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OwlBytes: 2024 FAU Spring Practice - April 6th Scrimmage Notes

With the annual Spring Game just a week away, the Florida Atlantic football team hosted their final scrimmage of spring camp at Howard Schnellenberger Field on a bright Saturday afternoon, making it available for recruits and their family members to watch. The offense beat the defense 23-19, indicating strong performances from both sides of the ball.

"This is a really important scrimmage because [after this and the spring game], we don't see these guys again until August," head coach Tom Herman said.

Herman believed the effort level from the team was great throughout the scrimmage, describing how the defense took the early lead following a slow start from the offense. The offense eventually put points on the board to pull off the win against the defense.

"I thought it was very evenly matched. It came down to the last 10-15 plays, which is what you want in the scrimmage," Herman said.

Here are some notes from today's scrimmage.

OwlBytes for April 6th

Quarterback Duel With the quarterback battle ongoing, Herman credited the performances of Cam Fancher and Tyriq Starks for how well they stood out with their play. "You can tell Cam's played more football at this level, but you can tell that Tyriq has been in this offense and understands the nuances a little bit better," Herman said. Fancher has enjoyed the competition with Starks, feeling the overall group has been connected in following the coaches' directions and improving with each session. "Our relationship has been real good. Just trying to push each other to be at their best every day," Fancher said.

Adapting in Different Situations Timing is key when it comes to getting in the right position to make the best plays possible. Coach Herman had the team spread out, going to different spots on the field while they practiced their reaction timing in starting plays. For example, safety Armani Eli-Adams and linebacker Justice Cross (pictured above) worked on blocking each other with each rep they had together, preparing themselves for in-game situations when they must block open spaces from their opponents. Linebacker Desmond Tisdol elaborated more on those drills, saying it helps the team to practice these situations on different spots of the field than they are used to. "It helps me to be in a different position at a different time…no matter what the scheme is, I have to perfect my craft," Tisdol said.

Special Teams, Special Plays When special plays are needed, keep an eye out for the special teams to make them. Throughout Saturday's viewing, special teams coordinator Chad Lunsford had the unit go through their punting drills, repeating it while alternating between their punters Logan Lupo and Nick Salmon. "Salmon's had a really good spring in terms of his improvement and comfortability with the game, and it's been nice to have Morgan Suarez back out there and seeing him kick the ball around a little bit. We'll have a good competition there at both positions for place kicker and punter," Herman said. The players who were seen being the returners for the punts were mainly wide receiver Milan Tucker and defensive back Wendol Philord, indicating a potential battle for the starting job at punt returner.

Portal Preparation With the transfer portal officially opening up next week, Herman wasn't too worried about the concern of some players on the team leaving after spring camp. According to him, the guys who feel very appreciated at the program can override the idea of departing from the program. "The guys we're going to count on in the fall, they'll know exactly how appreciated they are and they all feel the same thing I do in what we got building here too," Herman said. He did say if the right player wants to transfer to the team, they'll look at certain positions in need of improvement, which could possibly be at the quarterback position or the secondary on defense.

Notable Absences There were some players who were unable to participate in today's scrimmage. Running back George Johnson III, who's been dealing with a foot injury since the beginning of spring camp, remained out. Veterans Marlon Bradley and Alex Atcavage, running back Xavier Terrell, and newcomers Curtis Janvier and Gabriel Birnbaum were also unavailable due to injury.

Final Word The team has been following Herman's message of putting in all the effort they have on every rep they get from past practices, today's scrimmage, and future sessions. The aggressive blocking the offense and defense showed (pictured above) was a key example of the way the Owls are growing positively in terms of leaving it all out there on the field. "The guys realize that there really are no plays off and every rep and practice has to be like fourth-and-inches in a conference championship game," Herman said. When the spring game arrives, it would be fair to believe a tough-minded and resilient Owls squad will be on the field next Saturday.

Coach's Corner

Head coach Tom Herman, linebacker Desmond Tisdol, wide receiver Marlyn Johnson, and quarterback Cam Fancher headline today's Coach's Corner.

The Owls are off for the rest of the weekend and will return to the practice field Tuesday morning to begin the fifth and final week of spring camp.

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