BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Atlantic University Owls were greeted with temperatures in the high 60s as they moved from meetings to the practice fields. Even under a full sun, the temperature never rose above 75 degrees, allowing the Owls to move through their second spring practice with effort and attention to detail.
It was the second day in just shorts and helmets. Saturday’s practice will be the first of the spring in full pads.
Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach Roc Bellantoni
On What Helps Players Through a Coaching Transition
“I think the want to win. The want to change. The want to do better. I think it has been everywhere I have been, it has been there, and I see it here more than I have seen it at the other places.”
On FAU compared to his last stint with the Owls
“When we landed here in December of 2013 and looked around…what we had when we got here and what we have now is light years ahead of where we were back then. Now, the program should be light years ahead. It is nine years since we were here that last time for the first time. I think the talent level is a lot better collectively than it was when we got here. Do we have a “Motor” [Devin Singletary], do we have an Azeez [Azeez Al-Shaair], do we have a Trey Hedrickson, Brandin Bryant, Trevon Coley, or Cre’Von LeBlanc? Do we have those guys? I don’t know. I don’t know that we have the top-level guys that will develop into NFL players while we are here yet, but overall, the talent level is a lot better here, especially on offense. I think our offensive line is really, good. I’m really, really excited to see us continue to develop this program…We have to take this program to another level, take another step.”
Linebacker Courtney McBride
On Coaching Transition
“We have realized that we have to change within ourselves. It is a huge culture change because we were so used to doing our own thing, like on certain days not putting a mouthpiece in or wearing a different colored sock, or a different colored cleat, or different colored gloves little things. Paying attention to what is needed and when…as a leader you know something is wrong but we still do it. We feel like that is kind of why we lost. We are buying in. Buying into the winning culture. It has changed but it is a good one.”
Defensive priorities for your position room
“Get after the pass rusher when you need to get after the pass rusher. That is what Coach Roc [Bellantoni] has emphasized. Out of me, Mo Jo [Morven Joseph], Krakue [Marlon Krakue], Rhys [McDonald], Barfield [Julius Barfield] all the guys in the rush room, he makes sure that we understand the key or priority is to stop the run and sack the quarterback.”
Coach [Tom] Herman mentioned that whatever players have done in the past is water under the bridge. Everybody is starting from square one. He mentioned the work in the offseason. Is the work you have put in paying off for this spring?
“Most definitely. I feel like they have kept their word on that. If you work hard, you are going to be the person who plays. It doesn’t matter what your name is, if you started last year, if you were a five star in high school or no star, where you came from, it doesn’t matter. It is whoever works harder and shows up every day.”
What have you seen in the culture change?
“I feel like everybody is buying in. There are a few, you know that 10 percent that they talk about, but the 90 percent has to drag them along with us. I have seen change in the team. I have seen maturity. I have seen some of the young guys that got here in January are stepping up because they are following the older guys. I feel like we are benefiting from the culture change.”
The “Spring Game” is scheduled for Saturday, April 15 at 2 p.m.
THE 2023 SCHEDULE
Note: Broadcast outlets and kick times will be announced later this Spring. All games can be heard on Fox Sports 640 AM South Florida.
Fans can purchase tickets for the 2023 season, the first in the American Conference, by calling 1-866-FAU-OWLS or by going online HERE. For more ticket information click HERE.
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