FAU struggles in special teams, Robison shines in QB battle in fifth day of practice

Tuesday was the first practice where the players wore full pads.

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FAU struggles in special teams, Robison shines in QB battle in fifth day of practice

The linebacker corps for FAU looks to be led by Rashad Smith and Akileis Leroy Photo by: John DeStefano

The linebacker corps for FAU looks to be led by Rashad Smith and Akileis Leroy Photo by: John DeStefano

The linebacker corps for FAU looks to be led by Rashad Smith and Akileis Leroy Photo by: John DeStefano

The linebacker corps for FAU looks to be led by Rashad Smith and Akileis Leroy Photo by: John DeStefano

John DeStefano, Contributing Writer

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The football team took the field for their fifth fall football practice on Tuesday morning where players wore full pads for the first time this pre-season. They participated in conditioning and light-contact drills.

The defense has performed well this fall, and this practice was no different. In 11-on-11 drills, no running back was safe on rushing plays, and turnovers were consistently generated through intense pressure up the middle. 

With the opener against No. 5 Ohio State less than four weeks away, head coach Lane Kiffin stressed the need for the early introduction of pads and tackling drills, the lack of which is something he believes contributed to last season’s slow start.

On the other side of the ball, the battle for the starting quarterback position has quickly become a 3-horse race, with redshirt sophomore Chris Robison, junior Justin Agner and redshirt sophomore Nick Tronti. 

In terms of pure throwing ability and timing, Robison is firmly in front, and his experience from a full season of starting under center is beginning to pay dividends in the form of stellar ball placement. Robison started all 12 games for FAU in 2018. 

His timing throws were crisp and authoritative, with incompletions coming more often than not from drops. He also made one of the best running plays of the day with his legs. On a play-action play to the left side Robison found a hole between the cornerback and defensive end large enough to drive a truck through. He exploded through the vacancy and took it 60 yards. 

Freshman QB Javion Posey continued to receive reps, but will likely contend for one of the deeper positions on the chart. Redshirt freshman QB Cordell Littlejohn was absent from practice, but “will return to the team when school starts,” Kiffin said.

One weakness Tuesday was FAU’s kicking game. One 15-minute kicking session near the end of practice showed just how difficult it can be to get all 11 players on the field goal unit to work cohesively. 

The team’s first full contact scrimmage is on Saturday.

John DeStefano is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]