Brantley prepares to start at safety

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Friday, September 14, 2007

BOCA RATON At first glance, it may appear to be a positive that Carldayle Brantley is likely to start for injured strong safety Kris Bartels for Florida Atlantic against Minnesota on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.

Minnesota runs the spread offense and Brantley is faster and has better hands than Bartels - tools that come in useful when offenses employ multiple receiver sets.


FAU defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza is quick to point out that's not necessarily the case.

"Bartels is such a good football player that you can't measure him with a clock," Hoza said. "He might not clock as fast a 40 (yard dash), but he plays awfully fast."

Hoza adds that the spread offense doesn't necessarily mean the Owls are in for an aerial attack. Minnesota rushed for 306 yards in its 41-35 triple overtime win against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday and for 246 yards in its season-opening overtime loss to Bowling Green.

Bartels, who hasn't practiced all week because of a shoulder injury he suffered during Saturday's 42-6 loss to Oklahoma State, is one of the Owls' key defenders against the run. Brantley, though, takes exception to the idea that he's a pass defense specialist.

"FAU is not a cover-type school," Brantley said. "We are a hit-the-run, stop-the-run type of school. I know if I'm coming in and getting the start for coach Hoza, that's what I'm going to have to do."

Brantley, who also returns punts, is coming off a groin injury suffered during pre-season workouts. If the redshirt freshman does draw that start, and that appears more and more likely, it will be first of his career.

"I'm trying to keep the nerves down to a minimum, but I'm excited - very excited actually," he said.

Nearly ready for prime time: Senior linebacker Cergile Sincere, a graduate of Glades Central High, will be featured on Sun Sports' Rec Warehouse College Kickoff show at 7 tonight. The show will be rebroadcast at 11 p.m., and also at 9 a.m and 11 a.m. Saturday.