BOCA RATON – The Oxley Center practice fields were wet even before the rains came.
Monday’s downpour didn’t seem to affect the field itself, but the play on that field turned slushy.
“It’s good to have some conditions like this because, obviously, we may play games in this,” Kiffin said. “It’s good for our players to see that and learn how to practice in that so they can play better in the games. We were a little bit sloppy today – too many turnovers, which is a good lesson for our guys to learn. You’ve got to be even safer with ball and throw more accurate balls when you have conditions like this.”
The threat of foul weather prompted the Owls to start practice about a half and hour early with hopes the early start would help them avoid the worst of the weather. Rain fell during the second half of practice, but without the presence of lightning, the Owls made it through practice without interruption.
The threat of lightning prompted a 30 minute delay on Saturday, the last time the Owls practiced. Quarterbacks Jason Driskel and De’Andre Johnson both struggled with Monday’s sloppy conditions.
“I thought Driskel probably played the best, did the best job of not forcing balls and not turning it over,” Kiffin said. “De’Andre had a few high balls that ended up getting tipped and either getting intercepted or close to intercepted.”
FAU will don full pads for Tuesday’s practice and Kiffin expects to begin live tackling drills for the first time in camp – rain or shine.
“We do have to do some [tackling] in camp, especially to figure out a new team,” Kiffin said.
HARD KNOCKS at the OX: Monday’s Practice Report
Making Plays: Tight end Harrison Bryant made a catch across the middle, holding onto the ball – and his shorts – as a defender grabbed for anything he could. After running a few steps while ensuring his shorts remained in place, Bryant delivered a stiff arm that knocked off Jalen Young’s helmet. …Linebacker Khantrell Burden batted down one Jason Driskel pass and picked off another that slid through Bobby Mitchell’s hands. …Raekwon Williams nabbed an interception during the wide receiver/defensive back drills. Korel Smith also recorded a pick. …Da’Von Brown and Chris Tooley both dropped what looked like sure interceptions on balls that fluttered from De’Andre Johnson.
Tracking the Depth Chart: After missing all of the spring, Burden is working with the second-team linebackers beside Hosea Barnwell. …Defensive tackle Josh Kendall playd with the second team on Monday. …DeAnde McNeal, Henry Bussey, Marcus Clark, Kerrith Whyte, Shelton Lewis and Willie Wright all took turns fielding punts.
Newcomer Watch: Wide receiver DeAndre McNeal has only been in camp two days, but he has already moved up to the second string. …FAU added former Miami Central cornerback Khamal Ellison to its roster. Ellison reportedly drew interest from Cincinnati, South Carolina and Louisville, while in high school. The Owls also added Georgia RB Daniel Leconte.
Instant Message: “This rain, I’m not used to it. Back at home it’s 109 [degrees] – just straight heat. No water, no none of that, so you can catch the ball. This rain, it’s just like five minutes you’ve got your gloves on, five minutes you’ve got them off. It’s a lot. I’ll get used to it. I’ll adapt to it.” – FAU WR DeAndre McNeal, a Texas native