BOCA RATON – Eight weeks, eight starting offensive lines.
That’s the prospect facing FAU this week when Western Kentucky comes to Boca Raton.
Kelly Parfitt’s return to the starting lineup appears to have been short lived. The senior tackle returned to the starting lineup at Marshall, taking the field for the first time in about a month after injuring his knee in the season’s second game at Miami.
Parfitt played guard instead of his usual right tackle partly because it required less mobility. He re-injured that knee early in the first quarter but did return. A second re-injury in the second half forced him to the bench for the remainder of the game.
FAU coach Charlie Partridge said on Monday that Parfitt was “doubtful” for Saturday’s game.
The concussion-like symptoms Jakobi Smith has been dealing with complicate matters for the Owls. Smith broke camp as a member of the scout team for the Owls but the massive amount of injuries incurred by FAU up front eventually elevated him to starting guard.
It was Smith that Parfitt replaced in the starting lineup at Marshall two Saturdays ago. With Smith and Parfitt sidelined late against the Thundering Herd, Jack Breshears, a redshirt freshman, completed the game and stands to make the first start of his career on Saturday.
“Jack Breshears is a young guy that’s having to step up and having to play more,” FAU offensive coordinator Travis Trickett said. “He’s got to continue to improve.”
Partridge labeled Smith “questionable.”
One bright spot along the line for FAU in recent weeks has been the development of redshirt freshman tackle Bryan Beck, who appears to be asserting himself as a starter.
Beck missed all of spring ball and much of fall camp as he recovered from knee surgery. His progress factored into the decision to slide Parfitt to guard at Marshall.
“Physically, he may not be the strongest guy but he’s doing what he can fundamentally and he’s getting better each week,” Trickett said.
The chaos along the offensive line began in the week leading up the start of the season when starting left tackle Reggie Bain broke his hip in a motor scooter accident.
Since then fellow starters Antonyo Woods, Roman Fernandez and Parfitt have all missed at least one game. Dillon DeBoer emerged from camp as the starting center, moved to tackle upon Bain’s injury, then returned to center a couple games later. He’s the only starter from fall camp to have played in every game this season.
Woods returned from his injury and moved from right guard to left tackle. Fernandez is also back at left guard.
“It’s allowed us to have a good solidified left side there,” Trickett said.
“We’ve still got another piece of the puzzle that we have to solidify with the right guard.”