BOCA RATON – FAU’s already depleted running back unit took another couple of hits during Saturday’s scrimmage, with injuries prompting Conference USA MVP Devin Singletary and reserve D’Anfernee McGriff to be held out of contact drills on Tuesday.
Singletary’s injury is the most alarming but also potentially the least severe.
The rising junior who led the nation last season with 32 rushing touchdowns hurt his hamstring while being pushed out of bounds at the end of a long run by safety Jalen Young. The play ended with Singletary lying in the sand pit that serves as the landing area for the broad jump at Fort Lasuderdale’s Carter Park – the site of the scrimmage.
“I tweaked my hamstring a little bit,” Singletary said on Saturday. “I’m good though.”
Coach Lane Kiffin categorized Singletary and McGriff as “day to day.”
As hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger, FAU could elect to hold Singletary – who has nothing to prove during the spring – out of spring practices to ensure he’s ready for the summer conditioning program.
The Owls were already being careful with Singletary when the injury occurred, electing to hold him out of the tackling portion of Saturday’s scrimmage.
Kiffin expects Singletary to return to action before the end of spring practice, which concludes with FAU’s April 20 spring game. The Owls have have four more practices remaining before that game, including Saturday’s scrimmage at Hadley Park in Miami.
FAU did not disclose McGriff’s injury.
With Tyrek Tisdale and James Charles already being held out of spring contact drills Singletary’s injury left Kerrith Whyte as the only scholarship running back participating in team drills on Tuesday.
He split time first-team time with Gerald Hearns, who continued his strong spring on Tuesday.
“Gerald Hearns probably would be the least talked about guy early that has made the most plays over the course of spring,” Kiffin said. “There’s a lot of discussion about, that he would be the second back right now, which I don’t think many people would think. That’s not a reflection on the other guys, that’s just really how well he’s done.”
FAU announced the signing of running back Malcolm Davidson in February and expects JUCO transfer B.J. Emmons, a former Alabama running back, to arrive for the fall.
SpringFling: Tuesday’s Practice Browser
Making Plays: De’Andre McNeal turned in the offensive play of the day, leaping to take a deep pass away from cornerback Shelton Lewis, then tossing away Lewis with one arm and racing to the end zone for an 80-yard score. …Chris Tooley intercepted two passes during seven-on-seven drills. …John Mitchell made a nice leaping catch on a De’Andre Johnson pass thrown high an a little behind him. Mitchell also made a sliding catch of a Robison pass for a touchdown during red zone drills, …Defensive end Anthony Bennett sacked Johnson. Da’von Brown dove to bat down a pass intended for Mitchell. …Ernest Bagner simply discarded running back Daniel Leconte on his way to a sack of Chris Robison. …Defensive tackle Charles Cameron tipped a Robison pass at the line of scrimmage. …Robison found a wide open Jacob Wilson with a dump pass over the middle and the tight end rumbled untouched for a 70-yard touchdown.
Tracking the Depth Chart: With second string guard William Tuihalamaka sidelined because of injury, Nick Weber took snaps with both the first and second teams. When Weber needed a break second string tackle Ean Biancardi moved from tackle to guard. …Ocie Rose spent some time as the first string safety in place of Zyon Gilbert.
QB Battle: Both Johnson and Robison connected on downfield tosses during the team scrimmage portion of practice. “We had some explosive plays,” Kiffin said. “Quarterbacks made some really unique plays which kind of fed off of Saturday.”
Instant Message: “Congratulations to whoever won,” Lane Kiffin upon learning he didn’t win FAU Coach of the Year award at Monday’s Owlspy’s presentation.