Young Owls relish jump to I-A

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted September 2 2005

 

Florida Atlantic will put an inexperienced team on the field Saturday against Kansas, but it does not mean the newcomers are all young.

Juniors Antes Perkins, 20, and Josh Jenkins, 21, may be entering the season as starters for the first time, but both say the lessons learned while serving as backups will help them as the Owls head into their first full season at the Division I-A level.

 

"I am ready to get that first snap off and start a new generation of Florida Atlantic football," said Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound defensive lineman from Dillard.

Jenkins redshirted in 2002, saw limited time in 2003 and had one start last season. "I have been sitting behind those seasoned players for three years now. I know the whole defensive scheme. I'm ready," Jenkins said.

The defensive line is the youngest and most inexperienced unit on the team. The only player who started last season is sophomore Josh Pinnick, who had six starts last season as a true freshman. Redshirt freshman Jervonte Jackson and true freshman Josh Savidge will be playing in their first college games Saturday.

The offensive line has more experience but will also have two players, redshirt freshman Nick Paris and junior Stetson Wilson, making their first starts.

Perkins (6-4, 286) made three starts last season. "I am ready to step up," said Perkins, who is from Miramar and played at Stranahan.

Junior Nello Faulk started all 11 games last season, and center Jarrid Smith had eight starts, with an injury keeping him out of three games.

But offensive coordinator Gary Nord said the line still needs more time to develop.

"They are not ready, but I see them making some progress. They are inconsistent right now due to their youth," Nord said. "They are talented and giving effort, and that will speed things along."

Elsewhere

UTAH: Utah sought permission from the NCAA to keep using its Utes nickname and requested a decision before tonight's nationally televised football game against Arizona. The university sent a seven-page appeal to the governing body Wednesday, asking that it be removed from a list of 18 schools with American Indian nicknames, mascots or images. The NCAA said there would be no decision by today and declined to say when a ruling might be expected.

AIR FORCE: Coach Fisher DeBerry will forgo his customary team prayer before Saturday's game against Washington, one of the first visible changes of a new policy on public displays of religion at the academy. Instead, the team will observe a moment of silence in the locker room. The Air Force issued guidelines Monday that discourage public prayer at official functions and urge commanders to be sensitive about personal expressions of religious faith.

TENNESSEE: Coach Phillip Fulmer has taken some of the pressure off starting quarterback Erik Ainge by assuring him he won't automatically get the hook after making a mistake. Fulmer announced last weekend Ainge would start ahead of senior Rick Clausen in the opener on Saturday against UAB. "You can relax a little bit," Ainge said. "I think that knowing that is going to help me a lot playing my game because my game is a little more relaxed, out on the move, throwing the ball down the field. I think knowing that I don't have to be looking over my shoulder and I can just go out and play will really help a lot."

Sun-Sentinel wire services contributed to this report.