How far it’s fallen is a surprise.
“I am putting it on the offensive line. I feel we need to execute better. Sometimes we could finish better.” senior left tackle Brandon Walton said. “The offensive line has been slacking.”
FAU’s 103 rushing yards-per-game as a unit ranks No. 118t in the nation. The lack of ground attack forced FAU to rely on the passing game.
That’s not a recipe coach Lane Kiffin wants to follow entering Conference USA.
“We’re not going to win this conference until we figure out how to run the ball better,” Kiffin said.
After poor performances in the Owls first two games, FAU’s offensive linemen said worked on being more aggressive. While their play improved during wins over Ball St. and Wagner, both opponents, neither of which featured a stout defensive line, consistently disrupted plays, often in the backfield.
“We need to be more physical and nasty upfront,” Walton said. “We need to get back to getting loose and playing ball.”
Through four games last season FAU accumulated 882 yards rushing. This year, FAU’s only tallied 479 rushing yards.
“It’s a team effort, as Brandon said, it’s on the O-Line but it’s also a team effort also” running back James Charles said.
In preparation for Saturday’s game at Charlotte the Owls altered the way offensive linemen view game video, attempting to identify keys earlier so they can adjust their blocking schemes accordingly.
There are yards to be gained against Charlotte. The 49ers’ rushing defense ranks 109th overall and third to last in the C-USA, surrendering more than 200 yards a game.
Walton explained the Charlotte defensive line as “twitchy,” explaining they will make several moves in rapid succession in order to get to the ball.
Against Charlotte last year, FAU rushed for 187 yards, with 88 of them coming from Singletary. Charlotte’s rush defense last year was ranked 9th overall in yards allowed with only 105 yards allowed per game.