BOCA RATON – Last week at this time FAU coach Lane Kiffin conceded that the Owls current three-man quarterback battle may remain unsettled entering Saturday’s season-opener at Oklahoma, prompting him to employ a two quarterback system in Norman.
On Wednesday, with only two practices remaining until opening kickoff, Kiffin expanded his potential playbook even further, admitting that all three might play.
“We can’t figure it out so we’ll just keep plugging along,” Kiffin said. “Maybe they’ll all play.”
Redshirt freshman Chris Robison, graduate transfer Rafe Peavey and redshirt junior De’Andre Johnson, spent fall camp battling for that starting spot.
All three continue to make their share of positive and negative plays.
“Nobody has just totally outplayed the other guys, so they are all making mistakes, but at the same time no one’s really canceled themselves out to make it an easy choice,” Kiffin said.
This past weekend Kiffin learned that, facing a similarly tough decision, program founder Howard Schnellenberger ultimately flipped a coin before the game to decide whether Jared Allen or Garrett Jahn would start the first game in FAU history.
Unimpressed upon hearing the story last weekend, three more days of practice may have softened Kiffin’s stance on the merits of such a decision-making method.
With a three-man battle a coin flip won’t settle the issue.
“We’ll do rock paper scissors or something,” Kiffin said, presumably joking.
Robison, the youngest of the signal callers in the battle, came on strong over the final weeks camp. He transferred to FAU last summer after being dismissed from Oklahoma following an arrest for public intoxication.
Kiffin said he doesn’t intend to try to protect Robison from what could be a raucous Sooner crowd by keeping the youngster on the sideline.
“I don’t think like that,” Kiffin said. “I’m not saying that’s not the right way. We play who we believe are the best players at that time in that game to win that game. If he’s outplayed guys and we feel like it’s him, it won’t matter where we’re going to play.”
Peavey didn’t join FAU until after camp had already started, yet he’s impressed players and coaches with the rapidity with which he learned the playbook.
FAU defensive players consistently compliment the former Arkansas and SMU quarterback’s accuracy during practices.
“For any position to come in midstream like that, but especially quarterback, that’s very difficult,” Kiffin said. “He has exceeded our expectations coming in, that you would have thought that you would have probably bet that he wouldn’t still be in this race with so little time, but he’s done a very good job.”
Johnson is the only player in the battle who has played a down in an FAU uniform. seeing a handful of plays in last season’s opener against Navy. The following week Johnson underwent surgery to remove blood clots in his arm, ending
Johnson began his career at Florida St. before transferring to East Mississippi Community College, where he was featured in the Netflix docu-series “Last Chance U.”