Spring is often referred to as time for change, but when it comes to spring football practice, that often means a shuffle of the roster. Friday morning after practice, FAU coach Charlie Partridge confirmed one of the Owls’ more notable position changes this spring.
Senior offensive lineman Braden Lyons, who started every game last season at right tackle, has moved to center.
Lyons was seen after practice snapping the ball to quarterback Jaquez Johnson and has worked with the first-team offense throughout the squad’s first two sessions of spring camp.
FAU is dealing with the loss of center Mustafa Johnson to graduation and a few key injuries along the line, which is what prompted Lyons’ move to the interior of the unit according to Partridge.
“Right now we have Lyons working at center and were excited about that,” Partridge said. “We really talked about it during the offseason and went into spring, where we thought we could put him in position to where has that knowledge to become the quarterback of the offensive line.”
Partridge has mentioned Lyons as a team leader on multiple occasions, and the lineman’s guidance will be tested for a unit that returns just three healthy starters. Mikingson Marasaille and Vinny Davino aren't expected to partake in spring drills with knee injuries, which means ripe underclassman such as Austin Bland and Reginald Bain will be asked to step up.
Lyons, a junior college transfer, hasn’t practiced at center since his freshman year at Division-II Humboldt State, but looked comfortable in his new role. The California-native also saw time in high school snapping the ball.
“He’s a vocal leader and a leader by example,” Partridge said of Lyons. “He’s got a lot of qualities in someone you want the rest of the line to follow.”
- Depth at linebacker was a concern, but FAU has moved a new body to the position. Redshirt freshman Robert Miller is practicing as an outside linebacker. Miller was signed as a safety, but is listed at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds.
- Utility man DJ Juste was working with the field goal unit on Friday. So far this spring, Juste has played wide receiver, returned kicks, and held for kickers. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he threw a pass on Saturday’s open session to the media.