Florida Atlantic University vs. Miami Game Preview

By: Shasky Clarke

 

Second-year coach Carl Pelini and his FAU Owls enter Friday’s game at Miami with a ton of offensive uncertainty and a weak defensive line. Looking ahead to its September 7th matchup against Florida, the FAU game will virtually serve as a preseason affair for Miami. FAU is in the process of improving the overall athleticism across their roster and they have had some success, particularly at the skilled positions, over the last few years. But they aren’t there yet.

Miami’s defense struggled mightily in 2012, but it will have an opportunity to flex its strengths against an inexperienced and low-talent overall offense. Meanwhile, Miami’s offensive line should feast on an undersized and unproductive FAU defensive line.

 

When Miami has the ball:

 

Miami Offensive Line

Miami has one of the biggest and best offensive lines in all of college football. FAU has one of the very worst defensive lines. Simply put, Miami enjoys a significant advantage in the trenches. Miami will have an easy time moving the ball on the ground and protecting Stephen Morris in the pass game.

FAU lacks both size and skill upfront. These things don’t bode well going up against an offensive line that averages over 315 pounds per player. By default, 6’3” 240-pound defensive end Cory Henry is probably the best defensive lineman on FAU’s defense. Unfortunately he led the team with a whopping two sacks in 2012. The Owls very well could also start a 6’2” 230-pound sophomore at defensive tackle.

 

FAU Linebackers

The strongest unit on the Owl defense is the linebacker group where 6’2” 235-pound junior middle linebacker Andrae Kirk and seniors Adarius Glanton and Randell Johnson roam with decent range and tackling ability. Kirk is the closest thing to a star among the three and should lead the team in tackles.  6’4” 230-pound Johnson flashed a couple years ago with 14.5 tackles for loss and four sacks but had a down year in 2012.

The hope here is that the group can help slow down the Miami rushing attack and help out the pass rush on blitzes.

 

Miami Passing Game vs. FAU Secondary

Led by fast 5’11” senior cornerback Keith Reiser, the FAU secondary is decent and experienced, leading the Sun Belt Conference in pass defense and possibly starting three seniors. But the group will likely be eaten up vertically without any pressure on Morris. FAU lacks the depth to match up with all of Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett and Herb Waters. The defense will also have to worry about Clive Walford, a possible All-ACC tight end with an NFL future.

 

Returning Leaders

 

Miami

Passing:           QB Stephen Morris 245-421 (58.2%), 3345 yds, 21 TD, 7 INT

Rushing:          RB Duke Johnson 139-947-10

Receiving:       WR Phillip Dorsett 58-842-4

WR Rashawn Scott 35-512-3

TE Clive Walford 25-451-4

 

FAU

Tackles:               OLB Adarius Glanton- 75

Sacks:                   OLB Randell Johnson- 2; DE Cory Henry- 2

Interceptions:   CB Keith Reaser- 2; OLB Adarius Glanton- 2

 

When FAU has the ball:

FAU Quarterbacks

Miami’s much-maligned defense will likely ease their way into 2013. FAU is expected to start inexperienced sophomore Jaquez Johnson at quarterback after moving athletic senior Melvin German to receiver. The 6’1” 225-pound Johnson is not a very talented passer, but has the athleticism to run the team’s spread offense. The team is also likely to play multiple quarterbacks including athletic freshmen Greg Hankerson and DJ Juste.

 

Stud Receiver

FAU has its own Duke. 6’4” 190-pound junior William Dukes has proven to be a legitimate, FBS, all-conference type of wide receiver and enters 2013 as the best player on the team. He is long, lean and stretches the field vertically, steadily gaining polish technique-wise. Games like these will be important for his NFL aspirations. Nonetheless, his ceiling is a little limited by the lack of passing talent on his team.

 

The Trenches

Miami’s defensive line must be more productive in 2013 and needs to dominate a significantly less talented FAU group. The Owls struggled all year to generate any kind of running game. But they have gotten bigger upfront over the past couple years. Meanwhile, Miami will roll out a beefed up defensive line group with 325-pound Curtis Porter and 305-pound Olsen Pierre starting inside. One key FAU player is veteran 6’3” 295-pound center Mustafa Johnson, the team’s best 2014 pro prospect.

 

Returning Leaders

 

FAU

Passing:           QB Stephen Curtis 4-10 (40%), 37 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT

Rushing:          RB Jonathan Wallace 175-673-6

Receiving:       WR William Dukes 63-979-4

WR Daniel McKinney 48-492-2

TE Nexon Dorvilus 30-301-5

 

Miami

Tackles:             DE Shayon Green– 67

Sacks:                 DE Anthony Chickillo– 4

Interceptions: LB Jimmy Gaines– 2