Florida Atlantic held its first intra-squad scrimmage of fall camp Friday afternoon, and despite Lester Jean's 157 yards of receiving and Travis Jones 107 yards on the ground, the defense beat the offense 34-24.
"The defense was obviously dominant in this game," Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger said after the scrimmage. "We made so many errors on offense, by not having the snap and all kinds of things, which is to be expected when were playing with a fourth or fifth center."
With the teams top three centers not participating in the scrimmage due to injury, Chris Newbold, Andy Czuprynski, and Ed Wertepny all shifted over to the center spot and snapped the ball.
The offense got things going early with a Jeff Van Camp 60-yard touchdown pass to Lester Jean on the first play of the day. Van Camp and Jean like to run this deep route down the sidelines, as it has become a regular in practice sessions, and has resulted in scores.
Once the second half got underway, the Owls first-team defense took control of the scrimmage and shut down the passing attack. Quarterback David Kooi never looked comfortable in the pocket, and was often taken down in the backfield by a host of defenders.
"We ran to the ball, we executed a lot, a lot better than we have done in the past, so I thought we did good," defensive tackle Dino Cox said of the success the defense had.
Cornerback Demetrius Williamson worked with the team's nickel package and at times earned praise from secondary coach Dick Hopkins. Freshman defensive end Cory Henry also found time in the nickel package as a pass rusher, and looked quick coming off the edge. The two have been impressive at times during fall camp thus far.
Late in the second half of the scrimmage, a skirmish broke out between defensive lineman Martin Wright and offensive tackle Max Karrick, causing FAU coaches to have to restrain both players. Wright had made a gesture towards Van Camp at the end of a play, and the offensive line jumped to Van Camps aide.
"The little altercation we had was an embarrassment, but it turned out alright," said Schnellenberger of the event.
After everything was resolved, FAU's starting offense went back to work with two scores as Alfred Morris had a nine yard touchdown run, and Van Camp connected on a deep throw to tight end Darian Williams for a 34-yard score.
"Read the defense and it looked like it could come open and we scored", said Williams. "Happy Van Camp threw a good ball and we got six."
The defense secured the lead on the final drive, and ended the scrimmage when linebacker Michael Lockley recovered a loose ball in the red zone.
"We'll learn a lot from this, and I'm disappointed, but I'm not concerned", Schnellenberger said after practice. "We'll get better as a team, as an offensive team, as we get more practice time."
Dino Cox had a big afternoon recording a few sacks and an interception off a tipped pass towards the end of practice.
Rob Housler dropped a few more passes, and appears to be in what Schnellenberger is calling a slump.
Cornerback Treon Howard worked with the first team defense at times and had an interception.
Freshman Jerrard Hunter had a catch for eight yards late in the afternoon. Coaches are hoping he can step it up and get over the freshman learning curve and add depth to the wide receivers.
Jordan Sessa indefinite.
Jimmie Colley day to day.
Ryan Houston indefinite.
Damian Fortner had a boot on his right leg and was walking on crutches.
Xavier Stinson is still limited and did not participate.
Avery Holley was held out with an aggravated hamstring.
Toney Moore and Cortez Ash did not participate.
FAU will return to the field on Saturday for a session to include a walk through and special teams work at 4:00 p.m.