Boca Raton - Florida Atlantic's depth at running back has taken two major hits before the opening of preseason camp.
It is likely senior Jeff Blanchard and junior Willie Floyd
will both miss the upcoming season due to injuries, coach
Howard Schnellenberger said Wednesday.
Blanchard tore a ligament in his knee just days into spring
practice, and he is not expected to recover quickly enough
to play this season, effectively ending his career.
Floyd, who played sparingly in the spring due to an injury,
tore his pectoral muscle in July while lifting weights as
part of the team's summer workouts and is also expected to
miss this season.
Blanchard had entered spring as first on the depth chart at
tailback, with Floyd behind him. Their injuries prompted FAU
to try backup fullback Alfred Morris in that position, and
Morris shined, earning the starting spot.
Floyd, who is from Hollywood and played at Chaminade-Madonna,
was expected to Morris's backup and also help handle kick
Injuries have plagued Blanchard, who is from Delray Beach
and transferred to FAU after two years at Garden City
Community College in Kansas. He played in four games in 2007
before breaking has ankle and missing the rest of the
Sophomore Avionne Rolle will enter preseason camp, which
starts Sunday, as No. 2 on the depth chart.
Rolle (5-10, 190) had a solid spring. Redshirt freshman
Michael Barasch (5-9, 200) will also get snaps.
"We have good players there, but we lost a lot of
experience," Schnellenberger said.
One of the first priorities of the preseason will be finding
kick returners. "We will hold auditions for that first
thing," Schnellenberger said.