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Posts from December 2011

FAU RB Morris receives NFL Combine invite

NFL scouts want to get a better look at running back Alfred Morris.

The league has invited the FAU running back to its scouting combine, which will be held Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis.

Morris said he learned of the invite through via email on Friday.

“I'm excited,” Morris said. “I'm thankful. I definitely wanted it and I''m glad it came.”

Upon reading the email, Morris immediately told his mother, who was in the room with him.

“My mom was jumping around,” Morris said. “She was doing her little happy dance.”

Morris broke multiple Florida Atlantic records this season. He leaves Boca Raton as the Owls' all-time leader in rushing yards, touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns.

The lone bright spot on FAU's offense this past season, Morris rushed for 1,186 yards and nine touchdowns. In his career Morris amassed 3,529 yards on the ground. Several scouts have also told me they are impressed with his blocking ability.

His high point in 2011 came in the Owls' lone victory, which saw Morris rush for 198 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries against UAB.

Morris becomes the fifth Owl in the brief history of the program to be invited to the NFL Combine. Jeff Van Camp, Rob Housler and Lestar Jean participated in last year's combine. Jared Allen attended the 2005 Combine.

NFL? Not yet for FAU fullback Xavier Stinson

Howard Schnellenberger pledged not to meddle in Carl Pelini's football team, but prior to the end of the season he did help the new FAU football coach keep what could be an important cog in next year's offense from leaving the team.

Toward the end of this past season, 5-foot-9, 240-pound fullback Xavier Stinson had been considering making himself available for the NFL draft. The uncertainty surrounding who the next coach would be and whether or not that coach would even need a fullback had Stinson wondering whether he would have a role on the 2012 Owls' offense.

Stinson asked Schnellenberger for advice, and he says the coach told him that no matter what, his draft profile would be elevated by another year in college. Stinson indicated that the conversation with Schnellenberger played a major role in the decision to return for a senior season.

We won't know for sure until spring begins, but the hiring of Brian Wright as offensive coordinator appears to be a positive for Stinson. Wright likes to run the ball, and seems to employ the two-back set more liberally than most spread offenses do.

Montana State's spring depth chard doesn't designate a fullback, but Stinson's versatility running and catching the ball (105 yards rushing, 22 catches for 147 yards and 1 TD receiving in 2011), as well has his tenacity as a blocker should allow him to get an opportunity in the new offense.

Plus, the new Owls offense also stands to benefit from the leadership he can provide.



The video above is a feature on Stinson we produced for the Howard Schnellenberger Show that ran near the end of the season. I look forward to creating a new video next season examining his draft prospects.

More selfishly, I'm salivating at the prospect of another year of post-game tailgate parties hosted by the Stinson family. Man, that food is outrageously good. But if you plan on sampling the rum cake, you make want to employ a designated driver...

Today's Links...


 


 

FAU's new offense may have the Wright stuff

What's making news on Friday...

 

We reported on Thursday morning that Montana State offensive coordinator Brian Wright has accepted FAU's offer to be the Owls' offensive coordinator.

Unfortunately for those envisioning FAU running wide-open, spread attack that threw the ball on every down, it appears that Wright prefers a balanced attack, with the Bobcats actually running the ball more than they thew it last season.

Personally, I have no problem with that. I grew up believing that to be successful, passing offenses need to be able to establish the run first unless you have truly great quarterbacks – and great quarterbacks don't exactly grow on trees. It will be good to see some two-back sets sprinked in with mutiple receiver sets.

Also, by having an offensive philosophy heavy in the run, FAU may have a chance at success sooner. The Owls have plenty of unproven, but skilled running backs who have been waiting behind Alfred Morris. Players like Travis Jones, Damian Fortner and Cary White have been impressive in practice and now may get to see what they can do in games.

FAU coach Carl Pelini indicated that when the hiring of the coordinator is completed, the rest of the offensive coaching staff will fall into place quickly, so there could be news coming soon on some other coaches coming in.

Today's Links...

Owl Access: An update on two prep school prospects the Owls are recruiting

Other stories on Wright...

Palm Beach Post / Sun-Sentinel / University Press

 

Wright to be Owls' new offensive coordinator

What's making news on Thursday...

Montana State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Wright has accepted an offer to become Florida Atlantic’s offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to Owl Access.

Wright became the Bobcats’ offensive coordinator in 2010 after coaching at Youngstown State from 2001-09 and was the Penguins’ offensive coordinator from 2005-09.

Under Wright, the Bobcats had the No. 17 offense in the FCS, averaging 430.2 yards per game. In 2010, Montana State had the No. 4 offense in FCS with 451 yards per game as Montana State won the Big Sky Championship.

Other candidates for the position were Kansas co-offensive coordinator David Beaty, Toledo quarterbacks coach Scott Isphording and Ohio offensive coordinator Gerry Gdowski.

When Wright is officially hired he will join three other members of the staff under first-year coach Carl Pelini. After Pelini hired defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders, Pelini added Ross Watson, who will be a defensive backs coach, and Jeff Sims.

Today's Links...

 

 

 

FAU to face Georgia and Alabama back-to-back

What’s making news on Wednesday…

 When the SEC released its 2012 football schedule this morning, it gave a good indication on when FAU will face Alabama.

A week after the Owls will face Georgia in Athens on Sept. 15 it looks like FAU will play Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 22, reports out of Alabama say.

FAU also has a game scheduled at Navy on Nov. 3.

There was some discussion a few weeks ago that the SEC would immediately move to a nine-game conference schedule, putting FAU’s games at Alabama or Georgia in jeopardy. However, the SEC will stand pat in 2012 although the nine-game conference schedule is a possibility starting in 2013.

The Sun Belt Conference typically releases its schedule in the spring, but it looks like FAU will get the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide in back-to-back weeks next season.

Today's links...

Siena could be shorthanded for game at FAU on Wed.

What’s making news on Tuesday…

Many are getting back to normal after the Christmas holiday and that will include the FAU basketball team, which returns to action on Wednesday with a home game against Siena.

The Owls, who sorely need a victory, could be facing a depleted team when the Saints come to town.

According to Mike Singelais, who covers Siena for the Albany Times Union, the Saints could be down to six scholarship players vs. the Owls.

On Monday night Singelais (@MarkSingelais)Tweeted :

 Siena Fr. F Marcus Hopper hurt his left shoulder in practice today. Status uncertain for Florida Atlantic on Wed. Was a DNP vs. Princeton.

 If Hopper isn't available for Florida Atlantic, that would leave Siena with 6 available scholarship players vs. the Owls in Boca Raton, Fla.

After one of the players left the team with “homesickness,” the Saints used just six players in their 63-59 victory over Princeton last week.

 Of course, we know one of the Owls’ strengths this season is their depth – although if Greg Gantt is sitting out, the bench isn’t quite as deep. However, I look for FAU players to be wearing out a path on the floor in front of the scorer’s table vs. Siena.

Today's links...

FAU receiving votes in first 2012 baseball poll

We tied a nice bow on the lump of coal that was the 2011 football season, and we are solidly into hoops already. Naturally, it's time to start thinking about the 2012 FAU baseball season.

 

You know we here at OwlAccess love FAU baseball – arguably the school’s most successful sport – and nothing beats those warm spring days sitting on the berm on a blanket watching the Owls. The day after Christmas may seem a little early to be writing about baseball, but last week the first major pre-season college baseball program is out, so Play Ball!

 FAU didn’t make the Top 40 of the Collegiate Baseball pre-season poll, but is receiving votes.

 In fact, the Owls are receiving the 59th most votes, so essentially they crack the Top 100 with the unofficial No. 99 position. That may not be worth hanging a banner, but since there were 292 Division I teams in the nation last season, FAU is just outside the top 1/3 in the nation. That’s not too shabby.

 A few other notes on the poll: 

…Florida is the pre-season No. 1. The Owls play the Gators in Gainesville on March 6.

…The Owls face No. 14 Miami three times and No. 36 Central Florida twice, with both teams playing a game at FAU Stadium.

…In the Sun Belt Conference, FIU is No. 39 with Troy, South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette and Western Kentucky all receiving votes as well.

Today's Links: 

Merry Christmas from all of us at Owl Access

We hope your are having a great holiday today with your family.
To celebrate here's our annual posting of our holiday picture of our favorite silver-haired jolly soul who has brought joy and happiness to so many for many, many years. He's pictured here with Santa Claus.
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 Owl Access.
FAU signee Vile prefers owls over gila monster

During the course of researching for recruiting stories, I've run into some high schools that had interesting mascots.

Though it's not a high school, this one might be my new favorite – and I figured I'd have to pass it on to FAU fans. Consider it an early Christmas present.

The graphic to the left depicts Hank the Gila Monster, the mascot for Eastern Arizona College - former home of new FAU signee Stern Vile.

They are the Gila Monsters. Even better, stories about the Eastern Arizona athletic teams often have headline like: Monsters win in overtime. How cool is that? A monster in every story.

I asked Vile, a native of Amsterdam, whether he was going to miss Hank, and he surprised me with the answer.

Turns out Vile's a bigger fan of owls – to the point where he already has a tattoo of an owl.

“I really like owls,” Vile explained. “It stands for wisdom, so I thought it was a good symbol.”

Vile said he had the owl tattoo before FAU started calling.

It's not a burrowing owl – he didn't learn about them until his official visit to Boca Raton last weekend – but he says it is a Eurasian Eagle Owl, which is the breed of the live owl that attends FAU football games.

So, during his visit, did FAU coaches and players point out that he really should choose FAU because he already has the tattoo?

“They used that a couple times,” Vile said.

Vile says his owl tattoo wasn't the main reason he chose FAU, but hey, every little advantage helps when recruiting.

Today's links...




 

FAU upset with lack of upsets

What's making news on Friday...

 

It wasn’t too long ago when following the FAU basketball team meant you went through the schedule and would look at a three-game stretch of games against Mississippi State, Miami and Harvard (a team ranked in the Top 25 and likely headed to the NCAA Tournament) as three automatic losses.

Ask any of those teams if the Owls were pushovers as FAU did indeed go 0-3 in that stretch, but made their opponents sweat in each game.

By not winning, there is a level of frustration building on the team that can be heard on the radio, but that speaks to how close this team is to winning games like these. Sure the team would like to have won any of the games, but its level of play without its leading scorer is indicative that this team should be fine once Sun Belt Conference play begins in a little more than a week.

Today's Links...

Inuka Rhaheed chooses FAU football

It appears as though FAU has added another lineman to its 2012 recruiting, though which side of the ball he'll play is still a mystery.

Fort Pierce Westwood's Inuka Rhaheed decided earlier this week that he wants to play for FAU next season. Once he meets FAU's new coaching staff in person, that is expected to become official.

“There's something about FAU that sticks out to me,” Rhaheed said on Thursday night. “I think this is the final spot for me.”

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Rhaheed played tackle and end on defense, and guard and center on offense.

He was also Westwood's long snapper.

“He's just one of those lunch pail kind of guys. He's not flashy,” Westwood coach Gene Clemons said. “Whether he's on the offensive line or the defensive line, he's going to command a double team.”

Rhaheed has visited FAU unofficially. The Owls had been recruiting Rhaheed since the summer but didn't make an official offer until about a week ago.

It doesn't matter to Rhaheed which side of the ball he plays on.

“Wherever they need me, I'll play,” Rhaheed said.

Rhaheed said his decision had come down to New Mexico St. and FAU. He visited New Mexico St. this past weekend, but didn't like the area.

“New Mexico St. wasn't that good.” he said.

Rhaheed had previously been committed to Buffalo, but the school rescinded that offer.

“I hope it works out this time,” Rhaheed said.
 

Thursday's Required Reading: Not the way Signing Day was supposed to go

It's safe to say that Wednesday wasn't the Signing Day Jeremy McKnight envisioned.

The Navarro (Texas) Junior College safety spent Wednesday, the first day of the junior college signing period, waiting for his National Letter of Intent to arrive from Florida Atlantic.

About 7:30 p.m. local time, McKnight instead received a call from FAU coach Jeff Sims, telling him that the NLI would not arrive until Thursday morning.

Apparently Fed Ex blamed their inability to deliver the package on poor weather somewhere else in the nation.

“It wasn't too bad,” McKnight said. “Knowing that it's coming tomorrow is good. As long as it gets here, I can't be too mad.”

McKnight spent the entire day at his house playing video games with his little brother and lifting weights in the garage.

“That took my mind off it a little bit,” McKnight said.

Despite the fact that he hasn't technically signed, McKnight expected to stick with a previous plan to allow older brother Cameron to take him out celebrating on Wednesday night.

He may have to cut the night out short to be sure to be awake when the NLI arrives on Thursday. And he could attempt to work the extra day's wait to his advantage.

“I'll try to use that as an excuse to get someone to take me out again,” McKnight joked.

Stern Vile chose not to be nearly as patient.

The Eastern Arizona lineman also didn't receive his NLI to sign, receiving a similar call from Sims telling him the signing would have to wait until Thursday.

Vile didn't seem to want to spend another day waiting for Fed Ex. When I talked to him on Wednesday night he was in line at the local Fed Ex office in Arizona hoping they could hand him the package sent by FAU.

Even if Fed Ex were able to locate and give him the NLI, he didn't expect to be able to sign it and fax it to FAU until Thursday.

'I don't think any place is open,” Vile said.

Riverside (Calif.) Community College center Mustafa Johnson was the only one of the three junior college commitments who did receive his NLI in time. He signed during a ceremony at his college on Wednesday.

Today's Links...



 

Sherwin commitment report premature

There's some talk that prep school defensive lineman Chris Sherwin has committed to Florida Atlantic.

Why haven't we added him as a commitment to our recruiting list? Simple – he doesn't yet have an offer from FAU.

Sherwin (photo, making a tackle) visited FAU this past weekend. When I talked with him on Monday he said, “They have to wait for my transcript with my grades to make sure I can get in.”

When some recruiting services started adding him to their FAU commitment lists tonight, I figured FAU might have gotten back to him with an offer.

Sherwin said Wednesday night that nothing had changed.

Does he want to play for FAU?

“I'm going to commit, probably,” he said.

Sherwin is actually one of two prep school defensive linemen the Owls brought in last weekend. Both are in the same situation. We have a story planned about these two in the coming days.

A little more about Sherwin:

He only played football during his high school junior and senior seasons. After receiving offers only from I-AA schools, Sherwin chose to attend Milford Academy to gain an extra year of playing time and improve his academics.

Sherwin expects an improved SAT score combined with good grades will allow him to be accepted by FAU.

He also improved on the field. In recent weeks Boston College has been showing interest, and Sherwin said the Eagles have indicated an offer is forthcoming.
 

Mustafa Johnson signs NLI to play for FAU

Riverside (Calif.) Community College center Mustafa Johnson officially became the first member of the Owls' 2012 Signing Class when he signed his National Letter of Intent during a ceremony in California on Wednesday.

“I'm glad to get the John Hancock on there,” said Johnson, who admitted feeling “Excited, relieved,
anxious [and] nervous,” throughout the morning.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the junior college signing period. Eastern Arizona offensive lineman Stern Vile and Navarro (Tex.) safety Jeremy McKnight were also expected to sign their NLI's, but as of 3 p.m. EST neither had received the overnight delivery of their paperwork.

Vile attributed the delay to holiday mail traffic.

Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 298-pound offensive lineman who played fullback in high school before taking time away from school to work in a warehouse. During that time Johnson, now 25, grew seven inches and added approximately 100 pounds.

His mother, uncle, little brother, best friend, girlfriend and her parents were in attendance for the ceremony.

Johnson, who has two years of eligibility remaining, planned to head to the weight room following the ceremony before visiting an injured friend in the hospital.

“I'm not taking any breaks or kicking back and having a party or that kind of thing,” said Johnson, who plans to arrive in Boca Raton the weekend of Jan 6. and will take part in spring practice.

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU pulls Moon offer

Florida Atlantic's recruiting class shrank on Tuesday when the Owls rescinded their scholarship offer to Georgia-Stephenson running back T. J. Moon.

“They called some of my coaches and said they were going to go a different route,” Moon (pictured) said Tuesday night. “They pulled my scholarship.”

Moon was the third player to commit to FAU, doing so in the middle of the 2011 season. Carl Pelini took over as head coach in early December.

Pelini garnered a commitment from Delray Beach-American Heritage running back Jeremy Gaskins last week. At that point Gaskins became the third running back in the Owls' 2012 recruiting class.

“They said they wanted a smaller, quicker back,” Moon said. “I guess that I wasn't in their plan.”

Moon was selected to play in the first annual Georgia High School All-Star game. Western Kentucky has been pursuing him.

Should Moon choose to play for the Hilltoppers, he'd face FAU on a yearly basis in Sun Belt Conference play.

“That would be the upside side to it,” Moon said.
 

Pelini holds first press conference since taking over as FAU coach

 

After a busy two-week period when FAU coach Carl Pelini was busy making his first contact with high school coaches and players, he held his first interview Tuesday with South Florida media members since his introductory press conference on Dec. 5.

The highlights...

...Pelini expects to have some additions to the coaching staff as soon as next week and, as expected, once an offensive coordinator is hired, many of the offensive position coaches will fall into place.

...There is still a possibility for former members of the FAU coaching staff to be retained and Pelini said QB coach Jared Allen has been recruiting, so I might make the logical conclusion that Allen could be on Pelini's coaching staff.

...Pelini said his prefers his defense to use a 4-man front and since that has worked in the past, expect the Owls to switch back to a 4-3 after playing with a 3-4 last season.

We'll have complete coverage later in the day as Pelini recaps his first two weeks as FAU's coach.

FAU looking at Toledo QB coach, sources say

What’s making news on Tuesday…

While FAU coach Carl Pelini indicated last week that he may not complete his coaching staff until after the bowl games, that doesn’t mean he isn’t working on filling some positions in the meantime.

For instance, Owl Access has learned Toledo quarterbacks coach Scott Isphording has talked with FAU about joining the coaching staff.

Sources said Isphording interviewed over the weekend, although it is unclear what position he was being considered for.

In an interview with a Nebraska radio station last week, Pelini said he was slowing the search for assistant coaches down until after the bowl season. Toldeo faces Air Force in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28. The Rockets were 8-4 this season and its passing offense was ranked No. 29 in the nation at 272 yards per game.

Today's Links...

Grayshirt Kane still planning to be part of crowded spring QB battle

With Sunday's commitment of Grant Flessner, and his intention to enroll at FAU in January, FAU stands to have six scholarship quarterbacks in spring camp.

If nothing changes between now and then, Flessner and Colton Kane will join Graham Wilbert, Stephen Curtis, David Kooi and Nick Bracewell.

Kane was part of the Owls' 2011 signing class, but delayed enrolling a semester because of the current logjam at quarterback. Now there could be an even bigger one – at least for a little while.

“Competition brings out the best in you. It's always good to have competition,” Kane said.

Kane has already registered for classes and is set to live in a dorm on campus.

The only potential problem? He's yet to hear from the new coaching staff.

“I know they've been busy trying to figure out who their coaches will be, but I guess it would be nice to get a call,” Kane said.

He fully intends to make the trip across state in a couple weeks and is excited about reports that Carl Pelini will hire a offensive coordinator who runs the spread.

“That's what I'm used to from high school,” Kane said. “I'm comfortable with the spread. I'm going to be able to make a lot of the decisions and be able to run the ball.”

Kane rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in his senior season at Navarre, scoring nine touchdowns. He estimates the team used the shotgun 90 percent of the time.

With Kane, Flessner, Curtis and Kooi having experience running the spread, there should be a pretty interesting battle for the starting QB job. And with six quarterbacks in camp, spring practice may do more than decide who's going to start under center. 

It may also prove to be an exercise that eliminates one or two players from the fall rosters.
 

New FAU coach Carl Pelini off to a fast start in recruiting

What’s making news on Monday…

A crucial recruiting period has come to an end and by all accounts, it looks like the Owls fared well as new coach Carl Pelini hit the ground running and landed at least three commitments over the weekend.

You can check out the story here if you are an Owl Access Pass holder.

While it’s quite subjective to know if the players are better than the ones the Owls were pulling in last season, it is interesting to note there is an effort to have a junior college player and even a high school prospect enroll in January and participate in spring practice.

That technique is new to FAU although other programs have been doing it for years. And since this is new to FAU, one has to expect a learning curve for getting players enrolled quickly.

JUCO players? January enrollees? It does appear the recruiting plan is different, but what FAU really was looking for was better players and it’s way too early to tell if Pelini is doing that just yet.

Today's Links:

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Miami-Dade commitments hear from FAU

A couple of days ago we noted that the two Miami-Dade County players who committed to FAU under Howard Schnellenberger's watch hadn't heard from the new football regime.

Miami-Braddock running back Jarvon Anderson (photo) and Miami-Coral Reef defensive back Brendon Clements have both now been contacted by Owls – but not by the person FAU fans might expect.

While new defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders is recruiting Miami-Dade, it was strength coach Rod Payne who let Anderson and Clements know the Owls were still interested. Both Anderson and Clements said they are still committed to FAU.

Payne served as the Owls' defensive tackles coach in 2009 and, sources said,  he might be looking to get back into coaching. Or, because he had been NCAA certified as a recruiter during that original coaching stint, he could have been a convenient body.

Today's Links:




 

Owls put scare into another major program in 2OT loss to Miami

Just a few moments after Florida Atlantic had pushed Miami to two overtimes before finally falling to the Hurricanes 93-90 in the Orange Bowl Classic at the Bank Atlantic Center, Owls coach Mike Jarvis said he'd like to play the Hurricanes every year on one condition.

Jarvis wants the Hurricanes to come to Boca Raton to play an FAU home game from time-to-time.

Maybe there can be an agreement worked out, but Hurricanes coach Jim Larranga probably doesn't want to think about it for a few days.

Can you blame him?

With its leading-scorer on the bench, FAU made clutch shots down the stretch in regulation and in overtime, stretching the Hurricanes to the limit.

Combined with making Mississippi State sweat it out on Tuesday, the Owls have had a positive week despite not pulling off a victory and sitting at 4-7 with the non-conference schedule winding down.

“Our record is deceiving,” said Owls guard Ray Taylor. “We are still getting better as a team. We are still becoming one and we are still growing every day. As long as we do that, we'll still have a very successful season.”

Two years ago, when FAU came into the Orange Bowl Classic to play Miami, Jarvis talked about how a competitive game could lead them to be invited again.

After scaring the Hurricanes, FAU doesn't have to worry about that any more, although Jarvis was still trying to sell the fact that his team is exciting to watch and getting better.

“The wine is not ready yet,” Jarvis said. “It will be, though. This is going to be a good basketball team. And I can tell you one thing, it's certainly a team worth paying to see and watching. It's a fun, fun team. It drives coaches crazy, but it's a fun team to watch.”

FAU faces a good basketball team in Harvard on Thursday and will have to do so without guard Greg Gantt, who won't be back for two weeks with an ankle injury, but even without him the Owls appear to be starting to hit their stride.

Gantt out for today's game vs. Miami

Florida Atlantic junior guard Greg Gantt will not play in today's game against Miami with an ankle injury. Gantt, FAU's leading scorer, could be out for the next two weeks.

Gantt (right) was wearing a boot on his left ankle prior to Saturday's game vs. the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl Classic.

Gantt, who is averaging 12.9 points per game, missed FAU's game at South Florida on Nov. 26, but returned to action four days later at Kansas.

Gantt practiced this week but on Thursday said that his ankle was “70 percent.”

If Gantt misses two weeks he would miss Thursday's game at Harvard and FAU's home game vs. Siena on Dec. 28.

FAU faces Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks from today.

Saturday's Daily Briefing: Taylor having good media week

It's been an interesting week for FAU guard Ray Taylor. After being called out by Mike Jarvis for poor play, Taylor has put together two solid games for the Owls.

Taylor led FAU in with 20 points in the Owls' upset bid of Mississippi St. on Tuesday, but it was an assist that caught the eyes of ESPN produces.

A behind the back pass to Pablo Bertone earned a position on ESPN's coveted Top 10, running over and over on Wednesday morning.

Even though campus was mostly empty this week, plenty of people let Taylor know they saw him.

“I would be lying to say it wasn't fun to see yourself on ESPN, but it would have been a lot more fun if we got the “W” instead,” Taylor said. “Twitter was going crazy for a little bit. I got a lot of texts from the students. The student body saw it. A lot of my friends saw it.”



A lot of his friends are also getting a look at a video featuring Taylor that's making the rounds on YouTube. The above video has garnered more than 300 comments in the past couple days.

Taylor is going to have another chance to impress a large audience today when the Owls take on Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic. We'll see whether Taylor can keep the media blitz rolling.

Today's Links...



 

Miami big man Reggie Johnson could make return vs. FAU on Saturday

FAU may have caught a break when Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie missed Tuesday’s game with knee trouble.

 
It appears the Owls may not be as lucky on Saturday when they face Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic at the Bank Atlantic Center.
 
Reports out of Coral Gables say 6-10, 300-pound center Reggie Johnson could make a return to the court on Saturday after being sidelined since knee surgery in June.
 
UM coach Jim Larranaga said Thursday that Johnson has been practicing for two weeks and "making a lot of progress."
So could Johnson play Saturday?
"I wouldn't rule it out," Larranaga said. 
       
 
FAU fans – and probably Owls coach Mike Jarvis – may remember that Johnson had 14 points and 20 rebounds vs. FAU in UM’s 85-62 victory in the first round of the NIT. And that was with Kore White and Brett Royster defending, or trying to defend Johnson.
Pelini's coaching staff taking shape

What’s making news on Friday…

Slowly, but surely Carl Pelini’s staff is taking shape.

We were the first to tell you last week that Marvin Sanders would join Pelini’s staff as defensive coordinator and – this, just in – that’s exactly what happened as Sanders was in Miami-Dade county on Thursday recruiting for FAU.

Also, as expected Ross Watson, who was an intern at Nebraska, will be joining the staff as the secondary coach.

But the biggest news has to be the addition of Indiana recruiting coordinator Jeff Sims to the staff, as our Chuck King reported on Thursday.

Watson brings a wealth of experience and contacts at the junior college level – perhaps an indication that FAU will be bringing in more JUCO players than in the past. Some will say that is long overdue while others will say going the JUCO route doesn’t do much in the way of building continuity in a program.

It looks like we’ll be able to see for ourselves in short order.

Friday's Required Reading:

 


 

Pelini already pounding recruiting trail

Here's what's making news on Thursday...

Since being named FAU's new football coach last week, Carl Pelini has been busy taking a tour of Florida or at least a tour of some of the great high schools this state has to offer,

Last week it was high schools in South Florida. This week it’s the west coast and one can only assume that some of the central Florida schools are next.

Pelni isn’t just sight seeing on these trips. He’s giving out offers – a lot of them - in a furious attempt to catch up in recruiting.

At one high school near Tampa,  Pelini dropped in on Wednesday to say hello and didn't leave until he had given offers to three players.

We’re trying to keep up with the latest commitments, but at this pace, it isn't easy.

Of course the biggest question is if Pelini is going after better players than FAU recruited in the past. That’s difficult to say, but we’ll probably have the answer when the commitments start rolling in. And my guess is it won’t be long before players start buying into what Pelini is telling them.

 Today's links...

Wednesday's Required Reading: FAU may not be welcome in Starkville any more

I’m  guessing here, but I think FAU has seen the last of Starkville, Miss. for the foreseeable future – not that the players would complain. 

The Owls will not be in high demand by Mississippi State after beating the Bulldogs last season and taking them to the final minutes of Tuesday night’s game. Only FAU’s pitiful free-throw shooting kept the Owls from winning their second consecutive game vs. the Bulldogs.
 
And this one would have been even sweeter than last year’s upset. The Bulldogs had a lofty No. 17 ranking this time around, but that didn’t faze the Owls who led late in the game before missed free-throws bit them in the behind.
 
The loss was tough, but also shows FAU should be in good shape in Sun Belt play and perhaps even a team that could make the NCAA Tournament and stick around a little longer than expected.
 
The best way to show the Owls are for real would be to rebound from the loss with a strong showing on Saturday vs. Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic. We’ll see if they are for real on Saturday.
 
Today's Links...
 
 
Tueday's Required Reading: Several FAU assistant coaches told they won't be on Pelini's staff

Several FAU assistant coaches were officially informed Monday they will not be retained on Carl Pelini’s coaching staff, sources said.

Among those who won’t be coming back are defensive coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh, defensive line coach Richard Lage, offensive line coach Dale Williams and defensive backs coach Dick Hopkins.

 That would be a sign that Pelini and coach Marvin Sanders have decided on some of their defensive coaches. One of the possible candidates to join the staff in some capacity is Ross Watson, who was an intern last season at Nebraska.

Another reported defensive candidate is Illinois State defensive line coach Spence Nowinsky, who coached with Pelini at Minnesota State.

Kansas wide receiver coach and co-offensive coordinator David Beaty is still believed to be in the running to be FAU's offensive coordinator with former Nebraska intern and former Huskers quarterback Joe Ganz and Montana State offensive coordinator Brian Wright being mentioned in other reports to have interest in coming to FAU.

Today's Links...

By popular demand: Here's the full Howard Schnellenberger End of an Era tribute video

Over the past week many FAU fans have stopped me to ask whether we really produced the Howard Schnellenberger End of an Era video that appeared on the video board at the Owls final home game.

The short answer is: Yes, we did. The more accurate answer is: Yes,we did - with the help of a bunch of talented people. And, actually, there were two versions.

The shorter one played prior to the start of the game against ULM. The longer version, which is below, played on the video board at the reception that followed the game.

Take a look, then learn more about the making of the video below:

The video has been making the rounds. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes showed it while honoring Schnellenberger on Thursday.

The Miami Dolphins also showed part of it at Sunday's game when they presented Schnellenberger with a lifetime achievement award. The photo to the right shows the Schnellenberger group watching the video play on one of the Dolphins' video boards while it rolls on the one behind them.

I was glad both groups could use it. The FCA event was impressive and it was cool of the Dolphins to give us credit on the video board.

A couple of names in that photo to the right deserve a little more recognition. ESPN 760's Ken LaVicka, the voice of the Owls, did more than lend his pipes to video – he also gave up part of a Friday night to help with the writing. Our own Alyssa Barbieri also helped with the language.

For those who don't know Scott Henze – get to know him. Scott wrote and performed the music in both videos. Many of you may know him as the keyboardist from the Funkabilly Playboys – one of the best bands in the area. He's plays with a couple other groups, too. Seek him out if you want to hear some good music on some weekend night.

From a video standpoint, this tribute could not have been produced without the help of Steve Cutcher. FAU football's video coordinator, Steve managed to find the perfect clips to fit the piece.

Mark Bournes also provided some of the video he shot at FAU home games this year. There's good footage from the stadium – and if it's steady Mark most likely shot it. If you need some high end video production, check out Shark Video Productions.

And photographer J.C. Ridley created that cool timelapse from inside the at the first game. He has countless images of the Owls in action. Next time you get a moment, flip through the galleries at OwlPix.com.

Thanks to all you guys for helping with the production, and thank you again to all the FAU fans who've told me they've enjoyed it.

Schnellenberger continues to be in demand

Retirement isn't diminishing Howard Schnellenberger's popularity one bit.

Schnellenberger, who coached his final game a week ago, could barely walk ten steps through Sun Life Stadium on Sunday before someone stopped the legendary coach to shake his hand or take a picture.

“As I walked through the stands today, I don't think there were very many people who didn't recognize me with my Dolphins blazer,” Schnellenberger said. “They talked about the Dolphins. They talked about the Canes. They talked about the Owls. There's enough South Florida spirit in this stadium that if handled correctly, we could develop one hell of a homogenized fan base.”

The Miami Dolphins honored Schnellenberger at halftime of the Dolphins/Eagles game with a lifetime achievement award. Miami presented Schnellenberger with a football helmet bearing the Dolphins logo on one side, and FAU and University of Miami logos on the other.

For those new to the story, Schnellenberger was the offensive coordinator on the undefeated 1972 Dolphins, resurrected the Hurricanes program by leading them to a national championship, and created the FAU program from scratch.

Several former players and coaches joined Schnellenberger near mid field, most notably Don Shula – the NFL's all-time winningest coach.

“To me, he sat there like grand Indian chief – the patriarch of South Florida football – but then larger than that because all that has been accomplished by the National Football League, he was a key figure,” Schnellenberger said.

Other members of the invited party honoring Schnellenberger included FAU president Mary Jane Saunders, Art Kehoe, who played for and coached under Schnellenberger at The U; and Sam Madison, who played for Schnellenberger at Louisville before an NFL career that included a stint with the Dolphins .

In a move right out of a book that could be titled Shamelessness for Dummies, some of the FAU officials who lamented the way Schnellenberger supposedly detracted from the marketing of the football program suddenly appeared on the field for the ceremony in an effort to be a part of what – shockingly - became a pretty good marketing opportunity.

Undeterred, Schnellenberger continued to be the master marketer. Obviously well-suited to his new role of FAU Ambassador, Schnellenberger thanked the Dolphins for his warm reception, then promptly invited everyone in attendance to Boca Raton to see a football game. He was even smart enough not to give the phone number to the ticket office voice mail.

“I was very touched that the Dolphins would think enough of [wife] Beverlee and I to work up this kind of tribute. They made me feel at home,” Schnellenberger said afterward.

On a side note – How good does Schnellenberger look in that aqua blazer and orange tie? I've got to find a way to add that combo to my wardrobe.

“It fit so damn well that I think I'll wear it to work every once in a while,” Schnellenberger joked. “It's 29 years old with no alterations.”

Substance with style is always in demand.

Today's Links...

 

Sunday's Required Reading: More on FAU's hire of Marvin Sanders as defensive coordinator

It appears new Florida Atlantic football coach Carl Pelini has made his first hire and by all accounts it appears to be a good one.

As Owl Access first reported on Saturday, former Nebraska defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders has accepted Pelini's offer ro become FAU's defensive coordinator.

After a background check and proper paperwork is completed, FAU is expected to make the official announcement.

Until then, here are a few things to know about Sanders...

  • Sanders is known as a stellar recruiter, but it's unclear just how much he has recruited Florida before.
  • Sanders was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach for North Carolina from 2004-06
  • Sanders was part of a Nebraska staff with OPelini as defensive coordinator which led the nation in total defense and in pass efficiency defense in 2009
  • In 2010, Nebraska's defense was ranked No. 5 and its pass defense was No. 5 in the nation.
  • Sanders sat out the 2011 season after resigning last February to "take a break from coaching and spend more time with his family"
  • Sanders played for Nebraska and Tom Osborne from 1987-89

Today's Links

Lincoln Journal Star: Sanders reportedly joins FAU staff

Omaha World Herald: Carl Pelini may look to ex-Husker coach Sanders

Owl Access: FAU routs Warner

Sun-Sentinel: Owls demolish overmatched Warner

 

BREAKING NEWS: Sanders accepts offer to become FAU defensive coordinator

Former Nebraska defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders has accepted an offer to become FAU's defensive coordinator, a source said Saturday.

Sanders (right of the photo, with AD Craig Angelos, left and new head coach Carl Pelini, right) attended the FAU basketball game against Warner on Saturday.

Sanders was on the Nebraska coaching staff from 2008-10 with new Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini, who was the Cornhuskers defensive coordinator.

Sanders did not coach in 2011 due to personal and family reasons.

Before joining the Nebraska staff in 2008, Sanders was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for North Carolina from 2006-08.

Sanders is the first hire for Pelini, who was announced as the Owls' new coach on Monday.

 

 

Saturday's Required Reading: Some names emerging as possibilities for Pelini's staff

Some names have emerged as possible candidates to fill up positions on Carl Pelini’s first coaching staff at FAU.

Kansas co-offensive coordinator David Beaty has discussed the possibility of being FAU’s offensive coordinator with Pelini. If Beaty was considering coming to Boca Raton, he may be more motivated after the Jayhawks hired Charlie Weis on Thursday.
 
It’s also believed that former Nebraska secondary coach Marvin Sanders is being considered to be Pelini’s defensive coordinator.
 
Also, Illinois State defensive line coach Spence Nowinsky could be in the mix for a position on Pelini’s staff. Nowinsky was on Minnesota State’s coaching staff with Pelini in 2004.
 
Pelini may hire his coordinators first to get their input on possible position coaches. Current FAU quarterbacks coach Jared Allen has been with Pelini on several stops at local high schools and could be named to Pelini’s staff.
 
Today's Links...
Sun-Sentinel: Owls host Warner
 
Friday's Required Reading: Schnellenberger pumped about Battle of Florida

Owl Access could be issuing a correction soon. Last week, we made mentioned around 1,000 times that Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger was coaching in his last game when the Owls faced ULM on Saturday. Of course, Schnellenberger will be coaching on Jan. 21 in the Battle of Florida.

OK, since The Battle of Florida is an all-star game, Schnellenberger’s official last game was indeed last week, but since Schnellenberger is taking his coaching duties seriously in that game, we will consider amending our reports.
 
Schnellenberger will be coaching the South team against his North counterpart, former FSU coach Bobby Bowden. Both coaches gathered for a kickoff function in Boca Raton on Thursday night.
 

“This game is more than a football game for college seniors to show their wares to the scouts and owners of the National Football League,” Schnellenberger said before posing for a few pictures with Bowden.  “This is an opportunity for this community. to do what I said football would do for this part of Florida. …This can be really, really big and be a success in the game of football. There is no downside.”

The game for seniors from Florida colleges or who graduated from state high schools but played collegiately out-of-state is set for Jan. 21 at FAU Stadium.
 
FAU running back Alfred Morris has committed to play in the game.
 
Today's Links... 
Thursday's Required Reading: Morris deserved to be on All-Sun Belt team

FAU didn’t win a Sun Belt Conference game this season, but I at least expected the Owls to place one player on the All-Sun Belt team. And that player should have been senior running back Alfred Morris.

 
Morris was second in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing with 1,186 yards behind Bobby Rainey, who had 1,695 yards and was the SBC Offensive Player of the Year.
 
However, that wasn’t good enough for Morris to land on the All-Sun Belt team, which has two slots for running backs.
 
The other running back on the team was North Texas senior Lance Dunbar who had fewer yards (1,115) and 33 more carries than Morris.
 
But stats don’t tell the whole story.
 
Morris gained most of his yards after contact, with a struggling offensive line in an offense that had no passing game so defense’s could key on him on just about every play.
 
Dunbar is a fine back, but the pre-season hype is what carried him over Morris, who was on the second team, in the race to be on the All-Sun Belt Conference team.

 

Today's Links...




Pelini’s salary could be near bottom of Sun Belt

Two days after new FAU coach Carl Pelini agreed to his first contract to be the Owls’ coach, he may want to re-negotiate.

When Pelini’s contract was approved way back on Monday, his total compensation (not including bonuses) of $450,000 would have been the fourth-highest in the nine-team Sun Belt Conference using 2011 figures obtained by USA Today.

Fast forward 48 hours and Pelini is slipping fast.

On Tuesday ULL Athletic Director Scott Farmer told veteran Sun Belt Conference journalist Dan McDonald that Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth will get a new contract making him the highest paid coach in the conference, exceeding Middle Tennessee’s Rick Stockstill’s salary of $589,405.

And on Wednesday, Western Kentucky announced Willie Taggart will be see his salary bumped up from $225,000 to $475,000,

 Re-adjusting, here is what the new list may look like, with Arkansas State starting the process of replacing Hugh Freeze.

 

  1. Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette: $361,000* (ULL says Hudspeth will get new contract making him highest paid coach in the Sun Belt)
  2. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State: $589,405
  3. Dan McCarney, North Texas: $545,000
  4. Mario Cristobal, Florida International: $497,183
  5. Willie Taggart, WKU: $475,000
  6. Carl Pelini, Florida Atlantic: $450,000
  7. Larry Blakeney, Troy: $381,000
  8. Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe: $225,000
  9. Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State: $202,160

So in two days, Pelini has gone from the top half to almost the bottom third. Ouch, the only thing dropping that fast, well, is the entire U.S. economy.

The bad part is if Pelini wants a new deal, he’ll have to get in line. And as Owls basketball coach Mike Jarvis can tell you, don’t expect any resolution soon.

 Today’s Links

 

FAU coach Pelini heading to Groza Awards tonight

Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini is ready to go out and hit the recruiting trail and wants to get to know the high school coaches in the area.

However, as the new face of the program, Pelini has an obligation to represent FAU football at functions in the community.

Tonight, he’ll be doing both at the same time.

Pelini is expected to attend tonight’s Lou Groza Awards banquet, which is not only the biggest football-related events in our county, but also is well-attended by some of the top high school coaches around.

The Lou Groza Award is given to the top place-kicker in the nation.

Coincidently, one of the few Florida players on Nebraska’s roster, Mauro Bondi, is from Boca Raton and is a…wait for it…a place-kicker. Weird, isn’t it?

We’ll have more Pelini-palooza later today.

Today’s links…

Angelos says Pelini will fix FAU's offense and recruiting problems

Carl Pelini didn't exactly fit the job description FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos had to be the next Owls coach.

Angelos previously stated he wanted a coach who could come in and win the recruiting wars right away and also wanted to make sure the Owls had some improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

Enter Pelini, a defensive coach whose main recruiting area was California.

However, Angelos believes Pelini will be able to succeed in both areas.

When it comes to recruiting, Pelini will be able to get to know high school coaches and players immediately, Angelos said.

“He is a relentless recruiter and while he may not know the face of every high school coach down here, he can hire a staff that can help him with that issue,” Angelos said. “I think he can overcome that he doesn't know them right now.”

Pelini said he has recruited Florida players in the past and won't need a road map to get to area high schools.

“We have number of players from Florida,” Pelini said. “At Nebraska, this is how we did it and we're going to do it similar here. Once we had our regions, for cross-checking it went to position coaches and then the coordinators and then to the head coach for the home visit, so that's when I spent my time down in Florida.”

When it comes to offense, Pelini, the Nebraska defensive coordinator, did not specifically say what type of offense, but hinted at a well, faster paced, offense than the pro-style favored by Howard Schnellenberger.

“I know what I am going to do offensively,” Pelini said. “I know what I hate to face and what is difficulty to face and what is difficult to stop.”

A few other items from Pelini's press conference

...Pelini will not coach the Cornhuskers defense in the Capital One Bowl when Nebraska faces South Carolina. Pelini said he possibly will attend the game, but is quickly turning his attention to his project at FAU.

“I'm done at Nebraska,” Pelini said. “I'm going to hit the ground running and get this recruiting season off and running.”

...There could be a Bo vs. Carl game in 2014 as FAU is scheduled to face Nebraska, coached by Pelini's brother, Bo, that season in Lincoln. The Owls faced the Cornhuskers in the season-opener in 2009, losing 49-3.

...Speaking of Bo, There was a light-hearted moment when Angelos referred to Carl as “Bo” when he presented him with an FAU hat.

…The hat Pelini received from Angelos is his second piece of FAU gear. Pelini said he bought an Owls hat at Saturday's game that he attended incognito, paying cash so he wouldn't be recognized.


 

Monday's Required Reading: Get ready for Pelini-palooza with Carl Pelini to be announced as new FAU coach

Here’s a few quick items in what will be a busy day for Florida Atlantic as Carl Pelini officially takes over as the Owls’ next football coach.

...Pelini’s annual base salary will be around $450,000 with many possible incentives and the contract will run for five years.

...One of the more interesting incentives is a $100,000 bonus if FAU sells 12,000 season tickets. That mark is obtainable, but it will take some work by the coach and some improvement in the effort by the athletic department.

...Pelini is expected to be formally approved at 10 a.m. by the school’s Board of Trustees and then will meet with VIP’s at a reception at Noon.

...The Pelini press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. at FAU Stadium and we will attempt to stream it live at OwlAccess.com.

...FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger expects his team to get behind the new coach and told his former players to do just that in his post-game speech in the lockerroom and we have the video to prove it (above).

...Pelini met with each FAU assistant coach on Sunday, but it was not to inform them to clean out their desks. Pelini will take a few days to decide which direction to go in.

...Pelini also met with the team for the first time on Sunday afternoon and the players, as judged by their Twitter and Facebook accounts, were excited about their new coach.

Today's Links...



 

Pelini believed to have sat in stands for Saturday's FAU-ULM game

New FAU football coach Carl Pelini may have been doing some advance scouting on Saturday during the Owls' game vs. ULM.

Multiple sources told OwlAccess.com that Pelini requested tickets to Saturday's FAU season finale and one said Pelini attended the game incognito, watching from the stands.

OwlAccess.com broke the news on Saturday that Pelini accepted FAU's offer that would make the former Nebraska defensive coordinator FAU's next head coach.

Pelini, the brother of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, will spend Sunday interviewing the current crop of outgoing FAU coaches to see if they should be retained for his staff.

He will also meet with the players for the first time on Sunday.

FAU's Board of Trustees will meet at 10 a.m. Monday to formally approve Pelini's selection, contract and slary,  believed to be around $500,000 annually.

FAU has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. Monday, at which time the Owls will formally announce Pelini as their new coach.

Links to coverage...

Forget the loss, Schnellenberger leaves field for final time as a winner on Saturday

Forget the result of Saturday's game – and I'm sure most FAU fans want to do just that – but the 26-0 loss to ULM was hardly the story of the day.

Heck, with sources telling Owl Access' Chuck King just before kickoff that Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini had accepted FAU's offer to become the Owls' next coach, the inconsequential game vs. the Warhawks wasn't even in the Top 2 newsworthy events of the day.

Yes, even with a new coach on the way. This was Howard's day, in Howard's stadium on the campus that is growing rapidly due in a big part to the football program he built.

Schnellenberger (pictured making his pre-game speech from OwlPix)  tried to keep everything as close to normal as possible this week, but that certainly became impossible Saturday when he coached his 312th and final game.

“The only thing I felt was the agony of defeat,” Schnellenberger said about his emotions after walking off the field for the final time.

But Schnellenberger walked out of The House that Howard Built as a winner – mainly due what he did in Boca Raton, which will be changed forever because of him.

“I'm even hearing whispers down at city hall that this may become a college town,” Schnellenberger said with a smile.

Schnellenberger apparently has done enough for FAU to be able to attract a coach such as Pelini.

Schnellenberger said he didn't know much about Pelini or even if he was his replacement. However, he did pledge his support for whomever is the new coach.

“I'm sure he's a fine coach,” Schnellenberger said. “As I told my former squad in the lockerroom tonight, I, as well as Beverlee, and I hope all of them will rally behind the new coach. Too much is at stake. We have come so far that it's important that a new momentum is generated and will take our program on a metoerical rise to to the next level. The new stadium will act as the jet fuel to launch it and there is no telling how high it can reach and how fast.”

I'm sure we'll hear some of the similar things from Pelini on Monday when he is announced as Schnellenberger's heir, but on Saturday it was Schnellenberger's statement to make – and he made it well.

Saturday's prediction: FAU turns focus to Schnellenberger's last game

Although Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and Florida Atlantic Athletic Director Craig Angelos may have a basic agreement for Pelini to coach the Owls next season, that won't be a big topic of conversation at FAU Stadium today as coach Howard Schnellenberger coaches his final game.

FAU officials are being tight-lipped on the possible hiring of Pelini. For instance, I went to a booster function on Friday and when I asked FAU President Mary Jane Saunders about Pelini, her response was what I expected. 

“This weekend is all about Howard,” she said before she drove away.

And most athletic department officials agree. Oh sure, the cynic in me thinks some may be using it as excuse to deflect question about a hire that has not been very well-accepted by the fan base. However, it is the proper response.

Today should be all about Schnellenberger and it’s a shame that Pelini’s offer came before Schnellenberger had left the building as if Pelini was going to be snatched up if his offer came Saturday night after Schnellenberger had officially rode off into the sunset.

 But what’s done is done and one can only hope that everyone can focus for one more day on Schnellenberger’s send off.

 On to the prediction for today’s game

 Last week, FAU’s offense came alive – finally – and gave the Owls their first victory of the season. Will the momentum carry over? It could. ULM is playing out the string, but FAU has a little more to play for and wants to send Schnellenberger off with a victory. ULM is better than UAB, but not a whole lot better. The view here is the Owls put it together in Schnellenberger’s finale…FAU 27, ULM 23

Game previews

  • Owl Access
  • Sun-Sentinel
  • Palm Beach Post
  • Monroe News-Star
  •  

    FAU source: Close with Pelini but not a done deal

    Carl Pelini has received FAU's contract offer to become the next football coach of FAU and is reviewing the terms but has yet to formally accept the job, a source on the FAU side of the negotiations told OwlAccess.com Friday morning.

    Pelini, Nebraska's defensive coordinator and brother of Cornhuskers coach Bo, received the offer on Thursday.

    An ESPN report says Pelini has accepted the job. Reports out of Nebraska indicate he hasn't.

    My belief? The way these things usually work is that the prospective candidate doesn't get the paperwork without there being an agreement in place. However, once the lawyers get involved, we all know things can go awry.

    I'm told that the salary had been agreed to in advance, and while the specific numbers weren't divulged,  Pelini would be making more than current coach Howard Schnellenberger is receiving for this season (base will not exceed $1 million, although how close it comes with incentives added is still murky). There will also be more money available to hire assistant coaches, bringing those salaries into line with other Sun Belt institutions.

    Do I expect to see Carl Pelini wearing FAU colors. At this point, I'd have to say yes. A press conference is scheduled for Monday afternoon, during which the Owls are expected to introduce their new coach.

    Schnellenberger's final game as coach will be Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.

    Possibility of Pelini coming has Owl Nation’s attention

    So much for all the attention on Saturday being FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s last game.

    It appears there might be a subject on everyone’s mind on Saturday other than honoring the man who built the Owls’ program.

    In order to meet an announced self-imposed deadline of having a press conference by Monday, FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos needed to be wrapping up its coaching search by the end of this week.

    It appears he may have done just that as OwlAccess reported that Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has been offered the job of being Schnellenberger’s replacement. CBSSports.com says Pelini is  “expected” to take the job and ESPN.com says FAU and Pelini have  “verbally agreed" for Pelini to be the Owls' next coach.

    If the reports are true, unless there is a change of heart by either party, an announcement will likely be Monday at 2 p.m.

     With that on the horizon, I fear that some of the excitement will be taken out of what should have been a great last hurrah for Schnellenberger. Early reaction I see from Owl Nation to Pelini’s possible hire looks like the mood at FAU Stadium on Saturday will be anything but celebratory.

    Owl Nation should be interested in who the next coach should be, but no matter if the reaction is positive or negative, Saturday's game should belong to Schnellenberger.

    FAU running back Alfred Morris a yankee?

    Owl fans expecting to see running back Alfred Morris on the FAU sideline two more times may be in for a little surprise.

    Morris, who has agreed to play in the first Battle of Florida game, which will be played at FAU's new on campus stadium following the season, may end up on a different team than other FAU players in that Jan. 21, 2012 contest.

    The game pits talented players who either played high school or college football in the Sunshine State in a north vs. south civil war.

    I expected Morris to be a member of the South, which I'm also assuming would be considered the home team and therefore would get the home sideline.

    Cue Lee Corso (the clean version of Corso, anyway): Not so fast, my friend.

    “I want to represent the north. I'm not from the south, I'm from the north,” said Morris, who played high school football at Pensacola-Pine Forest.

    Morris said there is constant ribbing in the Owls locker room as to whether the northern or southern part of Florida produces better football players.

    Should Morris play for the North, the last two coaches of his college career will have been Howard Schnellenberger and Bobby Bowden – not a bad way to go out.

    FAU's all-time leading rusher and scorer did say that walking from the locker room to the far sideline of FAU's stadium “would be kind of weird.”

    For now, though, FAU fans can revel in the fact that they will get to see Morris in FAU colors one final time on Saturday. Watching Schnellenberger coach his final game should be enough of a reason to attend, but catching Alfred Morris' last outing for FAU is a memory worth keeping, too.

    Today's Links...

     





     

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