Hughley happy to be back on field

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted August 11 2005


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.

The 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 said. ...

Senior linebacker Shomari Earls was held out of Wednesday's practice with a sore hamstring.