Edgecomb rises to No. 1 tailback

-- Ted Hutton
Posted August 18 2005


BOCA RATON DiIvory Edgecomb has emerged as the likely candidate to fill the shoes of Doug Parker, who graduated last year as Florida Atlantic's leading rusher.

"Edgecomb has separated himself," Owls running backs coach David Serna said Wednesday. "He's shown he is a good all-around back who can score from anywhere and can catch the ball as well."

Edgecomb, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound redshirt freshman from Pembroke Pines who played at American Heritage, got the attention of coaches in the spring, but was still third on the depth chart when preseason camp opened Aug. 8.

With Edgecomb's strong showing, B.J. Manley, who had been the No. 1 tailback, has been moved to fullback, and Edgecomb has moved past Charles Pierre, another redshirt freshman.

Pierre and Edgecomb both performed well in Tuesday's scrimmage, and Serna said they are both running with more authority.

"They have been a lot more physical than in the past, and that is what we are going to need with the schedule we face," Serna said.

"We are just trying to do our best. It's up to the coaches to decide who plays," Edgecomb said.

"We treat each other well and are friends off the field. It is competition, we all know that, and there are no grudges," said Pierre, who is from Orlando.

Senior Aaron Sanchez is expected to be the starting fullback, though he has been slowed by a pulled thigh muscle and sat out Tuesday's scrimmage and Wednesday's practice.

The backups are Manley and Dominick Walker, both sophomores.

The youth of his unit has Serna excited.

"There is a lot of talent there, and we'll have them for many more years. They will only improve with time," Serna said.


MIAMI Florida International continued preparations for its Sept. 3 season opener at Kansas State with two workouts.

Highlighting the practices were back-to-back interceptions by starting senior cornerbacks Matt Castillo and Nick Turnbull, setting the stage for a spirited workout by the defense, an area of needed improvement as the Golden Panthers move into Division I-A.

"Defensively, we moved around well and made some plays, while offensively we looked a little sluggish," coach Don Strock said.

"We're still looking at a lot of different people out here. We won't start paring things down until at least the end of this week and then next week we'll begin giving more reps to the guys on the first and second groups that are going to be in there when we begin playing games."

Strock believes the defense will be improved under second-year defensive coordinator Bernard Clark. The squad is made up of a number of veteran players who know the system and has been augmented by a group of young but talented newcomers, which include of linemen Jonas Murrell and Reggie Jones.

In addition to several heat-related illnesses, defensive end Terrance Allen suffered a neck strain and could miss the next several days of practice. FIU practices again today at 8:45 a.m