When Charlie Partridge arrived at FAU back in December, the first-year head coach said he brought a clean-slate to the locker room. The players who may have been overlooked by the previous coaching staff or had fallen out of favor, were told by the new administration that they could make a difference.
Saturday, when FAU took the field for the newly branded "REDBLUE" Spring Game, that chance for a do-over went a little bit deeper for wide receiver Derek Moise. The soon-to-be redshirt junior had missed last year's spring game because of his Grandmother's funeral, so this time around he wanted to show his value with a new staff in place.
Moise did just that in the scrimmage, catching a game-high four passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Partridge addressed the media after the game, and he didn't talk about the waging quarterback battle, or an improvising offense line. No, the first thing he touched on was what Moise had provided in the two-hour scrimmage.
"Without having looked at the statistics, without having looked at the film, the thing that jumped out to me is that we have some playmakers on offense," Partridge said.
FAU certainly has some vertical threats, but the team's biggest star, wide receiver William Dukes, was on the bench with an injury.
That opened the door for Moise, a veteran pass-catcher who had sparingly played the past two seasons, to make a difference.
"Unless something changes, I think in my mind Derek Moise has earned a role in this offense," Partridge said. "He continues to makes plays day after day."
The emergence of Moise is a product of the type of environment Partridge has created this spring. The new staff has allowed for players, who once thought their roles at FAU were limited, to give it another try.
Moise says he never considered transferring after disappearing from the rotation following a freshman season in which he played in 11 games, but he will admit that this spring he's had a different mindset.
"I have been coming out everyday and going to practice with the attitude that's it's not just getting through it, but getting better and having fun," Moise said after the game. "I felt like last year I got away from that, but I needed to get back to that."
Step one to turn things around was a productive spring game. Moise now needs to use the next three months of summer workouts to show he's ready to play opposite of Dukes.
Partridge said the plan is to evaluate the 105-man roster in the coming days, and that means there will be talks about players like Moise. However, Moise believes that he has done enough to ensure his role moving forward.
"I'm glad that I've been able to make a good impression on him, and hopefully the rest of the coaches. I still have to come into fall camp and work, no body's spot is safe, but I want to carry what I have done this spring into the season," Moise said.