One of those players has already proven he’s up to the job.
Reserve linebacker Caliph Brice, a JUCO transfer whose been bothered by injuries during most of his first three months in Boca Raton, actually led FAU in tackles during FAU’s loss to Marshall on Friday with 11. Brice entered Friday with only two tackles on the season, the last one coming Week 2 against UCF.
A few hours before kickoff, neither Brice nor Lane Kiffin were sure how much the junior would play that night.
Kiffin had hoped that injured reserve linebacker Hosea Barnwell would be healthy enough to play against the Thundering Herd. When the game time decision determined that Barnwell couldn’t play, the Owls turned to Brice.
“It wasn’t like something all week we knew he would be out, so [Brice] did a good job and has earned himself some more playing time even when everybody’s healthy,” Kiffin said.
Starting middle linebacker Keke Leroy finished one tackle behind Brice on Friday night, but he also missed more than his fair share of tackles.
This week both Brice and Barnwell worked with the first team in several packages, with Leroy sliding to the second team.
Brice brings good size, he’s 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, and versatility to the linebacker position, enabling him to play either outside position or even in the middle.
“I can do a little bit of everything,” Brice said.
Brice and the Owls should have a significantly easier time slowing the Monarchs on Saturday than they did last week.
Averaging only 16.1 points per game, ODU (1-6, 0-4) ranks last in Conference USA, and only three teams nationally score fewer points per game. The Monarchs own C-USA’s worst rushing offense and second worst passing offense.