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Tallahassee-Godby DB reportedly commits to FAU

Tallahassee-Godby defensive back Lester Thomas has reportedly committed to Florida Atlantic.

FAU’s recruiting class added another player over the weekend when Tallahassee-Godby defensive back Lester Thomas committed to the Owls, according to Sam Lane, a reporter for Tallahassee TV station WCTV on Sunday night.

The 5-10, 165-pound Thomas also had offers from Western Kentucky and Tennessee State, according to Rivals.com

Rivals.com did not have a rating for Thomas.

More...

> Recruiting Board: Latest commitments, offers


 

FAU reportedly adds two from Pensacola-Pine Forest

Updated 10:48 p.m. - Florida Atlantic coaches used the first part of this week to go out recruiting.

It looks like Pensacola-Pine Forest just might have been one of the schools the Owls visited as the Owls have  added two verbal commitments to their 2013 recruiting class from the school that produced a former FAU running back by the name of Alfred Morris.

Defensive end Demarcus Glover told Owl Access that he and defensive tackle JonDarius Gardner of Pine Forest have committed to the Owls, confirming news first reported Thursday night by 247sports.com

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Glover had reportedly received offers from Louisville, Louisiana-Lafayette and Western Kentucky. Glover has a 2-star ranking by Rivals.com.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Gardner had an offer from ULL and also has a 2-star rating from Rivals.com

Glover and Gardner give FAU eight verbal commitments for this year's recruiting class. Click here for the rundown on FAU's commitments and offers.

Here’s Glover’s mid-season highlight video which was just posted a few days ago.

And here’s a tape of Gardner.


 

FAU students, Owls were no-shows early

 Owl Pix

FAU didn't give out those rally towels after all. Appropriate, because the Owls didn't rally after falling behind early and lost to North Texas 20-14 on Saturday night.

It was a familiar script for the Owls. Start slow and then show signs of life late in the game. Again, it was too little, too late as the Owls fell to 1-4 and 0-2 in the Sun Belt Conference.

FAU was to hand out free rally towels if 4,000 students were in their seats before the game started. There probably were around 1,000 at kickoff. Like their team, FAU students just didn't show up early enough.

Here are a few observations from the game...

  • The Mean Green were able to get to Owls quarterback Graham Wilbert (pictured) early, forcing two picks and a fumble on one of his five sacks. Wilbert has shown he can be a formidable quarterback, but after a few mistakes he isn't the same confident, poised quarterback he is when things are going well.
  • Speaking of the North Texas defensive front seven, the Mean Green had nine tackles for a loss – a very high number of negative plays. FAU's offense is obviously still a work in progress and is not going to have much success when it consistently faces long yardage.
  • If there was a positive, it would have to be how FAU's defensive front appeared to match-up with North Texas' offensive line. The Owls' did not get to Mean Green quarterback Derek Thompson very often (he wasn't sacked all night) but the Owls did keep the Mean Green's running game, which averaged 191 yards a game, in check by holding them to 56 yards on 30 carries.
  • FAU's loss to Middle Tennessee State in the second week of the season doesn't look quite as bad after the Blue Raiders defeated Georgia Tech 49-28 on Saturday afternoon, but FAU has already lost to two of the Sun Belt teams that were predicted to struggle this season and has yet to play teams expected to contend for the conference championship.

We don't want to be accused of sugar-coating, so the only way to look at this season is that it is going to be tougher than many had thought. Perhaps things will turn around by the end of the season and winning a certain game against FIU late in the season could take some of the sting out of the losses, but it's clear FAU is in the early stages of a massive rebuilding project.
 

3 things to watch and our prediction for FAU-UNT

FAU will be facing North Texas today in a game that could be the last meeting for some time between the two schools as the Mean Green are leaving for greener pastures of Conference USA. It seems like a long time ago that North Texas was rolling over everyone in the Sun Belt doesn't it?

Here's 3 Things to Watch in today's game

  • While FAU reserve quarterback Stephen Curtis (turf toe) was out of his walking boot this week at practice, third-string Nick Bracewell was still getting plenty of work and it will be interesting to see if Curtis actually gets in. If the gameplan is to not use him, look for running back Damian Fortner to get the calls if the situation calls for the “wildcat” formation.
  • Speaking of the “wildcat” North Texas uses it as well, and has been known to use a few other trick plays as well. For an FAU defense which is young and still trying to get a handle on a new system, gadget plays can be tough to stop.
  • In the season-opener, FAU announced a crowd of 14,510 but it appeared to be less than 10,000 in the stands. North Texas, which also opened its stadium has had two crowds of 20,000 or more and, like FAU, is struggling this season. With another small crowd today, FAU officials had better start looking in to why the fan base is stagnating and what can be done to fix it.

Prediction: FAU and North Texas are both trying to earn their first Sun Belt conference victory and this game could come down to who wants it more. In an apparently evenly-matched contest, special teams could loom large. North Texas missed three field goals in its 14-7 loss to Troy last week while the Owls are 1-of-3 this season. FAU may be getting better, but North Texas still has the upper hand. North Texas 21, FAU 20
 

ULM-Baylor has highest TV rating for Sun Belt school

Friday's game between Baylor and Louisiana-Monroe on ESPN had a rating of 1.8 and was seen by 12.7 million people, according to the Sun Belt Conference.

That's the most to have ever watched a game involving a Sun Belt Conference school.

The previous highest rating was for last year's FIU-Louisville game, which drew a 1.4 rating

Speaking of the Warhawks, here's a story from SBNation that is worth the read if you have a few minutes. It's long but has some interesting stuff about life as a Sun Belt Conference member.

After Saturday's game against North Texas, ULM is next on FAU's schedule with the Owls traveling to Monroe, La. on Oct. 13.

Former FAU AD Angelos to head USF compliance

It appears former FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos has landed another job.

The USF blog Voodoo Five says Angelos will be taking a job in the Bulls' athletic department as an associate athletic director in charge of compliance.

Angelos was fired in March by FAU after leading the FAU athletic department since 2003.

Angelos certainly had his detractors at FAU and when you are the AD at FAU, you certainly can be a lightning rod for criticism. One has to be happy for Angelos, who had a compliance background before he came to FAU, and his family as it appears he has landed a job that is right for him.

Orange Park OL Jhory Jones commits to FAU

It looks like FAU has landed another verbal commitment.

Orange Park offensive lineman Jhory Jones has committed to FAU a source told Owl Access on Monday.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Jones was also reportedly recruited by FIU, Akron, South Alabama and Florida A&M.

Jones is the sixth player to verbally commitment to FAU's 2013 recruiting class. Click here for FAU's verbal  commitemnts and offers.

Here is Jones' highlight video...

 

FAU spoils Alabama's shutout streak

By now everyone has heard, dissected and analyzed Cory Henry's comments from earlier in the week that had the internet buzzing (although I still have yet to figure out what all the hub-bub was about)

Well, no, the Owls didn't beat Alabama (Henry never said they were going to) so FAU will have to settle for spoiling the Crimson Tide's bid for three consecutive shutouts.

And that showed some moxie by the Owls and caught the attention of the Crimson Tide that FAU did not come up to Tuscaloosa with a defeatist attitude.

FAU's touchdown came late in the game but the crowd that stayed until the end was as loud as it had been all day as Graham Wilbert lobbed a nice pass to tight end Alex DeLeon with 2:49 remaining.

More impressive was that the Owls elected not to kick a short field goal a few moments before that also would have ended the streak. FAU broke the streak the hard way. 

How bad did Alabama want the shutout?  Moments after the score, Alabama coach Nick Saban was nearly at the goal-line to yell at the officials after a controversial penalty went against Alabama on the drive.

FAU didn't beat Alabama, but the Owls made a bigger impression late in the game with that TD than anything that was said during the week.

3 things to watch and our prediction for FAU-Alabama

It's a beautiful football Saturday here in Alabama and in a few hours FAU will face the Crimson Tide, the No. 1 team in the nation. It's another great atmosphere for the Owls to play in and something the players will remember for the rest of their lives. I've got a prediction and a few things worth watching for FAU fans.

  • How will Henry do: It's a safe bet many binoculars will be trained on FAU defensive end Cory Henry to see how he plays after a comment he made earlier this week was considered by many to be a shot at Alabama. However, it's unclear how much Henry will actually play after being limited in practice due to illness. I'm sure he'd like to get in there to try and show he can hold his own, but his chances to do that could be limited.
  • Bulk at defense: Last week against Georgia, the Owls started a true freshman (Trevon Coley) and a redshirt freshman (Brandin Bryant) at defensive tackles while Jimmy Jean was home sick. Jean and Karl James, both seniors, have been taking extended snaps with the first team and it will be interesting to see of the Owls try and beef up in the middle vs. the Crimson Tide.
  • Big test for William Dukes: Wide receiver William Dukes had 98 yards receiving last week vs. the Bulldogs and that's the kind of game we've been waiting to see from the sophomore. He'll be the No. 1 option for Grahanm Wilbert and if he can come close to last week's performance, the Owls will likely have found their next game-breaking receiver.


Now it's time for our prediction.

Like the game itself, there isn't much drama here as I need to stick by what I wrote for al.com, the website for The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and Huntsville Times.

While FAU is improving from game-to-game (Pelini's goal) it will find the going tougher than it did last week in Athens. With Alabama players wanting to get that third consecutive shutout, there could be some motivation to completely shut down the Owls.

It could be close early, but it won't take long for Alabama's talent to take over.

I think FAU will score, but it could be late in the game after Alabama's offense has worn down the Owls defense.

Alabama 49, FAU 7

FAU had memorable games vs. Alabama in other sports

When Florida Atlantic faces traditional powers there are always many fans of the other school who have never heard of FAU before.

While I'm sure there are many Alabama fans who may not be familiar with FAU, there are likely some Crimson Tide faithful who remember the Owls from a few years back in some other sports besides football.

After all, two of the best moments in FAU's athletics history involved facing Alabama.

In 2002, FAU made the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament for the first and only time. The Owls' opponent in the first round? Alabama.

FAU was a No. 15 seed and gave Alabama, a No. 2 seed, a very tough game in Greenville, S.C. Leading for a few minutes in the second half (see above picture).

Alabama beat FAU 86-78, but lost to Kent State in the second round.

FAU's baseball team had better success vs. Alabama in 2002 as the Owls defeated Alabama to win the Tuscaloosa Regional. FAU advanced to the Super Regional and to this day it is still the only time an FAU team has advanced out of a regional in an NCAA tournament in any sport. The Owls also swept Alabama in a three-game series to start the 2012 baseball season,

Of course, one doesn't have to go to far to find a football connection either, although Saturday's game was off by a year of being a homecoming of sorts for former FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger.

Schnellenberger, a fund-raider for FAU, was an assistant coach under Paul Bear Bryant from 1961-65 and was part of three national championship teams there.

Here's more on Schnellenberger's Alabama connection.
 

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