BOCA RATON – FAU took the field for the first time under Lane Kiffin this morning. With music blaring, coaches bouncing and significantly more cameras than normal for an FAU spring practice, the Owls hit the Oxley Center practice fields around 9:30 a.m.
Here are some updated quick observations, with more to come throughout the day.
- NEW: Kiffin held to the claim that there is a true quarterback battle this spring. Both De’Andre Johnson and Jason Driskel took snaps with what appeared to be the first-team offense. Stephen Frank doesn’t seem to be a factor in the competition – at least not yet.
- Antonyo Woods worked at center – a spot he admitted he wasn’t that comfortable with yet. FAU tried Woods at center a couple years ago but abandoned that quest. With the graduation of Dillon DeBoer, center is a position of need.
- FAU held walk-on tryouts immediately following the first practice. No word yet on whether anyone will be added to the roster.
- 12:02 p.m.: Add Brandon Bryant to the list of dignitaries watching practice today. He had a moment with president Kelly and another special guest. More on that to come.
- After practice the pace of play was a big topic among the players. Said Roman Fernandez: “We’re in much better shape.”
- For Kiffin, this practice marked the first time as a head coach that he didn’t call the offensive plays during practice. Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles handled that. Kiffin said that afforded him the opportunity to focus more on defense.
- 10:30 a.m. The best news of the spring this far is that Reggie Bain is back with the Owls. Bain broke a hip in a car accident shortly before the start of last season. It’s unclear at this point whether he’s fully cleared for contact but it’s still great to see him in uniform.
- University dignitaries keep stopping by practice. FAU president John Kelly spoke with Kiffin on the sidelines for a few minutes. Howard Schnellenberger is watching from the shade, sitting next to former assistant Fred O’Conner.
- Junior college transfer De’Andre Johnson already looks like the leader of the offense. He’s throwing crisp passes and has a good touch on deep balls. This may not be much of a QB battle.
- Lane’s father Monte Kiffin is on the field helping with practice. Along with defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin, there’s plenty of Kiffins to follow on the practice field.
- Former coach Charlie Partridge prided himself on creating a rapid rate for practice. Kiffin’s practices are at least a step faster – maybe more. There is very little down time within drills. Receivers, for example, run routes, catch passes, run back in line and are back running routes again with minimal time to rest. The efficiency is impressive.
More to come.