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Posts from December 2010

Friday's Daily Briefing: Reviewing our Owl Awards

Part of the fun of doing our Owl Awards year-end series, which concluded on Thursday, came in sifting through all the video highlights from the past season. Most of the games may not have turned out the way FAU fans would have liked, but every contest offered a play or two worth reliving.

It's also enjoyable simply to take a step back and reflect on the year. Aside from Howard Schnellenberger, his assistants or the players, there is no one who knows more about the FAU football program than our panelists. Simply put, Marcus Nelson, Ken LaVicka and Brian Rowitz are insiders who know more about the 2010 Owls than anyone outside the locker room. Their ballots reflected information and observations gained from being up-close and personal.

Before we put the 2010 season behind us for good, here are some observations from our award selections.

  • It's not a good sign when the punter makes one person's MVP ballot. Mickey Groody's name appeared twice.
  • Malik Eugene appeared on three of four Defensive MVP ballots. He was the only person other than winner Michael Lockley to be on that many, reinforcing the idea that Eugene may not have received enough attention his performance this season.
  • Remove Lester Jean from the equation and the Offensive MVP was basically a tossup between Alfred Morris and Jeff Van Camp. With Jean and Van Camp both gone, Morris becomes the heavy favorite for next year's award, too.
  • The Biggest Play was Lockley's blocked field goal. The most overlooked play wasn't a category, but if it was Brentley Harstad's Pick 6 against UAB should be the winning. Harstad's interception brought the Owls within nine points in the third quarter. As soon as that play happened, I remember turning to an FAU staffer on the sideline and telling him the Owls were going to win that game.
  • Choosing the offensive line as the most glaring weakness was obvious. Remember, though, if they stay healthy the O-line should be the strength of the offense in 2112, maybe even before.
  • I was a little surprised that Rusty Smith's NFL career did make anyone else's ballot for Best Moment.
  • More of us should have agreed with LaVicka that one of the Worst Moment's was the emergence of the fire Howard crowd. I suspect most FAU fans share the sentiment from this video.
  • Jeff Van Camp won the Toughest to Replace award. The battle to be Van Camp's replacement will be the biggest story in the spring.
  • I really hope Rowitz is right that Austin Jensen is next season's Breakthrough Player. We saw Jensen on a weekly basis as he ran through his individual rehab workouts while the rest of his teammates practiced. I don't know if doctors will let him play, but there is reason for optimism.
  • Sticking with the break through candidates, Nelson put defensive end Martin Wright on his list. While sifting through footage for the videos I came across a play by Wright where he ran down a Troy running back trying to get to the sideline. It might have been the most impressive defensive play I saw all year. Wright, a sophomore, hadn't played in a football game for several years. Now that the rust is off, Wright and Cory Henry may form a monster pass rushing duo for the next two years.


I hope you enjoyed our awards lists as much as we did. Feel free to head to our message boards and let us know why we're crazy for voting the way we did.

 

If you want to revisit the series and see the videos, here are the winners:

2010 Owl Award winners


> Owl links  Articles of interest to FAU fans.

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

We concluded our Owl Awards series by naming Marcus Cunningham as our pick to breakout during spring practice.

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Angelos says rumors of Shannon to FAU not true

You know it's recruiting season when the rumors about a coach's future start popping up and it didn’t take long for rumors of former Miami coach Randy Shannon taking over FAU in 2012 to make the rounds on Wednesday.

By the end of the day, many FAU fans had assumed that the former UM coach was on his way to Boca Raton and they were already getting ready for “ShannonBall”, which produced a 28-22 record at The U before he was run out of Coral Gables in November.

I hate to bring bad news - or in this case, no news -  to those camped out at the Oxley Center waiting for Shannon to prepare for his season as Coach in Waiting.

According to FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos, they could be waiting a long time.

Angelos (pctured) told me Wednesday afternoon nothing has changed concerning the future of the program.

“There’s nothing to that,” Angelos said. “We still have the same plan we have always had and that’s getting ready for the 2011 season. Eventually we will have to figure out past that, but we’re not to that point yet.”

Would it makes sense for Angelos to hire Shannon if Schnellenberger were to decide to retire? It’s possible. The two know each other well from their days at Miami and Angelos told me “he’s on the Christmas card list.”

However, without knowing when the post-Schnellenberger era is to begin at FAU, it’s foolish to speculate on who would be the next coach because no one knows exactly who will be available at that time. Angelos acknowledged that by the time FAU will be looking for a coach Shannon and possibly the other candidate du jour - former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach - could be gainfully employed somewhere.

But, more importantly, public speculation on a coach’s future is detrimental to recruiting, so hopefully this rumor has run the cycle and Angelos’ comments to FAUOwlAccess.com will put the rumor to bed. I also would hope that next time, FAU fans won’t participate in spreading something that more than likely was put out by a rival school to hurt recruiting.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

In addition to having the news first that Manhattan’s travel problems would force Thursday’s basketball game at FAU to be postponed, we also continued hanging out our Owl Awards, including the award for the player to be missed the most next season. 

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Travel problems ground Manhattan before game at FAU

UPDATED 12:37 p.m.

Manhattan had a great plan.

Before Thursday's Manhattan-FAU game was officially postponed, the Jaspers were scheduled to leave New York for Boca Raton on Tuesday for its game Thursday at FAU – a day earlier than most teams would arrive for an away game.
Who could blame them? Even the most recent cold snap here in South Florida would be considered mild by Manhattan players, coaches and staff and who couldn't use a little sunshine after being stuck in the Big Apple?
Of course we all know what is going on in the Northeast, where snowy conditions have wreaked havoc on airports and rendered even the best laid travel plans moot.
As a result, Manhattan’s flight on Tuesday was cancelled leaving the Jaspers scrambling for a flight to South Florida when thousands others passengers are doing the same thing.
“We have not made much progress,” Manhattan Sports Information Director Steve Dombroski told FAUOwlAccess.com in an e-mail this morning. “We are exhausting all options right now. There are thousands of flight cancellations, so it has been very difficult to secure flying arrangements.
Tuesday’s scheduled game between Fairfield and Florida in Gainesville was cancelled due to similar travel problems for Fairfield.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

The Owl Awards continue flying off the shelf as our panel picked the best and worst moments of the year.

 

 

 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Cold is the norm for FAU basketball players

While we endure yet another cold snap in South Florida, I'm betting there is at least one group of guys walking the FAU campus saying, 'I've seen worse.'

That photo of Owls' freshmen Pablo Bertone and Dennis Mavin was taken in Albany, N.Y. where FAU faced Siena during the Floridians' recent road swing. There wasn't much accumulation that night, but there turned out to be plenty more snow on the ground in Chicago when the trip ended.

FAU coach Mike Jarvis said he enjoyed seeing the look on his players' faces when the snow first started falling. However, their enjoyment doesn't last forever.

Jarvis said the players were “actually almost looking forward to being in snow until, just like our own kids, they realize, you know what? It ain't a whole lot of fun.”

Jarvis said the players did enjoy the Chicago winter wonderland. Apparently the hotel they stayed at housed a live deer. The team also took in a Bulls game while in the Windy Apple.

Following the DePaul game players scattered for their mini-Christmas break. Word out of The Burrow is that the wicked weather across the nation didn't keep players from getting back to Boca Raton for Monday's practice.

Manhattan comes calling on Dec. 30. Considering New York area airports closed for a day and traffic seems completely snarled, how'd you like to be trying to escape from New York City in the coming days? I suspect those could be some road-weary Jaspers.

Owl LinksArticles of interest to FAU fans

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

We continued our series of year-end awards by dubbing Michael Lockley's field goal block at UAB to be the Play of the Year.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel says FAU has enough quarterbacks. ... The Miami Herald learned that Florida International baseball player Garrett Wittels was arrested on a rape charge in the Bahamas.

Monday's Daily Briefing: More time for Mattison if Stewart and Simpson don't return to team?

Andre Mattison's solid eight-point, six- rebound performance for FAU against DePaul may have been more important than originally appreciated.

The 6-foot-7 forward saw increased playing time partly because of Jordan McCoy's illness and also because fellow reserve forward DeMonte Simpson didn't make the trip. Now it appears possible that Simpson and guard Darren Stewart may have played their last games of the season.

“Both have got a lot of work to do academically and may be full time students in the second semester,” FAU coach Mike Jarvis said upon returning from the Owls' five-game road trip.

Jarvis did not say whether academics was reason behind Simpson's and Stewart's absence from the trip.

At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, Simpson has the ability to eat space and minutes during the Owls' Sun Belt schedule. If Simpson isn't available, those minutes will likely fall to Mattison (photo right, with Ray Taylor) or possibly Justin Davis.

While the road trip may turn out to be a turning point for Mattison's career at FAU, it certainly didn't start on a positive note.

“The first two games I got sick right away,” Mattison said. “I didn't even practice one of the days. I was real sick.”

Mattison, Greg Gantt and McCoy all caught a bug during the trip. McCoy was slated to start the final game, but instead could only manage three minutes. His absence necessitated Mattison's extra time.

“I've been waiting for my opportunity for a while,” said Mattison, who didn't see the court in the Owls'  previous six games. “I finally got it so I had to prove that I should be playing.”

Jarvis believes that Mattison's performance at DePaul has earned the sophomore more court time.

“It's good that we found another guy who can help us because we are going to need another guy up front,” Jarvis said. “He's always been a guy who probably performs better in games than in practice, but now he's going to realize that performing in practice for him is just like a game.”

The Owls were slated to return to campus on Sunday night after a brief Christmas break. They begin practicing this morning, and welcome Manhattan to The Burrow on Dec. 30.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

 We continued handing out the 2010 Owl Awards by naming our Offensive MVP, complete with video.

  • Other linkage:

The Sun-Sentinel reports that FAU is selling stadium boxes

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Former Owl Hughley hosting basketball camp

Thinking about giving one extra gift? How about a basketball camp?

Former Owl Sanchez Hughley is spending his holiday break by hosting youth basketball camps for kids from grades 4-8. This past week's camp took place at The Burrow, which is when the photo was taken.

Next week's camp will be held at Grandview Prep, where Sanchez serves as the junior varsity coach and an assistant to varsity coach Joe Dawson.

The five-day camp will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and costs 175 dollars. Along with instruction, each participant receives lunch, a Hughley Hoopsters t-shirt and pictures.

The camp is capped at 30 kids, but there is still space. Anyone interested can contact Hughley at sahughley@aol.com, or come to the Grandview Prep gym on Monday morning.

“It's been a successful camp for the first year,” Hughley said. “Now we are going to work on a summer sleep-away camp.”

Owl links – Articles of interest to FAU fans

  • FAUOwlAccess.com

 We continued handing out our football post-season awards by naming the FAU Defensive MVP.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel says FAU is recruiting linebackers

Merry Christmas wishes from FAU Owl Access

We hope your are having a great holiday today with your family.
May next year all Owl fans be celebrating a bowl victory or preparing for a bowl game at this time.
But until then, Merry Christmas to all from us here at FAU Owl Access.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • FAUOwlAccess.com
We began a series we hope you’ll like as we hand out some awards from the 2010 football season. We started the series on Friday with our Team MVP. Check out our story and video here .
We’ll announce our Defensive MVP later today before we take a little time to spend with our families.
Merry Christmas
Friday's Daily Briefing: We unwrap our awards for the 2010 FAU football season

Preparing for Christmas can entail more than shopping and cooking. FAUOwlAccess.com has spent the past couple days assembling our gifts. Actually gifts isn't quite the right word. We've been working on awards.

Over the next week or so, we'll be naming our top players, plays and moments from the past football season. Think of it as our way of giving FAU football fans a reason to keep the Owls fresh in their minds during this bowl season.

The four people who comprise the awards selection committee are uniquely qualified for this task, having spent more time around FAU football than any other media members.

Marcus Nelson and myself covered every FAU game this season and at least one of us – most of the time it was both – was present at every FAU practice, dating back to the spring.

Ken LaVicka is ESPN 760's voice of the Owls. Aside from his game-day duties, LaVicka also hosted two coach's shows, one for video (The Howard Schnellenberger Show on FAUOwlAccess.com) and one for radio (FAU Sportspage featuring Howard Schnellenberger on ESPN 760).

Brian Rowitz served as ESPN 760's broadcast engineer for every game -home and away -  this season. Rowitz also hosts Owl Talk, FAUOwlAccess.com's weekly FAU podcast, which he prepped for in part by studying FAU practices.

The group experienced FAU football from different vantage points, so it's not surprising the ballots varied greatly in many of the categories.

Later today we'll post the first award: Team MVP. The award ceremony will continue for six days. Along with the winner in each category, we'll reveal each panelists' ballot and the reasoning behind their choices. The Awards will begin with the season that recently ended and ultimately look forward to what to expect this spring.

We think you'll enjoy some of the selections and disagree with others. When you do, be sure to tell us on our message board. The Owls may not be playing football this holiday season, but that doesn't mean we can't talk FAU football, right?

> Owl Links Articles of interest to FAU fans.
 

  •  FAUOwlAccess.com

The FAU basketball team – actually about half of it – arrived back in Boca Raton following almost two weeks on the road. FAUOwlAccess.com was at the Burrow to greet Owls, and filed this story about what the players' and coaches' take from the trip.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel says Lester Jean is going to the East-West Shrine Game.

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Watch FAU’s football stadium go up with new web cam

FAU fans, possible boosters or prospective recruits don’t need to be on campus to check in on the progress of the new stadium.

Thanks to the new FAU Stadium web cam, anyone can check in on how the construction is going from the comfort of their own living room or at their local Starbucks.
The camera gives a bird’s eye view of the construction site, but also allows Owl fans to zoom in and to go back and look at other dates since a new image is taken every 15 minutes and are archived.
Last week we told you that FAU had sold some suites and some loge boxes, expect some more sales now that people can see that the stadium project is making some serious progress.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU Fans
  • On FAU Owl Access
We were monitoring FAU’s 71-62 loss at DePaul. Check out our recap, analysis and get the stats from the game by clicking here.
  • Other linkage
The Chicago Sun-Times had this report from the game. …The Sun-Sentinel also had a recap.
Jean, Housler to represent Owls in post-season all-star games

FAU wide receiver Lester Jean had an interesting take on his selection to the East-West Shrine Game.

“I just want to go represent for the school,” Jean said. “Florida Atlantic gave me the opportunity to play football when nobody else would.”

Recruiters weren't breaking down Jean's door with scholarship offers when he graduated from Miami-Norland High School, prompting him to head to North Carolina Tech prep school.

When Jean returned with his highlight reel and showed it to FAU coaches, the Owls were quick to jump on him.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver rewarded the FAU this year with one of the best seasons by a wideout in school history, catching 64 passes for 988 yards. The catches tied for the second most in a single season at FAU, the yards were third highest. His eight touchdowns tied Alfred Morris for the team high this year.

Photographer Ralph Notaro captured Jean's most spectaular play of the year in the above photo. Jean's one-handed catch turned into a 77-yard touchdown in the season-opener against UAB.

The game will be played at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on January 22. The proximity of the game will likely leave Jean with some tough choices. He's got a big family and expects to have a big demand for tickets.

Jean won't the only Owl participating in a post-season all-star game. Rob Housler has been invited to the Texas vs. The Nation game, which will be played on Feb. 5 in San Antonio. FAU has sent players to this game before, but Housler looks like he will be the first player to stand on the Texas sideline.

The game will be the second homecoming of the year for Housler, who is from Converse, Texas. Both of Housler's catches went for touchdowns in FAU's November loss at Texas.
 

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU hoops present and future in action tonight.
Owl Nation can get ready for a double dose of hoops tonight and I’m going to give you the gameplan on how to do it up right to follow the future and present for FAU hoops.
First off, at 7 p.m. those who are fortunate to have access to ESPNU can watch FAU signee Brett Comer (pictured at FAU's Team Camp in the summer) in action as his Winter Park team faces Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei in the third place game of the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers.
Winter Park, who thanks to guard Austin Rivers is on TV about as much as the Kardashians, lost to Milton (Ga,) in the semifinals on Tuesday when Comer had five points and six assists.
You might have to watch the last few minutes of the game with the sound down because at 8:15 p.m. it will be time to tune into ESPN 760 to listen to the pre-game show for FAU’s game at DePaul with Ken LaVicka calling the action for the tip at 8:30 p.m. Internet streams of the game are available at ESPN760.com and FAUSports.com.
And of course follow our Tweets as we give our two cents on the game as we follow the Chicago action, which is LaVicka’s hometown, by the way, so expect a spirited call of the game.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • On FAUOwlAccess.com
We posted our preview and Need to Know for tonight’s tilt between the Owls and Blue Demons.
  • Other linkage
Here’s a game preview from the Sun-Sentinel. …And another from the Chicago Tribune.
 
 
FAU's Taylor named Sun Belt Player of the Week

Less than a week after cracking the starting lineup for Florida Atlantic, guard Ray Taylor was named the Sun Belt Conference after leading the Owls to two big road victories and a 2-0 start in Sun Belt Conference play.

Taylor scored 24 points in FAU’s 82-77 overtime victory at Troy on Thursday and scored 20 points in the Owls 60-58 victory at Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday.
 
 
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Joseph shows why early commitments are so fragile

To all those lamenting that FAU didn't have many commitments during the summer, Josue Joseph provided a reason why even when those numbers exist they can be apparitions.

Joseph, an offensive lineman from Orlando-Freedom who committed to FAU back in June, told FAU on Sunday that he was re-opening the recruiting process. At the bottom of this article, FAUOwlAccess.com members were the first to hear from Joseph about the reasons behind his decision.

While the FAU coaching staff likely wasn't very pleased to learn Joseph's decision, from the standpoint of the player it made plenty of sense. Other schools were starting to push hard for 6-foot-4, 270-pound tackle and he simply – and rationally - wanted to see what other schools have to offer.

In a small way, Joseph actually did FAU a favor. He could have simply entertained recruiters from other schools, never telling FAU coaches he was having second thoughts; then bolted to a bigger program on Signing Day leaving a hole in the Owls recruiting class. That would have been the easy way out. Instead, Joseph chose to be honest with FAU coaches.

Face it, bigger programs have come calling. This will always be a concern with players who commit early to a small program like FAU. If a player commits early, FAU coaches are put in the precarious position of routing for the player to have a good but not great senior year. If he plays too well, bigger schools will take notice and they will be hard to hold off.

Marshall has offered and the full court press being applied by Thundering Herd coaches seems to be the biggest factor in Joseph's decision. North Carolina State is also showing late interest, and I suspect if the Wolfpack offer it will be hard to turn down a BCS school.

Joseph did say, though, that had Signing Day been on Monday, his National Letter of Intent would have been faxed to FAU.

“I would have no reason not to,” Joseph said. “Marshall is really interested and other schools are really interested, but I have yet to go there and see if I fit in like I do at FAU.”

Some of the extra attention coming Joseph's way likely sprouted from his performance in the Central Florida All-Star game on Thursday.

A right tackle throughout most of his high school career, Joseph started at left tackle and played the entire game.

The other positive about Joseph making his thought process known now is that there is plenty of time for FAU to solidify its relationship with Joseph before the Feb. 2 signing date.

“I still want to take my official visit to FAU and I'm still keeping them in the process,” Joseph said.

We moved Joseph back to the "Offers" category on The List. FAUOwlAccess.com's recruiting page is the most complete FAU list anywhere, containing the names of 44 players who have received offers from the Owls, the four who have committed and more than 100 players receiving interest from FAU.

Owl linksArticles of interest to FAU fans
 

  • On FAUOwlAccess.com

FAU fans now are left to hope that another offensive line commit, Mohammad Farah, doesn't generate a similar kind of buzz at his all-star game. On Monday, FAUOwlAccess.com offered this story about Farah, who is heading to the FACA North-South All-Star Game in Sebring.

  • Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel produced this FAU notebook. ...The Sun Belt Conference celebrates its 10-Year anniversary by releasing its 10-Year Anniversary Team including QB Rusty Smith, LB Frantz Joseph and TE Jason Harmon

FAU's Rusty Smith is top QB in Sun Belt history

The Sun Belt Conference made official what many FAU fans already knew.

Quarterback Rusty Smith is the best quarterback in Sun Belt Conference history.
Smith was named to the Sun Belt Conference’s 10-year Anniversary team on Monday, chosen by fans and a panel of coaches and media members.
Smith (2006-09) threw for 10,112 yards and 76 touchdowns in his career – both Sun Belt Conference records and became the first quarterback from the Sun Belt to start an NFL game earlier this season when he started a game for the Tennessee Titans.
Other Owls who made the team were tight end Jason Harmon and linebacker Frantz Joseph.
Harmon, who played for the Owls from 2005-09 had 1,745 yards receiving and scored 13 touchdowns.
Joseph (2006-08) is FAU’s all-time leading tackler with 346.
As part of the Sun Belt’s 10-year anniversary celebration, the conference also announced its voting for the Top 10 moments in SBC history with the Owls’ back-to-back bowl victories in 2007 (New Orleans Bowl) and 2008 (Motor City Bowl) making the list.
FAU did not make any of the plays of the last 10 years, but it was on the field when Middle Tennessee made one – the Hail Mary touchdown pass caught by Malcom Beyah on the last play of the game  in MTSU’s  14-13 victory in 2008.

> Click here for the entire Sun Belt Conference All-10 Year Anniversary Team, Top moments and to plays via SunBeltSports.org.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: Suites are selling at FAU Stadium

There could be some FAU supporters who find something nice in their stocking this Christmas.http://www.fauowlaccess.com/CMSFiles/2010-11/stadium/StadiumShots/4StadiumShots121510_450.JPG

How about a key to one of the new plush and luxurious suites and loge boxes at the new FAU football stadium?
FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos told FAUOwlAccess.com that three of the suites and three of the loge boxes at the new stadium have already been sold.
“We have some people who have committed, made deposit and will be first in the queue,” Angelos said.
That's pretty good considering the stadium is still in the early stages of construction (photos).
By the way, the suites go for around $100,000 and the loge boxes start at around  $12,500 so these are some high-end commitments FAU has landed.  
For FAU, it’s a good early sign that the market is indeed interested in buying suites for the stadium – and there are more parties who may be coming on board shortly, Angelos said.
“We have others that have said they have verbally committed and others who sound like they are interested to go with those who have already signed the paperwork ,” Angelos said.
Angelos said a sales staff for the suites is being assembled to push the high-end seating. But it looks like FAU is off to a good start already. Let’s hope it continues.
“The players are starting to be put in the right position and we’re starting to ramp up the sales,” Angelos said. "It’s coming together and we will probably start ratcheting up at the beginning of the year.”
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • On FAUOwlAccess
The basketball team won its second consecutive road game on Sunday, by outlasting ULM 60-58. Click here for a recap, analysis and stats.
  • Other linkage
How the Monroe News-Star saw the game from the ULM perspective. …Here’s the Sun-Sentinel’s recap.
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: FAU hoops on TV today a rare sight
If it seems like it was a long time ago that FAU fans caught a glimpse of their basketball team, that’s because it was a long time ago.
It’s been two weeks since FAU fans stormed the court – in my opinion, deservedly so – after the Owls defeated South Florida of the Big East Conference.
But today, Owl fans can finally watch their team in action again. It won’t be at The Burrow, you will have to watch in the comfort of your home as FAU faces Louisiana-Monroe on CSS at 7 p.m.
Here is the official suggestion on how to best follow the action. Watch the game, listen to Ken LaVicka on ESPN 760 and have a computer nearby to follow our Tweets on the game and then read our recap after the game is over.
By the way, there are a few other opportunities to watch the Owls on TV this season including
  • 01.15.10 FAU at WKU on FCS (available on Comcast’s Digital Cable and ATT UVerse)
  • 01.29.10 WKU at FAU on FCS (available on Comcast’s Digital Cable and ATT UVerse)
  • 02.05.10 FIU at FAU on CSS
And possibly..
  • 02.10.10 FAU at Denver on FCS (available on Comcast’s Digital Cable and ATT UVerse)
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • On FAUOwlAccess.com
In addition to our preview on the basketball game, we talked to Pompano Beach-Ely linebacker Conard Johnson about his commitment to FAU. Remember that the source for the best and most accurate FAU recruiting information is FAUOwlAccess.com.
  • Other linkage
Here’s a preview of the hoops game from the Monroe News-Star. …The Sun-Sentinel also reported on Johnson’s commitment.

 

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Troy should have turned down New Orleans Bowl invite

Today is the first day of the college bowl season and today’s action naturally features a Sun Belt Conference team as Troy will face Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl.

Forgive me if I am less than excited. A few weeks agoI wrote about how FIU was royally screwed by not playing in the New Orleans Bowl as the rightful champion and was sent to Detroit, where the response has been as expected.
The last few weeks have only reinforced the notion that the Sun Belt should crown a champion and that champion should not be treated like, well, the third-place team in the Sun Belt Conference.
After seeing how one of its own was treated, we should all wish the Sun Belt Conference ADs and Presidents would vote ASAP to change the way it determines its champion - and what bowl game it plays in. But I’m not holding my breath. The current system penalizes FAU and FIU while potentially rewards everyone else.
Short of that, the rest of the members of the Sun Belt Conference should have staged a protest this bowl season due to the embrassment the Golden Panthers have to endure by not only being shipped to Detroit, but having to watch the Trojans prance on the turf of the Superdome, gloating about their succesful “Drive for Five.”
After narrowly losing 52-35 to FIU this season, Troy should have turned down the invitation to the New Orleans to allow FIU to play where it deserves to play, based on on-the field performance – apparently a decreasing aspect of college athletics.
Troy coach Larry Blakeney could have stepped to the podium the day the bowl invites went out and stand up for sportsmanship by declaring that the Trojans were allowing FIU to play in New Orleans why Troy would be playing in Mobile.
Since Troy is into clever slogans, Blakeney could have looked into the cameras and said “The ‘Drive for Five’ has led us to‘Keep it down home, cuz’ this bowl season as we will be playing closer to our fans in Mobile. Let’s face it, FIU whupped our tail and they deserve to be in New Orleans, not us.”
Instead, I’m sure we’ll get plenty of mentions of Troy being the Sun Belt Conference champion during tonight’s New Orleans Bowl. Well, the Trojans are playing in the New Orleans Bowl, so I guess it must be true!
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • FAUOwlAccess.com
We caught up with Centennial running back Javaris Giles, who has committed to FAU, and discussed his recruitment with him.
Check back later today when we have a preview of Sunday’s basketball game at Louisiana-Monroe.
  • Other linkage
Estero offensive lineman Mohammad Farah committs to FAU, the Naples Daily News reports
Friday's daily briefing: An interesting note about Howard Schnellenberger

Brian Smith has been around his share of well-known coaches.

He played college ball for Division III St. John's (Minn.), where John Gagliardi calls the shots. Haven't heard of him? You should have. Gagliardi is the winningest NCAA football coach of all time, posting a career record of 478-129-11.

Among other jobs, Smith is currently an offensive line coach at a high school in Minnesota, where the head coach is Mike Grant, son of NFL Hall-of-Fame coach Bud Grant.

A couple years ago Smith also coached on Howard Schnellenberger's (photo) staff at the Texas vs. The Nation game.

A few weeks back Smith had a little free time and he chose to spend it with the Schnellenbergers. He attended practices and was on the sideline for the Troy game. He even came to ESPN 760's Howard Schnellenberger radio show at Hooters that week, which is where we had a chance to sit and talk.

Smith contacted me on Thursday hoping I could help him get in touch with some South Florida media members, intending to send them the note below. I thought it provided an interesting look at the Schnellenbergers and figured FAU fans might find it interesting reading.



I’m writing to share about an experience with a friend, but as your will find out, it is really about a family. Picture this, living in the opposite side of the country and from a different generation, I was not aware of his success on and off the gridiron until two years ago. The time I have spent with him, it has been a pleasure to visit, talk and learn. In using the term learn, it isn’t just about his passion for football, but for life. Yes, he has been successful on the gridiron; it is only half of it.

From another successful coach, I steal this line… A successful coach needs a patient wife, loyal dog, and great quarterback - and not necessarily in that order. Behind my friend, there are all three. He uses football as a vehicle to stress life’s values. Among the wins and losses, a true win is developing young people into men ready to contribute to the world. If one was to make a list of names he has impacted, it goes on and on. When you look in many of his pictures, you see a beautiful person standing by his side.  His wife, bless her; she is extremely giving of herself. She takes the time to visit with players and staff throughout the season. During Senior Day, she is standing there sending seniors off in their final home game. Last, you can’t forget their dog Blitz. Whenever you visit their home, there she is greeting you at the door by their side.

Going back to the beginning, being about family, it is more than just the two. While visiting my friends at their home, I was introduced to everyone. And I truly mean everyone. They make you feel part of their family. From meeting the office staff, coaching staff to their own children and grandchildren, everyone is willing to lend you their shirt off their back. Being from across the country, everyone makes you feel at home.

Some of you may already know who I am speaking of and some may not. The family is the Schellenberger’s, Howard and Beverlee. I can’t say enough how welcoming they are to people. As time goes on, and we strengthen our relationships in life, I’m very thankful for to say they are my friends.



Brian Smith


Owl LinksArticles of interest to FAU fans

FAU needed a little extra time, but the Owls ultimately defeated Troy in the Sun Belt opener. Here is the story from FAUOwlaccess.com.

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: FAU defensive end Cory Henry earns national recognition

Florida Atlantic true freshman defensive end Cory Henry made quite an impression with his play this season.

Apparently it was enough to catch the eye of Phil Steele, who placed Henry on the fourth team of his freshman All-American team.
Not bad for a player who was severely limited due to some nagging injuries, but still managed to lead the team with five sacks this season.
Watching Henry play is a glimpse into the future of the Owls defense and with a few more years of Henry, and some redshirt freshman such as linebacker Randell Johnson and cornerback Keith Reaser, you have to think the Owls have a pretty good foundation for a few more years.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • FAUOwlAccess.com
There’s basketball action tonight with FAU continuing its road trip to face Troy at 8 p.m. Check out our preview here.
  • Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel looks at Brett Royster's shot-blocking prowess. ...The Dothan Eagle has a preview of tonight's game from a Troy perspective
 
 
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Long road trip not time for FAU to have short bench

As FAUOwlAccess.com reported on Tuesday, the Owls are without two reserve players on this long road-trip which still has three more games and won’t be over until Dec. 22.

FAU confirmed to FAUOwlAccess.com that forward DeMonte Simpson and guard Darren Stewart (both logging just 3.0 minutes per games played) are currently not with the team as the Owls get ready to face Troy on Thursday.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong time to be short of a couple of players – no matter how much they would or would not have contributed – as a deep bench is a luxury when playing this many games in the span of a few days.
It’s hoped that Stewart and Simpson (pictured) will be returning soon, but this is when two little-used players could have gotten some valuable court time to improve their skills and, more importantly, help provide some depth during this brutal stretch of games.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • On FAUOwlAccess.com
In an FAUOwlAccess.com exclusive, we reported the absence of Stewart and Simpson.
  • Other linkage
Take a look at a Sun Belt Conference All-Freshman Team from The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal featuring C Jimmie Colley, DE Cory Henry and LB Randell Johnson.
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: FAU may not have lost that 3-0 OT game to Arkansas State in 2005

I remember watching that kick floating through the air in 2005 that chilly night in Jonesboro, Ark.

Of course, I should remember it. A field goal by Arkansas State in overtime was the only points scored that night.
It was a night FAU was part of NCAA football history as the Owls and the Red Wolves battled to a scoreless tie in regulation. The only time that happened during the overtime era.
Now, it’s possible that game never happened – at least as far as Arkansas State is concerned.
On Tuesday ASU announced its self-imposed penalties for NCAA violations occurring from 2005-06. Those penalties include vacating four victories in 2005 and all six victories in 2006 in football.
If the penalties are accepted and that infamous game is among the victories vacated, FAU doesn’t get to count it as a victory, but Arkansas State doesn’t either.
Perhaps of slightly more importance is the fact that in 2005 Arkansas State was one of three co-champions of the Sun Belt with a 5-2 Sun Belt record and played in the New Orleans Bowl against Southern Mississippi.
Sun Belt Conference officials told Kevin Tuberville of the Jonesboro Sun that no decision had been reached if the conference title from that season should be vacated as well.
Of course, the SBC should do just that.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
  • FAU Owl Access
The FAU basketball team fell short as it tried to extend its three-game winning streak vs. Siena on Monday night. We were following the action from Albany, N.Y. as the Owls lost to the Saints 72-69.
  • Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel had this report on the game...Here's what the Albany Times Union wrote with reaction from the Siena lockerroom.
Monday's Daily Briefing: See Barfield hit game-winning shot vs. GSU

This game looked to be a new low for what was already a season filled with valleys.

The FAU women's basketball team trailed Georgia Southern by 18 points in the second half. That's an Eagles team that had won only once in eight tries this season.


Suddenly, though, FAU came to life. Lyrell Barfield hit a couple of shots, the Owls' pressure defense forced some turnovers and, boom, FAU launched a run. The Owls didn't complete the comeback until Barfield drained a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to win 68-65. To see the shot and hear coach Chancellor Dugan and Barfield discuss it, watch the above video.

FAU led for less than one minute in the game, but that didn't matter. In the end, the Owls rang the Victory Bell.

Monday's win is the kind of victory that can change a season. The Owls finally displayed the explosiveness they've been missing. They also showed heart. Seven FAU players in their first year at Boca Raton adorned the score sheet. Wins like this build chemistry – something that this year has only been found on the academic side of campus.

The victory isn't a panacea. FAU was truly awful in the first half of the game and there certainly won't be any monuments erected to teams that beat Georgia Southern this season.

FAU coach Chancellor Dugan seems to think this team will come together. To me, it doesn't look like one that will compete for the Sun Belt crown. Certainly not yet, anyway.

The Owls are only 3-6 but make no mistake, Sunday's victory win provided more than a simple notch in the win column. If the Owls build on Sunday's momentum and string together some victories, people will point to that Barfield 3-pointer as being the catalyst. Remember, however, that while Barfield's shot won the game, the act of fighting back from an 18-point deficit will prove to be more important to the season.

Owl linksArticles of interest to FAU fans
As you've already figured out, the FAUOwlAccess.com team covered the women's victory over Georgia Southern.

We also provided this preview of tonight's men's game at Siena. Interested in reading more about that game? I also answered some questions for an entry on SienaSaintsblog.com.

Other links:

Here's a short account of the women's game from the Savannah Morning News.

Sunday’s Daily Briefing: FAU hoops pulls off another big road victory

Quality road wins against Mississippi State and Hofstra and a 1-0 record vs. the Big East after a home victory vs. South Florida. A CBSSports.com RPI of 43 - before yesterday's win at Hofstra. Don’t forget a neutral site victory vs. UW-Milwaukee.

It’s early, but it sounds like the beginnings of a tournament resume is being built. And don't look now, but it's being builty by none other than your FAU Owls.
There is still a ton of basketball to be played, but one has to be impressed with the way the Owls are playing right now.
Of course, it’s the games in the Sun Belt Conference – especially the SBC Tournament – that will determine if this team could be part of the Big Dance.
The winner of the SBC Tournament earns the automatic bid, and most of the time, that’s it from the Sun Belt.
But not all the time.
I’m not saying the Owls will, or even deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament field if they don’t win the conference tournament, but don’t let anyone tell you it’s a certainty that only one Sun Belt team per year makes it to the post-season. As recently as 2008, the Sun Belt placed two teams (WKU and South Alabama) into the tournament.
It’s been done before, could it happen again?
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was monitoring the hoops game at Hofstra. Here’s our report.
Other linkage…
 
 
Saturday’s Daily Briefing: FAU fans have to wait a while for next hoops home game

The FAU basketball team energized its fans and students with a thrilling victory vs. South Florida last week.

Unfortunately that’s the last time Owls fans will see the team for almost a month.
FAU begins a five-game road swing today vs. Hofstra and won’t play its next home game until Dec. 30 vs. Manhattan.
That makes it tough for FAU to capitalize on the excitement the students had after the game vs. the Bulls. However, I have faith the students who are giving the team a real advantage will be back at The Burrow once classes resume in January.
We'll be doing our part by previewing each game on the road swing, updating the action on the court with our Twitter updates during the games and our providing recaps and analysis after each game. 
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Check out FAUOwlAccess.com’s preview and scouting reports for tonight’s game at Hofstra.
We also posted our grades and projected depth chart for next year for the Owls’ defense.
Other linkage…

 

 
 
 

 

Friday's Daily Briefing: Take a look at Schnellenberger's Top 25 ballot

It’s always interesting – and sometimes controversial – to see how the coaches voted in the final USA Today Top 25 poll that makes up part of the BCS formula.

I’m even more curious when one of the voters is FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger.
Since the last vote each season is always made public, let’s go over how Schnellenberger voted.
Here’s his ballot with each team’s actual ranking in the poll if it was different from how Schnellenberger voted.
Howard Schnellenberger’s Top 25 ballot
1. Auburn (2)
2. Oregon (1)
3. TCU
4. Stanford (5)
5. Wisconsin (4)
6. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma (8 tie)
8. Michigan State (7)
9. Arkansas (8 tie)
10. LSU (12)
11. Boise State (10)
12. Missouri (14)
13. Virginia Tech (11)
14. Oklahoma State (13)
15. Nebraska (16)
16. Alabama (18)
17. Nevada (15)
18. Texas A&M (17)
19. Utah
20. West Virginia
21. Florida State (23)
22. South Carolina (20)
23. Northern Illinois (NR)
24. Hawaii (25)
25. Arizona (NR)
Looks about right, except Schnellenberger did leave Central Florida off the ballot, even though the Knights were ranked No. 24 in the poll.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess’com gave our Owl-Access pass members our season-ending grades for each unit and an early look at the projected pre-spring depth chart.
Today we’ll do the same thing with the FAU defense.
 
Other linkage…
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: FAU WR Lester Jean jobbed by Sun Belt voters
It shouldn’t be surprising that FAU didn’t have much representation on the All-Sun Belt Conference team released on Wednesday.
When you finish 4-8, don’t expect the individual awards to come rolling in. Perhaps it is fitting that Mickey Groody, the punter, was the only Owl honored on the first team. Groody certainly deserved the accolade as his 45.7 yards per punt led the Sun Belt Conference and is the highest in FAU history. Owl fans just wish he wasn’t on the field so much.
Then there Is the case of senior receiver Lester Jean, who was left of the first team and named to the second-team. Jean led the Sun Belt with 82.3 yards per game, eight receiving yards and his 988 yards in receiving was 172 yards more than the next most prolific receiver, T.Y. Hilton of Florida International, who was named the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year.
Then there is the other receiver besides Hilton who was selected over Jean – Troy’s Jerrell Jernigan. Owl fans may have trouble remembering him since he was held to 38 yards on seven catches by the FAU defense on Saturday. For the season Jernigan had 774 yards receiving and his 64.5 yards per game ranked No. 4 in the Sun Belt. But wait, Jernigan is an outstanding kick returner, some will counter. Well, there is a category for return specialist AND for All-Propose on the ballot, so maybe that’s where Jeringan’s returning acumen should have been recognized.,
In my opinion the voters dropped the ball and Jean should have been on the first team.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com brought you the results of the voting for the All-Sun Belt Conference teams.
 
Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger's salary a steal for FAU

Each season around this time USA Today releases its annual analysis of salaries for college football coaches.

Using public records requests and good old fashioned reporting methods, the results are always interesting.
You can find the body of their work here.
Of course, in this space we are concerned with FAU and the rest of the Sun Belt Conference so here are the numbers you will find interesting.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s total compensation comes in at $407,905
And here is where the rest of the Sun Belt coaches rank
  1. Rick Stockstill, MTSU $491,580
  2. Mario Cristobal, FIU $437,382
  3. Howard Schnellenberger, FAU $407,905
  4. Larry Blakeney, Troy $356,000
  5. Todd Dodge, North Texas $289,161
  6. Rickey Bustle, ULL $226,000
  7. Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky $225,000
  8. Steve Roberts, Arkansas State $223,078
  9. Todd Berry, ULM, $215,000
These figures are for 2010 and it should be noted that Arkansas State, ULL and North Texas will have new coaches next season. Reported figures for new ASU coach Hugh Freeze’s salary is $151,660 and North Texas will reportedly pay Dan McCarney a base salary of “close to” $500,000 likely making him the highest paid coach in the league next season.
I still say FAU is getting the bargain by getting Schnellenberger, whose contract runs out in 2011.
As the figures for the top salary in the league creeps toward $600,000 I wonder what FAU will be paying for their next coach?
After looking at what the top coaches in the league are making, the university would be wise to see if Schnellenberger would sit down and talk about an extension.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Tuesday we posted the season-ending episode of The Howard Schnellenberger Show at FAUOwlAccess.com.
Other linkage..
Sun-Sentinel: Construction on FAU interchange I-95 and Spanish River Blvd. to begin in 2015
 
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Recruiting season heating up for Florida Atlantic

If you spend much time on the internet, this may come as some surprise to you, but apparently there must be a segment of the population which still has confidence in the FAU football program.

At least confidence enough to sign up to spend most of their waking hours the next four to five years trying to help the program succeed.
The Sun-Sentinel reported on Monday that Coconut Creek-Monarch offensive lineman Daniel Donnely committed to the Owls. Donnely joins Orlando-Freedom OL Josue Joseph as the first two players who have verbally committed to to FAU for the 2011 recruiting class.
It’s not easy for recruits to block out the complaints of  how bad the program had slipped and how regime change was the only option.
The sad part is that much of the criticisim isn’t coming from other schools trying to "bad mouth" the Owls, but from those who purport to be FAU supporters.
Well, apparently Donnely wasn’t listening and perhaps, if the mob mentality subsides, the Owls will be able to find many more quality prospects like him by National Signing Day.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we were down at the Oxley Center for the first day of the 2011 off-season and filed this report.
Check back later today for the final edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show.
Other linkage…
 
 
Monday's Daily Briefing: Sun Belt champion FIU gets cold shoulder, sent to Detroit

For the first time in its 10-year history, the Sun Belt Conference will have three teams playing in bowl games.

FIU, Troy and Middle Tennessee State were the only teams in the Sun Belt which were bowl eligible and all three were placed in bowl games.

  • FIU will face Toledo in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26
  • Troy will face Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18
  • Middle Tennessee will face Miami (Ohio) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 6

A step forward for the Sun Belt? Absolutely.

SBC leaders should take a bow.

If they remain in that position for a few seconds they'll have an idea of how FIU players, coaches and administrators felt Sunday.

As much fun as we have here needling FIU (and the look on the players faces I just saw on TV at Sunday’s bowl announcement looked like they were in an insurance seminar) it isn’t right that the Golden Panthers aren’t playing in New Orleans.

Look, FIU is the rightful Sun Belt champion. The Golden Panthers earned it on the field by beating Troy. The Trojans can claim a co-championship if they like because they tied FIU with a 6-2 SBC record. But everyone knows the Golden Panthers deserve the title.

Instead the Sun Belt Conference turned its back on its best team - and best story - and allowed FIU to be sent to a one of the few places place on earth worse than Siberia.

Now FIU’s first-ever bowl experience will be one that is less than memorable.

FAU fans aren’t likely to shed many tears over FIU’s predicament, but if the Sun Belt doesn’t do something after this year’s bowl fiasco, remember that it could be the Owls who are shipped off on a slow boat to China to play a bowl game instead of Bourbon Street in the future.

The Sun Belt needs to declare one champion – using tiebreakers determined on the field. And that champion needs to be in New Orleans or be shipped somewhere else only by mutual decision between the school and the bowl.

That certainly didn’t happen this time, and the Sun Belt should be embarrassed to allow a team which won a share of the title – indeed, its true champion - to be treated like a third-class citizen.

Schools can claim co-championships if they like, but playing in the New Orleans Bowl needs to mean something more than just how many tickets will be sold. Otherwise, why even play the games. Just put a team which has the most fans in the New Orleans Bowl every year? It can't be any worse than what happened this time as money ruled and integrity was thrown out the window.

 

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Students take red to the extreme

FAU fans can thank the basketball team for turning what started out to be a day to forget into one that will likely be remembered for a long time.

A couple hours after the football team got destroyed by Troy 44-7, the basketball team knocked off its second power conference foe in as many outings.

The roundballers downed South Florida 50-42 in front of a Burrow crowd that was about as red as Superman's cape.

Once again basketball coach Mike Jarvis and the players were quick to thank the student body, and in particular the student government – which is quickly becoming the de facto marketing department for athletics.

Not only did the students put together a two-sport pep rally on Thursday in which they gave out red shirts for the basketball game, they also bought the basketball team new red uniforms for Saturday night's game against USF.

The players didn't find out about the unis until after the pregame shoot around, when they returned to the locker room to find the red garb hanging in their lockers.

“We were already excited for this game and that just set us off,” said forward Kore White, who followed his 18-point, 8 rebound performance against Mississippi St. with 11 points and six rebounds on Saturday.

“We came in with high energy being at home, getting ready to play a Big East team and beat them. That energy that we came out with showed in the first couple minutes of the game.”

Dressing the team in red had been the plan for nearly half a year. Student government president Ayden Maher said the group purchased the uniforms back in June, shelling out about $2,000 for the duds and shoot-around tops.

I'm not sure the packed student section understood how the players came to be wearing new jerseys, or even that they were new at all, but it didn't matter. That section was as packed and rowdy as it has been since last season's FIU game.

“I think we are ushering in a new era in student pride at FAU,” Maher said at halftime. “Before you know it, that little section in The Burrow will look like that night after night.”

At this point, maybe it's time to lobby student government to invest in some new football uniforms, too.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

In what seems to have been the norm lately, it was double-duty for FAUOwlAccess.com.

First it of the last game at Lockhart Stadium and Senior Day in FAU's 44-7 loss to Troy.

Then it was off to The Burrow for the thrilling upset of USF.

Of course that was just the begining as the staff at FAUOwlAccess.com worked way into the wee hours of the morning so you would have complete coverage including video highlights when you woke up this morning.

Check out our coverage of the football game and basketball game. We think you'll enjoy the coverage as much as we did bringing it to you.

Other linkage...

Football: Sun-Sentinel / Palm Beach Post / Dothan Eagle

Basketball: Sun-Sentinel

 

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Try as it might, FAU won’t top Troy

Today marks the end of an era. Or is it the end of an error?

Assuming there are no delays on FAU’s on-campus stadium – and what would make anyone think there could possibly be a delay on this project? - the Owls will never have to play another game on the sandy field at Lockhart Stadium.
That means no cramped locker rooms.
That means no gravel parking lots.
And, that means possibly winning a replay challenge.
Oh, there were some good times at the old blue and yellow lady, such as the large crowds vs. USF in 2007 and the I-AA semifinal vs. Colgate in 2003.
But the best memory will be students going back and forth to opposite end zones during an overtime loss to ULM in 2007.
Lockhart Stadium, it’s been great to know you, but it will be great to see you in my rearview mirror.
The pick: FAU players won’t be overcome with emotion either in today’s last game at Lockhart Stadium. Meanwhile Troy will play with a possible share of the SBC title on the line in hopes of extending their streak of consecutive titles or shared titles to five. Troy will have more motivation and is a better team. Troy 35, FAU 21.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Double-duty again for us at FAUOwlAccess.com. Check out our previews of the football finale vs. Troy coplete with our video breakdown and the basketball game vs. South Florida.
Today we’ll have coverage from the last game at Lockhart and at The Burrow.
Other linkage…
Game Previews: Sun-Sentinel / Dothan Eagle
Friday's Daily Briefing: Smith may back on sidelines for Titans
Reports out of Tennessee are that Titans quarterback Kerry Collins is healing quickly and could be back in the starting lineup this Sunday.
That means former FAU QB Rusty Smith will go back to being a reserve, but all is not lost. Being the backup to a player like Collins who is on the mend means Smith has a chance to see action this week against Jacksonville, the team he grew up rooting for.
And, no matter what happens to Smith down the road, he will always be able to say he started a game in the NFL and created some excitement during a low time for the FAU football program.
I found this clip of former FAU player Jason Pugh who is now the weekend sports anchor for WPTC-Ch. 5, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, talking about Smith’s impact. I think you’ll enjoy it and it begs the question. Are these two, the two most succesful and well-known former Owls?
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Like we were for every one of the Owls’ practices this season, we were at Thursday’s workout to bring you this report.
Check back later today for our preview of Saturday’s season-finale vs. Troy and a preview of the basketball team’s game vs. South Florida.
Other linkage…
Thursday's Daily Briefing: The bell may be catching on

Wednesday afternoon's gathering couldn't exactly be categorized as a “throng,” but that's not how these things begin.

They start small. They start with the fervent, true believers and spread.

That's the group that stood in front of The Burrow at 4 p.m. awaiting the basketball team's return from Mississippi following FAU's victory over Mississippi St. - the Owls' first-ever win over an SEC team.

The cheer that erupted from the 35 or so fans as the team exited their shuttle could be heard throughout the athletic area of FAU's campus, though.

This group, comprised mostly of students, wasn't there simply to congratulate – they wanted tradition. They wanted The Bell.

Coach Mike Jarvis and the team gave them what they were looking for. They let the man who donated the Taylor Victory Bell , Crash Taylor, ring it first, then everyone from the team took their turn. That's Jordan McCoy pulling the cord in the photo.

The players seemed to enjoy the response. No one rang the bell with more fervor than Jarvis.

“I love the reception - the fact that the kids would come out,” Jarvis said. “I think it's the start of something with the students here at FAU.”

Makes you wonder, though. The students organized the gathering mostly through word of mouth and social media. Most came across campus despite the threat of bad weather. The closest major building, after all, is the Oxley Center, which houses the athletic administrators.

How much larger would the gathering have been if the athletic department shared the same enthusiasm as the students over one of the biggest victories in department history?

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans.

We're running out of practice days on the football field. At the Owls' penultimate workout, FAUOwlAccess.com learned that Howard Schnellenberger isn't planning to use Saturday's final game simply to give underclassmen experience.

And yes, we'll be be at the Oxley Center practice fields later today for the Owls' final practice.

Other links:

Sun-Sentinel: Owls wil lose 19 seniors

Dothan Eagle: Troy's Chris Anderson ready for trip home to Fort Lauderdale
 

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

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