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2012 Florida Atlantic Preview - Offense
Florida Atlantic QB Graham Wilbert
Florida Atlantic QB Graham Wilbert
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 12, 2012


CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Florida Atlantic Owl Offense


Florida Atlantic Owls

Preview 2012 - Offense

- 2012 Florida Atlantic Preview | 2012 Florida Atlantic Offense
- 2012 Florida Atlantic Defense | 2012 Florida Atlantic Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: The goal is to move the offense to a spread attack, but that might be a work in progress for offensive coordinator Brian Wright. First he has to find a quarterback who can actually run a bit - while possibly ignoring the pro-style passers he already has on the roster - and he has to get far, far more out of a line that has a little bit of size and experience, but no real proven production. There’s speed at the skill positions with a good-looking receiving corps that did absolutely nothing last year to go along with a quick group of running backs that should be fine without Alfred Morris around to carry the attack.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Graham Wilbert
154-294, 1,459 yds, 7 TD, 15 INT
Rushing: Xavier Stinson
35 carries, 88 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: DeAndre Richardson
12 catches, 269 yds, 0 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB Jonathan Wallace
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore QB Stephen Curtis or Junior QB Melvin German
Unsung star on the rise: Wallace
Best pro prospect: Junior OG Stern Vile
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Wallace, 2) WR DeAndre Richardson, 3) TE Nexon Dorvilus
Strength of the offense: Quickness, Experience
Weakness of the offense: Offensive Line, Passing Efficiency

Quarterbacks

The passing game was among the worst in the country last season and was the least efficient in college football. Now the job will be to find a quarterback who can run the spread offense the way the new coaching staff would like. 6-6, 225-pound senior Graham Wilbert started ten games last year completing 52% of his throws for 1,459 yards and seven scores and 15 picks. While he’s big and can push the ball all over the field, he has to be far better after keeping the mistakes under wraps and he has to prove he can lead the offense to points. Most importantly in the new attack, though, he’s not a runner. Neither is 6-7, 210-pound senior David Kooi got a start last year and finished the season completing 19-of-35 passes for 168 yards and a score, but he’s a big-armed bomber who’s built for a pro-style attack and won’t be a part of the equation.

6-3, 225-pound sophomore Stephen Curtis is another good thrower with decent size and a good arm, but unlike Wilbert and Kooi he’s a runner. No, he’s not Cam Newton when it comes to taking off, but he’s mobile enough to be used in a variety of ways after completing just 48% of his passes and running a little bit.

The players on last year’s roster could be keeping the seat warm for junior Melvin German, a 6-2, 210-pound JUCO transfer who threw for 3,121 yards and 21 scores for Pearl River CC, and he can also run enough to do what the coaching staff would like.

Watch Out For … German. The FAU offense isn’t going to go Nebraska and be run first, run only, but the attack needs more mobility. If Curtis can’t handle the load, German could step in and be the main man right away.
Strength: Size. The positive doesn’t really fit what the team wants to do, but there’s good experience and lots and lots of size with Wilbert a big bomber who can push the ball all over the place, however, they didn’t do anything for …
Weakness: The passing game. FAU had pro-style passers who couldn’t complete a pass down the field. The Owls threw eight touchdown passes and 16 picks averaging 9.4 yards per completion. The longest pass play of the year was just 37 yards.
Outlook: The quarterback play can’t be any less productive, but who’s going to be under center? Wilbert is the veteran starter, but Curtis might be the better fit and German isn’t coming in to sit on the bench. Step one will be to get more efficient, but all that matters is finding ways to move the attack however it can be moved. The job is there for the taking.
Unit Rating: 5

Running Backs

The ground game did what it could last year with 1,186 yards and nine scores from Alfred Morris. The No. 2 rusher last season was 5-9, 229-pound senior Xavier Stinson, and he only ran for 88 yards averaging 2.5 yards per carry. His real worth was as a receiver, finishing third on the team with 22 catches for 147 yards and a score, and that might end up being his role again. Used like a fullback, he doesn’t really block at a high level but he’s a reliable pass catcher with great quickness.

6-0, 198-pound junior Jonathan Wallace, a fast, tough back from the JUCO ranks who was the star of spring ball. It might be his offense to run with the ability to work inside or out and with the breakaway speed to come up with the big play. He might not be Morris, but he can be the ground game.

Junior Damian Fortner is a speedster who didn’t do anything for the attack running 11 times for just 27 yards and catching three passes for 26 yards. While he’s a thin 5-10, 195 pounds, he’s one of the team’s faster players with track star athleticism and wheels. He’s been mostly a special teamer so far.

Watch Out For … Wallace. Can he hold up? The coaching staff will be more than happy to feed him the ball over and over and over again if he can run like he did this spring. Stinson is more of a role player than a true No. 1 back, and Wallace could fill in the hole.
Strength: Quickness. Wallace can cut on a dime, Stinson zips in and out of holes, and Fortner can fly. There are enough athletes to be able to crank out big plays, but now they have to come.
Weakness: Production. The Owls ended up netting 1,268 yards with ten touchdowns, and Morris came up with 1,186 of the yards and nine of the scores. Wallace should be great and the backs will combine to do more than everyone did last year, but there’s little returning production to count on.
Outlook: The coaching staff would love to get open spaces for the running backs in the spread attack and would love for Wallace to do what Rex Burkhead provided for Nebraska. There are big changes being made in the offense, and until the quarterback situation is figured out it’ll be up to the ground game to try to carry things. The backs are quick enough to do more.
Unit Rating: 5

Receivers

The receiving corps that was miserable last season has to use its experience to do far, far more. 6-2, 180-pound senior DeAndre Richardson was the team’s leading returning receiver last year and was the No. 1 target with 32 catches. However, he’s a speed receiver working on the X who only averaged 8.4 yards per catch with no touchdowns and just 269 yards on the season. A terrific athlete with nice size, he has decent tools to go along with his experience, but he’ll have to fight off sophomore William Dukes, one of the team’s top recruits with 6-4, 210-pound size and track speed. He had his choice of non-AQ schools, and Minnesota, but he stepped in and ended up starting four games making 12 catches for 75 yards.

6-2, 180-pound Derek Moise is a smart, good-sized target who chose FAU over several other Sun Belt schools. A big play target, he has the speed to get deep and the size to handle himself well against the bigger defensive backs catching ten passes for 119 yards and a score in his first year. He’ll likely work in a rotation with 6-3, 183-pound redshirt freshman Jerrard Hunter, a tremendous recruit for the program last year who didn’t get on the field. Originally a West Virginia Mountaineer, he needs to be a factor right away with his size and upside.

Sophomore Marcus Cunningham is a 6-0, 175-pound speedster who can work inside and out. He was supposed to be a key part of the passing attack and he got his feet wet starting seven times with 18 catches for 257 yards and a score averaging a team-leading 14.3 yards per catch. He works his tail off and could grow into the No. 1 role, while 5-9, 161-pound senior Paul Moore, a JUCO transfer from Palomar College who got on the field after missing all of 2010 with a hand injury. He only caught four passes for 45 yards, but the speed and quickness are there to do far, far more.

6-4, 225-pound junior Nexon Dorvilius turned into the team’s best tight end option finishing fourth on the team with 20 catches for 226 yards and a score. A high school defensive end, he ended up playing on the offensive line and was moved around when he came to FAU. He can block, can move, and proved last year he can catch. 6-4, 210-pound sophomore Alex Deleon is more of a pure pass catcher who was fast enough to be a good high school hurdler. He got his feet wet last year, but he only caught one pass for 14 yards.

Watch Out For … Dorvilus. With an interesting mix of skills, he showed last year that he has the ability and the upside to become a top all-around tight end with a little bit more time. The quarterbacks need more safety valves and reliable targets, and Dorvilus should be it.
Strength: Upside. This is a young, young, young receiving corps that still have time to grow and blossom into their roles. They struggled last year, but now there’s talent and potential at ever spot with the ability to grow another year. This group will be around for a long time.
Weakness: Production. The receivers did nothing with the ball in their hands. The passing game averaged a horrendous 9.4 yards per catch with just eight touchdown grabs. There weren’t any big plays and no field-stretching whatsoever for a corps that has big play tools.
Outlook: There’s no reason to not be better. It was a baby-young group of receivers last year that should’ve been able to get deep on a regular basis, but that never happened. Consistency is a must with almost all the top teams around again and knowing what they’re doing after a rough season. Everyone will be around for the next few years and they need to grow with the new offense.
Unit Rating: 5

Offensive Line

All five starters returned to the line last year in what was supposed to be a breakthrough season. Instead, the front five was awful, doing nothing in pass protection and not getting enough going for the ground game. This year it’ll all start at left tackle with Sam McRoy needing to be replaced. 6-5, 290-pound junior DeAndre Williams saw time in eight games last season in a reserve role and now will battle with 6-6, 280-pound senior Troy Niblack for the job. Williams has good size and can move a bit, but Niblack is a decent veteran who fits the role. The position won’t be decided until late fall.

Left guard should be set with longtime starter Andrew Czuprynski back for his third year in the spot. The 6-5, 270-pound former defensive lineman isn’t a blaster of a blocker, but he’s tough, experienced, and isn’t afraid to mix it up a bit. With his time and experience he’ll likely be the anchor early on, but 6-5, 280-pound senior Eric Hansen can step in if needed if he doesn’t take over the job on the right side. A backup, he only saw time in four games last year, but if he can stay healthy the right side should be his.

Looking to grab a spot somewhere in the interior is Stern Vile, a massive JUCO transfer from the Eastern Arizona CC who should be ready right out of the box. While he’s raw – the 6-5, 335-pounder from the Netherlands didn’t play high school football – he has the bulk and the potential to lock down one of the guard job.

6-5, 280-ound senior Jordan Sessa has the early edge in the fight for the center job, but 6-3, 295-pound junior Jimmy Colley is the veteran with 20 starts under his belt. Sessa has been around long enough to know what he’s doing, and he’s a bruiser who can work at either guard spot if needed. Colley was banged up at times, but he has the size and experience to take the job back and make it his. However, he has to do more for the running game.

Junior Joe Bailey started most of last season at right tackle and should have the job to himself with Max Karrick done. At 6-5 and 290 pounds he has good size, but he’s not much of a mauler and he’s merely okay in pass protection.

Watch Out For … Vile. This is a bigger FAU line than normal, but Vile brings the thump with his size and toughness. He’s a work in progress, but with a little development the skills should shine through to make him one of the keys to the line.
Strength: Veteran options. Most of the starters are back with the key exceptions of McRoy and Karrick, but the line didn’t exactly rock with those two in at tackle. The interior has the potential to be the best the program has had in a long, long time.
Weakness: Proven production. The running game came up with just 3.3 yards per carry and 1.268 yards while the quarterbacks were taken down a whopping 33 times. There’s a long way to go to become merely decent.
Outlook: A massive disappointment last season, this has to be the team’s biggest area of improvement before there’s any hope of the offense getting better. Last year was a big shift to getting offensive line-sized offensive linemen, and now this year’s group really and truly does look the part. Now it’s time to block someone.
Unit Rating: 4.5
 
- 2012 Florida Atlantic Preview | 2012 Florida Atlantic Offense
- 2012 Florida Atlantic Defense | 2012 Florida Atlantic Depth Chart