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USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

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USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

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


INSIDE SLANT

The Owls had a dream season a year ago when they went 8-5, won a share of the Sun Belt title and routed Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.


Coach Howard Schnellenberger might need to be pinched with FAU returning 18 starters in 2008.


Spring practice was centered on building depth up front on both sides of the ball and building on the momentum created at the end of last season. 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 is loaded offensively with skill players, led by junior quarterback Rusty Smith, who threw for more for than 3,600 yards and 32 touchdowns. The backfield features good depth and the receivers are arguably the best in the Sun Belt, led by junior Cortez Gent. Opponents began to play a more physical brand of bump coverage late in the year, but the lean Gent was still able to win using his size.  Defensively, 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. No team in the Sun Belt has fewer questions entering the season than FAU, easily the consensus pick to take the league title in 2008.


NOTES, QUOTES

—Junior QB Rusty Smith earned player of the year honors in the Sun Belt Conference after throwing for almost 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns.


—Sophomore WR Cortez Gent emerged as a star in 2007, earning first-team all-league honors. He caught 64 passes for 1,082 yards and nine touchdowns.


SPRING MOVERS:


—DB Erick McIntosh — The junior had an outstanding spring and will provide the Owls with more depth in the secondary.


—DB Tarvoris Hill — The sophomore, who played in all 13 games last season, also will give the Owls more depth in the secondary.


—WR Lester Jean — The freshman made great strides in the spring. At 6-foot-3, he will be another big target for quarterback Rusty Smith.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "We are going to continue to get the most out of the backs and keep them fresh so they can make the big run. We need both of them." — FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger on tailbacks Charles Pierre and DiIvory Edgecomb.


STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

2008 OUTLOOK: The Owls finished 8-5 last season, won a share of the Sun Belt title and defeated Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl. With 18 starters returning, there is no reason to believe they can't repeat as league champions in 2008.


SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Owls averaged more than 31 points last season, and they could be even more explosive in 2008. Junior QB Rusty Smith was player of the year last season and returns the bulk of his offensive line and every skill player.


SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: FAU struggled defending against the pass at times last season, but overall, the defense features great team speed and outstanding linebackers. Senior LB Frantz Joseph led the Sun Belt with 131 tackles last season. The defensive line should be a strength, led by seniors Jervonte Jackson and Robert St. Clair.


SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior place-kicker Warley Leroy made 19-of-27 field goals and missed just 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.


ROSTER REPORT:


—Junior TE Jason Harmon, a first-team all-league pick in 2007, suffered a knee injury in the spring, but he is expected to be full strength by August.


—Junior WR Frantz Simeon sat out last season due to academic reasons.

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

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Re: USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

owlfamily said

 The Owls had a dream season a year ago when they went 8-5, won a share of the Sun Belt title and routed Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.

This STILL urks me…….

They HAVE to change this in the SBC "front office".

It's a discrediting JOKE.

We BEAT Troy - game over.

We should be the out and out SBC Champs - period.

Sorry for the rant guys…….


Nice post by the USA Today beat writer though :)
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Re: USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

The issue if there isn't a championship game is that there could be 3 teams with the same records and A could beat B but lose to C, B could beat C but lose to A, and C beats A but loses to B.  Say they are all 8-5 you can't give the championship to anyone without giving it to everyone.  Big East (and others) have this system.

Lets get USA, Georgia State, and Georgia Southern and get a real championship game.

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
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Re: USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

With such a gushing article, do we even have to play the games now?
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Re: USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

Florida_Owl said

owlfamily said

The Owls had a dream season a year ago when they went 8-5, won a share of the Sun Belt title and routed Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.

This STILL urks me…….

They HAVE to change this in the SBC "front office".

It's a discrediting JOKE.

We BEAT Troy - game over.

We should be the out and out SBC Champs - period.

Sorry for the rant guys…….


Nice post by the USA Today beat writer though :)

We are technically Sun-Belt Co-Champions, and the by-laws states it very clearly.

I see why many get upset with the Co-Champions tag and the argument that we are the Sun-Belt Champions, yet it is what it is - we are Co-Champion.  It doesn't change the fact that we represented the Sun-Belt in New Orleans because we WON the tie breaker with Troy.

Until we can get enough teams in the Belt to have a conference title game, having shared titles will continue to occur, IMO it will happen more offend then an out right Champion, which will require a team to go undefeated which is proving to be tough especially in this conference or any other for that matter.
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Re: USA Today Sunbelt Preview- FAU section....

Now, to get back on track.

I have some concerns how the players will handle and react to all the accolades they will receive from the successful season, to the Bowl game victory as we head into the season opener.

We have always played better as underdog, with a chip on our shoulders trying to prove everyone wrong.  As I remember, we never got the love, always picked to finish in the middle of the pack and were able to use this as extra motivation, now that element is gone and we are now the leaders.  How will the players react to this?

This is where the leaders of the team will play a very critical part of setting the tone for the rest of the players.  Because they will have to work even harder to remain top dog.

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