FAU takes cues from USF

By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, September 30, 2005

Before FAU started its football program, Howard Schnellenberger toured South Florida's football facilities in 1998 to see what he could learn from the Bulls.

Schnellenberger may borrow from South Florida's game plan again when the Owls face Louisville at noon Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

USF posted the school's biggest victory Saturday when it upset No. 9 Louisville 45-14.

The defeat may have provided a blueprint for beating the Cardinals (2-1), and the Owls (0-4) will try to use a liberal dose of South Florida's strategy against Louisville.

The Bulls exposed a glaring weakness in Louisville sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm, who had problems dealing with South Florida's defensive pressure.

"They were coming off the ball real well and really disrupting the passing game," FAU freshman defensive tackle Jervonte Jackson said.

Brohm had 389 yards passing but couldn't get the offense going with consistency.

"Brian missed some things in protection and missed a couple of routes that were open, but he is an extremely tough young man and can be my quarterback any day," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said.

On offense, the Bulls used big plays to defeat Louisville, and while FAU's offense has struggled, it has scored two touchdowns on plays of 50 or more yards and nearly converted a 35-yard pass on the last play of its 28-21 loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week.

"They just stuck with what was working for them," said Owls senior wide receiver Thomas Parker, who had a 66-yard touchdown reception and was stripped of the ball at the goal line against the Indians. "They used the passing game, the running game and some trickery. If we are going to do that, it will have to start up front."

However, South Florida certainly didn't make it any easier for the Owls to pull an upset. The loss appears to have Louisville in a regrouping mode this week.

"The first thing we have to do is get back and go to work on our technique and fundamentals," Petrino said. "We lost some of that on Saturday."

Schnellenberger knows he'll see a different Louisville team than the one that played South Florida.

"Their mind-set has to be one of frustration and astonishment," Schnellenberger said. "I think they will go back and start making sure they are practicing the way they practiced before this happened and to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Noteworthy: The last tickets for Saturday's game were sold Thursday and the sellout crowd of 42,000 will be the largest crowd for an FAU football game.... FAU senior cornerback Willie Hughley has been named to the watch list for the East-West Shrine Game.