BOCA RATON · Willie Hughley always seems to be
in hyper-drive, but he has been supersonic the first week of preseason
practice for Florida Atlantic.
"I feel really, really good," said Hughley,
a senior defensive back who is a fourth-year starter for the Owls.
source of Hughley's intensity is that he had to sit
out spring practice as a precaution for a hairline fracture on his pelvis.
Missing spring was tough on Hughley (5-feet-11, 170
pounds), who thrives on being on the field. In addition to his team-leading six
interceptions last season, Hughley had two blocked
kicks playing on special teams.
Hughley is part of the most experienced unit on the
team. Senior Lawrence Gordon, who started all 11 games last season, will be
at the other corner. Troy Pindell, who had six
starts in 2004, will be at one safety, with Kris Bartels, David McDowell and Carldayle Brantley battling for the other safety spot.
Defensive backs coach Kirk Hoza said Hughley is moving beyond being an example for his play.
"Everyone knows how he is going to play on Saturday because he has a
heart of a lion. What he is doing now is taking others who have to step in
and helping them become players like him," Hoza
Senior linebacker Shomari Earls was held out of
Wednesday's practice with a sore hamstring.