Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sun Belt 2010-Florida Atlantic Owls
2009 Record: 5-7 (5-3)
Head Coach: Howard Schnellenberger (11th season, 53-55...153132-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Darryl Jackson (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Kurt Van Valkenburgh (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: None, the shine is wearing off in Boca
Offense: There are major questions here. The Owls are the only team in the group outlined so far that actually don't have QB drama in 2010. Jeff Van Camp had a big year for the Owls, but it all went to waste. Lester Jean will return to be his primary target, but the other job will go to experience thin Avery Holley. TE Rob Housler will be a part of the passing game, but redshirted last season. Alfred Morris is the kind of back that can take pressure off of the QB, as he rushed for 1392 yards last season. What will put pressure on a QB is the lack of a line. The entire line from last season is gone. Oh boy...
Defense: The D gave up 453 yards per game in 2009. It's time to get better, and 8 starters return. It can only get better. 4 of the front 7 come back. LE Kevin Cyrile and DT Dino Cox return on the line, while Malik Eugene and Michael Lockley return at LB. This group gave up 220.6 yards per game on the ground last season, so if anyone on the bench has any skill, now is the time to push. The secondary returns intact with CBs Tavious Polo and Tarvoris Hill, and Safeties Marcus Bartels and Ed Alexander. The secondary was the best part of the D, ranking 80th against the pass, and as you can see, they weren't great.
Special Teams: Ross Gornall returns at PK (8 of 12 FGs), while Mickey Groody returns to punt (40.6 average).
Wins: 9/25 North Texas, 10/30 Florida International, 11/6 @ Western Kentucky
Toss Up Games: 9/4 @ UAB, 10/9 @ Louisiana-Monroe, 11/13 Louisiana-Lafayette
Losses: 9/11 Michigan State, 10/2 @ South Florida, 10/23 @ Arkansas State, 11/20 @ Texas, 11/27 @ MIddle Tennessee, 12/4 Troy
It's hard to find reassurance that things will get better against this schedule. Lack of overall good teams gives FAU a shot to be better than they should be, but they are not in the same league with those at the top right now.
Outlook: Not very sunny. The defense was what kept FAU from success last season, and it's hard to see where improvement will come, especially against the November part of the schedule. There is some talent on offense, but the lack of a line is just discouraging at best. It's gonna be a tough one.