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Interesting Howard/FAU/dome Sun Sentinel article

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Interesting Howard/FAU/dome Sun Sentinel article

Read the parts in red. Kinda sums up everything we've been screaming about.

Howard keeps tooting his horn about the dome so hopefuly that is a good sign things are looking positive.

Forget the losses - Schnellenberger has a larger plan
Published September 24, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. ? There were no miracles for Florida Atlantic here Saturday evening. Jubilation hasn't introduced itself this year to the Owls.

Another Saturday, another loss. Another city, another blowout. This time it was South Carolina beating up on the Owls 45-6 at Williams-Brice Stadium to provide coach Steve Spurrier some false hope before facing No. 2 Auburn next week.

The bad news is the Owls are 0-4 and have been outscored 192-20. The good news? These games mean little and the numbers are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Get real. The Owls were supposed to get flattened and they did. So move on and understand the bigger picture.

Six years ago, Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger began molding a football program from nothing at FAU. The fact Schnellenberger has brought this program to Clemson, Louisville and South Carolina – and next year to Florida and the year after to Michigan State – is rather remarkable when you consider the Owls are probably the only Division 1-A school playing in a high school stadium. :'( (interesting observation, do high school recruits see it this way to?)(kind of embarrising, don't you think?)

So the Owls got blown out four consecutive games? What did you expect? Not only did FAU pick up $1.8 million over the past month, but Schnellenberger's players have picked up valuable experience and can still salvage the season once they begin Sun Belt conference play Saturday. It's like a clean slate.

Smack in the middle of this is Schnellenberger, who dares to dream of bowl games and a 40,000-seat domed stadium in Boca Raton. Crazy, you say? Like a fox.

The University of Miami's football program was dying when Schnellenberger arrived. He turned the Hurricanes into a national brand like Pepsi or Coke. He arrived in Louisville to a football team playing in a dilapidated baseball stadium. Today, the Cardinals are ranked No. 8 and Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is affectionately known as the house Howard built.

The Cardinals moved from No. 103 in the country to No. 11 under Schnellenberger in less than six years. Progress is going to be slower at FAU. He inherited programs at Miami and Louisville. At FAU, he's started from scratch. Still, they've been to the playoffs, set a record for becoming the fastest team to defeat a 1-A opponent (22nd game), and Schnellenberger has gotten much-needed recognition for the program by playing big-time teams.

Have the Owls struggled? Mightily. But after working with the same players for the team's first five seasons, Schnellenberger is in the process of rebuilding. "The only way not to lose all the seniors at the same time was to run them off," he said.

Schnellenberger has one senior on defense, two on offense. He's rotating quarterbacks who have never started before. "People don't understand how young we are … and they don't care to learn," he said.

What they may also not realize is the potential of this school's program. Losing can cloud your thinking and allow trepidation. That would be a shame. Everyone wants immediate satisfaction, but imagine the possibilities at Florida Atlantic with a domed stadium on campus in the center of South Florida's population.

Imagine Schnellenberger bringing recruits there rather than Lockhart Stadium. Imagine the benefits to the basketball program. Doesn't it make sense the Big East would want to take a long look at including FAU in its conference?

You see, even on nights like this, when he's pacing the sidelines in his suit and tie, Schnellenberger sees the potential. "I'm looking for us to be able to play the teams we are playing now and having a legitimate chance of winning within the next three to four years," he said. "Louisville gives me a lot better barometer as to what can be done, what will be done [at FAU]."

The road ahead for FAU is going to demand patience and commitment, but it's not one Schnellenberger hasn't been down before. The trick is going to keep believing even on nights like these.

Dave Joseph can be reached at djoseph@sun-sentinel.com.

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Interesting Howard/FAU/dome Sun Sentinel article

Patience, we have all talked about it frustration but it will take patience and time. Ya gotta believe
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Interesting Howard/FAU/dome Sun Sentinel article

Amen. to that.
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