BOCA RATON – Daniel Parr on Thursday received his best opportunity thus far to impress FAU coaches.
Jason Driskel missed Thursday’s practice because of a scheduled academic exam, elevating Parr to a full time second-teamer for the first time in the Lane Kiffin era – if only for a day.
“I thought Parr did some really good things today,” Kiffin said.
Parr connected on some nice throws, but like Driskel and De’Andre Johnson in recent days, he too struggled to get FAU’s offense moving.
“We want to be an explosive offense,” Kiffin said. “We are making some big plays but at the same time we’re making too many negative plays.”
A redshirt sophomore, Parr battled Driskel for the starting spot all of last season, but he missed the spring after undergoing foot surgery.
Working with the second string was somewhat of a showcase for Parr. During seven-on-seven drills and team scrimmage portions of practice, the first and second team quarterbacks lead the offenses on one practice field, while third string and below work on a separate field.
Kiffin and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles are generally on the field where the first and second team offenses play, leaving them to review Parr’s progress on video after practice.
“The best players will play,” Kiffin said. “It doesn’t matter how many stars you are or where you are from or what year you are. We’re here to win and I think the players understand that.”
HARD KNOCKS at the OX: Thursday’s Practice Report
Making Plays: Linebacker Khantrell Burden was all over the field on Thursday. He stepped in front of a DeAndre McNeal to pick off a Parr pass. He also stripped the ball from QB De’Andre Johnson as he attempted to throw. …Johnson broke free of the pocket in the red zone, rolled left, and fired to the end zone only to see cornerback Raekwon Williams come off his man to break up the pass. …WR Ladante Harris made a nice spinning catch on a pass from Parr thrown behind him – and away from defenders. …Henry Bussey made a diving catch at the 1 yard line. One play later RB Devin Singletary bounced across the goal line for a TD. …Defensive end Anthony Bennett tracked down kicker Greg Joseph in the backfield following a botched snap on a field goal attempt for a big loss. …MLB Hosea Barnwell blasted Kerrith Whyte on a crossing route, causing an incompletion.
Tracking the Depth Chart: Wide receive DeAndre McNeal hasn’t been in camp for a full week yet, but he has already worked his way onto the first team. …Defensive End Leighton McCarthy received some snaps with the second-team during the team scrimmage portion at the end of practice.
Newcomer Watch: Defensive end Tim Bonner of Last Chance U fame stripped the ball from Parr during the two-minute drill. …Nickel Quran Hafiz batted down a pass from Parr intended for fellow freshman Willie Wright.
Getting Stronger: Former Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty had joined the FAU weight room staff. “I like bringing competitive players who were elite competitors like he was,” said Kiffin, who coached Hardesty as a Volunteer. “He was always the first guy in and the last to leave. I love surrounding our guys with mentors.” Hardesty played two NFL seasons, both with Cleveland.
Instant Message: “I think we need to continue to find guys and develop guys – whether they are walk-ons or scholarship players. There might be some help coming here pretty soon.” – Lane Kiffin discussing the size and depth at defensive tackle. (Former Pitt defensive lineman Jeremiah Taleni, a potential graduate student transfer, has been listed on FAU’s Preseason Camp Roster since camp opened but has yet to take the field.)