Head Coach: Carl Pelini
2012 Recap: It was a rough season for first year head coach Carl Pelini, who in 2012 took over for the legendary Howard Schnelleberger. Schenelleberger was the coach of the program from its inception back in 2001 and helped guide the Owls to new heights. The program is now transitioning to the C-USA and will need to start reeling in better recruits if they want to compete in the league. The brand new 30,000 seat stadium that was put up in 2011 will go a long way in bringing more credibility to the upstart program. The problem for the Owls last year was their inability to run the ball as they ranked 110th in rushing yards per game and their leading rusher Jonathon Wallace only ran for 668 yards and 6 touchdowns.
2013 Offense: It is going to take some time for the Owls to adjust to the new league’s style of play and Pelini’s job is getting the right guys to fit that mold. The quarterback position is unsettled as Stephen Curtis, Melvin German, and Quez Johnson are all vying to be the man to lead the Owls into battle. The running game will be led by Jonathon Wallace again and he will look to break the 1,000 yard mark in what the Owls hope is an improved running game. The biggest playmaker from last season wide receiver William Dukes is back in action and will give whatever quarterback emerges a big time target to thitem the ball to. One of the reasons the running game was in adept last season was due to unsettling offensive line play. Insert freshman guard Austin Bland, who was a 3 start recruit and the highest to sign with the Owls in the 2013 class.
2013 Defense: The defense of the Owls is going to be tested early and often as they are going to get up to speed with how things are done in the new conference. There is some returning talent of the defensive side of the ball as Florida Atlantic only had 9 senior on its entire roster last year. The run defense will be tested this season and all 4 projected starters have game experience. Look for Junior College transfer DT Lance Burlingame to get into the mix and offer the Owls some much need size and strength up front. The cornerbacks on the Owls are going to have to be sharp and on their toes at all times but luckily they have senior Keith Reaser and junior D’Joun Smith, who figure to offer some stability in the secondary.
2013 Prediction: The Owls have one of the hard nonconference schedules around and include games against Miami (FL), South Florida, Auburn, and New Mexico State. The conference schedule doesn’t figure to let up all that much on Florida Atlantic, who will be in uncharted territory in their first time through C-USA. Expect a very rough season for FAU but they will be getting more and more exposure into the program. If the Owls can continue to get recruits like Bland and Burlingame year after year they will eventually compete in the league. However, those times are not in the 2013-2014 season and expect the Owls to finish 2-10.