The Florida Atlantic football team is 12 days away from playing their season-opener against the Monmouth Hawks at Howard Schnellenberger Field. They recently finished fall camp on Sunday evening, doing a light walk-through session aimed at emphasizing necessary corrections.
Head coach Tom Herman (pictured) met with media during the first day of classes on Monday to go over his overall evaluation of the team after fall camp and the team's preparation throughout their mock game week.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Opening statement on the team post-fall camp
"Really excited to officially break camp. We've had a really good two and a half weeks. I think we accomplished our goal, which in training camp, it's not about winning games. It's not about getting ready for the season; for us, it's about developing and creating our identity in our culture and I think we did a really good job of that."
Update on the starting QB job
"We're close. I think hopefully by the end of today, those guys will know. We're trying to set up meetings right now but if we can't make it work to get them in here until tomorrow morning, then that's fine too."
Differences with mock game week compared to prior practice sessions
"A lot less live tackling. Our guys are tired and it's standard having been a head coach for as long as I have. This is very standard after two and a half straight weeks of practice. Our scrimmage guys gave us for the most part everything they had but you could tell it was a bit sloppy because we gone those six straight days and that was a meat grinder of a week, if you will, last week. So the practices will look different from that in terms of less live tackling, a little bit less good on good.
"If we do offense versus defense, it would be ones versus twos and twos versus ones rather than ones ones, twos twos, and then you'll see a little bit more true shout team where guys that probably won't travel or on the cusp of traveling will get an opportunity to provide looks for our offense and defense to simulate Monmouth."
Certain team areas that impressed the most after the second scrimmage
"I thought our secondary tackled well, including the corners. The old adage is corners get paid to cover and safeties get paid to tackle so if you're going to turn the guy loose in the run game, roadblock the safety and turn the corner loose and our corners did a really good job. When they were the free hitter in the run fit, they did a good job of bringing either the tailback or the receiver down to the ground. So I was impressed with our physicality in the back end. Our safeties, Armani Eli-Adams and Jarron Morris, made some really good plays as well. So physicality in the back end was definitely impressive."
Injury updates, and recovering players returning to the fold
"Elijah Brown and Jackson Sumlin are going to start at some point this week being integrated into practice. Now will they be full go in time for the first game? Not sure. I would think the second game is very realistic, if not probable for the first game. We'll see how they do here in the next few days. Kobe Lewis had a slight hairline fracture in the ribs so we shut him down for a good three weeks to let that heal. So first game is up in the air for him but game two is certainly a probability. Zyere Horton is working back in. We think he should be ready. Morgan Suarez is a long ways away from coming back. Tony Johnson, the reason he didn't participate is he rolled his ankle so we got an MRI on that yesterday should find out more on that but I don't think it should hold him out very long."
"And then other than that, I think guys are nicked up here and there but I think we're kind of expecting to be other than those questionable guys that I mentioned for game one…other than Morgan Suarez, I don't think they'll go past game two in terms of their availability."
Communicating with coordinators on naming starters for week one
"Not a whole lot to be honest with you. I mean, it's a daily conversation and the coordinators kind of know if they're feeling a necessity to make a move that they run it by me and we talked about why or if I may see something that maybe they haven't and want to talk about it, maybe a depth chart move here or there but those are conversations that are damn near daily and certainly at the beginning of every week during the season."
The Owls will be transitioning into game week rotation, making their way to the Schmidt Complex practice field for mock game week on Tuesday morning with offensive coordinator Charlie Frye being available for interviews, unless Herman makes an official decision on who will be the team's starting quarterback.