BOCA RATON – FAU coach Charlie Partridge recognizes this version of Nick Internicola.
“The way he plays the game is what I saw way back in high school when he was at (Davie-University School) playing for Roger [Harriott],” Partridge said. “Every day he comes out on a mission to get better and to affect the teammates around him.”
Called “tenacious” by Partridge, Internicola missed all of spring while recovering from a leg injury that hampered him most of last season.
This August, though, Internicola is healthy, which is allowing him to perform like the player Partridge remembers. Other coaches are taking notice.
“He’s one of my favorite football players,” said FAU defensive line coach Terrance Jamison, Internicola’s position coach. “He’s always around the ball.”
A redshirt junior, Internicola began his college career at Rutgers before transferring to FAU prior to the start of the 2014 season.
Last season Internicola played in every game, recording 23 tackles – two of which were sacks. He’s also on the scoreboard, recording a safety by forcing an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone against Buffalo last season.
Scoring points is something that Internicola has over Trey Hendrickson, Conference USA’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year who lines up on the opposite side of the line from Internicola. And, yes, Hendrickson admits that makes him a little jealous.
Like his coaches, Hendrickson sees a different level of play from Internicola this fall – one which has frequently allowed the duo to meet the at the quarterback.
“He’s faster,” Hendrickson said. “He’s getting up field faster. He’s got a better pass rush.”
He’s also climbing the depth chart. Hunter Snyder entered fall camp as the starter at left defensive end, but when FAU releases its first regular season depth chart it appears likely that Internicola could be the name listed at that position.
Even if Internicola isn’t the starter, he will certainly play a significant role in the Owls’ defensive end rotation, which could go six deep and include true freshman Leighton McCarthy.
“D-line’s a brutal position,” Internicola said. “Everybody gets a turn, Everybody has to pitch in every drive. If you’re traveling with us and you’re playing defensive end, you’re playing a lot.”