They are slightly better against the pass, mostly due to 16 interceptions, but they still give up 219 yards a contest. Overall, they allow 32 points a game. Seven of their nine opponents have scored more than 30 points including the last five in a row.
Defensive line --- The line is pretty weak and one that has not made many plays. The most active guy in the group is defensive end Robert St. Claire who has been credited with 25 tackles and leads the team with a paltry 2.5 quarterback sacks. Defensive tackle Jevonte Jackson is an impressive specimen (6-5, 300) but has just 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Obviously, they don't get much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They have a total of just nine sacks.
Linebackers --- The Owls' linebackers are about as good (or bad) as South Carolina's. MLB Joseph Frantz has 95 tackles, including eight for losses and is a pretty aggressive player. WLB Cergile Sincere adds 87 tackles. As a group they have pretty good speed but aren't all that big.
Secondary --- The defensive backfield appears to be their best unit, but that's a bit deceptive. They gamble a lot and have had success with it, grabbing 16 interceptions. Cornerback Tavious Polo has seven of those picks and the free safety Taheem Acevedo has five more. The corner opposite Polo, Corey Small is active in run support. Those are the positives. On the other side of the ledger, FAU opponents complete 64 percent of their passes for 219 yards a game and 17 touchdowns.
Overall, this defense should not be able to keep the Gators under 45 points unless Florida helps them out.
Special teams --- FAU has had some success on kickoff returns thanks to Di Ivory Edgecomb who averages 23.7 with a long of 57. But they also allow 24 per KOR including a touchdown. The punter, Keegan Peterson is fair, averaging 40.0. Their punt return (3.8) isn't good, nor is their coverage (10.8). Kicker Warley Leroy is 15-22 FG, but just 2-7 beyond 40 yards. It's important to note that FAU has blocked four kicks this year and also has had two blocked.
Top to bottom FAU is a team that belongs in the same class as Florida's opening opponents Western Kentucky and Troy. The only way this game is competitive is if the Gators turn it over on offense, give up big plays on defense and get a kick or two blocked. It should be a good chance to get Harvin and Maurkice Pouncey healthy and much needed playing time for guys like Cam Newton, Justin Williams, Bryan Thomas and Brandon Hicks.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
Scouting Report: FAU Defense
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