Wright Leads Strong Pass Rush
Carl Pelini kept things basic Saturday afternoon, and the result was a dominating performance by the defensive line in the team’s spring game.
The unit racked up nine sacks in the controlled scrimmage and kept the offense in check for a majority of the game.
“It was pretty vanilla, it’s hard to evaluate the spring game,” Pelini said. “I think our defensive line played really well.”
Senior Martin Wright (pictured above) had a pair of sacks and was consistently a presence in the backfield. The pass rush was able to generate two turnovers and hold the offense to just one touchdown.
“I think on that side of the ball, that’s who I was impressed with,” Pelini said after the scrimmage.
The final score showed a 32-31 victory for the defense, but the margin between the two units was much larger. The afternoon was split into four separate quarters, and featured skill position challenges that were worth points. The defense was able to score points with interceptions or sacks – and that’s exactly what they did.
Wright tallied his two sacks in the first half, before a host of younger players made an impact.
Defensive tackle Shalom Ogbonda – who has been the talk of spring practice – ended camp on a high note, with a sack that gained the attention of Pelini.
“Shalom played well… Robinson Eugene played well. Brandin Bryant had another solid day so I think all three of those guys played good,” Pelini said.
Eugene, another fresh face to the program, worked with the first team defense and finished with two sacks. Freshman Denzel Whitfield had a sack of his own while senior Cory Henry racked up one.
While the play of the defensive line was noticeable, Pelini wasn’t too concerned with the efforts from the offense. Melvin German, Jaquez Johnson and Stephen Curtis all rotated at quarterback, and each had their moments.
German went 8-for-13 for 88 yards, but threw two interceptions. He was also tackled in the endzone which was recorded as a team sack. Johnson, who made his debut in an FAU helemt, was 5-of-7 for 33 yards and looked uncomfortable at times.
“It’s hard playing with new quarterbacks, and I thought we gave up some sacks today but when you really look at it, when quarterbacks got rid of the ball it wasn’t the issue, it was when they got starring and holding the ball,” Pelini said.
The offense found their points on a 4-yard touchdown run from Curtis late in the scrimmage, but the quarterback finished just 3-of-10 for 47 yards.
Pelini eluded at the end of his press conference that one quarterback may have separated himself from the group.
“I thought Melvin had a great spring. Right now I think he’s a little bit ahead of the other two, but I can’t name a starter like an NFL team based on their contract,” Pelini said.
German Dawns the GoPro
Melvin German walked onto the field Saturday, with a little technology on his side. The quarterback had a GoPro camera mounted to the top of his helmet, to tape footage of the scrimmage.
Pelini explained that it was the first time the team had used the device and he would like to use it in the future if he finds any value.
“It’s something new, we just tried it today. We talked to a couple other colleges that use it sporadically. For me it’s not about what he’s seeing, but where he’s looking,” Pelini said.
German was the only quarterback to wear the camera, because Pelini explained it’s an expensive operation.
Morris Offers Moore Advice
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris was honored at halftime for his accomplishments, and the former FAU Owl offered a current player some advice.
Redshirt junior running back Tony Moore, who says he has cut ten pounds in the offseason, was approached by Morris on the sidelines.
“He told me to just focus on finding the holes and keep my head up while I'm running - a little tweak that can help me on the field,” Moore said.
Moore had a noticeable scrimmage and looked like a different running back compared to last season.