Practice Notes and Observations for 8/14
It’s often difficult for true freshmen to make an instant impact, but for the FAU football team a handful of youngsters are already making a difference. Head coach Carl Pelini explained Tuesday night after practice, that a few individuals are making a case for playing time when the season opens against Miami.
“I’m pushing all the freshman,” Pelini said. “There are guys in that group that can help you out in different ways.”
Towards the end of the day’s second practice, defensive end Trey Hendrickson, linebackers Robert Relf and Andrew Curtis, and wide receiver Kalib Woods were all taking reps with the first team units.
Relf, who was filling in for the injured Randell Johnson, held his own in the middle of the defense, which in turn impressed the defensive-minded Pelini.
“Relf has had a good week. He’s really coming along and is earning some playing time and we’re going to keep pushing him and forcing him. He’s smart,” Pelini said.
The six-foot-three 230-pound Relf appears to be a strong candidate to skip a redshirt season, but he isn’t the only player on the cusp. Hendrickson could provide depth along the defensive front, and Woods – who has a similar frame to William Dukes – could give the offense another vertical threat.
Freshman quarterbacks Greg Hankerson and DJ Juste are also generating some buzz, and the general feeling from the coaching staff is that the newcomers are creating positive competition.
He said it: “It’s a little bit of a surprise honestly on how quickly they have picked up on the passing game. I thought one or two of them could have a role in a wildcat package, running our zone-read stuff and the quarterback stuff, but the more I watch them, the more I see them mastering the passing game.” - Pelini on the development of freshmen quarterbacks Greg Hankerson and DJ Juste.
-While offensive lineman Braden Lyons (pictured above) isn’t a freshman, he is still a new face that is getting valuable reps. Lyons looked solid on Tuesday, as the line seems to be improving daily.
-Running back Jonathan Wallace saw time exclusively with the third team offense during team drills. Martese Jackson got a majority of carries with what is presumed to be the starting backfield.
-Quarterback Quez Johnson is battling some turf toe, but he was a full go in the both practice sessions. Linebacker Randell Johnson was limited once again, and he has been diagnosed by Pelini as having some “head problems” with “sinus fluids” involved.
-Safety Marc Mauro and defensive end Cory Henry were held out of contact drills.
-William Dukes dropped a for-sure touchdown pass from Melvin German, which resulted in some push-ups.
-Kicker Mitch Anderson looked solid, drilling a few field goals form 40-yards.