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Schnellenberger Still Undecided at QB

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Schnellenberger Still Undecided at QB

Schnellenberger still undecided on starter at QB

BY SARAH ROTHSCHILD
[email protected]

Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger prefers to avoid quarterback controversies, but after the competition for starter was too close to call during the spring, the questions will resume again when the Owls resume practice Aug. 7.

Schnellenberger said he plans to announce his starter 10 days before FAU's season opener at Clemson on Sept. 2.

The competition between Sean Clayton, a 6-5, 225-pound redshirt junior, and Rusty Smith, a 6-5, 212-pound redshirt freshman from Jacksonville, is one of the biggest question marks entering camp.

The race for quarterback came as somewhat of a surprise, because Smith played well enough in the spring to prevent Clayton from locking up the job.

Clayton, a transfer from Michigan State, is more experienced after playing in nine games last season and completing 31 of 57 passes for one touchdown. Although Smith lacks experience, he has more speed.

''It's been kind of shaky,'' FAU left tackle Nello Faulk said. ``It's going to take a toll come camp.''

Last season, senior Danny Embick started nine games and completed 120 of 222 attempts for 1,531 yards.

He also threw 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, averaging 170.1 passing yards.

With the battle so close, Schnellenberger said it reminded him of the quarterback competition between Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde when he coached the University of Miami in 1983.

''Kosar was a redshirt and Testaverde had played a little bit in a backup role the year before,'' Schnellenberger recallled.

``We expected Testaverde to win the competition, but it ended up that Kosar did, and it worked out very well, because we won the national championship.''

This time, Schnellenberger doesn't expect the same outcome, because FAU is coming off a 2-9 season and the upstart program would be making strides if it is in the hunt for a postseason berth.

NFL BOUND?

Faulk switched from center to left tackle last year and entering his senior season, the 6-7 Tampa native has made a concerted effort to bulk up.

Schnellenberger said Faulk could be an intriguing NFL prospect but added that, ``he needs to improve as much as he has in the last three years.''

Faulk said he played at 264 pounds last season and has added 21 pounds to his frame over the offseason by eating more and lifting weights.

But Faulk wants to gain more weight and reach 300 pounds.

''I have to get bigger, faster, stronger, period, if I want to go [to the NFL] because I'm an underdog at FAU,'' Faulk said.

``I'm not at Florida State or Miami, so I have to do twice as much as those guys do to get into the league. I have to work twice as hard, I have to have an excellent year.''

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Schnellenberger Still Undecided at QB

I saw this article earlier.

Playing for FAU is not going to keep Faulk from getting in the NFL. He just has to get to a playing level that can compete in the pros. The OOC schedule should give him an chance to see what level he has to play at.

Reading the comments in the news after last year's OOC games, what I got from it was the FAU players were overwhelmed at the level of play. It wasn't the size of the other team so much, it was execution.


FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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Schnellenberger Still Undecided at QB

That's a fair assessment about last year's team. We also have to admit that the talent level was more obvious on the OOC teams. They were young and could have been overwhelmed. But they still hung in there during spurts. Execution comes with experience and confidence. This year should show an improvement in both.

This QB thing should be interesting to watch. I have leaned toward Smith since earlier this year. If he wins the job Clayton should be a proven back-up. That's not all bad. Coach SChnelly may go back to the two QB system again for this very reason.
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