On Saturday the hitting begins.
FAU will tackle throughout Saturday’s scrimmage for the first time in fall camp.
“We haven’t tackled very much because we kind of wanted to make sure we were practicing smart,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said.
While Sinlgetary wasn’t tackled all that frequently last season during games – he rushed for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns – he estimated he’s only been taken to the ground “a few times” this fall.
Rarely taken down by the first tackler, Singletary’s excited about the prospect of breaking tackles on Saturday instead of being whistled down as soon as he’s touched.
“I hate being tagged because they always think they made a tackle,” Singletary said.
With the Owls still searching for a starting quarterback, replacing three starters along the offensive line and two newcomers potentially starting at wide receiver, FAU’s offense has lagged behind the defense, which returns 10 starters, this fall.
The defense having to tackle as opposed to tag offensive players should lead to some more explosive plays on Saturday.
“It allows you to see where you’re really at when it is tackling,” running back Kerrith Whyte said. “Sometimes you think you may break a tackle. You and your teammate might debate it. Tomorrow there will be no question about it.”
FAU defensive players take part in tackling drills during practices, but full offensive vs. defense tackling portion of practice has been rare. When FAU scrimmaged last weekend, the first and second string units didn’t tackle, but the third string did.
“With lack of depth issues, especially at offensive spots, we have definitely limited that on purpose,” Kiffin said.
FAU experienced a rash of minor injuries to its wide receivers early in camp and two running backs expected to contend for the backup role behind Singletary, Tyrek Tisdale and Malcolm Davidson, were limited most of camp. Davidson returned to full contact earlier this week.
So far, however, FAU hasn’t incurred a significant injury to any of its projected starters.
Limited during the final spring practices by a hamstring injury, Singletary looks the same as he did last season, even making would-be tacklers who only have to tag him to end a play whiff.
And while he is fresh, there have been times this fall when Singletary’s been looking for defenders to hit him.
“I’m like man, whatever,” Singletary said. “Tackle me. I need it.”
If FAU’s defenders are able to wrap up Singletary, Whyte and company on Saturday, it should bode well for the season moving forward.
“Saturday will show us a lot on that because it will really be our one test on that,” Kiffin said.