OwlBytes: 2021 FAU Fall Camp August 18th - Special Teams & Notes
We're in the double digits now, as Day 10 of camp winds down to a close and the Owls are gearing up for their first scrimmage on Saturday. With position battles heating up, the Owls are continuing to work to get better during this week's practices.
"I wanna play special teams now," senior linebacker Akileis Leroy said. "It's all about versatility and those guys have the same vision I have. They want to get themselves better at every aspect of the game, not just one side of the ball, they want to be versatile, they want to give people something to see rather than defense or offense."
The Owls will be led on special teams by Ray Guy Award watchlist punter Matt Hayball (photo) while redshirt freshman Lucas Lupo and redshirt junior Aaron Sharihari battle it out for the starting kicker position and speedy freshman wide receiver Lajohntay Wester dominating the return game. Leading the coverage teams is 6'2, 216 lb senior running back Tyrek Tisdale along with established starters Akileis Leroy and James Charles. Freshman safety Carter Odell has been emerging as a star in the coverage game during camp.
And with that, here is the seventh rendition of the parliament Position Previews, detailing special teams, and notes from today's media availability.
- Expected to Lead Matt Hayball: Ever since he arrived at FAU as a redshirt freshman in 2019, Australian native Matt Hayball has been one of the most dominant punters in college football. Hayball had the 20th-highest average yards per punt in the nation with 44.07. He consistently pinned teams inside their 10-yard line and had a clear effect on FAU's defense last season. He received C-USA Honorable Mentions honors while also being named to the aforementioned Ray Guy Award watchlist this preseason.
- Keep An Eye On Logan Lupo: Freshman kicker Logan Lupo has been the most impressive kicker at camp thus far. He transferred from Louisville this season after sitting behind starter James Turner. In 2019, he was ranked as the ninth-best kicker in the nation by Kornblue Kicking and was named to the Miami Herald's First-Team All-County as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas. He will challenge Aaron Shahriari for the starting kicker role this season.
- Dark Horse Candidate Carter Odell: The freshman safety has garnered a lot of attention from his teammates, specifically in his work on special teams. "He's just a team player who wants to make everyone better except for himself," Tyrek Tisdale said of Odell. "He's an underclassman who started to pick up the book and soaked it up. He came into camp and understood that special teams is a good thing." The 5'10, 190 lb safety saw action in FAU's win against Charlotte on special teams during the shortened season last year. With another season of experience under his belt, he should see even more playing time next year.
OwlBytes for August 18th
- Owls Debut Two-QB Sets During practice today, the FAU offense was running a two-quarterback formation that featured Michael Johnson Jr. and Nick Tronti. In that formation, Tronti ran a screen route just behind the line of scrimmage. It makes you wonder if FAU is going to try to utilize multiple quarterbacks on the field at once, as the New Orleans Saints had done with Taysom Hill, and run a trick play or two on a possible option play.
- FAU To Have Rotation of Linebackers During today's media availability, Akelieis Leroy stated that Florida Atlantic will have a linebacker rotation of himself, Caliph Bryce, Anterrius Mosley, and Eddie Williams. This rotation allows for all of these players to stay fresh while showcasing the abilities of each of the four. With the amount of depth at the inside linebacker position, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will have a lot of room to get creative.
- Lucas Luft Continues To Impress Luft was one of the most impressive players in the receiving drills today, showcasing his speed for his large 6'7 frame. He was out there making huge jump catches from all of FAU's quarterbacks, while running more fluid routes than even some of the receivers. As noted in yesterday's parliament position previews on the tight ends, Luft has been impressive all camp and has received praise from both head coach Willie Taggart and tight ends coach Jon Bills. Expect Luft to see some serious playing time next season.
Running backs coach Chris Perkins, RB's Tyrek Tisdale and James Charles, inside linebackers coach Lance Thompson, linebacker Akileis Leroy, and punter Matt Hayball headline today's Video Play.
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