Florida Atlantic made history last year by attending the Motor City Bowl; which they won by defeating Central Michigan. The big deal was that FAU from the Sun Belt was the first team from the league to get an at-large berth to a bowl, which also happened to be the first time the Sun Belt sent two teams bowling in a year.
The Owls have possibly the best quarterback in the league with Rusty Smith who is a giant at 6-5, and while he did struggle last year the hopes for FAU is that he can return to his sophomore year where he threw for 3,688 yards, 32 touchdowns to only nine picks. His Junior year did take a dip with 400 less yards, eight less touchdowns, and five more picks.
The main concern in 2008 for Rusty Smith was that his accuracy dipped to five points to 53.8, and the job to help increase that is former Louisville assistant coach Jeff Brohm who is now the Owls quarterback coach. The Brohm name is familiar because he is the brother of Brian Brohm who had an amazing career while quarterback at Louisville.
To help out the passing game the Owls return their top receiver and potential all-conference receiver Cortez Gent as well as tight end Jason Harmon who was out all of last year with a knee injury, and then finally fullback Willie Rose who is a solid blocker but also has good hands and can be the check off pass for Smith.
The down fall of the offense that is the Owls lose both starting backs from last year, and are breaking in four new offensive lineman.
On the defensive side of the ball the Owls lose Frantz Joseph who was the schools all time leading tackler, as well as half of secondary, their three starting linebackers, and have to reshuffle the defensive line. The defensive line does have some hope with Jarvis Givens who is a large man at 300 pounds but played little last year, and incumbent starter Josh Savidge. Besides that the defense is in trouble, but of the starters nine are upper class man, so there are experienced players within the program but they have had little playing time.
The Owls are quite possibly going to be one-dimensional unless a running game is found to help balance the air-attack that Florida Atlantic will show off. Hopes of another bowl in 2009 cold be dicey, since the only guarantee is the conference champ, and seven wins seems like a reach for FAU.