FAU's defense pressured the quarterbacks all afternoon and recorded the victory in the Owls' 2013 spring game.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini didn’t name a starting quarterback, but he said that Melvin German moved ahead of Quez Johnson and Stephen Curtis following FAU’s spring game on Saturday at GEO Group Stadium.
Pelini insists that they won’t name a starter until the fall, but he has a good guess of who will be battling for the starting job.
“What I plan on seeing when they come back in August is a much more heated battle between (German and Johnson) really,” Pelini said. “I plan on it being a very good battle at least a week or two into fall camp.”
German, who got the start with the first team offense, had a stellar first half, including the opening 16 plays of the game. German impressed both with his arm and his legs, passing for 88 yards, including two interceptions in the second half, and rushing for 27. He led the offense to a field a goal on his second series.
“I knew what he could do and I knew he was going to make plays eventually,” said linebacker Adarius Glanton, who recorded a sack on German. “We just tried to contain him as much as we could.”
According to FAU, the defense narrowly defeated the offense 32-31. The defensive line and linebackers stoodout, recording seven sacks and bringing constant pressure on the offense. Pelini praised defensive end Martin Wright for his progress throughout the spring.
“He plays with a huge motor,” Pelini said. “He’s really coming into his own under Coach (Matt) Edwards’ tutelage. He’s playing aggressively and playing intelligently. He’s always been that aggressive guy that’s made the boneheaded mistake, but those have disappeared and he’s really playing well and within the scheme.”
One of the major concerns heading into the season and the spring was the state of the offensive line, which has struggled in recent years. But Pelini praised the group for stepping up and didn’t place all the blame on them for the nine sacks.
“If you really look, when the quarterbacks got rid of the ball it wasn’t an issue,” he said. “It was when they were staring at coverages that we got caught for the sacks. But I did think we ran the ball fairly well, which is good to see from our offensive line.”
The Owls’ all-time leading rusher Alfred Morris returned to FAU for the spring game, where he was honored at halftime for his career at FAU and stellar rookie season with the Washington Redskins last year.
Morris said “it was an honor to be honored.”
Morris had a stellar rookie campaign with the Redskins last season, rushing for 1,613 yards, 13 touchdowns and broke Clinton Portis’ record for most rushing yards in a season by a Redskins player. His accomplishments last season still haven’t sunk in.
“It was insane the year I was able to have,” Morris said. “I’m just thankful that all the pieces just fell into place, for my opportunity to arise and I made the most of it. But I haven’t taken it all in. I don’t think I ever will. I’m already past last year, I’m building for next year, trying to become a better me. I set the bar pretty high my first year. My goal is to push even higher next season.”
Coming from a relatively unknown school like FAU, Morris recognizes that he has helped open some doors for the university and believes that the program is headed in the right direction.
“It’s on the up-and-up,” he said. “In two or three years everyone’s going to know who FAU is.”
GameBrowser: FAU Spring Football
Making plays: RB Tony Moore had an impressive day and had the longest run of the day for about 20 yards…QB Stephen Curtis scored the only touchdown of the game on a four-yard quarterback keeper.
Stepping up: DL Cory Henry was fantastic in the pass rush and was officially credited with a team-high two sacks...DE Martin Wright continued to impress. He also had two sacks. ...Winfred Strickland nearly intercepted a Quez Johnson pass in the end zone, then did intercept Melvin German. ...Cre'von LeBlanc recorded a second-half interception of Melvin German.
Instant message: He’s really coming into his own as a good physical runner, which is something we really needed. We needed someone to step up in that role in addition to Jonathan (Wallace). He had a great spring and again continued to impress today. --FAU coach Carl Pelini on running back Tony Moore
Up next: The spring game concludes FAU's spring practice. The Owls won't return to the field for organized activities until summer camp begins.