FAU guard sizes up situation

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, September 01, 2005

BOCA RATON When Florida Atlantic faces Kansas in its season opener, at least one player in an FAU uniform may look like he should be in the Jayhawks' locker room.

Owls offensive tackle Nick Paris, the heaviest player on FAU's offensive line, may be able to scarf down more Kansas City barbecue than many of Kansas' offensive linemen.

Paris, whose weight peaked at 333 pounds last season, is believed to be the biggest player in FAU history. The 6-foot-1 Paris weighs 312 pounds now and will make his first career start at left guard when FAU faces Kansas at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Paris, a redshirt freshman from Palm Bay, would fit in perfectly on Kansas' offensive line, which averages 6-5, 294 pounds. And he is looking forward to facing the Jayhawks' defensive line that averages 6-4, 253 pounds.

"My weight will help, but you still have to have it in your heart and your head," Paris said.

Paris' opportunity arose when Brandon Jackson injured his knee early in training camp. Jackson may return after the Kansas game, but Paris and Zach Wichner are trying to make the most of their chances.

"Once I saw the schedule I knew I would have a chance to play this season," Paris said.

Paris has impressed coach Howard Schnellenberger with his agility, footwork and work ethic.

"He's doing good," Schnellenberger said. "He's our best drive blocker. There's nothing like a pit bull in a pit."

Noteworthy: Junior tight end Demetrious Murray, who had impressed coaches with his pass-catching ability, has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will be out for the season. Murray, a junior college transfer, had moved up the depth chart after reporting to camp a few days late