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FAU coach Carl Pelini on the sidelines vs. Navy earlier this season. (Photo courtesy of Owl Pix)

 Owl Pix

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No need to change

Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini wants to prepare for this week's Shula Bowl vs. FIU like it's any other game.

Originally published on 11/12/2012

by Marcus Nelson

Even with the Shula Bowl on tap this week, Owls coach Carl Pelini wants his team to prepare for Friday's game against Florida International like it is any other game.

“As a coach, you don't downplay it, but I don't think you talk much about it,” Pelini said. “I think one thing I've done with this team is to not talk too much about the opponent, except for schemes and Xs and Os-wise.”

When the game starts, there will be plenty of emotion, but Pelini isn't looking for that on the practice field.

“For the fans, rivalries are a great thing and for the stadium atmosphere, it's a great thing on game day,” Pelini said. “But in terms of the preparation, I've never spent much time talking about rivalries.”

And why change? The Owls' approach is working lately.

After losing six consecutive games earlier this season, Florida Atlantic has a chance to finish 2012 on a high note.

Following Friday's game vs. Florida International at FAU Stadium, the Owls will play host to Louisiana-Lafayette in the season finale on Dec. 1.

Heading into what could be the final Shula Bowl, the Owls have won two out of their last three games and are on two-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak following its 37-28 victory vs. Western Kentucky on Saturday.

“I think even before the win, I thought we were improving week-to-week,” Pelini said. “I think we've continued to show gradual improvement throughout the season. We've just gotten better finishing the game off and making plays when we need them. The last few weeks it's been one or two plays that have decided whether we win or lose. Luckily on Saturday, we made a couple that helped us win.”
 

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