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USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

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USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/sunbelt/fau.htm

Florida Atlantic - Team Notes
Posted 2d 14h ago E-mail | Save | Print |


INSIDE SLANT
Early indications are that Florida Atlantic's offense is ahead of its defense this offseason.

But as spring wrapped up with the offense beating the defense 35-25 in the spring game, the focus heading into the offseason shifted to more than the talent on the field. Many Owls players acknowledged that they became complacent after winning the Sun Belt Conference title in 2007. They admitted they didn't work as hard over the summer as they should have, and the results on the field were glaring.

FAU stumbled to a 1-5 start in 2008. The Owls rallied to close the season 7-6 after beating Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl, but didn't repeat as conference champions.

"It's going to start this summer," FAU senior cornerback Erick McIntosh said. "Dedication. If we come out here dedicated and know what we should be doing, it will be a good season for us."

FAU coaches spent the spring evaluating the defensive side of the ball, where seven starters from last season must be replaced. The defense had its shaky moments early in the spring but responded well in the spring. FAU's defense forced turnovers on the first two drives of the spring game on a fumble recovery and McIntosh interception.

"I was very proud of the defense for doing what I asked them to do and that was forget about making errors and forget about anything but trying to kill the guy with the ball," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "They were able to force some fumbles and intercept some passes. They were really good."

NOTES, QUOTES

–QB Jeff Van Camp was able to get more reps in practice and comes into the fall as the clear backup to starter Rusty Smith. Van Camp went 19-for-29 for 234 yards in the spring game.

–TE Jason Harmon looked good this spring after sitting out the 2008 season with a torn ACL.

"He looks as though he was never injured," tight ends coach Joe Corozza said. "He's running just as fast as he was. He can make the catches he was making before. There's maybe a little mental rust here and there but no physical drawbacks."

Harmon posted an All-Sun Belt Conference season in 2007, catching 63 balls for 825 yards and five touchdowns.

SPRING MOVERS:

RB Alfred Morris – Morris came into the spring as the backup fullback but due to injuries and hard running, he enters the fall as the top candidate to replace Charles Pierre as the team's starting tailback. Morris rushed for a team-high 131 yards on 18 carries in the spring game, scoring one touchdown. The 5-foot-11, 222-pound Morris has shown surprising elusiveness and balance for his size.

CB Erick McIntosh – McIntosh came into the spring second on the depth chart behind Tavoris Hill but might have moved ahead of Hill with a strong spring. McIntosh had an interception in the spring game.

DE Jamere Johnson – The redshirt freshman has put himself in position to earn a starting job at defensive end next fall. Johnson was able to get consistent pressure on FAU quarterbacks throughout the spring.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You saw today what kind of outstanding rusher Alfred Morris is, He showed me something I had never seen before." – FAU senior quarterback Rusty Smith, on the performance of sophomore running back Alfred Morris.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

2009 OUTLOOK: Florida Atlantic players have done some soul searching in the offseason after squandering an opportunity to win a second straight Sun Belt Conference title with a poor start. The Owls have the pieces in place to make another SBC title run lead by senior quarterback Rusty Smith. The key will be replacing seven starters on defense.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: With Smith back for his senior season, FAU should be able to move the ball up and down the field in conference play. Leading receiver Cortez Gent is back and tight end Jason Harmon could provide a huge boost if he returns to form after sitting out the 2008 season with a torn ACL. Converted fullback Alfred Morris was a pleasant surprise this spring and looks like the leading candidate to replace Charles Pierre at running back.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The defense faces a huge challenge. While a gaggle of starters are gone from the 2008 unit, the Owls are also looking for a leader to replace middle linebacker Frantz Joseph, the leading tackler in school history. FAU's defense struggled early in the spring but started to come around in the spring game. Kevin Cyrille, Dino Cox and Jamere Johnson established themselves as potential future pass-rushing threats, but growing pains are expected all around.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Ross Gornall, a walk-on who kicked well for FAU against Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl, comes into the fall as FAU's starting place kicker. Keegan Peterson is back to handle punting duties. Blanchard's injury leaves a hole for kick returns that will need to be filled in the fall.

ROSTER REPORT:

–RB Jeff Blanchard tore his ACL in the first week of spring practice and likely won't return until at least the middle of the season. Blanchard was projected to start at running back in 2009.

–TE Rob Housler is looking to redshirt his senior season. With Jason Harmon back looking effective this spring after a torn ACL, and Jamari Grant also returning, Housler would have probable seen little action next season. But the redshirt would give Housler a chance to return as FAU's starting tight end in 2010.


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

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Re: USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

Good find Owlfamily

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

Good write up…in contrast to most, they actually sound like they know what they are talking about!  lol
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Re: USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

That's the first I heard of Housler red-shirting, did I miss something?
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Re: USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

cbboarder said

That's the first I heard of Housler red-shirting, did I miss something?

Yeah, he chose to RS since he would be the lone starter next year…Harmon and Grant are a lock this year, unless one of them…

Nah, let's not go there!
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Re: USA Today-FAU owls Inside slant.

Florida_Owl said

Good write up…in contrast to most, they actually sound like they know what they are talking about!  lol

Wasn't hard. All of that information was on Ted's blog. Not a single drip of it is new.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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