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QB Johnson Impresses as Owls Open Spring Camp

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QB Johnson Impresses as Owls Open Spring Camp



Johnson, position changes mark first day of spring practice

Florida Atlantic held their first practice of spring football Monday morning with the goal of improving on last year’s 3-9 record.

With many new faces and questions at key positions, the Owls ended their opening session on a higher note than the previous year.

“They worked hard, a little rusty, but they worked hard. Much better than last year’s first day,” second-year head coach Carl Pelini said.

Junior college transfer Jaquez Johnson (pictured above) made his debut in an FAU helmet, and left a lasting impression. The quarterback took snaps alongside Stephen Curtis and Melvin German, and showed that he has the potential to win the starting job. Johnson displayed a strong arm with a quick release and the ability to move in the pocket.

The Owls shuffled through the trio of quarterbacks in drills and used a set rotation in team activities. Curtis, who started last year’s season opener, faired well throughout the morning and looked comfortable running the offense.

Pelini mentioned at the conclusion of practice that he was pleased with the quarterbacks efforts and would like to see some separation within the group over the next few weeks.

“You would really like to have a pecking order here by the end of spring. I think that Melvin and Quez have done a nice job mentally of trying to catch up to where Stephen is. It will be a pretty legitimate competition this spring,” Pelini said.

Spring practice allows for coaches to explore and experiment with players, and a handful of individuals changed positions.

With depth a concern along the offensive line, Karl James, Isaac Edwards and Shane Blair moved over from the defensive front, while a few other linemen rotated between guard and tackle. Senior center Mustafa Johnson helped some of the new members find their assignments in practice, but the unit is still a project.

“It’s kind of a hodgepodge right now in terms of who’s playing where. We changed some guys positions and that will take one film session for me to figure out who is comfortable  where they moved,” Pelini said.

Linebacker Michael Copeland also made a change, as he dawned a white offensive jersey and practiced with the tight ends. He dropped a few passes, but looked capable of adjusting to his new position.

The highlight of the session came when linebacker Randell Johnson intercepted a tipped pass over the middle and returned it for yardage. The defense outplayed the offense recording more takeaways than touchdowns.

FAU will continue practicing three days a week until Saturday April 20th when they play their spring game at Geo Group Stadium.


Notes:

- Absent from Monday’s practice was wide receiver Jay McCants, who transferred from Indiana last fall.

- Junior college transfer Braden Lyons saw time with the first team offense at left guard. He could very well become the starter at that position.

- Tight end Anthony Russell snagged a nice catch in team drills and has some soft hands. He needs to work on his speed, but looks capable of blocking.

- Wide receivers Lucky Whitehead and Daniel McKinney both participated in practice and wore green “no-contact” jerseys. Whitehead injured his collarbone earlier this offseason while McKinney's injury wasn't specified.

- Defensive end Shalom Ogbonda, who redshirted last year, looks like he has put on weight and matured. It will be interesting to see how he practices this spring and if he works into the defensive line rotation.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: QB Johnson Impresses as Owls Open Spring Camp

Great write up! Very excited for this year.
As far as McKinney goes, I know he had surgery I think on a shoulder? Right after the season, so maybe that is why he is in no contact still
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Re: QB Johnson Impresses as Owls Open Spring Camp

Doesn't sound like MGIII stood out too much but good to know Quez looks as good as advertised.
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Re: QB Johnson Impresses as Owls Open Spring Camp

like I said, the coaches knew Melvin wasn't the answer
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