Football team tests the new nest

FAU’s football team held their second scrimmage of the spring in their new home, Lockhart Stadium.

The Owls went into the off-season with major concerns about offense and planned on fixing them.

FAU ranked nearly last in rushing offense for the 2002 season, and the return of both Anthony Jackson and Dekolian James was supposed to change that.

Jackson is coming back after a knee injury, while James is returning after academic problems. Both are big bruising backs that FAU lacked a season ago.

For Saturday’s scrimmage, Jackson and James both sat out. Jackson rested his rehabilitated knee. James is set to have knee surgery himself that will sideline the back for at least six months.

FAU still had Blink, Daveon Barron, in the backfield to impress the small crowd in the new stadium.

Unfortunately for Barron, FAU’s offensive line was just that offensive. Except for a twenty-yard misdirection run by Barron, the defense was able to contain the running game and cause all kinds of havoc in FAU’s backfield during running plays.

The passing game, which was FAU’s bright spot on offense a year ago, also had a different look for the scrimmage.

Jared Allen, returning for his third year with the squad, was coming off the first scrimmage in which he called his own plays and threw for two touchdowns.

Allen saw plenty of daylight as the offensive line found its pass blocking assignments much easier than its run blocking assignments. Coach Bock, the offensive line coach, complimented the line on its pass blocking. For the most part, Allen and the quarterbacks had all day to throw ball.

Allen completed one scoring pass to Larry Taylor for 28 yards. He finished the day with five series, three ending in stops by the defense, a touchdown, and a field goal.

After 25 plays and 93 yards, coaches had seen enough of Allen, as Danny Embick and Antwan Blatch saw the rest of the work for the day.

Embick, playing in his second scrimmage for FAU, started off the scoring with a 46-yard strike to Thomas Parker for a touchdown.

In this scrimmage, the coaches let Embick call his own plays like Allen, but Embick didn’t seem to have control of the huddle or the playbook well enough to surpass Allen.

Embick is very accurate and has a strong arm, but his decision-making is not starter quality at this point in his short FAU career. Coaches were often yelling for Embick to hurry the snap and not wait for the defense to set itself, but Embick was not confident enough to do so.

A very bright spot for FAU’s offense is junior quarterback Antwan Blatch. This kid’s arm has a rocket attached to it.

Blatch has power that none of the other quarterbacks have shown but is off in his accuracy. Two interceptions thrown by Blatch kept the defense in the game.

After Blatch’s second interception, he ignited the crowd as he showed his arm strength on a 60-yard bullet to Larry Taylor, which resulted in a touchdown and put the offense up for good.

The down note for the passing game was dropped passes. Two sure touchdown passes went right through receivers’ hands, one to tightend Anthony Crissinger-Hill and another to Casey McGahee.

Tons of other passes were dropped to allow the defense to earn points for stopping the offense, which was enough to keep the game close.

In the end, the offense had won 30-28 and Coach Schnellenberger was both pleased and disappointed with the work on both sides of the ball.

FAU has four months to correct its mistakes before its first game of the season against Division I-A opponent Middle Tennessee State.

The Owls probably won’t defeat any of their I-A opponents, but with a better showing at home against I-AA opponents, fans will bring excitement to a football program that has struggled during its first two years.

President on hand —

FAU’s new president Frank Brogan was on the field at halftime to introduce the new bond between FAU and Broward County Athletics. In his speech, he announced Lockhart stadium as the new home for FAU football and proclaimed that excitement will be made by the team in their new home.