Owls lose second defensive end, get new center
Florida Atlantic has lost
its second starting defensive end, as coach
Howard Schnellenberger said Jermaine Council is injured and
will not start Saturday against Alabama-Birmingham. Council was
injured in the Texas game, but returned to the lineup, but he
did not practice Tuesday. Senior Julian Meyers (6-foot-3, 218
pounds) will replace Council. FAU is already without Robert St.
Claire, a senior who had knee surgery before the Texas game and
is not expected back until Sept. 30.
The offensive line was shaken up again this week, as Kevin Miller has been moved from guard to center, and David Matlock moved back to guard. Matlock had replaced center Nick Paris, who injured his foot in the final scrimmage of the preseason and is expected to be out until the Sept. 30 game at Middle Tennessee. Miller (6-3, 304) has played center before and will give the Owls a bigger body in the middle. Matlock is 6-2, 285. This is the line FAU should see Saturday: LT Lavoris Williams, LG Brandon Jackson, C Kevin Miller, RG David Matlock, RT John Rizzo.
Noise problem: One of the bright spots in the 52-10 loss to Texas was the offensive line, which did not give up a sack despite repeated blitzes and pressure from the Texas defense. "They had a great defensive line," said offensive lineman Brandon Jackson. "They didn't get to [quarterback] Rusty [Smith], but they created a lot of havoc. We protected good but it could have been better." Compounding the pressure was the noise of the crowd, as a record 98,053 fans jammed into the newly expanded Darrell K. Royal- Memorial Stadium. "That crowd had a lot to do with it. We were down there trying to make different calls and the crowd was into it and we couldn't hear ourselves and we kind of got confused on certain plays."
Getting familiar: Saturday's game is the first of four straight against the Blazers. FAU will travel to Birmingham next year and 2010, with the Owls hosting the final game of the series in 2011.
Goal gone: While Schnellenberger and Smith agree that the Owls won't let the loss to the Longhorns affect preparation for the Blazers, they aren't on the same page when it comes to another topic. One of FAU's goals for this season was to get to a BCS bowl game, something that only undefeated teams have achieved. Schnellenberger said after the loss that if FAU would win out, it was could still get a BCS bid. Smith is more realistic. "Losing to Texas, and very handily, probably puts us out of the BCS bowl," Smith said. "If we win out, it won't be enough."