Preview 2018: Florida Atlantic Owls. Lane Kiffin's Team Is Even Better

Preview 2018: Florida Atlantic Owls. Lane Kiffin's Team Is Even Better

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Preview 2018: Florida Atlantic Owls. Lane Kiffin's Team Is Even Better

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What You Need To Know About The Florida Atlantic Defense

– New defensive coordinator Tony Pecoro comes in from Southern Miss and gets a heater of a hand to play. The Owl defense wasn’t always dominant, but got better as the season went on, took the ball away at an alarming rate, and led Conference USA in sacks. The D was good, and now it should be amazing, welcoming back ten starters, the top 12 tacklers, and eight all-stars.

The line needs bulk, but it’s a quick group with enough depth to keep a decent rotation going. It would be nice to have a massive space-eater on the inside – 6-2, 300-pound Jeremiah Taleni is the D’s lone lost starter – with the size not there across the front seven. 305-pound JUCO transfer Charles Cameron will get every shot at playing time.

–  LB Azeez Al-Shaair was a bit banged up and needed an offseason to rest after leading the team in tackles from his spot in the middle. This is a smallish linebacking corps full of safety-sized defenders who can fly all over the place. They’ll get powered on, but they camp out in the backfield and get in on everything.

– The secondary came up with a whopping 20 picks, highlighted by Jalen Young’s seven from his strong safety spot. He’s the best of the bunch, but running mate Andrew Soroh is a playmaker at free safety, too. All four starters were on the All-Conference USA team, with the corner combination of Chris Tooley and Shelton Lewis coming into the season with a combined 62 games of experience.

Biggest Key To The Florida Atlantic Defense

The O has to get up early. It did a great job of doing that throughout last season, offenses had to throw to try getting back into games, and then came the picks.

This isn’t a defense built to deal with great ground attacks, and there aren’t that many of them on the schedule. Get physical against the Owl front seven, control the clock early, and then FAU has a problem.

Navy, Wisconsin, and Buffalo all got their respective ground attacks rolling, with the three combining for 11 of the 22 rushing touchdowns and 977 of the 2,224 yards given up by FAU on the year. Those were the three losses.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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