Inexperience at QB no longer Owls' issue

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 31, 2007

BOCA RATON Last year Florida Atlantic started a quarterback who never had played in a college football game in its season opener. This year, it's the Owls' opponent who has the inexperienced quarterback.

Redshirt junior quarterback Joe Craddock will make his first career start for Middle Tennessee State on Saturday when the Blue Raiders face the Owls at 4 p.m. Saturday at Lockhart Stadium.


MTSU doesn't want Craddock to try do to much.

"I've told Joe all pre-season that he doesn't have to win the game for us," Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. " If he will manage the game and be a leader then I think his natural ability will allow him and us to have a good game."

But, as FAU found out last season, that's not easy for a quarterback playing in his first game. In front of a hostile Clemson crowd at Death Valley, FAU freshman quarterback Rusty Smith struggled in his debut.

But Saturday, FAU will have the experienced quarterback, which is just fine with the Owls.

"They don't want to put the game in his hands to win the game," defensive end Josh Pinnick said of Craddock. "No team wants to put their first-time starting quarterback in and have to win the game. ... We have to test him early to see if he can be the person to win the game. I don't' think he can because he's a first time starter."

Noteworthy: FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger will host Coach's Breakfast at 8 a.m. today at the Tom Oxley Center in Boca Raton.