Backup quarterback Rafe Peavey said he’s practiced with the second team all week, like in other weeks, with Chris Robison still piloting the first team and De’Andre Johnson working with the third string.
On Sunday, following the prior day’s 25-24 loss at MTSU, coach Lane Kiffin said Robison wasn’t progressing at the rate he had hoped when he named the redshirt freshman the winner of a three-way quarterback battle coming out of fall camp.
Kiffin said he would consider a change at quarterback if one of the backups out-played Robison in practice this week.
“I had tons of people texting me news clippings and stuff like that – the narrative that was being pushed out there,” Peavey said. “I come out to practice and nothing really changes. Chris still going with the ones, I’m still going with the twos. That’s just frustrating for me because I came here for opportunity. I came here to win. I feel like we need to win now. I’m just making sure that I’m going to be ready. If I do get that opportunity I want to give it everything I have and make sure I’m prepared. Coach Kiffin and Coach Weis and my teammates deserve that of me.”
Peavey transferred to FAU from SMU as a graduate student shortly after the start of fall camp with hopes of using his final year of NCAA eligibility to be the Owls’ starting quarterback.
So far this season he’s led two offensive possessions for the Owls, both sustained drives but neither yielding points. His first drive, at Oklahoma, ended with an interception. His second, against Bethune-Cookman, concluded with a poor fourth-down snap.
Peavey didn’t mind admitting his frustration regarding the lack of playing time.
“If you play quarterback and you’re OK with being a backup, there’s something wrong there,” Peavey said. “I’m an extremely competitive guy and confident in my abilities.”
On Saturday FAU faces an Old Dominion team that may have turned its season around with a quarterback change. With ODU pulled starter Steven Williams early against Virginia Tech, backup Blake LaRussa led the winless-to-that-point Monarchs to the biggest upset of the season.
Last week ODU nearly upset East Carolina.
Peavey said he’s convinced he could make a similar impact if given the opportunity.
“I love seeing that, backup quarterbacks go in there and make big things happen like (Tua Tagovailoa) and Alabama in the national championship game,” Peavey said. “I’m a huge fan of him. Same with Old Dominion quarterback. I respect the hell out of that.”
Third string FAU quarterback De’Andre Johnson stepped behind center for three drives this season, producing touchdowns all three times. With Johnson calling the signals, the Owls did nearly all of their damage on the ground.
Robison set a program-record with 471 passing yards in a victory over Air Force during the second week of the season. While he’s played well in spurts during the weeks that followed, Robison struggled with consistency. In the three games that followed Air Force, he’s thrown only two touchdowns against six interceptions.
“I really like Chris because he’s not showing any change,” tackle Brandon Walton said. “He’s always working. He’s always intense. He’s always willing to get better. That’s what I really appreciate about Chris.”
On Sunday Kiffin said he thought Robison might be pressing too much, trying to make the big play.
Senior left tackle Bain said that characterization could apply to the entire team.
“Even when we get down we all press because we want to win the game,” Bain said. “That’s just everybody in general as a football player. There’s really no difference.”