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FAU Football Spring Camp Mar 22nd: Depth at LB a Priority

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FAU Football Spring Camp Mar 22nd: Depth at LB a Priority



DC Rekstis wants to close the gap between the one’s and two’s

Spring football is often described as time to focus on fundamentals, and more importantly build depth. For Florida Atlantic, it’s no different.

“I’ll judge the success of spring on how our two’s preform,” head coach Carl Pelini said at the conclusion of Friday’s practice.

With the Owls wrapping up their first week of spring camp, the team dawned shoulder pads during the morning session to allow for the first contact of the year. While the hitting was kept to a minimal, it still gave the players a taste of real action.

Some of the individuals who delivered the hits were familiar faces, while others were new.

Linebackers Andrae Kirk, Randell Johnson and Adarius Glanton all had strong practices, but when you talk with defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis (photo left with Coach Carl Pelini) what really matters is the players behind them.

“Those three (Kirk, Johnson and Glanton) are doing a great job of getting better everyday. We gotta make sure the gap between them and the two’s close,” Rekstis said.

Sophomores Freedom Whitfield and Josh Ballesteros are listed on the depth chart behind the trio of experience, and Friday morning Rekstis was coaching them up.

Whitfield was used in a reserve role last season while Ballesteros primarily played on special teams. The two however fit Rekstis’s mold of an athletic free-ranging linebacker and are being asked to mature quickly.

“We can only be as good as the backups. I think our guys learned that last year. When we have a guy hurt, thats a drop off… as great as it is now, we would be in trouble. We need to play those two (Whitfield and Ballesteros) so we’re not all in trouble,” Rekstis said.

One individual who understands the learning curve at linebacker is Glanton – who had to learn the defense last fall after transferring from junior college.

“It’s a learning process,” Glanton said. “We have to make sure everybody is on the same page. When we are in the meetings they get it, but out on the practice fields it’s fast paced.”

While linebacker may be already be one of the deepest units on the team, the coaching staff is still looking for development. Whitfield and Ballesteros will continue to receive repetitions in practice with the hopes that they can eventually be relied upon in the rotation.

Notes:

- Before Glanton was made available to media he spent a few minutes after practice long snapping with the punters and kickers. Glanton explained that he will be long snapping this spring and has prior experience from his days in junior college.

- OL Karl James was on crutches and wearing a boot. James switched over from the defensive line in the offseason to compete for playing time at right guard. He is listed on the two-deep as the backup.

- WR DeAndre Richardson concluded the team session with a long catch and run. He worked with the first team offense and showed no signs of the leg injury that limited his involvement last season.

- DB Adrian Burton was at practice, but dressed in street clothes.

- A few familiar faces where on hand: QB Greg Hankerson and DB Robert Miller, two signees in the 2013 recruiting class, watched practice from the sidelines. The duo appear to be good friends and are set to join the team this summer.

- 2015 Blanche Ely DB Kevin Williams was also in attendance.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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