BOCA RATON – FAU’s battered offensive line stands to undergo yet another change this week against Old Dominion.
On Saturday for the first time all season FAU started the same offensive linemen in consecutive games. That continuity proved short-lived when left guard Roman Fernandez exited in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Partridge labeled Fernandez “questionable” for Saturday’s game against Old Dominion.
Redshirt freshman Richard Williams, whose primary position is center, saw the first significant playing time of his career on Saturday in place of Fernandez.
Even with the change FAU still rushed for 243 yards against UTEP, and that came on the heels of a 336-yard ground attack the week prior against Rice.
“The fact that we’re able to have positive plays and do some things with that group is something that we’re proud of – and (offensive line coach Garin) Justice and (offensive coordinator Travis) Trickett should be proud as well as those players,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said.
Already this season FAU has lost three players who’ve started at least one game to season-ending injuries.
Another, right tackle/guard Kelly Parfitt, is doubtful for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Partridge was only a little more upbeat about Jack Breshears, whom he considers questionable for return this season.
Tackle Bryan Beck underwent ACL surgery last week and is expected to miss spring drills for the second consecutive year as he rehabs from the surgery.
Reggie Bain, who’s missed the entire season after breaking a hip in a motor scooter accident, may also miss the spring.
Whyte Out: Running back/kick returner Kerrith Whyte missed Saturday’s game because of what Partridge termed a health condition. He is questionable for Saturday. Marcus Clark handled kickoff return duties alongside Devin Singletary in Whyte’s place against UTEP, returning one kick for 18 yards.
Three of a Kind: Saturday’s victory improved FAU’s record to 3-7, tying the Owls’ win total from both of the past two seasons. On Monday Partridge declined to discuss the importance of ensuring the Owls didn’t take a step backward from a won-and-lost perspective. “I’ll be happy to go deep into those conversations after the season,” he said. “Right now we’re getting ready for a tough Old Dominion team.”
Motorized: True freshman running back Devin Singletary has been one of the chief beneficiaries of FAU’s improved line play. He’s finding holes and getting into space, where some of the moves he makes impresses even those who know him the best. “We get him started and he does some things on the second and third level that opens people’s eyes,” Partridge said. “His touchdown run on Saturday night, I heard a few plays on the sideline go ‘Wow!’”
No Review: Every week FAU sends videos of a few plays to the Conference USA office for rules interpretations. Last week one such video prompted C-USA to reverse the targeting call on Jacob Douglas, thereby removing his first-half suspension for the UTEP game. Safety Jalen Young’s targeting call on Saturday occurred in the first half, which prompted an ejection but, by rule, not a suspension for the next game. Even if the call carried repercussions for this week, it didn’t sound like Partridge would have asked for clarification. “It was pretty clear,” he said. “I understand the rule. The lesson is for all of our team: whenever the quarterback even starts to lead with his feet, they’re going to protect him.”