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No Power? No Problem for FAU

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No Power? No Problem for FAU

FAU shutdown gives Owls time to practice

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted September 8 2004

While Florida Atlantic's main campus in Boca Raton remained closed Tuesday because of the prolonged power outage in the area, there was one class going on.

How To Beat North Texas 101 was being taught at the Tom Oxley Athletic Center.

While Hurricane Frances overshadowed the biggest win in Florida Atlantic's history, the 35-28 upset over Hawaii, the storm's aftermath has allowed FAU extra time to prepare for its next biggest.

Returning from Honolulu Monday morning to see the damage caused by Frances brought the jubilant players back to earth quickly.

"We were in a fog," linebacker Chris Laskowski said. "Nobody had power, nobody knew what to do."

FAU officials found a hotel with electricity in Fort Lauderdale and the team moved in, solving the housing problem.

With the campus shut down at least through Thursday, players have no classes or homework and can concentrate on Saturday's game in Denton against the Mean Green, which has won the Sun Belt Conference the last three seasons and is picked to end up on top this year.

"It's a blessing. We're all together all the time," Laskowski said. "We're having a great time. They take care of us. Three meals a day, air conditioning, plus we have a lot of time to focus on this game."

After beating Hawaii, one of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference, FAU would like nothing more than to take down the king of the Sun Belt, which FAU will be joining next season.

The Oxley Center was one of the few buildings on campus with power Tuesday.

The team spent the day watching video and holding meetings before heading to the practice fields.

So what was going to be a short week because of the 5,000-mile trip back from Hawaii has turned into a week filled with bonus time.

"The trip to Hawaii took a lot out of us," quarterback Jared Allen said. "Then to come back to the situation here, it would have been tough to juggle school with that."

FAU is preparing for a different team than the one it faced in Honolulu. The Warriors relied on the pass, while North Texas employs a run-first philosophy.

"This is our kind of game. Smashmouth, come at you," Laskowski said.

Many players have not been in their dorm or off-campus apartments for nearly a week, since they left for Hawaii last Thursday.

"I can't even remember what my own bed feels like," Laskowski said.


While the words were not spoken at Tuesday's practice, they were on the mind of all the players.

Hearing "Valdosta State" still sours the stomachs of FAU players, since it was a year ago that the then-Division I-AA Owls came back from a season-opening upset of D-I Middle Tennessee to lose their next game to D-II Valdosta State.

"We're not going to let what happened to us last year happen this year," Laskowski said. "We can't have that."

Laskowski said the players are also not going to be lulled into complacency by seeing how Texas beat North Texas 65-0 last week in the season opener for both teams.

"We're not even going to look at that film. I don't know what happened, I just know they are a good team that plays hard and was in a bowl game last year," Laskowski said.

"They have a veteran defense that was best in the Sun Belt last year," Allen said. "You can't judge anything off the Texas game."
Copyright ? 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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