OwlBytes: 2021 FAU Fall Camp August 9th - Offensive Line & Notes
After a brief weather delay to open the first day of camp that was open to the media, the Owls began their fourth day of practice. Florida Atlantic returns 23 of their 24 starters from last season, including 17 players who received degrees.
"It's always great when you have the experience to help the young guys navigate the early years of college," Taggart said. "It is different for all of them, so you have guys who have been through it all. You've got guys who have not only navigated college life, but also football and winning championships."
The team was in helmets and shoulder pads today and will do that once more before moving to full pads on Thursday following their required day off on Wednesday.
The offensive line position remains one of the deepest on FAU's roster, with all five starters returning. 2020 Preseason All-CUSA guard Desmond Noel and 2019 C-USA All-Freshman tackle Marquice Robinson headline the returning starters while FSU transfer Chaz Neal and redshirt sophomore Eli Fields are newcomers who will add even more depth to the position.
As training camp begins to pick up steam, here is the first of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names on the offensive line, and some notes from today's media availability.
On The Line
- Expected to Lead Desmond Noel: After receiving his degree this Spring, Noel (pictured) comes back to lead the offensive line group yet again for the Owls. The 6'3, 305 lb lineman has been with the school since transferring from Ohio as a Redshirt Junior in 2019. Upon his arrival, he was a crucial member of the offensive line that allowed just one tackle for a loss in the 2019 C-USA Championship game, as FAU defeated UAB 49-6. He earned C-USA Honorable Mention and Preseason All-C-USA honors following that spectacular Junior season. In 2020, he started in six of FAU's eight regular-season games, also drawing a start in the Montgomery Bowl against Memphis.
- Keep An Eye On Sebastien Dolcine: Dolcine transferred to FAU in January 2020 after being ranked as the No. 2 junior college guard and the No. 20 junior college player in the nation. While he didn't play any games in 2020 for the Owls, the 6'5, 294 lb lineman has a strong chance to make the starting roster out of camp. Redshirt junior Chaz Neal, who transferred from FSU, was a close second. He appeared in 19 games with the Seminoles, including all 13 during his redshirt freshman year in 2019.
- Dark Horse Candidate Eli Fields: The 6'5, 314-pound guard transferred to FAU from Butler Community College. In his 2019 freshman season, Fields led BCC to a 10-3 record, the 2019 Midwest Classic Bowl Championship, and a No. 5 ranking in the country. He redshirted the following season before transferring to FAU. Now, he appears to have started camp working with the second-string offense as a redshirt sophomore.
OwlBytes for August 9th
- Quarterback Battle Wages On After day four of camp, it appears that Michael Johnson Jr. and Nick Tronti have been shuffling between the first and second string offenses while N'Kosi Perry and Willie Taggart Jr. have been working with the threes and fours. There are still three weeks of camp before the start of the season, so the competition will wage on for the next few weeks as Taggart prepares to choose who leads the Owls onto the field in Gainesville.
- Littlejohn Leads In Locker Room With New Position After making the transition from wide receiver to cornerback, previously playing quarterback, Cordel Littlejohn stands out as a leader in the locker room. When I asked defensive backs coach Stanford Samuels Jr. about Littlejohn's influence in the locker room, he said "as a quarterback, Littlejohn is so sharp and accustomed to understanding scheme, so when I'm asking questions, he's the one to answer." Littlejohn's knowledge of the game and unique perspective has made the redshirt sophomore a vocal leader in the locker room. "From his presence in the locker room, he has helped our room grow," Samuels said. "A lot of times [his impact off the field] goes unseen and overlooked."
- Depth Shines in Wide Receiver Battle "We have a flowing, ongoing, competitive depth chart," wide receivers coach Joey Thomas said. "We don't have starters. Based on how you perform that day will dictate where you're at the next day. We've seen flashes from everybody, it's a highly competitive group and they've all had their moments." Graduate students Aaron Young and TJ Chase headline the receivers returning from last season while Freshman Lajohntay Wester and Redshirt Sophomore BJ Alexander are younger receivers who could impress enough to make the week one lineup out of camp.
Head Coach Willie Taggart headlines Video Play.
2021 FAU Football Fall Camp Discussion
2021 Fall Camp Roster