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More Sunbelt and FAU Previews...

Courtesy of the Mean Green Board

Sun Belt Team Previews - Mean Green Football - GoMeanGreen.com Forum

2008 FAU Football Preview: 2008 Florida Atlantic Football Preview

2008 Florida Atlantic (FAU) Owls Football Preview


Florida Atlantic Owls
2007 Record: (8-5, 6-1 Sun Belt)
Coach: Howard Schnellenberger (41-42 at FAU, 141-119-3 overall)

FAU Starters Returning: 20 (10 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists)

Offensive Starters Lost: LG Jarrid Smith

Offensive Starters Returning: QB Rusty Smith, WR Cortez Gent, TE Jason Harmon, RB Charles Pierre, FB William Rose, WR Conshario Johnson, LT Brandon Jackson, C Nick Paris, RG David Matlock, RT John Rizzo

Defensive Starters Lost: LB Cergile Sincere, DT John Mertilus, SS Kris Bartels ,

Defensive Starters Returning: LB Frantz Joseph, DB Tavious Polo, DT Jevonte Jackson, CB Corey Small, LB George Allen, DT Robert St. Clair., FS Taheem Acevedo, DE Jermaine Council

Starting Specialists Lost: None

Starting Specialists Returning: K Warley Leroy, P Keegan Peterson

2008 Florida Atlantic Football Overview
Although Florida Atlantic has only been a member of the Sun Belt Conference since 2004, the Owls have already become the league’s premier football program. This was probably to be expected considering FAU’s head coach is Howard Schnellenberger.

Schnellenberger resurrected both Miami and Louisville’s programs from virtual extinction and turned them into national powers. He has one of the best pedigrees in college football. Schnellenberger has been part of four collegiate national championships. His 1983 Miami Hurricanes won that school’s first title, and he was offensive coordinator for Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama, when the Crimson Tide won championships in 1961, 1964 and 1965.

He built this FAU program from scratch. Since the Owl’s inaugural season in 2000, each recruiting class has been better than the last, each schedule more difficult than the last and each milestone one step closer to national prominence. His efforts culminated in 2007, when FAU captured the Sun Belt championship and then routed Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.

With 20 starters returning, the Owls will be overwhelming favorites to repeat as league champions. As with many first-time winning programs, it will be interesting to see how they handle playing with heightened expectations.


FAU Offense
FAU is loaded offensively with skill players, led by junior quarterback Rusty Smith, who threw for 3,688 yards and 32 touchdowns. Smith was also named 2007 Sun Belt Conference MVP.

The backfield is deep with RB Charles Pierre, who rushed for 782 yards in 2007, and FB William Rose. Dilvory Edgecomd, the Owl’s return man, will back up Pierre.

The receivers are arguably the best in the Sun Belt, led by junior Cortez Gent who caught 64 passes for 1,082 yards and 9 TD’s in 2007. TE Jason Harmon hauled in 63 catches for 825 yards and found the end zone 5 times.

The bulk of the offensive line returns with LT Brandon Jackson, C Nick Paris, RG David Matlock, RT John Rizzo.

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FAU Defense
FAU struggled defending against the pass at times last season, but overall, the defense features great team speed and outstanding linebackers.

The Owls lost an all-conference linebacker in Cergile Sincere, who had more than 100 tackles, but seniors Frantz Joseph, Andre Clark and George Allen form an outstanding group.

The defensive line should be a strength, led by seniors Jervonte Jackson and Robert St. Clair.

The secondary will be led by sophomore CB Tavious Polo. Polo led the country for much of last season with seven interceptions. He recorded three picks in one game versus Minnesota, including the game-saving catch in the closing drive. He was named Freshman All-American Team by the Football Writers Association of America.


2008 FAU Special Teams
Senior place-kicker Warley Leroy made 19-of-27 field goals and missed just two PATs last season. Junior punter Keegan Peterson returns after averaging more than 40 yards a punt. Senior DiIvory Edgecomb is one of the top returners in the conference, averaging 24.1 yards per return.

2008 Florida Atlantic Analysis & Outlook
The Owls finished 8-5 last season, won a share of the Sun Belt title, upset Minnesota, and defeated Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl. With 20 starters returning, it will take an act of Congress to keep them from repeating as league champions in 2008.

However, given his history, Schnellenberger will not be satisfied until FAU is an elite program. Ten years ago, when began building the program from scratch, he pledged that someday FAU would compete with Florida, Miami and Notre Dame.

"It (winning the conference) is a reward for all the things that we've done to this point, but more importantly than that, it's still part of the mission that all the kids came here for," Schnellenberger said.

“Our goal is to be the best team in America," Schnellenberger once said. “There's two kinds of players. The ones who want to go to the most prestigious school they can, like a Notre Dame, Florida or Miami. Then there's another group more interested in the college experience as far as developing a new situation. That's what we did at Miami in 1979, '80 and '81. They opted to come to Miami to start a tradition. We have the same type of players."

To that end, FAU is playing an ambitious non-conference schedule. The owls open the season by traveling to Austin to play perennial powerhouse Texas. They also have road games against Minnesota and Michigan State. If the Owls pull out a victory in two of those contests, FAU will be propelled into the national spotlight.

"I absolutely have the belief and the conviction that Florida Atlantic University will, at some particular time unbeknownst to me, qualify for a game that will determine the national championship," Schnellenberger said following the Owls' in the New Orleans Bowl last December.

If past events are the best indicator of future occurrences, don’t bet against that happening.


I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick @$$ and I'm out of bubble gum.

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Re: More Sunbelt and FAU Previews...

owlfamily said

"I absolutely have the belief and the conviction that Florida Atlantic University will, at some particular time unbeknownst to me, qualify for a game that will determine the national championship," Schnellenberger said following the Owls' in the New Orleans Bowl last December.

If past events are the best indicator of future occurrences, don’t bet against that happening.

Great quote!

;D
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