FAU senior defensive end David Baptiste had five tackles vs. South Alabama. (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Notaro/Owl Pix)
Prepared for the pair
Defensive Notebook: FAU's strategy is to be ready to stop both of Troy's quarterbacks on Saturday.
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BOCA RATON – Troy quarterback Corey Robinson is expected to make his return Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic, but it won't change how the Owls prepare for the Trojans.
Defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis says the Owls' gameplan isn't predicated by who plays quarterback for Troy and is designed to stop either Robinson or his backup, Deon Anthony, who played last week vs. FIU with Robinson sidelined with a concussion.
“Those quarterbacks have different styles and our players need to be aware who is in the game, but they keep their offensive principles intact,” Rekstis said. “One is a better runner and one is a better thrower, but we've just tried to focus on getting lined up to some of their stuff that they do and playing our responsibilities.”
Robinson, the better thrower, has been cleared to play, has practiced this week and is expected to be the Trojans' starter.
Robinson was 32 of 48 for 396 yards, the most given up by FAU last season, with three touchdown passes in Troy's 34-7 victory in 2011.
Baptiste on upswing: In the last few weeks, senior defensive end David Baptiste has been earning more playing time and had a solid game last week in FAU's 37-34 double-overtime loss at South Alabama.
Baptiste had five tackles, including one for a loss, vs. the Jaguars.
“I'm happy with it, but I'm not content with it,” said Baptiste, who had a sack and his only career interception in last year's game vs. the Trojans. “There have been some little things that the coaches have corrected me on, but I've been working on it and I fell that they are giving me a chance.”
Rekstis is pleased with Baptiste's recent progress.
“He's provided some depth at the end position and has been a pleasant surprise,” Rekstis said.
Need a lift: FAU has spent plenty of time this week in practice working on its kicking game.
The Owls had three field goals blocked - including a potential game-winner at the end of regulation and one in overtime and want to make sure that doesn't happen again.
The biggest problem with the field goal unit was kicker Mitch Anderson not getting enough trajectory on his kicks.
“They are putting three guys on your guard and they are going to get some push so you have to get more lift on the ball,” Pelini said. “Mitch, as he gets more experienced is going to understand that. The one he made had great lift and they had just as much penetration.”
Anderson, a redshirt junior who transferred from Division III Austin College, came into the game without having attempted a field goal after assuming the kicker's role after senior kicker Vinny Zaccario left the team.
Anderson was 2-for-5 vs. the Jaguars, making field goals of 23 and 37 yards, but had his attempt of 39 blocked early in the third quarter before his 32-yard try that could have won the game for the Owls was blocked with 12 seconds remaining. Anderson's 44-yard attempt in the second overtime was also blocked, which allowed the Jaguars to win the game four plays later with their own 44-yard field goal.
“I didn't foresee it, but there's something that I talked about with Mitch and that's self-correcting,” Pelini said “It's something that experienced kickers can do. ...He needs to be more analytical as a kicker.”