the weekend.

  • The Palm Beach Post was reporting on the Rusty Smith shoulder saga
  • The Sun-Sentinel also was following the news.

    Owl Cal
    3:30-6:30 p.m.
    FAU football practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Live updates on
  • Van Camp to start vs. UAB
    BOCA RATON - With results expected soon from tests on quarterback Rusty Smith's left shoulder, Jeff Van Camp will start this week vs. UAB, Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger said.

    Smith is expected to have his left shoulder X-Rayed Monday to determine how severe the injury is and how much time the senior will miss.

    Schnellenberger said he doesn't know about Smith's status after this week.

    Smith returned to the Oxley Center at around 2:15 p.m. presumably after having his X-Rays.

    Van Camp, a junior, was 5-of-9 for 73 yards Saturday. vs. Middle Tennessee after he replaced Smith on the game's final drive.

    Of course, we'll have more on this story as it develops.

    Owl Links

    After's extensive coverage of the game on Saturday, we had our Sunday Review, featuring the latest from the Oxley Center after Sunday's workout, grades for each unit, our gameball winners and the Straight Flush report from the Toilet Bowl.

  • Palm Beach Post has a report on the injury bug hitting FAU
  • Sun-Sentinel has a capsule looking ahead to UAB
  • The Birmingham News looks at UAB's big victory over UTEP
  • Also was at Sunday's basketball intra-squad scrimmage and has video highlights of the action.

    Owl Cal

    Players off
    3:30-6:30 p.m.
    FAU football practice
  • FAU's fortunes change in matter of minutes
    Things looked pretty bleak for FAU Saturday when tight end Jason Harmon was sitting next to Alfred Morris on a table while trainers worked feverishly on Harmon's knee and Morris' ankle.

    Both players returned to action but things couldn't get much worse could they?

    Yes they could and yes they did.

    First MTSU quarterback Dwight Dasher reeled off a 74-yard touchdown run where he went untouched for the longest run by a quarterback ever against FAU and the longest run by any player against the Owls since a 76-yard run by MTSU running back Eugene Gross in 2006.

    Then when it was FAU's turn to answer, to look and see Smith sitting while three trainers tried in vain to get him ready to play, you could almost hear FAU's bowl hopes slip down the drain.

    Again, nothing against Jeff Van Camp, who no only has great potential but showed it on that series. However, that was a situation where the emotional leader of the team is needed - and he wasn't available.

    The same could be said for this week or the remainder of the season. The team is in a funk and Smith, often a calming influence is needed on the field. The question this week is will he be able to do that. If not, I'm afraid what will happen the next five games.

    The Owls need Smith because he is perhaps the only player who can direct FAU's offense to overcome shoddy defense and a dysfunctional kicking game.

    Owl links

    At we posted our game story, post-game notebook looking at Smith's injury and our video highlights of the game.

    Later today we'll have our report cards and game balls and also we'll see who plays well in the Toilet Bowl.

  • The Palm Beach Post breaks down the loss and looks at the last drive for FAU
  • The Sun Sentinel has a game story and a notebook
  • The Miami Herald broke down the game
  • The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal looks at the big plays by the Blue Raiders on special teams and also the big night by Dwight Dasher and by Marcus Udell

    Owl Cal
    FAU football practice
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