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OwlBytes: 2023 FAU Practice Notes - September 6th

Another game week session concluded for the Florida Atlantic football team, practicing at the Schmidt Complex practice field on a sunny Wednesday morning as they make a lot of preparation with three days remaining until their rematch against Ohio.

Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni made himself available to media following the session. After conceding 20 points to Monmouth, he wants the defense to be more aware and active against the talent Ohio's offense could bring to the table on Saturday.

"They're a physical team. They play really hard and really sound so you know what to expect in terms of that," Bellantoni said.

"They run the ball effectively, they have a great quarterback, and they have really good receivers. So our best is required on every play, whether they're running the ball, throwing the ball, whatever it is, we're gonna have to play really well on defense."

Here are some notes from today's media observation period.

OwlBytes for September 6th

Encouraging Physicality Having been unable to put a lot of pressure on Monmouth's quarterback as they only got one sack for the entire game, Bellantoni wants the defensive line to not be afraid of being more physical with Ohio's offensive line. "We have to tighten up the screws in the windows of the passing game, make some plays on the ball a little bit better, and rise up to the challenge and stop some really good receivers," he said.

Defensive lineman Evan Anderson, who made six tackles against Monmouth, concurred with Bellantoni's statement especially about Ohio's QB Kurtis Rourke. "They got a very talented quarterback and we have to get to him. I feel it's like playing against Bailey Zappe when we played Western Kentucky. If we don't get to the quarterback, it's going to be a long game," Anderson said.

Denying Passes The cornerbacks practiced defending a wide variety of passes. The throws would be short, average, or deep in distance as the players ran down the field to stop their assignments from making the catch. They would do so by either blocking the ball or making the interception if they happen to be in the right position. This would allow them to be ready for the passes Kurtis Rourke, CJ Harris, or Parker Navarro could throw if one of them starts on Saturday night. Daedae Hill (pictured) was among the players to do well during these drills.

Earned Rewards Having been a reserve for most of his career with the Owls, defensive end Marlon Bradley was thrilled to be a starter among the defense. "It's a blessing, for sure…just to be on the field with the guys at the end of the day is the most important thing about that," Bradley said. He made five tackles (three solo) and got the team's only sack of the night against Monmouth, proving his place as a starter was deserved.

Final Word The Owls will enjoy having Evan Anderson be available this time around, sorely missing his presence in the 41-38 nail-biting defeat against Ohio last year due to injury. The team is focused on tightening their defensive strategy, particularly against the pass, to ensure they rise to the occasion. Knowing the offensive firepower Ohio possesses, especially if Kurtis Rourke is the one leading their snaps on Saturday, this would present a tough task that the Owls will have to solve if they wish to get payback against the Bobcats and start the year 2-0.

Coach's Corner

Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni, defensive end Marlon Bradley, and defensive lineman Evan Anderson headline today's Coach's Corner.

The Owls will return to the Schmidt Complex practice field on Thursday morning to continue their preparations against Ohio.

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