BOCA RATON – An FAU offensive line already struggling to find healthy bodies will have to endure another blow following the news that right tackle Bryan Beck will miss the remainder of the season because of a knee injury.
“Unfortunately we found out yesterday that Bryan Beck is going to be done for the season,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said. “We’ll attack this challenge like we have the rest of them.”
A redshirt freshman, Beck started the last three games for FAU in the spot usually occupied by senior Kelly Parfitt, who missed a month with a knee injury of his own.
Beck underwent knee surgery as a true freshman, which forced him to miss all of spring practice and limited him in fall camp. Partridge did not say whether the most recent injury is related to the previous one.
“It really started to show up the last few days,” Partridge said of Beck’s injury.
Beck is the third FAU offensive lineman to have started at least one game who is now out for the season. Junior left tackle Reggie Bain broke his hip in a preseason motor scooter accident and will not play a down this season. Guard Tarrick Thomas, who was elevated to the starting spot when the Owls shuffled the offensive line to compensate for Bain’s injury, suffered a season-ending knee injury against Ball St.
The improved play of Beck over the past month allowed Parfitt to move to the less physically taxing guard spot when he returned to the field in the Owls most recent game, at Marshall. Parfitt re-injured his knee in that game and is doubtful for Saturday’s game at Western Kentucky.
Jakobi Smith replaced Parfitt in that game before suffering an injury of his own. Smith is still questionable with concussion-like symptoms. Additionally, Partridge said true freshman Brandon Walton, who was forced into action earlier this season, is questionable for Saturday because of an undisclosed injury.
“As you look at all the issues that we’ve had there, they’re all very different,” Partridge said. “If there were a pattern of injury, then you would take a look at maybe something we are doing as a program.”
Exiting spring practice redshirt sophomore Byers Hickmon appeared primed to play a significant role along the line this season, but he missed nearly all of fall camp while recovering from an unspecified health issue.
FAU coaches were hopeful Hickmon could work his way back into the rotation but he, too, is now out for the season.
“We’ll see where that goes long term,” Partridge said.
With Beck out, walk-on Matt Weiner likely draws the starting assignment at right tackle against Western Kentucky.
“That’s probably the route we’d go,” Partridge said.