The Florida Atlantic football team finished their 12th session of fall camp, practicing at the Tom Oxley Athletic Field for the second time on a sunny Wednesday morning. For the second time, defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni made himself available to media.
"We're a lot better than we were in the spring and I think it has a lot to do with the guys that we brought in…they mesh together well and it's only pushed the guys that were here in the spring to get better because the playing time that was there in the spring is not necessarily there now and they have to earn it more," Bellantoni said.
Nearing the final days of fall camp, Bellantoni said the reps for the threes has gotten reduced as the team figures out their ones and twos. He used former Owl Buddy Howell as an example for the third-string players to not get discouraged with the limited number of chances at the moment.
"Guys keep working and keep progressing, and they'll get back in the mix later in the season. Right now, there are some guys that have emerged as our leaders and our first and second strings," Bellantoni said.
Here are some notes from today's media availability.
OwlBytes for August 16th
Defending Routes Cornerbacks coach Brandon Harris (pictured below) ran a drill that had his players defend against the opposing receivers' routes, running to where they needed to be so they can open up opportunities to intercept passes and regain possession of the ball. Romain Mungin, Jayden Williams, and Justin Mckithen (pictured top) were the specific players to do this drill with solid execution. As we mentioned back in the spring in our defensive backs segment, the Owls saw the arrivals of Jarron Morris, Antonio Smith, and Chris Tooley over the summer. You can read that here.
Blocks And Tackles An in-game situation Bellantoni had the linebackers was stopping the opponent from gaining an edge with their passing game. He would throw the pass to where his players needed to be as they would attempt to block it, intercept it, or tackle the pillars pretending to be an opposing player to stop the play from proceeding. Among the players to perform well during this drill were Eddie Williams, Jarrett Jerrels, Desmond Tisdol, and Zachary Marino.
From Auburn To Paradise Going from an SEC program like Auburn to FAU was quite the change for senior linebacker Desmond Tisdol, who made his transfer to Boca Raton over the summer. "At first, it was hard for the first two-to-three weeks because I had to adjust to how they run things here…football is still football at the end of the day. Just got to come in and learn the playbook fast and help the young guys out," Tisdol said. He made 17 tackles (nine solo) in 24 appearances across three seasons with Auburn. Reuniting with Bellantoni, who served as linebackers coach with the Tigers, Tisdol looks to compete for the one of the starting spots at linebacker.
Star Watch: S Dwight Toombs II Toombs II has displayed several moments of efficient execution throughout fall camp as one of the more experienced players at safety. He broke into the ranks with an astounding 2022 campaign as a redshirt sophomore for the Owls, making 64 tackles (37 solo), getting three interceptions to which he ran for 62 total yards with, and creating eight pass deflections. His strong performances earned him All-C-USA Third Team honors from PFF, as he looks to make a bigger impact within the Owls' defense this season.
Final Word Harris emphasized to his players that he wants them to get their positioning and runs correct 100% of the time. On Bellantoni's end, he wants a complete team effort from all 11 guys who are out on the field for defense. The mentality of getting everything right the first time so that everyone is on the same page and will not have moments of not communicating with one another will prove to be beneficial for the Owls once the season gets underway.
Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni and linebackers Jarrett Jerrels and Desmond Tisdol headline today's Coach's Corner.
The Owls will be back at the Tom Oxley Athletic Field to begin the 13th session of fall camp on Thursday morning.