Owls know they have to improve with conference schedule ahead

Boca Raton - The Owls' head into the conference portion of their schedule trying to forget the struggles they had in the first four games.

"It's kind of tough to swallow what's happened so far this season, but the main goal was to with the Sun Belt again and that is still up in the air," said defensive back Corey Small before Wednesday's practice.

FAU opened the season with a 52-10 loss to Texas, followed by a 49-34 win over Alabama.

It is the last two games that caused concern, as the Owls went into to Big Ten territory and got stomped.

First 17-0 at Michigan State, and then 37-3 at Minnesota.

"We know we have better football in us but have to demonstrate that on the field of battle," coach Howard Schnellenberger said.

Players said they will be working on the "little things" at practice, as well as being better mentally prepared.

"We haven't been mentally focused. In practice we need to be all tuned in," wide receiver Chris Bonner said.

"We have to be taking things more seriously than we have. Focus in on every play. Just going to treat in like it is our first day out there," said wide receiver Cortez Gent.

Gent said errors, especially in the red zone, have been the biggest problem this season.

"We shot ourselves in the foot. That is why we have looked so terrible. We have moved the ball but we haven't been able to finish. If we can put together complete drives, I think we will be fine," Gent said.

Small found some good in the first third of the season. "We needed a wakeup call," he said.

Time off: With the MTSU game on Tuesday, the Owls changed their schedule this week.

They had Monday and Tuesday off, and Schnellenberger said the first team would see limited action Wednesday and Thursday, with full practices coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

FAU has back-to-back Tuesday night games, with the Owls hosting Troy on Oct. 7. Both games are at 8 p.m. and on ESPN2.