BOCA RATON – Lass than 24 hours after specifying that Jason Driskel won FAU’s quarterback battle, Owls’ coach Charlie Partridge declined to offer many specifics regarding why he made that decision.
Meeting with reporters following Wednesday’s practice, Partridge consistently returned to the phrase “game ready” when discussing the choice Driskel over Daniel Parr.
What makes a quarterback game ready?
“It’s someone that operates the offense, which they’ve both done a nice job of – again Driskel has performed a little bit better throughout the course of this competition with respect to that – on and off the field responsibilities, leadership, performance [and] ability,” Partridge said. “All those things are are a culmination that leads to the decision.”
Driskel played in 10 games last season in relief of injured quarterback Quez Johnson, starting two. He completed 77 of 151 passes for 965 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for another score and tossed four interceptions. He’s the younger brother of Jeff Driskel, who started for the University of Florida before transfering to Louisina Tech.
Parr, a redshirt freshman, is one of the highest profile players ever to enroll at FAU, choosing the Owls over Miami.
FAU didn’t make either player available to the media on Wednesday and dictated that neither player will be accessible to reporters until next Wednesday, which is the normally scheduled day for offensive players to speak with the media during game weeks.
“We decided that I’d talk to you guys about the decision today and tomorrow we’re back on schedule with the special teams coaches and players being available,” Partridge said. “There’s nothing behind it. There’s no story there.”
Throughout camp Partridge had said he intended to name a starting quarterback before the Owls began game preparation for their Sept. 3 opener against Southern Illinois.
Partridge and offensive coordinator Travis Trickett informed Driskel and Parr of their decision Tuesday evening. Partridge says he simultaneously informed both players the decision.
“They both reacted the way you’d want quarterbacks to react, which is with poise, dignity and a competitive spirit,” Partridge said.
If there was one event or characteristic that allowed Partridge to know it was time to formalize the decision, he didn’t reveal that, either.
“Because we were ready,” was the only explanation Partridge offered to the timing of the decision.
Wednesday marked the conclusion of FAU’s fall camp, with the Owls emerging reasonably healthy. Linebacker Jake Stewart, primarily a special teams performer, is expected to miss the season because of a knee injury, Partridge announced. He’ll join defensive tackle Ray Ellis (knee, out for the season) and tight end Dustin Bowens (chest, likely to miss first few games) as the only players expected to contribute to this season who will miss significant time.
The Owls intend to apply the Southern Illinois game plan to first and second down situations during Thursday’s practice, with third down and red zone specifics coming on Friday. FAU will hold a closed scripted scrimmage on Saturday and continue game week prep on Sunday.
That is, of course, weather permitting.
Partridge met with director of football operations Heather Henderson prior to Wednesday’s practice for what he termed a “quick debrief” regarding the tropical disturbance in the Atlantic which some forecasts predict threaten South Florida this weekend, though with varying degrees of severity.
“The first order of business in that moment is the safety of our players and making sure they feel good about the safety of their families, because a lot of their families are in the same path that we are, right?” Partridge said. “We want to make sure that our line of communication is in order. We want to make sure that we have answers to [potential] evacuations, and then comes the football, to be honest with you guys.”