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OwlBytes: 2024 FAU Spring Practice March 12th - Tight Ends & Notes



Spring camp for FAU football has finally begun this morning in preparation for the 2024 season in the fall.

This year, however, is different as head coach Tom Herman senses a different atmosphere with this team compared to the prior season. With the abundant number of players who joined the team since the end of last season, Herman said it has been beneficial to helping the team start on the right track to begin their spring sessions.

"Our coaches did a really good job identifying the type of guys who would fit well in our culture and my hats are off to all of those guys. We haven't had any issues and they've acclimated pretty seamlessly," Herman said.

The team was in helmets and shoulder pads today and will do that twice more on Thursday and Saturday before going full pads next Tuesday.

The tight ends worked on their positioning to improve their blocking against opposing defenses throughout their drills with tight ends coach Chad Lunsford.

Below is a brief look at the makeup of the position for the Spring.

Key Returners: Zeke Moore (Soph. 6-2, 240), Kahlil Brantley (R-Jr. 6-2, 225), Wyatt Sullivan (Soph. 6-5, 235), Bridger Koby (R-Fr. 6-3, 200), Fin Jones (R-Fr. 6-6, 230), Elijah Brown (R-Soph. 6-6, 250)

Key Losses: Marvin Landy, Carter Boatwright, Jackson Sumlin, Tre Jackson

Newcomers: No additions


As training camp starts to take shape, here is the first of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names from the tight ends, and some notes from today's media availability.


Bookends

  • Expected to Lead Zeke Moore: Moore (pictured below) would be at the top of the depth chart for tight ends. He was one of the few freshmen on the team who drew astounding praise from head coach Tom Herman, and rightfully so. The tight end shined as a key player in the rotation, making 13 catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. He got both scores during the Owls' road wins over USF and Charlotte last October. With his great talent in blocking opponents and getting himself open for passes, he will look to build on his solid freshman campaign and potentially explode for his sophomore year.



  • Keep An Eye On Kahlil Brantley: Brantley is a tight end worth keeping track of. Joining the Owls last year via transfer from Miami, he would be competing with Moore for starting reps. The duo split time throughout 2023, with Brantley finishing the year with five receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown in 11 appearances. He got his lone touchdown in the Owls' home finale against nationally-ranked Tulane last November. With the mobile frame he has that allows him to be a legitimate target for his quarterback, while showing a great ability in contributing in special teams, there is a lot Brantley can do to show he is more than deserving of sharing starting duties with Moore.

  • Dark Horse Candidate Elijah Brown: Brown (pictured top, left) is a player who has a lot of potential to make a strong impact at the position. Having missed the entirety of fall camp due to injury, it took him a while until he finally got reps near the end of the regular season as played with special teams against East Carolina and got valuable time in the season-finale against Rice. The former Alabama transfer has been improving his game since the end of last season, which Tom Herman credited him for having a "great offseason". The former four-star prospect, who did not get the chance to show himself at his best last year, has the opportunity to do that this spring.


OwlBytes for March 12th

  • Improving at Tight End Positioning and blocking are vital to being effective at tight end. This was what the players worked on during their drills with tight ends coach Chad Lunsford, setting their positioning in the correct manner so they can block opponents effectively. Of the players at the position, Brantley (pictured below) shined the brightest with his timing and movement. Moore and Brown were also efficient throughout practice.



  • Learning From Last Year With the way last season turned out, Herman wants the team to learn how to finish and fight. He cited a statistic that the team was 1-5 in one-score games throughout the 2023 campaign, their only win coming against Tulsa. "You need two things to win; you need talent and culture. We had the requisite talent to have six one-score games…but we didn't have dominant enough talent to put us over the edge," Herman said. "We feel like we raised the level of talent, and by doing so, we've increased the culture and we've done more as a staff to facilitate that as well."

With all the moments he created throughout an impressive freshman campaign, Moore looks to continue improving his receiving ability. "It's something I started doing more at the end of last year. Just growing confidence in that and being the guy who can go one-on-one with defensive ends…just continue to build my role," Moore said. Quarterback Tyriq Starks, who played in last year's season finale against Rice, is working on reading defenses better when he leads the snaps. "The game speed's slowing down for me. I'm starting to see a lot of things and I'm starting to know a lot more that I didn't know about the previous season or in my career," Starks said.

  • Keeping The Staff Together A standout detail Herman noted about the team was their ability to keep the coaching staff together. With the exception of former defensive pass game coordinator Corey Bell, who departed for Mississippi State, all the coordinators and position coaches have returned for the upcoming season. "Having heard stories about the previous years here, it hopefully should add quite a bit of stability and trust," Herman said. "You got to earn their trust and you got to earn it quickly. To have that same face in your position in the meeting room, year after year, semester after semester, is valuable and important.


Video Play

Head coach Tom Herman, tight end Zeke Moore, and quarterback Tyriq Starks headline Video Play.



Today was the first of 15 scheduled sessions the Owls will hold for the Spring, which will be slotted over a five-week period of time, and conclude with the Spring Game on April 13th.

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