BOCA RATON – Five days of fall camp haven’t produced much separation in FAU’s quarterback battle.
Offensive coordinator Travis Trickett called the contest between Jason Driskel and Daniel Parr “neck-and-neck” following Tuesday’s practice – the first in which offensive players and coaches spoke with the media.
“You’ve got one series where one guy does well and another series where another guy does well,” Trickett said.
Both quarterbacks have strong arms, but Trickett concedes that Parr’s is stronger.
Driskel, a redshirt sophomore, who’s arm is also strong, has the edge in experience having played in 10 games last season, starting twice.
In the spring the quarterbacks, like every other FAU offensive player, were trying to learn the offense.
This fall is the first time either quarterback is experiencing a fall camp with the realistic opportunity to emerge as a starting college quarterback.
“I think there’s a lot more intensity,” said Parr, comparing fall camp to spring practice. “I think it’s a little bit more uptempo. Coaches are being a little bit harder on us, but that’s a good thing.”
Trickett likes the way offensive players are responding to the leadership of both quarterbacks and in the early days of camp both look confident running the offense.
“If you’re not confident, it’s over – all hope’s lost if you’re not confident,” Driskell said. “That’s one thing that you have to learn is that one day I might come out there and look great and the next day I might not look so hot, but confidence should never waiver.”
Both players insist their off-field friendship won’t waiver either, no matter who is named starter.
“If the guys saw us being not friends, I guess I should say, that would be horrible for our football team and that’s not what it’s about,” Driskell said.
FAU entered the fall with a stated goal of selecting a starting quarterback by the final week of camp.
With the competition so close, could the timeline slip closer to the first game?
“No,” Trickett said. “We’ll figure it out.”
Hard Knocks at the Ox\
Making Plays: FAU doesn’t have its first practice in full pads until tomorrow, which means there hasn’t been any tackling yet. That makes it difficult to get a true read on the running game (and the run defense for that matter), but thus far Trickett is excited about what he’s seeing from the ground attack. The play of Buddy Howell is a major reason. He looks bigger and faster, continuing the momentum he gained in the spring. And he’s catching the ball. What a weapon he will be in this offense if that trend continues into the season. …Raekwon Williams showed why coaches have elevated him to the No. 1 cornerback by making a diving interception of a Parr pass, taking the ball away from James Brunson in the back of the end zone.
Tracking the Depth Chart: With starting right guard Antonyo Woods sidelined, redshirt freshman Tarrick Thomas worked with the first team for the past two days.
Newcomer Watch: The most impressive highlight of the full team scrimmage on Tuesday – ever so slightly better than the Williams interception – was a 60-yard TD pass from Driskel to true freshman John Mitchell, who has already worked his way onto the second team. Mitchell is big and fast. Parr already views Mitchell as a deep-ball threat. It’s readily apparent why coaches were so excited about Mitchell on Signing Day.
Instant Message: “We really want to identify what we’re going to be good at. Every team is different and you have to have enough in your offense to be able to have answers for whatever your team can do best because the worst thing a coach can do is try to fit a square peg in a round hole.” – FAU offensive coordinator Travis Trickett