Sunday, March 27, 2011

Florida Atlantic Owls 2010 Review

2010 Record: 4-8 (3-5), 6th Sun Belt
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results: @ UAB, W 32-31, Michigan State, L 30-17, North Texas, L 21-17, @ South Florida, L 31-3, @ UL-Monroe, L 20-17, @ Arkansas State, L 37-16, FIU, W 21-9, @ Western Kentucky, W 17-16, UL-Lafayette, W 24-23, @ Texas, L 51-17, @ Middle Tennessee, L 38-14, Troy, L 48-7


     A few short seasons ago, FAU seemed like a team on the rise. They shot to the top of the Sun Belt after having come from the ranks of the FCS. They had quality wins, and were a team that some larger schools were afraid to play. all of that is starting to seem like a distant memory, as FAU has struggled to find a place of relevence in the Sun Belt and the FBS at large. Howard Schnellenberger, a legend of every kind, now seems like a man who has lost his ability to aptly stear the Owls into a bright and succesful era, and now it seems like maybe the torch should be passed from the man who built this program from scratch to the next generation of able coaches.
     Jeff Van Camp is just the latest in the line of good starting QBs for the Owls. Like Rusty Smith before him, great things were expected out of him, and the real fate of the current era has been placed on his shoulders. It has not worked out the way he would have liked. Van Camp wasn't terrible by any means, but was also not nearly as good as it was hoped that he would be. Van Camp passed for 2451 yards and 17 TDs, but he had issues with bad decision making, as he tossed 13 picks as well. He'll be back as a senior in 2011.
     Alfred Morris may not be the best back in the land, but he certainly is servicable. He rushed for 928 yards and 7 TDs while trying to keep the wolves off of his QB. The major problem is that no other back gave Owls fans much to be happy about, and FAU was held to 98 yards rushing per game. The Owls were outrushed for TDs by a 24-8 margin. Not getting it done.
     Lester Jean was the main target in the passing game, as he caught 64 passes for 988 yards and 8 TDs. The 2 and 3 receivers, Rob Housler and Avery Holley, combined for a line of 63-919-5. The bad news for this group is that all three of them are gone for 2011, and that leaves DeAndre Richardson, a freshman in 2011, as the most productive returnee in the corps with a line of 12-114-0. Opposing defenses are not trembling right now.
     The defense was a mess. They gave up 30 or more points 7 times, and gave up a total of 133 points in their final 3 games of the season, all losses. The defense gave up 401.3 yards per game in offense, and gave up 203.6 yards per game on the ground. Again, not getting it done.
     With the run defense being absent for most of the season, 4 of the top 6 taccklers were DBs. Michael Lockley and Malik Eugene, both LBs, busted the 100 tackle mark, as Lockley led the team with 110, and Eugene, who finished 3rd on the team, had 101 tackles. Marcus Bartels, who finished second as a DB, racked up 102 tackles, and after that, the nearest number was 63 by DB Tarvoris Hill. The front seven was mostly not producing, but freshman DL Cory Henry led the team with 7.5 TFLs, a number that will not shake anyone's confidence. Henry also led the team with 5 sacks. With no pressure up front, it became a free for all.
     The passing defense was not nearly as bad as the rushing D. The Owls were actually respectable against the pass, only allowing 197.8 yards per game, but most teams relied on the run against the Owls, as it was just too easy to do so. Bartels was the only active back in the secondary, as he batted down 7 passes. Productivity was low in the secondary as far as big plays were concerned. As 3 players tied for the team lead with an unimpressive 2 each.
      Ross Gornall was not great as a senior PK, as he only connected on 8 of his 12 FG attempts, falling way short of 70%, which even then is below average. Mickey groody, who missed his only attempt in 2010, will get first crack at the obs as a senior in 2011. Groody, if he won the job, would be a dual kicker, as he has a rocket leg as a punter with a 45.8 yard per punt average. Groody should be the best punter in the conference in 2011.


If Schnellenberger falters again in 2011, and it's looking like that may be the case, then the FAU administration should start figuring out how they will go about the delicate matter of extricating themselves from the only coach that the program has ever known. FAU should transition into a job for a young up and coming, high energy coach who can transform the current tailspin into a program rebirth. How that will get done is beyond me, so good luck with that, as FAU really does not resemble a player in 2011.

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