BOCA RATON – Picking the starting quarterback can be a difficult decision even when all other facets of the offense are producing effectively.
Choosing that signal caller while simultaneously attempting to build other units on offense significantly complicates the decision.
That’s one of the reasons why, early in Monday’s practice, FAU coach Lane Kiffin lashed out at a wide receiving unit he didn’t feel was putting enough effort into a drill designed to improve their ability to snatch a pass away from a defender at the ball’s highest point.
“I’m just frustrated how we are playing there,” Kiffin said. “That probably came out because guys aren’t doing the things we tell them to do.”
Kiffin counted nine drops among the 70 or so passes thrown during Saturday’s scrimmage, which served as another missed opportunity for either Jason Driskel, De’Andre Johnson or Daniel Parr to separate from the others and claim the starting job.
“I would say all three, they are all talented and they do throw the ball very well when they have the protection and it’s on time and the receivers run the right routes,” Kiffin said. “It doesn’t all fall on them, but it’s hard to look good when everybody else isn’t doing their job.”
Driskel impressed on Monday by leading a two-minute drive for a touchdown in a situation that would have given FAU a come-from-behind win. And Kiffin said that, two days after combining to throw four interceptions against only one touchdown, the quarterbacks did a better job of protecting the ball.
Still, he’s not happy.
“We’re not playing really well right there right now,” Kiffin said.
Three-and-a-half weeks into fall camp the quarterback battle seems murkier than when it began. Now the Owls will try to pick their signal caller while simultaneously preparing for season-opening opponent Navy.
On Monday, FAU spent about half of practice in fall camp mode, building their internal units, and the other half preparing for that Sept. 1 game against Navy.
There appears to be more interest in that game than almost any other played at Howard Schnellenberger Field.
FAU announced that there are less than 5,000 remaining for the Navy game, which also serves as Kiffin’s debut. The stadium holds about 30,000. The Owls averaged a little more than 10,000 fans per game last season.