Saturday, April 12, 2008

FAU Spring Football Primer

As the Florida Gators play their spring game at The Swamp today in front of about 60,000 people and an ESPN audience, the FAU Owls are preparing for a spring game of their own, to be held at the FAU Track and Field complex on April 19. If 600 show up, it will be a standing room only crowd, as the T & F complex will only have a few of those metal bleacher stands set up on one sideline.

Despite the lack of big league facilities and hordes of fans, head coach Howard Schnellenberger has collected an amazing group of talented players that surprised everyone and won the Sun Belt Conference and New Orleans Bowl last season, just the Owls' seventh in existence.

In preparation for year 8, the Owls enter with their higest anticipation and expectations ever as 18 of last year's 22 starters return. A look at this years's team with last year's stats ...

The stars:
QB Rusty Smith, Jr. - Last year's SBC Player of the Year and NO Bowl MVP. Threw 32 TDs in 13 games with only 9 picks as a sophomore. 3688 total yards in HS's pro-style offense. Mel Kiper will know his name soon, if he doesn't already.
RB/KR DiIvory Edgecomb, Sr. - Mr. Dependable was also Mr. Versatile for the Owls. He collected 1761 total yards, including 1155 on kick returns.
RB Charles Pierre, Sr. - He runs for positive yardage and never fumbles. Not a flashy back, but a steady runner on an offense with enough speed and flash. 4.6 yards per carry, 60 per game.
FB Willie Rose, Jr. - Coach HS brough back the fullback in 2007. Rose was a key cog in the Owls' offensive machine. He most notably out ran the entire Troy secondary on a long TD run in the regular season's last game. 25 rushing yards per game, 20 recieving, great blocker, 8 TDs.
WR Cortez Gent, Jr. - Smith's favorite target, great speed and hands. 64 catches, 1084 yards, 9 TDs.
TE Jason Harmon, Sr. - The most spectacular FAU ofensive player, he became known for the Harmon Hop, where he leaps over defenders that go for low tackles. 63 catches, 825 yards, 5 TDs.
C Nick Paris, Sr., - The center is also the team clown and one of the most popular players. He also is a great center.
CB Corey Small, Sr. - Didn't get the fanfare that Polo got, but the reason Polo got all the picks was because opposing QBs stayed away from Small. Five interceptions.
CB Tavious Polo, So. - One of the fastest players on the team, Polo makes up for his techincal shortcomings with his blazing speed. A freshman All-American, he had seven interceptions.
DT Josh Savidge, Jr. - Missed most of last year with a knee injury, got a medical redshirt and will be back to anchor the FAU pass rush.
DT Jervonte Jackson, Sr. - Hunkered down and survived the season as the leader of an injury plagued D-Line. Had 28 tackles and two sacks.
LB Frantz Joseph, Sr. - The Boston College transfer is a star with the Owls and an NFL prospect. Led the team in tackles with 131. He also had 2 sacks and 3 picks.

The solid contributors:
K Warley Leroy, Sr. - 19/27 field goals, 44/46 extra points. He missed three field goals that cost the Owls a victory against USF but recovered to have a strong season.
WR Chris Bonner, Jr. - 25 catches, 420 yards, 3 TDs
WR Conshario Johnson, Jr.- 17 catches 163 yards, 2 TDs
The O-Line - When QB Smith has a great game he always brings his O-lineman (all eight of them that rotate) into the press conference with him. Paris and departed Jarrid Smith were last year's stars. This year the big men will be Paris Sr., Vinnie Henderson, Sr., Brandon Jackson, Sr., Lavoris Williams, So., David Matlock, Jr., John Rizzo, Sr., Kevin Miller, Jr., Ryan Wischnefski, So.
LB Andre Clark, Sr. - 68 tackles, 3 sacks.
DE Robert St. Clair, Sr. - 4 sacks, 7 tackles for loss.

The prospects:
WR Lester Jean, So. - Made some amazing plays in an inconsistent freshman season. 19 catches, 246 yards, TD.
LB Malik Eugene, So. - With depth at linebacker, Eugene played a lot of special teams. Still, he had 6 solo tackles.
WR/KR Avery Holley, So. - A small, but speedy wide receiver that was hurt in the season opening game against MTSU. He also plays point guard in the basketball team.
RB Xavier Stinson, Fr. - Heralded running back should put injuries behind him and fight for playing time.
LB Yourhighness Morgan, Fr. - Yes, that is his name. The funny thing is he may just have the talent to live up to it. His brother Handsome is also being recruited by the Owls.

Strengths: The offense that was a question mark coming into last season with an inexperienced QB in Smith and a glut of young, raw wide receivers like Gent comes into this season as a dynamic force to be reckoned with. On the defensive side the D-Line should be improved.

Weaknesses: The safeties and linebackers are question marks this spring. The Owls biggest loss was the graduation of both starting safeties and star linebacker Cergile Sincere. Frantz Joseph will anchor the linebackers but both safeties will be relative newbies.

I know I've left a few names out, but you get the idea. This team is primed for another SBC championship in 2008.

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Sarah said...

Probably about as in-depth and comprehensive as any FAU analysis could possibly be. Mr. Warman, you are the foremost expert on FAU. Please continue to keep us informed with your excellent opinions.

ASponge said...

Let me second those sentiments. Great post Jay!