PHOTO GALLERY: Shots From Tuesday’s Practice
BOCA RATON – The loss of about 40 pounds coupled with a new attitude have former Florida St. Seminole Kain Daub looking like the prized player FSU thought it was getting when they signed him.
A full year after arriving at FAU from ASA College, his intermediary stop between Florida St. and Florida Atlantic, Daub’s performance over the past three practices, including Saturday’s scrimmage, allowed him to stand out among a crowded, talented crop of FAU defensive ends.
“Kain was the most productive guy in our scrimmage on Saturday,” starting defensive end Hunter Snyder said. “It’s good to see him finally step into his role.”
Daub arrived at FAU after 2017 fall practice had already began. Overweight and coming off a knee injury, Daub managed only a handful of snaps in his first season as an Owl.
His performance during and even throughout the spring, when Daub admitted he “was nonchalant about things” didn’t indicate a breakout could be coming.
He entered fall camp battling for a spot on the third string, but when FAU started resting Snyder to allow a couple nagging injuries to heal Daub began making life difficult for FAU offensive linemen, quarterbacks and running backs.
“I couldn’t do anything but try to change my attitude and my mindset,” Daub said.
Between the end of spring and start of fall camp Daub cut out sugary drinks, stopped eating fast food and embraced FAU’s summer workout program.
Now playing with only 240 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, Daub is using his speed to fly around offensive tackles to hassle quarterbacks, and he’s still strong enough help clog the middle on runs. He’s playing through the whistle, often irritating some offensive players with his aggressive outlook.
“Last year coaches were iffy – he may or may not help the team,” Snyder said. “I feel like he’s definitely going to make an impact this year.”
Listed as a linebacker last season, the trimmer Daub actually fits FAU defense well as a defensive end, playing in a scheme that emphasizes speed over bulk.
Daub has taken reps with the first team in both of the last two practices. He still has a ways to go to replace Snyder, but Daub wrestled second-team snaps away from Tim Bonner on Monday and is pushing his way into the defensive end rotation.
FAU coach Lane Kiffin said these past couple practices mark the best “by far” Daub has looked since joining the Owls.
He pointed, once again, to the hurdle some junior college players face acclimating to FBS football.
“A lot of them struggle in that first year, then the lights come on for them in all fronts,” Kiffin said.
FAU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
WATCH HUNTER: Snyder joined the list of FAU football players placed on watch lists for national awards. The Ted Hendicks Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive end, is keeping an eye on Snyder, who tied for the FAU sack title last season with six and finished fourth on the the Owls with 57 tackles.
“It’s awesome being on the list, just getting recognized for your hard work,” Snyder said. “It doesn’t change anything. I have to work just as hard or harder.”
SCARCITY AT RB: Kiffin admitted that he’s a little worried about the lack of depth at running back. Heisman candidate Devin Singletary is locked into the top spot, with Kerrith Whyte and Gerald Hearns behind him, After that? It’s a bit of a mystery. Tyrek Tisdale’s surgically repaired knee is healing slowly and D’Anfernee McGriff moved back to tight end. The good news for FAU is that true freshman Malcolm Davidson, who sustained an undisclosed injury prior to his arrival at FAU, returned to full contact on Tuesday, running over defensive back Malike Vigille on one play.
LEAF DROPS IN: Kiffin invited former NFL QB Ryan Leaf to address the team on Monday. A former No. 2 overall pick, off-the-field incidents and poor play marred Leaf’s brief career. He spoke to Chris Robison, De’Andre Johnson and the rest of the QB unit about controlling their emotions channeling their aggression on the field.
“I thought that he would be really good because Chris and De’Andre both play with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, kind of have that, like Ryan was in college, Baker Mayfield – that type of energy – which can be really good when its managed right.”