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Dino Cox (left) returns for what could be a breakthrough senior season. Josh Savidge (right) graduated, making him the biggest loss from the defensive tackle position. ( file photo)


Building cohesion begins our pre-camp breakdown of each position today, starting with the defensive tackles.

Originally published on 7/30/2010

by Chuck King

BOCA RATON - When Florida Atlantic reassigned 2009 defensive tackles coach Rod Payne to the strength and conditioning coach position, the task of coaching the interior defensive line fell to defensive ends coach Johnny Frost.

For Frost, this consolidation – however temporary – provided the opportunity to have the tackles and ends spend some quality time together.

“Having an opportunity to have them all to myself, I took advantage of it,” Frost said. “This position for the ends and the tackles, it needs to be close, it needs to work together real close, because we do so many things together as far as games.”

Frost believes having both the tackles and ends under his wing helped instill a better understanding of individual roles and the roles of players around them.

He expects that familiarity will produce a more cohesive unit, which will be necessary if the Owls intend to improve on their defensive ranking of 112 out of the 120 FBS teams last season.

Frost’s time with the defensive tackles is winding down. In the coming days FAU is expected to officially announce that Richard Lage has taken over as the defensive tackles coach.

If Lage has any quick questions about his new players, he’ll only have to walk to the office next door.


POSITION BROWSER: Defensive Tackles

Key personnel

  • Dino Cox: Returning starter has always been quick off the ball and possesses good leverage. The Owls’ best inside pass rusher significantly improved his upper body strength in the offseason. .
  • Jimmy Jean: Jean was injured most of the past two seasons, Jean assumed the top spot next to Cox following April’s Oklahoma drills – the first full pad drill of spring practice. Frost said when Jean started employing a lower center of gravity, he began “destroying guys.”
  • Jarvis Givens: Givens is  nearly 100 percent recovered from a spring knee injury and fully recovered from last season’s neck injury. In the process of reducing weight from 320 to less than 300, hoping that will increase stamina.  

Fresh faces

  • Andrew Stryffler: A redshirt freshman, Stryffler was with the Owls last year as a defensive end before moving inside in the spring. At 6-foot-4, 260 he could use some added bulk, but he’s strong for his size and has a firm grasp on FAU’s defensive concepts. 
  • David Baptiste: A walk-on, Baptiste comes off the line well, plays low, and at 6-foot-1, 270 pounds, has great leverage. The former Cypress Bay linebacker is a project with upside who could see game action this season.

Key losses

  • Josh Savidge: Savidge started every game at defensive tackle in 2009.
  • Andy Czprynski: Czprynski played in 11 games last season before moving to the offensive line in the spring.

Projected depth chart
DT: Dino Cox, Sr., 6-3, 280
      Andrew Stryffler, R-Fr. 6-4, 260

DT: Jimmy Jean, R-So., 6-2, 290
      Jarvis Givens, R-Jr., 6-3, 305

Key stat: FAU surrendered 220.58 yards rushing per game last season -  112th out of the 120 BCS teams.

OwlAnalysis: This group will likely struggle against the bigger offensive lines at Michigan St. and Texas, but should be able to hold their own or better in Sun Belt play. Cox has the ability to influence an opponent’s running and passing game, and Frost is extremely high on Jean’s prospects for the season. With only three players entering the season with game experience, depth could be an issue – especially if injuries strike early.

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