BOCA RATON – Having already lost to two of the Top 12 teams in the nation, and with no other teams on the schedule currently ranked, it would be easy to assume that FAU has already faced the best defensive players they’ll see this season.
That’s not the way FAU’s starting offensive tackles see it. Forget those losses to Oklahoma and UCF. Their biggest challenge comes this week against Old Dominion.
“They are definitely the best defensive ends we are going to face this season,” senior starting left tackle Reggie Bain said.
More than the usually this-week’s-opponent-is-the-best-opponent mentality exists here.
Oshane Ximines is a 6-foot-4, 255-pound dervish who’s tied for second in the NCAA with 6.0 sacks. Through five games this season he’s nearly matched last year’s total of 8.5 sacks. The year prior Ximines tallied 7.5. In both of those years he sacked an FAU quarterback.
With 27.5 career sacks, Ximines trails only Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech – which FAU will face on Oct. 26 – among active players.
“He’s a real good player,” Bain said. “He’s good with rushing the passer and stopping the run. I’ve seen him throw offensive tackles down like they are running backs. We’re definitely going to be keyed in on him and prepared.”
Ximines will line up on either side of the defensive line, swapping places with fellow defensive end Daniel Appouh. A 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior, Appough notched 3.5 sacks last season but has yet to get one this year.
FAU’s pass protect has been a strength this season. Only eight teams have allowed fewer than the four sacks FAU’s offensive line surrendered thus far.
“I always pride myself in preparing the same way for each opponent, so I’m trying not to over-hype him,” starting right tackle Brandon Walton said of Ximines. “I’ve seen that he’s a very talented pass rusher and has a really high motor, so I just have to match his intensity.”
Some scouting prognostications have NFL teams selecting Ximines on the second day of the 2019 draft, but many also note that he could climb all the way into the first round if he continues playing at his current level throughout the season and into the Senior Bowl.
Bain is familiar with playing against an NFL-caliber defensive end with those kinds of accolades.
He acknowledged Ximines’ talent is comparable to that of Trey Hendrickson, who Bain faced on a daily basis as a freshman and sophomore while the current New Orleans Saint played for FAU.
“I think (Ximines is) a little bit bigger as far as weight/size but, yeah, they are similar,” Bain said. “I’ve got to come with it because I know he’s coming with it. You’ve got to be bigger.”