The Florida Atlantic football team practiced at the Tom Oxley Athletic Field for the first time this fall camp, having an occasional breeze come their way throughout a bright Monday morning. Head coach Tom Herman made himself available to media for the fourth time this fall.
In the final week of fall camp, Herman's objective for the team is to develop their identity.
"After the second scrimmage, we want to know who we are and what our strengths are…it's not going to be the 11 best athletes that go out on offense and defense; it's going to be the 11 best that play the best together, that play the hardest and toughest," Herman said.
Here are some notes from today's media availability.
OwlBytes for August 14th
Fighting Through Contact The wide receivers showed some physicality during one of their drills, which involved them running a route that had them use contact with a staff assistant wearing a shield to block their path. Lajohntay Wester, Je'Quan Burton, Javion Posey (pictured top), and Ace Cobb (pictured below) had excellent intuition with their movement and had solid timing on exerting their strength to repel the block. As we mentioned back in the spring in our wide receivers segment, the Owls saw Jahmal Edrine leave via the transfer portal as he made his way to Purdue. You can read that here.
Potential Starters Revealed Herman gave a sneak peek to who would be the starting players on offense and defense. He listed offensive lineman Chaz Neal and wide receiver Lajohntay Wester as the primary guys from the offense, and safety Armani Eli-Adams on defense. "Unless a catastrophe strikes, they're going to be out there. But they also know that to achieve the things we want to achieve, they've got to improve their game continually as well," Herman said.
Making Blocks The o-line were practicing some in-game scenarios. For example, the RG and RT would play as defensive linemen and the LG and LT would play as the o-line. They would try to block each other and try to get to the opposing line as fast as they could. Chaz Neal and Dorian Hinton were among the linemen who received praise from offensive line coach Ed Warriner for executing the drill perfectly, while Kamaar Bell showed a productive showing as well.
Protecting The QB Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Roc Bellantoni and running backs coach Chris Perkins had their players do a drill in which the running back blocks the linebacker or defensive lineman to prevent them from getting to the staff assistant, who acted as the quarterback. This would be crucial during the games when the running backs assist the offensive line in blocking the defense if they don't have the ball in their possession. Providing protection to the quarterback in any way possible would benefit the Owls in being an efficient offense.
Star Watch: WR Je'Quan Burton Burton has displayed plenty of improvement throughout fall camp under Herman and wide receivers coach David Beaty's direction, making catches at a more efficient rate and putting more effort on the field throughout each session. Burton showed progress in his game last year, making 33 receptions for 517 yards and four touchdowns (all career-highs). He has also been listed on this year's Reese's Senior Bowl Watchlist.
Final Word Identity. That's the main concept Tom Herman will be focusing on as fall camp begins to wind down. Putting 11 guys out on the field, whether it be on offense or defense, is hard enough; finding a certain 11 on both sides of the ball that will win championships is an even taller task. The ambition this team possesses is undoubtedly there, so as he figures out the best rotations, the players will need to show they can play together as a cohesive unit, not as a team of individuals.
Head coach Tom Herman, defensive lineman Jaden Wheeler, and offensive lineman Jordan Church headline today's Coach's Corner.
The Owls will return to the Tom Oxley Athletic Field to start the 11th session of fall camp on Tuesday morning.
JJ Metz contributed to this article