Football: FAU’s running game will be relied on heavily

The Owls return both of their leading rushers from a year ago.


Sophomore running back Greg Howell avoids redshirt sophomore cornerback Reggie Brown during a Saturday spring game. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

As we draw closer to opening day of the 2017 football season, the Owls are still putting together pieces for a winning run.

With a new coaching staff comes a new system to learn, and it seem as if every player in every position had to adapt. However, one position that had to do little adaption and is poised to be FAUs biggest strength is the running back position.

A year ago, the Owls had its first 1,000 yard rusher since current Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris in Devin Singletary. The running back only started one game, and will be just a sophomore this season.

Followed closely with 828 yards is senior Gregory “Buddy” Howell, and both Howell and Singletary combined for 25 rushing touchdowns. Adding in sophomore running back Kerrith Whyte and former back Jay Warren, the group combined for a school record 31 touchdowns.

However, despite those numbers, Howell feels as if this group could be even better.

“We can be the best running back group in the nation,” Howell said. “We don’t want to put a ceiling above us, we want to go as far as we can go. As a group, we have all the talents in the world and as a leader, I want to make sure I get it out of them.”

New head coach Lane Kiffin also brought in reinforcement to the stacked group with freshman Tyrek Tisdale. Also coming back are sophomore James Charles, redshirt senior Marcus Clark, junior Robert Ball, Jr., and redshirt junior Gerald Hearns, which means depth at this position is Kiffin’s least concern.

“That’s our strongest position,” Kiffin said. ““It’s a great problem to have. We’ll keep looking at [Whyte] maybe doing different things with him because he’s kind of hybrid. So that way, we get at least two of them on the field at the same time.”

There’s little doubt FAU’S offense next season will be heavily relied upon the running game with the uncertainty with the passing game. The starting quarterback has yet to be established, and Kalib Woods, who led the Owls in receptions and reception yards from a year ago, has been suspended indefinitely.

However, Kiffin believes his running back group will cause a problem for defenses no matter what happens with the passing game.

“They are all different and we got a bunch of them,”Kiffin said. “You got a lot of problems for defenses because you got the bigger back, then you got the smaller back and then you got the hybrid back.”

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.