FAU’s defensive players intend to take family relations a little further. Think Italian.
“The mob,” said linebacker Keke Leroy, describing the Owls’ defensive mentality. “Basically it’s like, don’t mess with us. It’s aggressive. We use it very aggressively.”
Don’t mess with the family,
“I just hope we’re ferocious,” defensive tackle Ray Ellis said. “I just hope we attack the ball, fly, come together, stay together, and just be physical – have fun all the time.”
The Owls may have come together at some point during last year’s fall camp, but players are indicating they didn’t stay together. Squabbles erupted among players on both sides of the ball, and several players remarked about teammates forsaking team goals for individual ones.
New defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer invested plenty of time since his arrival bringing teammates closer together – making them want to play for each other.
“I feel like everyone just bought in,” Ellis said. “The summer program really helped everyone out.”
Spencer also wants to develop a trait common in all mob families: toughness.
“Authentic toughness is fighting through injuries,” senior cornerback Chris Tooley said. “If you’ve got a little finger jam, still practice. If your back is hurting, just do one or two reps – still show the coaches you can go, don’t just tap out. If you’re cramping, get right. Drink what you’ve go to to drink to get back on the field.”
Hard Knocks at the Ox: Saturday’s practice report.
Position Spotlight: Senior defensive tackle Kevin McCrary struggled during the spring with Spencer’s new defense, but he’s launched a strong start to fall camp. A starter at times during his career, McCrary dropped to the third string in April, but was back working with the starters on Saturday. One reason for McCrary’s early success could be improved conditioning. When other players appeared gassed as the defensive line ran sprints at the end of practice, McCrary seemed unfazed. …Defensive ends Marcel Southall and Damian Horton appear to be carrying their breakout springs into the fall. Both are showing good burst.
Trending Topic: For the second consecutive day cramps attacked players late in practice. They didn’t force as many players to the sideline as the first day, but a handful of players, mostly on defense, hobbled off the field during the final team drill.
QB Battle: Justin Agner threw two interceptions in the span of three passes during the final team drill, the only quarterback to toss picks during practice’s most telling period. Chris Robison and Nick Tronti didn’t exactly turn heads. None of the three quarterbacks led the offense to touchdowns during that period. The defense clearly won Saturday.
Roster Check: redshirt senior slot receiver Ladante Harris moved to cornerback on Saturday, showing well. He even broke up a Tronti pass intended for Eyin Cole. “For his first day, he’s doing pretty good,” starting cornerback James Pierre said. “He’s learning the playbook. He made a couple plays. He’s a pretty good player.” With Harris moving to defense, USF transfer DeAngelo Antoine worked as the second team slot receiver. …James Pierre spent much of the second half on the sideline. Somewhat surprisingly nickel Korel Smith moved over and ran with the ones.
Playmakers: Safety Teja Young intercepted a Tronti pass during seven on seven drills, giving him three picks in the first two days. …Tooley nabbed the first of the interceptions thrown by Agner during that final session – an inaccurate toss following a roll out. Hosea Barnwell stepped in front of Willie Wright on a crossing route to snag the second pick. …Brandon Robinson made a fine fingertip catch for a big gain.