Winter is just about over - unless you live in the north - which means spring is right around the corner. And you know what that means? Spring football! After securing one of the best classes in Conference USA, FAU will head into spring camp looking to lay the ground work for what fans will hope to be a breakthrough season in Partridge's third year in Boca. With a team full of freshmen who are now sophomores, and sophomores who are now juniors, there will be a lot familiar names who will move into starting positions full time. Here are the biggest position battles to watch for.
Before Jaquez Johnson took over the starting position in 2013 FAU had faced uncertainty and ineffective play at the quarterback position for four years after the great Rusty Smith moved on to the NFL. In that span FAU had gone through the likes of Jeff Van Camp, Graham Wilbert, Stephen Curtis and David Kooi. For the first time since 2013, FAU will face uncertainty at the quarterback position now that Johnson has graduated. As of now its hard not to lean towards redshirt sophomore Jason Drisekl who passed for 965 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions with a completion rate at 51 percent last season. He took his lumps as a freshman but he had his moments (the two drives against Miami in particular).
His biggest challenger will be redshirt freshmen Daniel Parr. The last time we heard from Parr was after a huge spring game in which he told reporters he came to FAU to "play and play early." A highly touted quarterback out of Dwyer High School, Parr displayed great touch during last year's spring game. Both he and Driskel will be working with a clean slate this spring with new offensive coordinator Travis Trickett who joined the staff in December. Incoming freshman Steven Frank will also compete for the starting position but one figures he will be in line for a redshirt season.
Not only will we be paying attention to who's throwing the ball but who's catching it too. Gone is Jenson Stoshak. And that's it really. But Stoshak was by far the most reliable and most consistent receiver last season as he led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. The last two by a wide margin.
Four experienced options return but who will emerge from the pack? Kalib Woods? Kamrin Solomon? Henry Bussey? Tony Thomas? None of those guys were able to emerge as a reliable second option last season. With a new offensive coordinator all of these guys will get the chance to dazzle Trickett. Everyone will want to know who's going to be the starting quarterback and rightfully so, but this position has the most to prove heading into spring camp.
First Team All C-USA performer Trevon Coley and Brandin Bryant are gone. Both were major bodies on the line and with them the run defense still struggled mightily at times. Shalom Ogbonda, Ray Ellis and Steven Leggett are returning but they leave a lot to be desired on the field as they have combined for three tackles for loss.
Reinforcements are on the way as Partridge signed two three-star defensive tackles Kevin McCrary and William Davis this year. As with the receiver position, the names are familiar but we have yet to see production.