The biggest offensive strength for Florida Atlantic is their senior quarterback Graham Wilbert. Wilbert is a big, athletic, and accurate signal-caller that has the ability to stand in the pocket or make plays with his feet. The Owls don't call a great deal of designed runs for the 6-foot-6 signal caller, but he scrambles well and can deliver when his name is called. Wilbert's biggest strength is his ability to stand tall and deliver the ball with accuracy. He does so without perfect mechanics and a release that isn't as smooth as you would like. He does, however, deliver the ball from up high, and does a nice job of staying on top of the football. Thus far in 2012, Wilbert has only 10 incompletions through two games.
One thing that stands out about FAU is their desire to get their running backs involved in every phase of the game. They are used as much as receivers as they are ball carriers, and each one has great hands. Junior scatback Martese Jackson leads the Owls in rushing, but is very small at 5-foot-6, 170 pounds. Sophomore Damian Fortner was the featured back against Middle Tennessee State last week, and he has solid potential. At 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, Fortner runs with solid vision and has a decent burst once he sees daylight. He has also shown the ability to make plays in the passing game. Travis Jones is another running back that FAU will use, but he is used as much as a receiver as he is a ball carrier. He has nine receptions and nine carries through three games, and is averaging just under 10 yards per catch.
Senior Byron Hankerson leads Florida Atlantic's group of receivers, and he appears to be the lone big play threat of the bunch. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, he has very good speed and has shown the type of hip turn and explosion to get inside of the jam and make plays with slants and skinny posts. Daniel McKinney, a junior, is the Owls' second receiver, and he is used more as a possession receiver. He has good size at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and is a very good blocker in space. He is a big time weapon as a blocker in the screen game as he positions his body well against defensive backs and is strong enough to push most of them around.
This group has struggled through two games this season, and doesn't have a starter that weighs over 290 pounds. The best of the bunch appears to be right tackle Joe Bailey. Bailey is an athletic run blocker who has been the most consistent in pass protection as well. The next best is left tackles DeAndre Williams. Williams looks great at times in pass protection, but often over extends and allows himself to be beaten inside. The interior has had a tough time when run blocking and pass protecting in 2012. The trio of Andrew Czuprynski, Jordan Sessa, and Erik Hansen have had a tough time getting interior defensive lineman blocked thus far, and haven't shown the type of athleticism needed to get to the second level in the run game.
• 1st Down - The Owls are almost 50/50 on first down in 2012. They have run it slightly more than they have thrown it, but by the slimmest of margins.
• 2nd Down - Again, second down appears to be a balanced down for the Owls. One thing that did jump out when breaking down play selection is that early in games they like to run the ball on second down and any distance. Once the game wore on, especially when they got behind to Middle Tennessee State, they threw the ball more, which can be expected. It is still worth noting that when the game is close, they tend to turn to the run on second down.
• Third down and long(7 or more yards) - This has been a 100 percent pass down for the Owls through two games. They haven't gone to the ground once in a third and long situation.
• Third down and medium(4 to 6 yards) - This is a balanced down and distance with a slight tendency to go to the air.
• Third down and short (under 4 yards) - FAU has opted to run the football 67 percent of the time on third and short.
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