OWLACCESS.COM SUPERLATIVES: OFFENSIVE MVP | DEFENSIVE MVP | OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE YEAR | DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE YEAR | OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR | DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR | BIGGEST SURPRISE OFFENSIVELY | BIGGEST SURPRISE DEFENSIVELY | BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OFFENSIVELY | BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT DEFENSIVELY
BOCA RATON – In many ways FAU’s 2016 offense was defined by its disappointments. Offensive coordinator Travis Trickett’s offense never lived up to the hype. The Owls’ quarterback battle didn’t produce the airborne assault Owl fans expected. Three-and-outs became the norm. What was the Biggest Offensive Disappointment? Let’s discuss. Joining our Chuck King and Jake Elman in offering their superlatives are three colleagues from ESPN West Palm: FAU play-by-play man Ken LaVicka, analyst Kris Bartels and producer (and host of OwlTalk) Brian Rowitz.
Chuck King (OwlAccess.com): FAU’s offense never had much of a chance this season because its offensive line never enjoyed any consistency. Injuries are a part of every season, and good teams overcome obstacles, but even juggernauts like Alabama and Clemson would have struggled to withstand the endless torrent of injuries the Owls endured. There really isn’t anyone to blame for the injuries. These things happen. But they were disappointing for a couple reasons. First, they prematurely ended the seasons of Reggie Bain and Kelly Parfitt, two of the Owls best offensive players. Second, the handicapped FAU offensive line kept the Owls offense from ever coming close to its potential. On the plus side, offensive line coach Garin Justice so impressed with the job he did guiding his depleted unit that new FAU coach Lane Kiffin elected to keep him around one more season.
Ken LaVicka (ESPN West Palm): The “third-series” plan. First two series, Jason Driskel, third series, Daniel Parr. The idea of getting action for two young QBs is understandable, but very rarely do winning teams have an arrangement like this one. No other team in the league had a game-plan with their QBs like FAU’s. Always looking over your shoulder is a tough spot to constantly be in. It suggested uneasiness with both QB options, which ended up materializing, once again leading to a 3-9 season.
Kris Bartels (ESPN West Palm): Besides the disappointment of the “No Huddle No Mercy”, the biggest disappointment has to be the number of injuries along the offensive line. Florida Atlantic lost their All-American left tackle before the season even started, Reggie Bain. They then had to shuffle a bunch of guys around to see which square peg would fit in the round hole. The next thing they knew, four more offensive lineman would be lost for the season to injury. The disappointment comes from what could have been. What could this offense really have down with a healthy o-line? Maybe six wins? Maybe 40 points per game? Maybe an all-conference QB? It’s disappointing that we never had a chance to see how good the offense could have been.
Jake Elman (FAUOwlAccess.com): By all means, former Wake Forest quarterback-turned tight end Tyler Cameron should have been the safety blanket for whoever was playing quarterback, but the senior only caught 20 balls for 252 yards. Running back Jay Warren was a disappointment in his own right, but we at least knew coming into the season that there was going to be a heavy rotation at running back behind Buddy Howell. With Cameron, however, the lack of production came as a serious surprise and it showed with some of FAU’s offensive drives; if Woods or Nate Terry was covered, there was no safety blanket that Driskel could hit for a short completion over the middle.
Brian Rowitz (ESPN West Palm): The offensive line. Reggie Bain was the first offensive line domino to fall before Week 1 as the line never truly was able to reach their potential. Every Saturday required a check of the line to see which five were healthy enough to start and that had a huge impact on the season. Late in the year they seemed to find a group that could stay on the field together and not surprisingly it resulted in some wins.