College Football Preview: The 2015 Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic Owls Preview
2014 Record: 3-9
The Florida Atlantic Owls look for the strong recruiting of Charlie Partridge to begin bearing fruit in 2015.
Overview: Charlie Partridge has a reputation for his ability to recruit some good players and he did that in his first season at Florida Atlantic. Now he has to get his offense to score and the defense to get stops to improve on a dismal 3-9 record with the expectations on the rise.
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Offense: The Owls struggled for consistent scoring and some of that blame goes to quarterback Jaquez Johnson who could look great and not so great. Johnson threw for 2,215 yards with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions but he was under 58%. Considering leading receiver Lucky Whitehead takes 76 receptions to graduation and Jenson Stoshak (38-511) is the only guy back that caught more then 16 balls so improving the air game is a question. Leading runner Jay Warren (121-571) returns and Johnson might improve on his nearly 600 yards rushing with Greg Howell (50-253) seeing more touches behind a veteran line that returns for starters.
Defense: The Florida Atlantic defense was solid against the pass but not so much against the run. Having said that the Owls return virtually everybody that saw the field a season ago. Trevon Coley and Trey Hendrickson did rush the passer well with 15 TFL and nine sacks between them and if experience translates to better play the run ‘D’ should improve. The linebacking crew gets back four players with starting experience but none have any point at number. The departed Andrae Kirk did with 77.5 tackles and 10.5 TFL along with a pair of picks and eight passes defensed so replacing that production doesn’t seem likely. Both starters at safety and a corner are gone from a pretty good secondary so we’ll see if any of the seven, three star recruits live up to their billing.
Special Teams: Punter Dalton Schomp has a huge leg with a 45.4 yard average on 50 kicks while PK Greg Joseph was adequate at 14-20 on field goals. Above average returner Lucky Whitehead is gone and replacing him isn’t going to happen.
Outlook: Looking at the schedule I see games that should be won and games that have to be won if Florida Atlantic is going to do something. I think the best case scenario is a .500 record if all goes as planned which might be asking for a lot.