BOCA RATON – Safety Jalen Young showed he could be the next FAU red zone threat.
The Owls’ All-Conference USA safety lined-up behind center at the close of Tuesday’s practice as coach Lane Kiffin elected to have the offense play defense and the defense play offense.
“I just thought about that like 10 seconds before, so it really wasn’t planned,” Kiffin said. “Just felt like they had a good practice. Give them something to do, let them have fun.”
Defensive players took five snaps from the five yard line, with the offensive guys lined up to try to stop them.
Young scored on the final two plays, rushing straight up the middle once and keeping the ball on an option play.
“Just to play it for one play, that was awesome,” Young said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Young’s seven interceptions tied for second most in the nation. He also returned punts for FAU.
A standout in the defensive backfield dating back to Seminole Ridge High School, Young also moved to quarterback as a senior when injuries left the Hawks without a signal caller.
On Tuesday’s final play Young wasn’t about to pitch the ball to his railing running back.
“Never,” he said.
On the other side of the ball, Devin Singletary showed he might also have a future as a linebacker, too.
The back known as “Motor” – the same guy who led the nation with 32 rushing touchdowns last season – delivered the biggest blow when he drilled safety-turned-wide receiver James Pierre – who was attempting to score on a reverse.
The hit caused teammates to erupt in celebration.
“It was fun to get back on defense,” said Singletary, who played some defense in high school. “I kind of miss it.”
Singletary’s blow impressed some teammates.
“He actually saved me,” tackle-turned-defensive end Reggie Bain said. “I was supposed to have that gap. He outran me. He actually saved me on that one.”
The fact that Young and Singletary led the charge during the role reversal didn’t surprise Kiffin.
“That just shows you, good players are good players,” Kiffin said. “Motor makes the first two tackles and Jalen makes the most plays on offense – arguably your two best players when (linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair) is down.”