Are the Owls Making The Grade?

Quarterbacks:

Senior quarterback Danny Embick was praised by Coach Howard Schnellenberger for his stellar play in a tough non-conference schedule. Embick, who originally signed to play at the University of West Virginia, has been the only Owl who looked completely ready for the first four games against the Big 12, Big 10 and Big East opponents. Against the Louisville Cardinals, he outplayed highly touted quarterback Brian Brohm. Against Kansas, he only had four incompleted passes in a game that FAU should have won. His scrambling ability is very impressive and his speed has him leading in rushing yards.Danny Embick passing statistics after six games: 64-124, 965 yards, 8 touchdowns, 4 interceptions.Embick rushing statistics: 81-144, 1126 yards, 9 touchdowns, 4 interceptions.Freshman quarterback McKinson Souverain has played in every Owls’ game and continues to show signs of major improvement. Souverain is one of the Owls’ fastest football players, and his pure athletic ability will have fans talking about his highlight runs for years to come.McKinson Souverain passing statistics: 1-7, 6 yards, 2 interceptions. Souverain rushing statistics: 11 attempts, 43 rushing yards, 1.9 avg.Sean Clayton has seen limited action for the Owls, but carries a high completion percentage among the quarterbacks.Sean Clayton passing statistics: 4-6, 43 yards.Quarterbacks Midseason Grade: A

Offensive Line:

Sophomore center Jarrid Smith has anchored a very young Owls offensive line so far this season. Junior left tackle Nello Faulk has provided key veteran leadership. Junior right guard Stetson Wilson has moved over from the defensive line to help the offensive line. Sophomore right tackle Antes Perkins has been sidelined since the Louisiana Monroe game with an ankle injury. Freshman Zachary Wichner was moved into the starting lineup as right tackle due to Perkins’ injury. Freshman left guard Nick Paris has been moved into a starting role. His return will only make the Owls better. Playing the larger colleges on the road with an offensive line that has no seniors has proved to be a monumental effort. If this offensive line could give Embick a little bit more time to throw the ball, and continue to improve run blocking, FAU should be more successful. Holding penalties continue to hurt the Owls’ chances of winning. This line should improve in the next six weeks with a Sun Belt Conference schedule, and the return of Perkins from his injury.Offensive Line Midseason Grade: C

Running Backs:

Sophomore DiIvory Edgecomb has three touchdowns, (2 receiving TD’s, 1 Rushing TD) and has led the Owls in rushing yards. His ability to get open out of the backfield on passes has been helpful to the offense. It would be nice to see Edgecomb get the ball on more toss or pitch plays to the outside of the field, instead of inside handoffs that opposing defenses tend to stop every time.DiIvory Edgecomb rushing statistics: 47 rushes, 160 yards, 1 touchdown. Edgecomb receiving statistics: 6 receptions, 94 yards, 2 touchdowns. Freshman Charles Pierre continues to improve into the Owls’ future featured running back. His two long runs against Louisville have showcased his speed and unwillingness to be tackled or brought down by opposing defenses. He also took over the Lafayette game when he refused to be brought down.Charles Pierre rushing statistics: 77 rushes, 264 yards.Senior Aaron Sanchez was the Owls’ leading returning running back, but injuries have kept him out of all six games. Sophomore Dominick Walker has fit in nicely and has cemented his role as starting fullback.Dominick Walker rushing statistics: 23 rushes, 82 yards. Walker receiving statistics: 7 catches, 37 yards, 2 touchdowns.Freshman William Rose caught one pass for 17 yards against Minnesota, but has been hampered with a pre-season concussion and an arm injury.Running Back Midseason Grade: B

Wide Receivers, Tight Ends:

Senior Thomas Parker has led the Owls in receiving. When Embick finds Parker open, it’s normally for a big gain of offensive yards. On the opposite side of the field from Parker are junior Casey McGahee and freshman Frantz Simeon, the two-speedster FAU wide outs. McGahee has the knack to get open and is becoming one of Embick’s favorite targets. His 19-yard touchdown catch at Louisville turned out to be the only touchdown the Owls scored. Simeon makes opposing defensive backs miss tackles, get him the ball in the open field and watch a human highlight reel unfold. Simeon is just flat out fun to watch.Thomas Parker receiving statistics: 18 catches, 364 yards, 2 touchdowns.Casey McGahee receiving statistics: 6 catches, 91 yards, 1 touchdown.Frantz Simeon receiving statistics: 12 catches, 160 yards, 1 touchdown.Darion Porter-Isom receiving statistics: 15 catches, 197 yards, 1 touchdown.Dantson Dareous receiving statistics: 8 catches, 95 yards.FAU has two senior tight ends that split time equally. Dantson Dareous is the returning leader in receiving yards for the Owls. His ability to get open on the tight end screen pass should get him a touchdown in one of the upcoming games. Darrion Porter-Isom catches everything Embick throws to him and he’s a great guy to go to on any third down play. Wide Receivers, Tight Ends Midseason Grade: B

Defensive line:

The defensive line has been anchored by two overachieving freshmen defensive tackles, Jervonte Jackson and Josh Savidge. Freshman E.J. Jones has also made major contributions from the defensive end position. The veteran on the line is sophomore Josh Pinnick. He was thrown out of a game against Louisiana Monroe and missed the first half against Louisville for pushing a referee. For the Owls defensively it starts with Pinnick. The formula for defensive success is easy: if Pinnick can pressure the opposing teams’ quarterbacks, FAU can win more games.Defensive Line Midseason Grade: C+

Linebackers:

If Embick is the Most Valuable Player offensively, then Shomari Earls grabs the award midseason for defense. Earls, the senior middle linebacker, has one interception and is the leader in tackles. He leads a group of very talented starting outside linebackers consisting of sophomore Sergile Sincere and freshman Andre Clark. The linebackers rotate players in and out of games to stay fresh and senior Eric Benson, also a leader in tackles, and freshman Brad Gagne make this superior unit even better. Senior linebacker Kinyumba Mutakabbir has not played since week two because of injuries. Linebackers Midseason Grade: B+

Secondary:

The Owls’ defensive backs have only let one quarterback pass go for more than 250 yards and it was against Louisiana Monroe, not the Big 10, Big 12 or Big East powerhouse football programs. The secondary has also produced five interceptions in just as many games, a very impressive defensive statistic. Freshman free safety Greg Joseph has one blocked kick, interception and a fumble recovery. Junior free safety Troy Pindell also has one interception. Sophomore Kris Bartels has two fumble recoveries, and a 39-yard interception return for the Owls’ only defensive touchdown of the season. Sophomore cornerback Quincy Skinner leads the team with two interceptions, and is fifth in tackles for the Owls. Senior cornerback Lawrence Gordon has started every game in the last two seasons and has provided veteran leadership. Junior Willie Hughley leads the secondary in passes broken up and is the true leader of this group. Freshman Corey Small is a new face for the defensive backs and had found playing time in every game. The only weakness of this bunch is the inability to tackle opposing running backs on long runs.Secondary Midseason Grade: A-

Special Teams:

Sophomore kicker Daniel Kennard kicked a career best 50-yard field goal at Louisville. He is 2-5 on field goals and 8-8 on Point After Attempts. Kennard is second on the team in scoring with 12 points, just six points behind leader DiIvory Edgecomb. Senior punter Mike Brown has an excellent 39.1 punting average, and seven punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.Special Teams Midseason Grade: B-