Owls Use Bye Week for Scout Bowl
The FAU football team had some fun Thursday morning.
With a bye week in full effect, interim head coach Brian Wright wanted to lighten the mood in the locker room.. and he did just that.
Wright had the scout team scrimmage inside FAU Stadium with the entire team looking on in what was called the "Scout Bowl." The walk-ons and redshirts – who usually spend practices mocking future opponents and schemes – lined up and scrimmaged in a game-situation for the first time all season.
Wright handed the play calling duties over to his graduate assistants and invited the starters out to cheer on their teammates.
"I think there is a buzz here and electricity that we are going to build upon," junior offensive lineman Braden Lyons said.
Lyons and a handful of other linemen spent the morning making noise in the stadium's student section, and according to Wright the atmosphere was exactly what he had wanted to create with no game on Saturday.
"We haven't had an opportunity to do anything like this all year long," Wright said. "With the bye week we wanted to give them a chance to play and have the older guys cheer them on."
"For them (scout team) to just have the opportunity to go out there and have some fun and be rewarded for all they have done and contributed is really important just for their moral and the team's moral," Wright said.
Walk-on quarterback Evan Lassiter opened the scrimmage with a 14-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Dustin Bowens, but after that it was all the defense. Freshman cornerback Ronnie Scott returned an interception 40-yards for a touchdown and fellow youngster Sammie Cooper raced 85-yards with an interception return of his own.
Wright said that one graduate assistant had taken the scrimmage so seriously that he had arrived at the team's facilities at 6 a.m. just to start game planning.
While there was no official score kept on the field, Wright continues to be winning over the locker room.
Here are my other observations from the scrimmage:
- Word out of practice all year long has been that freshman Kalib Woods was the real deal. Woods backed that statement up on Thursday with a noteworthy performance. The wide receiver hauled in five passes for 76 yards and was no match for anyone on defense. Woods also accounted for 18 rushing yards on a pair of reverses. It might be a pre-mature statement, but he certainly has some William Dukes in him.
- FAU is going to lose a pair of linebackers to graduation after this season, but the cupboard isn't completely bare. Walk-on Nathaniel Ozdemir was all over the field in the scrimmage, and registered a number of tackles. Ozdemir originally signed with Navy in the spring over offers from Army and Air Force, but has found his way to Boca Raton.
- Staying with the trend of walk-ons cornerback Sammie Cooper had a strong outing. He has plenty of size at 6-foot, 175-pounds and the ability to break on the ball. I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the rotation next season, regardless of which coaching staff is in place.
- By far the play of the day came when the defense was forced to play offense in a goal line situation. Freshman safety Tyler Henderson received the ball on a flee flicker from linebacker Josh Ballesteros then lobbed a pass into the end zone that was caught by Cooper. It was the defense's third trick play of the three-play drive.
- Junior running back Antonio Washington, hasn't worked worked with the first or second team offense this year, but with injuries to a few regulars, that could soon be the case. Washington banged around the scout team defense on Thursday, and finished with close to 30 rushing yards.