BOCA RATON – The most striking aspect of defensive end Hunter Snyder’s game this fall camp is that he looks healthy.
The groin and pectoral issues that plagued Snyder over the past 12 months are showing no lingering effects.
“I feel healthy, I feel great,” Snyder said. “Coming off an injury, it’s always difficult but I feel better than ever.”
Snyder recorded five sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2015 but the injuries played a significant role in limiting him to two sacks last year, and caused caused him to miss all of spring drills.
A redshirt junior, Snyder’s progress this fall – he’s moved up to the second team for the last few practices – prompted new FAU coach Lane Kiffin on Wednesday to label Snyder as one of the most pleasant surprises of the fall.
“We didn’t know as much about Hunter Snyder,” Kiffin said. “He’s had a great camp so far.”
Snyder’s forte remains pass rushing, but he’s focusing on his rush defense this fall in an effort to become an every down player.
“I want to be a compete package, but I love getting after the quarterback,” Snyder said. “I’m fast. I can run, but I also want to be effective on first and second downs.”
HARD KNOCKS at the OX: Wednesday’s practice report.
(By Jake Elman)
Making Plays: Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair tipped a ball with one hand to catch it with two for an interception… DeAndre McNeal again showed ability to make plays, barely remaining in-bounds to catch a Jason Driskel touchdown pass… Driskel scrambled for a touchdown… Nickel Quran Hafiz continued his ballhawking by picking off De’Andre Johnson… Both Hosea Barnwell and Steven Leggett sacked Driskel in team scrimmage drills. …Offensive lineman Reggie Bain caught an overthrown ball on the sidelines. Has FAU found their new red zone weapon?
Tracking the Depth Chart: Defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni, who was dismissed from the University of Pittsburgh this spring, worked mostly with the second team and sometimes with the first on Wednesday, his first day of practice… Kain Daub, lining up at defensive end and linebacker, worked with the first and second teams. When with the first team, Daub replaced Nick Internicola.
QB Battle: With Jason Driskel back practicing, Daniel Parr was once again relegated to the second field, where the third, fourth and fifth string units practice. “When (Johnson and Driskel) are taking all the reps, he doesn’t get as many, but he’s done great,” Kiffin said of Parr. “No matter which field he’s been on or what drill he’s in, like I said, he’s done really good, so he’s right in the mix.”
Newcomer Watch: Wide receiver Willie Wright continues to make plays. “He’s made as many or more plays than any other receiver,” Kiffin said.
Instant Message: “We see our corners as you can’t really tell the difference sometimes from the first and second team corners. Those guys have played really well and deserve a chance to rotate up.” – Lane Kiffin on an improved secondary that has impressed in the camp’s first three weeks.