Now, what’s Next for the Owls?
An Uncle Rico Production
That breeze southeast Floridans felt Saturday afternoon blowing through wasn’t another tropical storm; it was the FAU Owls easing the Monmouth Hawks out of town.
Now granted, it was only the sixth time Monmouth has played an FBS level team, so props to them for taking the money & running (Monmouth made a cool $335,000 for traveling to Boca Raton). This does not take away from the ease with which FAU discarded Monmouth; they did what they were supposed to.
Expectations are high for the FAU offense this year. The reunion with new HC Tom Herman (Houston/Texas) & his former Longhorn QB Casey Thompson (Texas/Nebraska-SR/TR) should bear plenty of fruit this season. It’s fair to say, their first shot at displaying their connection went off without a hitch.
FAU came out firing, scoring touchdowns on their 1st three drives. Thompson clearly benefited from his time under the tutelage of Herman, showing a veteran’s command of Tom Herman’s offensive scheme. Thompson ended his night resting on the bench, having gone 20/25 for 280 yards, 5 tds/1 int & a QBR of 83.0. RB Larry McCammon (SR) turned 13 carries into 125 rush yards & a tuddy while also showing off his hands, snagging 4 catches for 59. Sophomore wideouts Tony Johnson & Je’Quan Burton each hauled in two tuddies a piece with Johnson topping all receivers with 91 receiving yards.
Although FAU was able to come away relatively unscathed after Saturday’s victory, there were glaring deficiencies on both sides of the ball that, if they go unchecked, will cost FAU in the “win column” as they enter play in their new conference, the AAC (American Athletic Conference).
Two things that negatively jumped off the stat sheet was a lack of a pash rush by the Owl defense & losing the turnover battle (a verse in the Holy Bible of Coaching which states losing the turnover is sacrilegious). Even though the Owls were able to pressure the Hawks’ QB on occasion, they were only able to come away with one sack.
For a team that threw as much as Monmouth did (47 pass attempts) & an O-Line as overmatched as they were against the Owls’ D-Line, to only come away with one sack is a red flag. Thompson threw one interception & McCammon lost one fumble compared to one interception thrown by Sacred Heart transfer & current Hawk QB Marquez McCray (SR-TR). It is these types of statistics that give coaches grey hairs.
Yes, I am being relatively picky or “pessimistic” when reviewing the Owls’ game tape from Saturday, but that’s the coach in me; I can’t help it. More importantly, I know what statistics good coaches use as bullets to fill their coaching magazine, and these will be the first out of the chamber.
What’s Next For FAU?
FAU will host a rematch/revenge game with the Ohio Bobcats in their home opener. Last season, the Bobcats ousted the Owls on their home turf at Peden Stadium, even after a furious 21-point fourth quarter comeback by FAU, with the Owls eventually losing 41-38. FAU will be looking to rectify last year’s loss & prove their doubters that their team is for real while also preparing for the difficult road ahead.
Week 3 of the College Football season will see FAU travel to Death Valley in the game all Owls coaches, players, students, & fans have had circled since the release of the 2023 schedule. The Owls will face off against a pissed off #9 Clemson (realistically, probably #20ish) after the Tigers loss Monday night to unranked ACC rival Duke. Clemson will be looking to show-out, proving their doubters that the loss to Duke was a fluke (unintentional rhyme). This means FAU will get the best that Clemson has to offer.
The following week, FAU will stay road-bound, as they travel to Big10 country & Champagne, IL to play the HC Brett Bielema’s University of Illinois Fighting Illini. If FAU can manage a split on this road trip, it will signal that the hype we’ve been hearing about all offseason surrounding a culture shift in the program (guilty as charged) isn’t a lemon.
Defensive co-captain S Armani-Eli “Money” Adams (SR) is in concussion protocol & will not be practicing again until Thursday (at the earliest). His availability for the game against the Ohio Bobcats is questionable.