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Posts from December 2009

Bowls are great, playoff would be better

Over the next few days the college football bowl season will kick into high gear.

Can it get any better than this? Yes, I think it could.

I'll admit it - I support a playoff for Division I-A and not just so it wouldn't be known as the Football Bowl Subdivision anymore.

And not just any playoff system. If it doesn't include automatic berths for all 11 conferences than I'd rather just keep the bowls going. In other words, no plus one or four team game after the bowls.

For the best model I'll take a huge risk and look to what the NCAA does in its other divisions and set up a 16-team bracket with 11 automatic bids (yes, including the Sun Belt) and five at-large bids.

One of the most exciting things about this system is the value it adds to every conference games as teams begin the year knowing they control their own destiny of making it to the the tournament by winning their conference. Five other teams will also make it, but if you don't want your fate determined by a committee, win your conference.

It would give teams like FAU and any other Sun Belt team a chance at making the tournament each season.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports shares a similar vision and recently took on some of the logistical problems opponents point to as he laid out his playoff plan with this year's projected bracket.

I'd appease some of the bowls by playing all games at sites of current bowl games with the championship game rotating among the current BCS bowls.

Speaking of detractors, I encourage all to read the web site of BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock who summarily shoots down every playoff proposal in support of the current system. It seems more time is spent on spinning the merits of the BCS system while pointing out ANY playoff system will have problems we haven't even though of yet! With all due respect Bill, I'll take my chances. The blog actually does the best job of making the case for a playoff with links to articles like "If BCS Not Completely Broken, Don't Fix It" and has a quote "If you think the BCS is controversial, wait until you realize how much more contentious a playoff would be" from Hancock himself at the top of the page.

That logic just made the case for me. Bring on the playoffs.

Owl Links

At, we posted our video highlights of Tuesday's basketball game vs. Hofstra and also had a report on the women's basketball game as FAU lost to Georgia Southern.

Check back later today as we have some news on the recruiting front that Owl fans have been clamoring for since the program started.

Owl Cal

South Alabama at FAU, 7 p.m.

Women's Hoops
South Alabama at FAU, 5 p.m.
FAU needs Taylor every night

Tuesday's 67-63 loss to Hofstra is likely one FAU freshman point guard Ray Taylor would like to forget.

Taylor struggled vs. the Pride, shooting a woeful 4-of-17 from the field. Taylor also had five turnovers and just two assists.

To be fair, Taylor wasn't the only Owl who struggled as Brett Royster and Greg Gantt were a combined 2-of-13 from the field. But it's becoming clear that as Taylor goes, so go the Owls and if he's struggling, FAU will be in for a long night.

There could be reasons for Taylor's struggles. He left the Maryland game early after hurting his shoulder and has had food poisoning in the last few days.

Whatever the reason, it's becoming clear the Owls need Taylor to be productive night and night out, which begs the question is Taylor, who was playing high school basketball being asked to do too much?

FAU coach Mike Jarvis was asked that in Tuesday's post-game press conference. Check out the video for his response.
Going Dutch for tonight's FAU game against Hofstra
It wasn't too long ago that Hofstra enjoyed one of the coolest nicknames in college sports: the Flying Dutchmen. Five years ago their powers that be decided the name no longer worked with the university's image.

That's why it will be the Pride who saunter into The Burrow tonight.

It appears Hofstra, like many universities in recent times, chose to go a little overboard in the political correctness department. The Flying Dutchman, in sailing lore, is a ghost ship that can appear on the horizon, bringing doom to all sailing vessels that come near.

Hofstra changed the name not because it offended the Dutch - everyone knows folks from Holland are comfortable with their inability to fly - but because the ship from which the legend derives might, could, may have been, someone once said, was a slave ship.

There doesn't appear to be much of a historical record of this, in part, because the story is a legend - which means, like most legends, it was probably made up.

Regardless of what may or may not be true, Hofstra decided to play it safe. So tonight, I give you the Pride. Insert joke here.

Other tidbits for tonight: Ray Taylor left Sunday's game at Maryland with a shoulder injury, but did return a few minutes later. Mike Jarvis doesn't expect Taylor to have any problems suiting up against Hofstra.

"You probably are going to have to shoot him to keep him out of a game and I’m not going to shoot him," Jarvis said.

The 5-foot-5 Taylor has made the transition from high school to college look easy. FAU's big men are finding the conversion a little more challenging. Six-foot-9 freshman DeMonte Simpson is averaging less than six points per game, while sophomore transfer Justin Davis is providing less than a point.

"It takes big guys a little longer to get good than it does little guys," Jarvis said. "You have to be patient until they figure it out."

Owl Links:
At we offered this preview of tonight's game.

Owl Cal:
Basketball - vs. Hofstra, tonight at 7 p.m.
Women's basketball - at Georgia Southern, Wednesday at 7 p.m.

FAU programs recruit with different philosphies
The holiday season brings presents, family, good food and drink to many. At it also means it's time to intensify our basketball coverage and football recruiting outlook.We also consider where the two meet.

One such instance happened Sunday. FAU basketball coach Mike Jarvis took the Owls to Maryland in part to challenge his young team. He also undoubtedly wants to keep a presence in the Washington D. C. area - a region he's quite familiar with after his coaching stint at George Washington.

The game was the Owls second in the D. C. area this season having already defeated American earlier this year. He'll be up there again in the coming years playing George Mason.

Jarvis, a former St. John's coach, also re-familiarized himself with New York when took the Owls to play Manhattan and will have FAU's name in Gotham papers on Wednesday morning after FAU faces Hofstra. (The Owls travel to Hofstra next year.)

Don't be surprised when a Boston-area school or two turns up on FAU's schedules in the future, allowing Jarvis to work the same recruiting areas he did while at Boston U.

Contrast that approach with FAU's football program. Realizing how fertile South Florida's recruiting grounds had become, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger brought the University of Miami to national prominence by recruiting "the state of Miami."

Schnellenberger has stuck to that philosophy while at FAU, so much so that it catches our attention pretty quickly when the Owls pursue a football player from outside the Sunshine State.

Popular dogma would suggest that Schnellenberger should have a much easier time recruiting close to home because the area is richer in football talent. That gap, if it exists, might be closing. Eight Florida players are currently listed among ESPN's Top 100 recruits - six of them in the first 51.

It's hard argue with either coach's approach. Schnelleberger has a proven track record in South Florida and Jarvis has won everywhere he's been. Jarvis' strategy has already brought D.C, native Andre Mattison and New York baller Shavar Richardson to Boca Raton. And it's not like he's neglecting Florida, which has placed 10 players, including freshman standout Ray Taylor, on the Owls' roster.

The longer Jarvis spends at FAU, the more inroads he will make in Florida, too. One of the biggest differences between recruiting for basketball and football is that coaches can build or turnaround a hoops program with two or three good players.

Jarvis is widening FAU's reach, which can only be a positive. In the coming years, though, it will be interesting to see whether Jarvis will bring in more recruits from the northeast, or will he find that his time is better spent following the Schnellenberger doctrine?

Passing on a thought: My brother in law, Ned Blodgett, is in town from Atlanta for Christmas. When Urban Meyer first announced he was stepping down, Ned immediately offered this thought: Florida should hire retiring Florida State coach Bobby Bowden for a year, just to piss off Seminole fans.

Owl Links:

Owl Cal:
Men's basketball - vs. Hofstra, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

A look at FAU special teams

After the 2009 football season mercifully came to an end, we started on a series of stories breaking down each position.

While we are finished with our Owl Analysis of where each position stands and what are the recruiting needs and the prospects for the future, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention special teams.

FAU is pretty much set with kicker Ross Gornall and punter Mickey Groody. Groody in particular, had a great year with only 10 of his 46 punts returned.

Gornall was 8-12 kicking with a long of 42 and all of the misses were blocks.

Of course, the blocks were the prevalent theme of 2009, but with a new special teams coach coming there could be a renewed emphasis in the kicking game.

One area where there is bound to be changes is the return game. There will be no shortage of candidates to return kickoffs or punts including Travis Jones, Damian Fortner, Tyrie Allen and DeAndre Richardson getting a shot. And don't forget that Willie Floyd is certain to be in the mix as well.

That should get you excited for spring...provided they practice returns then.

Owl Links

As mentioned, here at, we had our lat installment of the our Owl Analysis series and also had a preview of Sunday's FAU-Maryland basketball game.

We'll have a full recap of the Owls-Terps later today.

  • Sun-Sentinel: Basketball preview: Florida Atlantic at Maryland
  • Baltimore Sun: Terps' Mosley shooting his game to another level

    Owl Cal
    2 p.m. FAU at Maryland
  • FAU special teams to get new coach
    The recent addition of defensive coordinator to the duties of linebackers/assistant head coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh will mean he will likely have to give up another responsibility.

    Van Valkenburgh said someone else will be coaching special teams next season for the Owls. With the time commitment of a coordinator preparing a gameplan, it's apparent Van Valkenburgh wouldn't have very much time to devote to setting up the special teams.

    No one - including Van Valkenburgh - will deny the Owls had far too many mistakes In 2009 on special teams including four blocked field goals, three blocked punts and five missed extra points.

    However, that has little to do with which coach is coaching special teams, but more to do with with how much time is spent in practice on the kicking game.

    Van Valkenburgh had too much on his plate - he's also the recruiting coordinator - so it's a good thing he's punting on his special teams duties.

    Owl Cal
    8 p.m. FAU at Maryland
    Merry Christmas from FAUOwlAccess

    Merry Christmas to all of our members and guests who have visted and our advertsisers who have been with us this year.

    We would like to thank you for all of your support since our launch earlier this year.

    We hope you and your family have a safe and joyous Christmas.
    Morris, Bartels best in state

    Three years ago our friends at The Miami Herald came up with a great idea - an All-state team for all the college football teams playing in the Sunshine State.

    This year's edition of The Herald's All-Florida Team has two FAU players. Running back Alfred Morris and strong safety Marcus Bartels were named to the Herald's team.

    Tight end Jason Harmon was named to the second team.

    With the talent on display each Saturday throughout the state, being named as the best in your position among all the teams in Florida is pretty high praise. Not to diminsih the Sun Belt Conference awards, but this is some great recognition for Morris and Bartels.

    Owl Links
    At FAU we took a look at the FAU secondary as part of our Owl Analysis series. We also had a recap of Monday's basketball loss at Georgia.

    Check back later today when we will have our Owl Analysis of the FAU linebackers and a recruiting update.

  • The Sun Sentinel: Georgia's second half surge buries Owls
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Georgia avoids letdown behind 35 from Thompkins
  • The Athens Banner Herald: Thompkins carries Georgia

    Owl Cal
    8 p.m. FAU at Maryland
  • FAU won't ignore Tampa area

    Say what you will about FAU's defense lately under Kirk Hoza (it was lousy, it was horrible, it resembled Swiss cheese, etc.) but there is one area that will suffer after Hoza was unceremoniously shown the door last week.

    Hoza was a valuable recruiter, concentrating on the area around Tampa on the west coast of the state.

    Off the top of my head, players that Hoza landed include WR Chris Bonner, FB Willie Rose, TE Anthony Crissinger-Hill, OL Nello Faulk and there are probably some more that are escaping me at this early hour.

    FAU's immediate plan is to have the other coaches split up that valuable territory for this year's signing class. That may not be easy, but it's probably necessary. The Tampa area is too valuable to leave alone - even for one year.

    Hoza showed us that many times through the years.

    Owl Links has the latest on two football prospects on FAU's recruiting boards and where they might be heading. Also we had a story on the trimmed-down DeMonte Simpson as we get ready for the FAU-UGA basketball game.

  • The Palm Beach Post: FAU men's basketball preparing itself for future with upcoming games vs. Georgia, Maryland
  • The Sun Sentinel: FAU at Georgia preview
  • Athens Banner-Herald: Coaches trust in McPhee on defense
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Next for Georgia - Florida Atlantic

    Owl Cal
    7 p.m. FAU at Georgia, Live Twitter updates at
  • FAU-Buckley rumor appears to be just that

    Since there is an open position on the football coaching staff, there are bound to be rumors going around until FAU fills the spot.

    The scuttlebutt on Monday was that FAU was interested in Florida State graduate assistant Terrell Buckley. Buckley was a great player for the Seminoles and still holds the NCAA record for career interception return yards. I admire him for coming back to Tallahassee after his professional career was over to get his degree while he was working in the strength and conditioning department and then on the Noles coaching staff.

    However, it doesn't appear Buckley is headed to Boca Raton (at least not immediately) and Monday an FAU source said there is nothing to the rumor.

    We'll have to wait and see - or at least wait until the next rumor comes down the pike.

    Owl Cal

    7 p.m. FAU at Georgia
    Nice victory for Blue Raiders
    Middle Tennessee certainly represented the Sun Belt Conference well with a convincing 42-32 victory vs. Southern Mississippi in the New Orleans Bowl on Sunday.

    I know it is tough for FAU fans to pull for the Blue Raiders, but it's really in FAU's interest for Sun Belt teams to do well in bowl games - or any out of conference game for that matter.

    The national perception of the Sun Belt is that it can't compete with any outher conference. The Blue Raiders dispelled that notion Sunday and the conference is better off thanks to MTSU.

    The remaining SBC team to play in a bowl game will be Troy, which will face Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl.

    In other Sun Belt news, I found an interesting nugget out of Louisiana-Monroe where former Dallas Cowboy Leon Lett, who will always hold a special place in the heart of Miami Dolphins fans, has joined the Warhawks coaching staff.

    Owl Cal

    7 p.m. FAU at Georgia
    FAU wants another victory vs. UM

    There were plenty of FAU fans taking in the festive atmosphere Saturday when the Owls faced Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.

    Then the game started.

    And it started poorly for FAU. The Owls never recovered and lost 87-69 to the Hurricanes.

    For those counting, that's 19 victories in 20 tries for UM over FAU.

    After the game Jarvis vowed to play Miami "until we beat them." Of course, Jarvis was just making a point, not announcing a multi-year series vs. UM.

    But seriously, Miami and FAU do have an agreement for a home -and home series, which is a good thing. As we saw when FAU beat Miami in 2002, upsets can happen although the Canes looked far ahead of the Owls Saturday.

    Speaking of hoops scheduling, Jarvis said that in addition to home and home agreements with Miami and USF, the Owls hope to set up a series with Central Florida.

    "If we can get on a bus and play a good team, why not?" Jarvis asked.

    Jarvis also said that the Owls will face George Mason next year in a series that will bring the Patriots, who made it to the Final Four in 2006, to Boca Raton in the future.

    "We're going to try to continue to develop the program and get as many home and home games against good teams as we can," Jarvis said.

    Owl Links had complete coverage of FAU's loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic. Check out our game story and video highlights from the game.

  • Sun-Sentinel: Hurricanes dominate Owls 87-69
  • Miami Herald: Three-pointers propel Hurricanes over Owls
  • The Palm Beach Post: Dews, Collins lead Miami Hurricanes to win 87-69 win over Florida Atlantic

    Owl Cal

    7 p.m. FAU at Georgia
  • Jarvis knows secret behind rebounding woes

    After FAU was outrebounded 55-31 Saturday by Miami in an easy 87-69 Hurricanes victory at the Orange Bowl Classic, Owls coach Mike Jarvis wasn't happy.

    He wants his team to box out better - no ifs, ands or butts about it.

    Jarvis didn't sugar-coat his words in the post-game press conference.

    "You have to put your ass on somebody," Jarvis said. "That's one of the reasons God gave us that - for basketball purposes - is to put it on somebody. You have to use everything God gave you...If you don't use that, you might as well be a spectator."

    The Hurricanes also had 24 offensive rebounds - too many too allow against any team, let alone a team which may be one of the better teams in the ACC.

    Instead the disparity in rebounding is just one of the reasons the Owls fell to 1-19 all-time against UM.
    Change in philosophy keys FAU defense
    Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis has been trying to instill a mean streak in the Owls. Apparently, it's beginning to take hold.

    "We can't worry about being friends on the court in practice," freshman guard Ray Taylor said. "There is no selfishness on this team but I think that is a problem sometimes because on the court guys try not to hurt the other's feeling by not going as hard. But coach explained that that is really hurting us more than helping us. If we get after each other in a game, when somebody else is getting after us, it's not going to be so new. So we just have to learn how to just - in practice - go for each others head."

    Jarvis is trying to intensify the Owls defensive play. The young team is starting to give Jarvis what he's looking for. The Owls followed a porous first half at Louisiana-Lafayette a week ago with a stingy effort that allowed them to come all the way back from an 11-point halftime deficit.

    Even though the Owls ultimately lost to the Ragin' Cajuns, the intensity carried over into FAU's win over New Orleans two nights later.

    The improved play has been prompted by a change in defensive philosophy aimed at keeping the Owls from getting beaten so frequently off the dribble.

    "What was happening was that guys were coming out and playing hard, but they were just playing too much on the side of the guy," Jarvis said. "Early in the year our philosophy was going to be to try and force the ball down to the baseline. And I probably should have just said, 'Look, just get in front of your man. Get your numbers lined up with his. Get your belly button lined up with his. Just stay in front of the freaking guy.'"

    Jarvis hoped that once the ball handler reached the baseline, the Owls' length and quickness could force turnovers. It represented a change in defensive philosophy that Jarvis he's now tossed into the dumpster.

    "I don't know why I ever started doing that foolishness anyhow," Jarvis said. "I should have just did what I did my whole life. Do whatever you have to do, just stay between the man and the basket, period."

    Wil be interesting to see how much of an impact the change has over the next three games when FAU faces Miami, Georgia and Maryland.

    Owl Links
    At FAUOwlAccess, we continued our year-end review of each FAU football unit by examining the quarterbacks. We also provided this preview of tonight's basketball game against Miami.

    Owl Cal
    3 p.m. Women's basketball at Louisiana-Lafayette
    4 p.m. FAU vs. Miami at BankAtlantic Center (Orange Bowl Classic)

    Tom Oxley left legacy at FAU

    It was quite sad to get the news Thursday that Tom Oxley had died.

    Most people who follow FAU know Mr. Oxley gave a large donation to help the atheltics department in the late 1990s and the athletics center that is the cornerstone of the FAU athletics department.

    What made the donation special was that Mr. Oxley was an alum of FAU - part of its first graduating class, in fact.

    His unselfish act was one of the first that showed alums of the past could reconnect with the university through its football team.

    He was bigger than FAU, however, making a large impression in the world of polo, but it's important that he receive recognition for what he did for Florida Atlantic.

    These days his name is synonomous with FAU athletics as players often will say "Meet you at the Oxley" or say "Just left the Oxley."

    I hope all athletes, coaches, staff and fans will remember what Mr. Oxley meant to the university he loved and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

    Owl Links

    At FAUOwlAccess we began our Owl Analysis series where we will take an in-depth look at each position. We'll examine what happened in 2009 and what the outlook for the 2010 season and what FAU's recruiting needs for each position. On Thursday, we examined the running backs and today we'll look at the quarterback position.

  • Palm Beach Post: Dismissed by some as too short, FAU's 5-foot-6 Ray Taylor takes to the court with a big attitude / FAU benefactor Tom Oxley, 65, dies of brain cancer

  • Sun-Sentinel: Polo supporter, FAU benefactor Tom Oxley dies from brain tumor

    Owl Cal

    4 p.m. FAU vs. Miami, Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise, ESPN 760 or streaming live

    Women's Hoops
    2 p.m. FAU at ULL, streaming live
  • Defense too bad to keep Hoza

    Everyone knew the heat was mounting on defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza, but it was still somewhat shocking to see that FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger pulled the trigger and made the move to get rid of defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza.

    After last week came and went and Hoza was still employed, the general consensus was that Hoza had survived even after the Owls were awful defensively.

    Schnellenberger doesn't have a history of firing assistant coaches. However, in this situation he didn't have much of a choice.

    The FAU defense is No. 112 in the nation, giving up an average of 453.2 yards per game. And there really wasn't much of a late rally that would indicate there was improvement on the way.

    The seeds of Hoza's departure were sowed many weeks ago when linebackers coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh was on the field instead of in the coach's box high above the stadium when FAU faced North Texas.

    Later it appeared Hoza's grip on the defense was slipping when Van Valkenburgh seemed more involved with setting the formations on the defense late in the game against Troy.

    Making Van Valkenburgh the coordinator is a good move - he has coordinator experience and this time last year was rumored to be heading to Purdue to be the DC for the Boilermakers. FAU will benefit greatly that he's still here and will be able to light a fire under the defense immediately.

    Owl Links

  • The Palm Beach Post: Owls fire long-time defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza
  • Sun-Sentinel: Owls fire defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza

    Owl Cal

    4 p.m. FAU vs. Miami, Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise, ESPN 760 or streaming live

    Women's Hoops
    2 p.m. FAU at ULL, streaming live
  • Big 10 expansion could be big break for FAU
    There is some more news out of the Big 10 other than another FAU assistant coach heading to the midwest.

    The Big 10 announced it is exploring the possibility of expansion and adding a 12th school.

    The move could have major implications for all the college football conferences. Don't forget it was Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College bolting the Big East for the ACC that led the Sun Belt to invite FAU and FIU.

    This time the schools to watch are in Conference USA. Should the Big 10 take a school from the Big East such as Pittsburgh or Cincinannti, the Big East could look to Conference USA for a replacement - or possibly several schools to bring its number of football-playing schools to 12, the minimum for holding a conference championship.

    If Conference USA were to exapand, one would think FAU could be an attractive candidate if - and that's a big if - the on-campus stadium project is progressing enough for Conference USA brass.

    That's just one scenario and any number of schools could be moving around. These things rarely go as expected.

    FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger has long talked about moving up to a better conference, but it's going to take some conference shuffling for that happen. The Big 10's announcement is a sign some realingment could be on the way. That will be a major story in the Big 10, but in Boca Raton the bigger question is will FAU be ready to take advantage of this possible opportunity?

    Owl Cal
    Women's Hoops
    7 p.m. FAU at New Orleans, streaming live

    4 p.m. FAU vs. Miami, Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise, ESPN 760 or streaming live
    Brohm gone: FAU loses quality coach

    Florida Atlantic will have its third quarterbacks coach in three years after the disappointing resignation Monday of Jeff Brohm, who is heading to join the staff of Illinois.

    Brohm's departure has to have FAU fans feeling numb. You hate to see Brohm go, but you realize he was on borrowed time from the moment he arrived in Boca Raton.

    Brohm talked exclusively to FAUOwlAccess' Chuck King on Monday as he was preparing to be introduced at a Tuesday press conference in Champaign and was quite complimentary of his time at FAU.

    Brohm did a phenomenal job at FAU. He had to deal with perhaps the biggest in-season adjustment in FAU's history when Rusty Smith went down with a shoulder injury and Brohm had to get Jeff Van Camp ready in a matter of days to be the starter. Brohm should get much of the credit for the development of Van Camp - especially and early adjustment to the way Van Camp grips the ball.

    It's clear that Brohm was overqualified to be an assistant in the Sun Belt and FAU was fortunate to have him after he was ushered out by Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe (Hey Steve! How'd that work out for ya?)

    Where does FAU go from here? The Owls have always had qualified coaches guiding their quarterbacks from Fred O'Connnor, Larry Seiple, Gary Nord and finally to Brohm. All those, of course, were instructing under the watchful eye of Howard Schnellenberger.

    We'll hear names ranging from Bernie Kosar and Jay Gruden all the way to Jared Allen and on and on. But one thing is for sure, Brohm is going to be hard to replace.

    Owl Links
    FAU quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm talked exclusively to FAUOwlAccess for our story on his departure to Illinois. We also had this report on the basketball team's first Sun Belt victory under coach Mike Jarvis.

    Owl Cal
    Women's Hoops
    7 p.m. FAU at New Orleans, streaming live

    4 p.m. FAU vs. Miami, Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise, ESPN360, ESPN 760 or streaming live
    FAU push for Doughty intensifying
    Florida Atlantic has told North Broward Prep Brandon Doughty that he is their No. 1 choice at quarterback. It appears that statement is more true than ever now that the other big name quarterback the Owls were looking at has moved on.

    Lassiter (Ga.) quarterback Hutson Mason had Florida Atlantic near the top of his list until a couple of weeks ago. Things changed when Mason tossed eight - EIGHT! - TDs in a playoff game. That's when the QB who had been flying under the radar suddenly showed up on everyone's screen.

    Georgia, Clemson, Florida State and Virginia all made offers, which prompted Mason to tell FAU that the Owls were no longer a consideration. I talked with Mason on Sunday as he made his way home from an official visit to Georgia. He plans to take a visit to Clemson next week, then make his decision. All indications point to Mason sticking with the hometown school and becoming a Bulldog.

    "Coach Brohm is a great guy - it was nothing personal," Mason said. "If you grew up in Miami, Miami is your dream school to be offered by. It's just one of those situations."

    As for Doughty (photo), FAU coaches planned to meet with him at his house last week, but a family member said a photo shoot for a local All-Area team ran late. Doughty did speak with FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger via the phone, and the coaches are looking reschedule last week's meeting for Thursday.

    The family member said the Owls are hoping to have Doughty on campus for an official visit the weekend of Jan. 8.

    Doughty threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns during his senior season. BCS schools Colorado St., Mississippi St. and North Carolina St. are also pursuing Doughty.

    Our members already knew that FAU is high on Doughty's list. To see a video of Doughty, click here.

    Marching papers: Six current Owls became former Owls over the weekend when Jeff Blanchard, Jason Harmon, David Matlock, Willie Rose, Josh Savidge and Rusty Smith received their undergraduate diplomas during last week's ceremonies.

    Former Owl defensive back Lee Pasick, who last put on an FAU uniform in 2003, also received his degree. Pasick's name can be seen on the stone monument to the founding football players located beneath a goalpost on the Owls' practice fields.

    Owl Links:
    At, we previewed tonight's FAU basketball game at New Orleans.

    Owl Cal:
    8 p.m. - Basketball at New Orleans
    FAU's inexperience is showing
    The Florida Atlantic basketball team is going to have weeks like this. Youth breeds inconsistency.

    Young teams frequently have issues when placed in new situations. That can partially explain the near loss - hard to consider it a win - to NAIA Warner. They Owls were coming off their first exam week and the extended time away from the court that accompanies it. FAU coach mike Jarvis tried to use the game as a teaching moment - don't be fooled into thinking he wasn't coaching - frequently pulling players aside and chastising them for defensive miscues. Those who didn't see it can check out the video.

    Saturday's game against Louisiana-Lafayette, for many their first foray into conference play, also showed some of FAU's inexperience. Jarvis hasn't been pleased with the Owls' defensive efforts most of this season, and he wasn't happy during Saturday's first half, either. The Ragin' Cajuns drained seven 3-pointers in the first half, rarely dealing with the distraction of a hand in the face.

    The inexperience also showed on the offensive side late in the game when Ray Taylor seemed to get fluster by the lack of offensive movement and launched an ill-advised three pointer from well beyond the top of the key. He missed badly, drawing only backboard.

    On the next trip down down the court, fellow freshman Greg Gantt forced a quick three, which ULL promptly rebounded.

    Now, it's true that those two players were the reason the Owls were even in the game. With Brett Royster picking an inopportune time to lay an egg (eggs are for Easter), Taylor's floaters and Gantt's bombs accounted for more than half of the Owls points. And it was Taylor and Gantt who hit back-to-back shots in the closing seconds to bring the Owls within three.

    But solid early defensive play and better clock management could have produced the win.

    The young Owls will be at New Orleans on Monday trying to avoid an 0-2 Sun Belt start. Last season FAU didn't earn its first conference win until the last day of January. Of course, that's one of the benefits of a team this young: short memories.

    Owl Links:
    At, we documented the Owls unsuccessful comeback at Louisiana-Lafayette.

    For the Cajun perspective on the game, look here.

    FAU plays at New Orleans on Monday. Here's a look at the off-court struggles of that school's athletic program.

    Owl Cal:
    Monday 8 p.m. - Basketball at New Orleans.
    FAU hoops teams visit different memories
    Both FAU basketball teams will tip-off today in game situations with vastly different memories. For the men, who begin Sun Belt play against Louisiana-Lafayette, the start of conference play last season exposed nearly every weakness, sending the Owls on streak of 13 consecutive losses.

    By contrast, the women's 68-63 upset of Central Florida in Orlando early last season signaled that those Owls had the makings of a season worth following

    "That was probably one of the biggest wins of the year - especially going to their place and winning there," said guard Brittanty Bowe (left), who will lead FAU (3-5) against UCF (2-2) at The Burrow today at 5 p.m.

    "I think it built our confidence up a lot. We beat them last year. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to be the this year - and on our home court."

    Well, maybe there are a couple of reasons. For starters, Bowe readily admits the Owls have been wildly inconsistent this season.

    "We don't really have much consistency - and that's one of our main goals right now, to be consistent on the defensive end, and that is going to motivate us on the offensive end."

    Both teams enter the game coming off loses, but the Owls' loss to Bethune-Cookman is far more troubling than UCF's loss to Washington. The Owls expected to easily handle the Wildcats, much in the same way that the Knights pounded B-CC by 34 points earlier this year.

    FAU hopes those scores aren't telling. If they are, the Owls will likely have to look for a different team to upset and jump-start their season.

    U outta know: Just a reminder that ESPN is airing its look at the rise of football at the University of Miami tonight at 9 p.m. "The U" will include an interview with Howard Schnellenberger, recorded at the Oxley Center. Here's an interview ESPN 760's Evan Cohen did with U Director Billy Corben on Friday.

    Owl Links:

    Owl Cal:

    2 p.m. Men's basketball at Louisiana-Lafayette CSS, ESPN360, ESPN 760 or streaming live
    5 p.m. Women's basketball vs. UCF streaming live

    Owls to get Ford tough

    FAU made it official on Thursday that it will play its "home" game vs. Michigan State in Detroit next season.

    One has to applaud the move which means the Owls will reap the financial reward of what should be a near sell-out crowd of mostly Spartan fans in Detroit.

    It simply is the best the Owls could do under the circumstances.

    The only down-side I can see is it would have been nice to see the Spartans sweating in the South Florida sun, similar to how Minnesota did in their 2007 loss to FAU.

    The game is tentatively set for Sept. 11 according to an FAU official.

    Wrong about Warner Warner: Before Thursday's game vs. Warner, I wrote a blog about how the Owls would have an easy time with the NAIA Division II Royals. I could have taken my blog down a few minutes into the game when it was obvious Warner had come to play. Instead I had to take the high road and leave it up and take my lumps.

    As we know, Warner gave the Owls quite a game as FAU needed three overtimes to defeat the Royals 106-99 at the Burrow. The game was one of the best I've seen at FAU, but it was troubling watching the Owls struggle with an NAIA team.

    Even more troubling was seeing some FAU fans actually taunting Warner players after the game. The correct response would have been to have applauded the effort by a scrappy team that gave the Owls a great game. Instead some pinheads were actually gloating over the "victory" enough to draw the ire of players who certainly gained my respect on Thursday.

    Owl Links

    Thursday looked to be a slow news day at FAU, but instead ended up reporting on the Owls' game vs. Michigan State in 2010 heading to Detroit. We also had full coverage of basketball's three overtime victory over Warner, complete with video highlights.

  • Sun-Sentinel: Owls need three overtimes to get past Warner
  • Associated Press: FAU to host Michigan State at Ford Field

    Owl Cal
    2 p.m. FAU at Louisiana-Lafayette CSS, ESPN360, ESPN 760 or streaming live

    Women's Hoops
    5 p.m. Central Florida at FAU, FAU Arena streaming live
  • Fair warning: FAU should have easy time with Warner

    Here's the preemptive strike and answer to the Question of the Day.

    It's a small NAIA Division II Christian school located in Lake Wales.

    The question, of course, is "Who the Hell is Warner?"

    I can understand the confusion over the identity of the Owls' opponent in basketball on Thursday. After all, the school used to be known as Warner Southern, but dropped the "Southern" in the last few years.

    OK, enough of the jokes about FAU's opponent. It's time to look seriously at why FAU is playing a game like this.

    It's quite simple. FAU was originally scheduled to take a break of 12 days between its game vs. Albany and the Sun Belt opener on Saturday at Louisiana-Lafayette for final exams.

    FAU coach Mike Jarvis said he wanted a game - any game - so his team wouldn't be playing a league game after a long layoff.

    It makes sense to me and it probably wasn't easy to add a game in the summer, but facing the Royals appears to have all the makings of a scrimmage with lots of bench players who will receive their most action of the season.

    Owl Links
    At we had a story on FAU running back Alfred Morris and tight end Jason Harmon being named to the All-Sun Belt team and also talked with Mike Jarvis for our preview of the basketball game vs. Warner.

    Owl Cal
    7 p.m. Warner at FAU, FAU Arena, ESPN 760 or streaming live
    Rusty may be ready for all-star game

    After FAU quarterback Rusty Smith was throwing tight spirals in defensive drills last week during FAU practices, here's another sign that Smith's recovery for his injured non-throwing shoulder is healing quickly.

    On Monday, FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said he is planning to take Smith with him when he coaches in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game.

    The game is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2010 in El Paso, Texas and the practices the week of the game are well-attended by NFL scouts.

    Schnellenberger said there likely will be other Owls, including tight end Jason Harmon, who will be playing in the game.

    Owl Cal

    Nothing scheduled today, but on this date in 1962, Florida Gov. Farris Bryant was at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new state university in Boca Raton - Florida Atlantic.

    Noon FAU SportsHour with Brian Rowitz, OwlRadio

    7 p.m. Warner at FAU, FAU Arena, ESPN 760 or streaming live
    Bradwell's passion, exhaustion add to fitting end of FAU season
    I generally spend the first few minutes following an FAU football game shooting video of the players leaving the field. FAU linebacker Edward Bradwell is invariably one of the last Owls to head to the locker room.

    It's often hard to tell whether FAU has won or lost by looking at Bradwell's face. He told me last week that he actually takes winning hard and ends up sitting in the locker room thinking about the plays he could have made to make the Owls win by more.

    Saturday, Bradwell's last as a college football player, he was again one of the last few players off the field. This time, however, he was talkative. The video was recorded moments after the Owls posed with the Shula Trophy. Bradwell led FAU with 14 tackles on the night.

    Bradwell's emotion and exhaustion go straight to heart of why we play sports - and prove that its worthwhile to become enthralled by the humanistic, often wonderfully simplistic, side of the athletes who play those sports - and play them well.

    Owl Links:
    At FAUOwlAccess, we provided a review of the game, handed out our game balls and graded each unit. We also posted this photo gallery.

    Owl Cal:
    Noon: Howard Schnellenberger Show on

    7 p.m.: Hoops - Warner at FAU, FAU Arena, ESPN 760 or streaming live

    FIU spins, FAU wins

    It wouldn't be an FAU-FIU game without being bombarded with talk of potential and recruiting and how, regardless of the results of the last four years, the FIU program is going to pass FAU, leaving the Owls in the dust.

    The FIU Kool-Aid drinkers were in end-of-season form as the Golden Panthers' season came to an end far short of a bowl game - again.

    But not without a couple of mentions of "these guys are going to be good in a couple of years."

    Well, right back at ya.

    FAU fans have to feel pretty good after Saturday's game as the Owls won with plenty of plays made by underclassmen such as junior QB Jeff Van Camp and sophomore RB Alfred Morris.

    Let the Golden Panthers read the company line and talk about how their program is on the upswing, but it was pretty evident Saturday night which team is heading in the right direction - again.

    Owl Links had team coverage from FIU Stadium including our game recap, video highlights and a post-game notebook.

    Check back later today for some audio and photos from the game as well as our final installment of the Sunday Review with grades for each unit and our Game Balls.

  • The Palm Beach Post: Owls win Shula Bowl again / Alfred Morris sets Florida Atlantic school record in victory
  • The Sun-Sentinel: Owls domination over FIU continues
  • The Miami Herald: FAU tightens grip on Don Shula Trophy after beating FIU / Another stellar night for FAU quarterback Jeff Van Camp

    Owl Cal
    Warner Southern at FAU, 7 p.m., FAU Arena
  • FIU kicks ashes off field

    MIAMI - I sense some bad blood here at FIU Stadium.
    The FAU football team met at midfield near the FIU logo about two hours before the game. The Owls have a team ritual of dropping some ashes on the field from wood burned that players write inpirational messages and goals on before the wood is burned.
    Once FIU got wind of this, they sent a maitenance worker out to sweep up the ashes.
    Doesn't get more petty than that does it?
    I hope FIU doesn't find out that FAU players also leave 11 cents (it's a long story) in the end zone before each game in another team tradition.
    FIU may order a crew with a metal detector to comb the end zone.
    Shula Bowl should be important to FAU-FIU

    It's almost time for FAU fans to check their passports and head down to Miami for the last football game of the season - the Shula Bowl.

    It appears Don Shula won't be there, but with the two teams coming for seven victories, perhaps its more appropriate that he stay away.

    We kid about the records, and this season will not go down as the finest for FAU - although its not too far off the pace for FIU.

    But as this game appraoches it's clear that it is important for both teams and could be a game that resembles one where bowl berths are on the line.

    A loss in this game means heading into the offseason and recruiting period on a down note. And for players they will have hear about losing from their friends on the other side for an entire season.

    No, it's not the SEC Championship with two undefeated teams, but for the players, coaches and fans the Sula Bowl is still important.

    Detroit a done deal: Spent most of Friday watching Central Michigan defeat Ohio for the MAC Championship at Ford Field. Of course, the Owls beat the Chippewas last year on the same turf in the Motor City Bowl.

    And it appears FAU will be able to get another shot at heading to Detroit to face Michigan State next season.

    After considering playing in Chicago, multiple FAU sources say the Owls will indeed play a home game against Michigan State in Detroit next season.

    An official announcement could be coming soon.

    Owl Links

    At we posted our preview and a video looking at the Shula Bowl.

  • Palm Beach Post: Florida Atlantic's rivalry vs. FIU still not the marquee matchup many expected
  • Sun-Sentinel: Owls hope to hoist Shula Bowl Trophy once again
  • Miami Herald: Panthers full of motivation

    Owl Cal

    7 p.m. FAU at Florida International TV: CSS, Radio: ESPN 760. (West Palm Beach),  ESPN 1400 (Fort Lauderdale) or streaming live
  • Dirt to turn Thursday for football stadium

    In a few days the sounds of heavy machinery will be cranking up on the site of FAU's stadium.

    FAU officials have set Thursday as the day they will begin clearing the land on the site of the new football stadium in what can only be perceived as a sign of progress toward the Owls finally playing their home games on campus in 2011.

    The last few weeks fences have gone up around the site and workers have actually been among the brush moving animals - such as burrowing owls - who make their home there to a safe location.

    This isn't the official ground-breaking which will come in the spring, but this will have the construction site ready to go the minute the school gets the OK to begin construction.

    That said, it will still be encouraging to see dirt actually moved to get ready for this project.

    Owl Links was at the final full football practice of the 2009 season and had this report on a few players who missed the workout and who replaced them just before the Shula Bowl. Also, we had a video feature with FAU players talking about the esteemed Don Shula Award - the trophy that goes to the winning team of the Shula Bowl.

  • Palm Beach Post: Florida Atlantic plans to avoid kicking to Florida International star

    Owl Cal

    7 p.m. FAU at Florida International TV: CSS, Radio: ESPN 760. (West Palm Beach),  ESPN 1400 (Fort Lauderdale) or streaming live
  • Too good to be true for FAU
    Injured quarterback Rusty Smith has changed his sling from a noun to a verb - as in he's no longer wearing one and can now sling the ball around again.

    He tossed a few to fans during a pre-game tailgate on Saturday. He also spent portions of this week leading the scout team (photo, left). Could FAU's three-time Shula Bowl MVP be making a remarkable recovery and actually play against FIU?

    Don't get crazy.

    Though he looks like the Rusty of old when there is no threat of being hit, Smith and his injured non-throwing shoulder won't be cleared for contact in the near future.

    He appears to be ahead of schedule, which is good to see. And it was nice to see Smith spending the his last week of college football tossing the ball to his teammates again - even if most of the players catching his throws - true freshmen and walk-ons -were doing it for the first time.

    Smith has always said that he'll be able to work out fully for NFL scouts prior to the draft. Seeing Smith on the field this week with the Owls reinforces the fact that he will be ready. Now, it will be interesting to see whether his shoulder heals quickly enough to be a late addition to some college all-star game roster.

    Elite company: Wanna see an MVP? At least six of the seven FAU MVPs from the Shula Bowl will be in the stadium on Saturday. Smith's three MVPs are matched by FAU graduate assistant Jared Allen, who quarterbacked the Owls to victories in the first three Shula Bowls.

    Thomas Parker was FAU's MVP in 2005 - the lone loss for the Owls. Each year an MVP is named from both teams. Many consider the one named from the winning team to be the true MVP. FAU won the six games with Allen or Smith under center.

    Owl Links:
    On the main site, our Owl Access Pass members learned that prized quarterback recruit Brandon Doughty will his choice soon. In our practice report we examined the role FAU's special teams could play in the Shula Bowl.

    And be sure to check the main site around lunch time. Our members already had the opportunity to watch our feature documenting what the Shula Bowl trophy means to some of the FAU players. Later today, we'll make the feature available to everyone.

    Palm Beach Post: The Owls have injury concerns heading into the season finale.

    Sun Sentinel: FAU's gamble with Harstad pays off.

    Miami Herald: FIU fullback John Ellis' numbers don't tell the whole story.

    Owl Cal:
    3:30 p.m. - Final practice of the season, on campus
    7 p.m. - ESPN Radio 760's FAU Sportspage featuring Howard Schnellenberger at Miller's Ale House off Yamato Rd.
    How much influence does Beverlee Schnellenberger have on FAU's offense?
    Yesterday, we posted the latest episode of the Howard Schnellenberger Show, which contained one of - if not the - best features we've had all year.

    As part of our Howard Schnellenberger: 50 Years in Coaching segment, we decided to talk with Howard's wife, Beverlee, to find out what it's been like to be married to the coach for that half century.

    Beverlee was kind enough to invite us to their house, where we spent about an hour and a half talking football and looking at memorabilia (she still has a large binder filled with the letters she and Howard wrote while courting).

    It was an interesting start to the afternoon. Everything we talked about didn't make it into the segment, so I thought you guys might enjoy one of the outtakes. I asked Beverlee whether she ever offers football advice to Howard. Her response is below.

    Bradwell's new look: FAU linebacker Edward Bradwell didn't practice on Tuesday. He missed the first half of practice before emerging from the lockerroom in shorts and a helmet that was, shall we say, "decorated" by a couple of lineman. Bradwell posed with the new Mohawk helment after practice. Think it will catch on?

    Owl Links:

    At, we posted the latest Howard Schnellenberger Show which, aside from the Beverlee interview, also featured a look at what the Shula Bowl means to FAU players. Willie Rose's and Bradwell's comments in particular are worth seeing. We also examined the still-in-flux linebacker position in Tuesday's practice report.

    And something to look forward to: Check the main site around lunch time. We'll be posting a recruiting story about one highly-valued player who is close to making a decision.

    Palm Beach Post: Freshman linebacker David Hinds chose to play against Western Kentucky only a few days after the death of his father.

    Sun Sentinel: Also picked up on the Hinds story.

    Owl Cal:
    3 p.m. - practice at the Oxley Center fields.
    7 p.m. - Women's basketball at Bethune-Cookman

    Calm before the storm?

    It was a actually a failry quiet day at the Oxley Center on Monday with players off for the day.

    However, one has to expect the intensity level to rise starting Tuesday because the Shula Trophy is up for grabs - although we hear that Don Shula won't be on hand for Saturday's game.

    Is it just me or does something need to be done to spice this rivalry up? It would help if FIU lived uop to its end of the bargain of making this a rivalry game such as bringing fans to the game or winning every now and then.

    Owl Links

    FAU had our first look at FIU and covered the basketball victory vs. Albany.

  • Palm Beach Post: Gantt shoots FAU to victory
  • Sun-Sentinel: Another freshman steps up for the Owls in 81-65 win over Albany

    Owl Cal

    3:30 p.m. Practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Twitter updates @FAUOwlAccess)

    3:30 p.m. Practice, Oxley Practice Fields (Twitter updates @FAUOwlAccess)
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