OwlBytes: 2021 FAU Fall Camp August 13th - Defensive Linemen & Notes
The first week of Fall Camp is officially in the books, and the competition is still brewing. With position battles waging on, FAU is still working on setting its roster and preparing for their big week one matchup with Florida on Sept. 4.
"We have around 90 to 93 scholarship players, which is unusual," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said during today's media availability. "You want to be able to make sure we can use that depth to our advantage in all positions."
One of the position groups that is returning a lot of depth is the defensive line, bringing back redshirt sophomore Jaylen Joyner and freshman Evan Anderson with an extra year under their belts due to COVID-19. They both showed flashes of dominance in the trenches and were able to get to the quarterback. Ryan Veingrad and Marcell Southall are outside candidates to add depth to that group as well.
With day seven of camp in the books, here is the fourth rendition of the parliament Position Previews, detailing the defensive line, and notes from today's media availability.
In The Trenches
- Expected to Lead Jaylen Joyner: The redshirt sophomore showed his elite pass-rushing ability, racking up 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for a loss last season. Joyner's most dominant performance was in week one, where he had four of his five sacks on the season. His production slowed down from that point on sacks-wise, but he still remained a dominant pass rusher that gave offensive lines problems. He received C-USA Honorable Mentions last season, and with a good camp, he can show out even more and blossom into the leader of the defensive line group.
- Keep An Eye On Evan Anderson: Anderson became the first True Freshman to draw a start on the offensive line since 2013, and he impressed last season, amassing 1.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss despite missing part of the season with COVID-19. During the offseason, Anderson shed some weight and returns to camp with even more mobility to couple with his strength at the defensive line position. Keep an eye out on Anderson as he gains an even bigger role on the FAU defense and uses his added mobility to become one of the most dangerous defensive linemen in C-USA.
- Dark Horse Candidate Ryan Veingrad: Despite having limited playing time last season, the senior defensive tackle was very impressive last season. He was able to get to the quarterback whenever his number was called, putting up a sack and 3.5 tackles for a loss. Veingrad (photo above right) has the mobility of an edge rusher at 6'4, 263 pounds, but can play any position on the defensive line, including tackle, and he thrived when given the chance. He has the strength to power through the opposing offensive line and get into the backfield and with more playing time, he could prove himself even more next season.
OwlBytes for August 13th
- Diashun Moss Heats Up Cornerback Position Battle The Owls already had one of the best duos of cornerbacks in college football with Smoke Mungin and Zyon Gilbert, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said that Diashun Moss has given Mungin a run for his money for the left corner position. Moss had 15 solo tackles, a pass deflection, and an interception behind Mungin for that starting cornerback spot in 2020. With more playing time, expect those numbers to go up even more.
- Quarterback Battle Still Even Thus far Quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Michael Johnson said during today's media availability that he's been giving each quarterback even reps and has seen flashes from all of them. "We're not really worried about any of that right now," Johnson said. "We're just trying to execute our base plays and give everybody equal opportunities to help this football team." During practice this week, it seems as though Nick Tronti and N'Kosi Perry got more reps with the starters, but Johnson insists that there "are no starters."
- Chris Jones Shows Improvement, Primed To Lead Linebackers Chris Jones has shown his athleticism and strength throughout the week. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops had some high praise for the outside linebacker, saying "the guy has really improved and gotten bigger and stronger." 4.5 of his nine tackles were for a loss last season in limited playing time behind Leighton McCarthy, so with McCarthy out of the picture and Jones showing improvement, he may be a favorite to be a starter coming off the edge in Gainesville.
DC Mike Stoops, OC Michael Johnson, QB's Michael Johnson Jr., N'Kosi Perry and Nick Tronti, and safeties Jordan Helm and Teja Young headline Video Play.
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