BOCA RATON – Frustrated by the Owls’ inability to get ball carriers to the ground in FAU’s season-opening blowout loss at No. 7 Oklahoma, coach Lane Kiffin intends to get more physical in practice this week.
The Owls are going to spend more time tackling during practices.
“We’ve got to do something,” Kiffin said, “It was horrible.”
FAU didn’t tackle much during fall camp, hoping that limiting contact would help the Owls avoid injuries. Even in scrimmages most of the time a defender only needed to tag or wrap up a ball carrier to end plays.
The Owls entered the season without incurring any major injuries, but in the days leading up to the season opener Kiffin did admit that his team’s tackling skills remained a bit of a mystery.
Against the Sooners, in a game that Kiffin said featured “a million missed tackles,” the Owls showed they were out of practice when it came to getting ball carriers to the ground.
“We didn’t tackle low at all,” Kiffin said. “The whole plan was to tackle low on those guys with the big backs. We came in and did exactly what we weren’t supposed to do – tried to shoulder tackle and tackle up high. That’s about as bad a film as you can put out there. That’s a pretty embarrassing film to go around the country.”
The Sooners raced to 316 rushing yards on Saturday, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Now the Owls have to prepare for an Air Force squad that rushed for 333 yards while only attempting eight passes in a 38-0 victory over Stony Brook.
That preparation, which began with Monoday’ practice, will involve live tackling.
“We’re going to have to tackle, which you normally you don’t want to do in season in practice,” Kiffin said. “All the schemes aren’t going to matter; and diagrams and coverages and workouts, none of that’s going to matter if you don’t start tackling.”