BOCA RATON – The progress hasn’t exactly been smooth, but De’Andre Johnson took another step toward becoming the starting FAU quarterback during Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I think De’Andre had his best day today of all the practices,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said.
A transfer from East Mississippi CC, Johnson is battling incumbent Jason Driskel to be the Owls’ signal caller.
With the quarterbacks trying to master new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ scheme, the spring has featured stops and starts from both.
Driskel has been the more consistent quarterback, but Johnson has both substance and flash.
And when the Owls go to live game-like situations like Saturday’s scrimmage, Johnson’s ability to turn bad plays comes to the forefront.
“In talking with the guys that had him last year they said the same thing,” Kiffin said. “When the lights come on he really performs well.”
The battle may carry over past the Owls’ April 22 spring game and into the fall. Kiffin says he hasn’t set a timeline for naming a QB.
“It’s going to happen when it happens and the sooner the better for your team but also you have to make the right decision,” Kiffin said.
Some other nuggets from Saturday:
- With Rashad Smith on the sideline for part of practice, walk-on Jesse Howanitz moved up to first string linebacker. Howanitz was listed as a tight end last season but played linebacker in high school. “I’m glad we moved him,” Kiffin said.
- A.J. Turman moved from running back to linebacker earlier in the spring but he did get some carries during the scrimmage with the third string, taking one for a score. That carry is included in the video highlights at the top of the page.
- If it’s Saturday, it must be time for Kiffin to praise wide receiver Kamrin Solomon. The senior slot receiver got loose a couple of times across the middle and made a leaping catch along the end zone sideline for a TD. The Owls are certainly making a concerted effort to get him the ball. “He was the MVP today,” Kiffin said.
- Kiffin expects both his coordinators to be on the sidelines for games. Briles signals in the plays, something he can’t do from the press box. Kiffin said he hasn’t discussed the situation with defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin, but likes the idea of having the coordinator on the field so he can keep contact with players as offenses attempt to speed up the tempo. Kiffin added that the trend nationally is to have both coordinators on the field. “We just did it at Alabama,” Kiffin said.