Both offensives struggled, plagued by many of the same mistakes that ended drives all spring, namely dropped passes, a failure to stop pass rushers and a lack of a running game.
First stringers being divided nearly evenly between teams complicates analysis. Did good plays showcase the skills of top players or the lack of skill on an opponent further down the depth chart?
We’ll get to the bottom of what we can with the spring game edition of Saturday Six Pack.
Saturday Six Pack
1. There’s still little separating the quarterbacks. Playing with an injured throwing hand, Justin Agner threw for more touchdowns and yards but also committed more turnovers. Dropped passes hurt Nick Tronti, but he also made poor decisions at times. Agner appears to be gaining on Tronti in a two-way battle, but that doesn’t factor in suspended incumbent Chris Robison. FAU is headed to a three-way battle come fall.
2. The running game isn’t there. For the second consecutive week FAU rushers failed to reach the end zone. James Charles rushed for 70 yards on 21 carries. B.J. Emmons carried only five times for 19 yards. The Owls didn’t tackle in the second half, which can limit rushing yards because ball carriers don’t get to break tackles. Jumbling the offensive linemen couldn’t have helped either. And Malcolm Davidson, we learned Saturday, is among the players benched until their academics improve.
3. Charles Cameron can be a force. Not only was the defensive tackle in the backfield harassing quarterbacks much of the afternoon, he also tracked down ball carriers on the sidelines, showing impressive drive and speed. If he can carry this spring’s performance into the fall – something Cameron couldn’t do last year – having him and Noah Jefferson (benched because of academics) in the middle will be formidable.
4. Harrison Bryant is really good. We’ve made a big deal about where he lines up this spring because the tight end is all over the place. But really, it doesn’t matter much. Bryant’s always open, even when he’s covered. He’s showing great hands and is using body position to keep defenders away from the ball.
5. FAU’s young defensive backs played well. Cornerback Diashun Moss intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Safety Teja Young delivered a big hit on John Mitchell to break up a pass, then picked off a Cordel Littlejohn latethrow in the contest. Nickel Ahman Ross was credited with an interception and Armani Adams tipped the pass that led to Moss’ pick, forced a fumble and recovered another.
6. It’s fitting that the game ended on a missed field goal. While Lane Kiffin said incumbent kicker Vladi Rivas has looked good this spring, he continues to miss kicks in scrimmages. His attempt at a 50 yarder on Saturday wasn’t anywhere close. Newcomer Christian Hoyo’s attempted game winner from 43 yards missed left by 10 feet.
Extra Point: The alumni game is great. The Owls held their first flag football alumni game at halftime of the spring game. Loved to see some familiar faces return, many of them playing their first game on Howard Schnellenberger Field. And the man who the field is named for watched from the sideline. Hopefully this grows in size and becomes a yearly event.