Wisest Owl a sophomore

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted October 12 2005


Josh Pinnick's situation explains a lot about the difference in Florida Atlantic between this season and last. In 2004, Pinnick was a freshman defensive end. The three other linemen were seniors, as were three of four backups, and the Owls began 5-1.

This year FAU is 1-5 going into Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee, and the other linemen starting with Pinnick are freshmen, as are three of the four backups, with the other a sophomore.

"It's a total reversal," said Pinnick (6-5, 240, from Satellite Beach). "Last year I was the one who would turn to those guys and ask them what front we were running, and this year I'm helping the people around me figure out what is going on."

"He knows what they are going through because he went through the same thing last year," defensive line coach Christ Vagotis said.

One of the freshmen looking to Pinnick is E.J. Jones. "Josh has been helping us with the plays and keeps our intensity up," Jones said.

Compounding FAU's youth and inexperience was a rugged non-conference schedule to start the season, but Pinnick said those four games helped FAU last Thursday, when the Owls picked up their first win, 28-10 at Louisiana-Lafayette.

"I see no better way to age a young team than throw them in there with the best," Pinnick said. "Let them fight it out rather than play patsies."

The win was critical, Pinnick said, because the five straight losses had begun to take a toll on the Owls. Pinnick received the game ball for top defensive performance.

"Everyone knew we were better than our record, but until you win that game, you're never sure. When you keep losing, people start breaking down mentally," Pinnick said.

Pinnick showed his frustration in the Sept. 22 loss to Louisiana Monroe, ejected in the second quarter for contact with an official.

Pinnick said he was upset that a Monroe player had pushed him back to the ground several times after the whistle. Pinnick said he jumped up and was turning to ask why a flag had not been thrown and his arm hit the official running toward the players.

"I wrote him a letter; I talked to the [Sun Belt] commissioner. It won't happen again," said Pinnick, who also had to sit out the first half against Louisville as part of the penalty.

Pinnick is glad to be back on the field and looking forward to Saturday when the Owls host the Blue Raiders (1-3, 0-1) at Lockhart Stadium.

FAU is 1-1 in the Sun Belt and has five more conference games.

"Now it's a playoff situation. We have to win all the rest of these games," Pinnick said.


Wide receiver Thomas Parker sprained his ankle at the end of Tuesday's practice and is listed as day-to-day