There’s plenty of vengeance to be had.
“All of those games last year that were so close, so close, everybody’s pissed off from that,” linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. “Pissed off. Tired of being the guy, that, Oh FAU came close. I don’t want to be that team anymore and I don’t think anyone else on this team wants to be known for that. So every game is that type of game, so the mentality never changes.”
In game after game last year – and the year prior, too – FAU led or was within a possession late but couldn’t find a way to win
Though the final score doesn’t reflect it, that includes last year’s loss to Old Dominion, this week’s opponent.
FAU actually led ODU 21-13 at halftime before the Monarchs ruled the second half, winning 42-24.
Much like many players did last week when explaining why FAU could subdue MTSU’s offense, Al-Shaair returned to the mantra that this is a different defense than last year.
“We know what we have and we believe in ourselves,” said Al-Shaair, who, following Saturday’s victory over MTSU said nothing would have kept him from playing that game.
The Owls’ defensive performance in Saturday’s revenge victory over Middle Tennessee wasn’t their best performance of the year – that came in a shutout of Bethune-Cookman three weekends ago – but it may have been their most satisfying.
Coach Lane Kiffin wants to see the defense become more effective in negating opposing offense’s big play abilities.
“We gave up too many explosive pass plays,” he said.
Cornerback Raekwon Williams agreed with Al-Shaair that the defense is pissed off, and that they will use that attitude to their advantage heading forward against Conference USA foes.
“Just throughout the whole conference play we want to be able to go out there with the same mindset and just make sure we don’t get complacent and get better each and every day,” Williams said.