Scouting Report On Florida Atlantic

The Florida Atlantic Owls continue their "Murderer's Row" of a schedule with a trip to Stillwater to face the improved Cowboys. Florida Atlantic has been outscored 99-6 in its first two games at Clemson (54-6) and at Kansas State (45-0). After Oklahoma State they still have a trip to South Carolina and then open up Sun Belt Conference play on the road at Louisiana-Monroe.

"At Miami and Louisville, we always felt playing a challenging schedule would make us a better football team," said FAU head coach and program builder Howard Schnellenberger. "We know it is presumptious to think we can win these games, but we are young and foolish enough to think we can fight the battle."

The truth is that the Owls may be strong is spirit and desire but they are running dangerously low on experience and ability. Confidence from a game they could win could bring out the ability in a team that starts 15 sophomores or freshmen.

On offense quarterbacks Sean Clayton and Rusty Smith are both excellent size at 6-5, but lack experience and confidence. Charles Pierre is a dangerous speedster at halfback and another speedster, Frantz Simeon (5-10, 185), is the biggest threat at wide receiver. The offensive line has just been outmuscled as they average only 278 pounds per man up front.

On defense the leading tackler is 5-10, 190-pound strong safety Kris Bartles, a former walk-on. That should be revealing as he is one of two former walk-ons that start on that side of the ball. Another noticeable trait of the defense is that they offer multiple looks. Against Kansas State they lined up in at least a dozen fronts, mixed in at least a half dozen different types of blitzes, and ran every coverage in the secondary from cover one to cover six and even some hydrid coverages. That is a lot for a young defense to digest.

In numbers the Owls average 1.4-yards per rush and 5.2-yards per pass attempt. They are averaging 3.2-yards for each snap on offense. On defense they have allowed 6.1-yards per run and 6.3-yards per pass with 6.2-yards on each snap by the opposing offense.

Schnellenberger says the biggest problem has been the kicking game where mistakes have allowed four touchdowns in the first two games, including Kansas State returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown last week. Clemson returned a punt for a score in the first game of the season.

Another telling tale in the numbers is that FAU is converting on third downs at a 30 percent clip, while opponents are converting at 54 percent. The Owls have registered one sack and six tackles for losses, while Clemson and Kansas State had a combined seven sacks and 20 tackles for losses.


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