Boca Raton, FL – Day 11 of FAU football training camp went underway Thursday morning as they prepare, for not only the start of the season on Sept. 4 against the Florida Gators but also Saturday’s scrimmage.
The focus today was on the offensive line as OL coach Ed Warinner and redshirt sophomore Devin Hayes spoke to the media about the progress made between last week and today. “This is the grind week, the bodies are tired and sore, but we’re making a lot of progress,” Warinner said. “Our O-line is developing strong depth, we have competition going on in every spot. Some of our new players in the room, the younger guys, the olds guys are all picking up the system and are starting to play with more confidence. I like where this group is headed.”
This is Warinner’s first season with FAU, joining in Feb. 2021, and has over 30 years of college coaching experience, with close to 25 seasons working with the offensive line. He previously worked for the University of Michigan where he served three seasons and brought massive success to the line. According to his profile on FAUSports.com, “In his first two years with the program, all five starting linemen earned All-Conference recognition, the only Big Ten team with this accomplishment.”
The Owls made some additions to the offensive line in the offseason. Besides high school recruiting, they acquired players from big schools like Auburn, where redshirt freshman, Kamaar Bell played last season. Willie Taggart brought along with him two players from the Seminoles: redshirt junior, Chaz Neal and graduate student, Andrew Boselli, son of five-time NFL Pro Bowler, Tony Boselli, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
One player Coach Warinner mentioned seeing major improvement from, and one of the leaders on the Owls offensive line is redshirt junior, Nick Weber. “I think Nick Weber is our main guy there,” Warinner said. “I think other guys are starting to get comfortable in that role. I think Marquice [Robinson] is, but those would be the top two guys there.”
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Weber was very productive last year after he made the move from right guard to center. He even made the 2021 C-USA Football Preseason Watchlist, making him the only offensive linemen noted.
OL, Devin Hayes talks about how camp for him has gone, plus what he’s looking forward to in the coming days. “Camp has gone real good. There’s been a lot of competition, especially in the O-line room,” Hayes said. “We made huge growth, especially with coach Warinner coming in, teaching us the game. Teaching us footwork, communication, and we see that a lot.”
Hayes said that an important part of his game he improved upon is his play in the running attack, stating that the team will be running the football a lot. He also mentioned what position along the line he feels more suitable playing. “I’m very versatile,” Hayes said. “Last year I played left tackle, now I’m at right, so I’m very comfortable at both sides.”
Coach Warinner talks about what he wants to see during Saturday’s scrimmage for the offensive line: “I want to see leadership, I want to see how they handle adversity, want to see how they communicate and make adjustments,” Warinner said. “Because that’s what making progress towards a game is, who’s gonna lead and communicate on the field. I mandate communication in practice, but in games and scrimmages, they do that on their own.”
Warinner ended his media availability talking about how important an offensive line is and how it goes much more than just blocking to protect the quarterback. “Footwork is the key, that to me is what you do before you make contact with the defender,” Warinner said. “So before you actually block somebody, you have to get into position to block him. We’re really focused on that and footwork is different for inside and outside zone and power and pass sets. We also talk with them about their aiming points, where they’re going to strike on the defenders, where their eyes are supposed to be. So those are the little things that people don’t know that help you become an elite player.”
With the transfers, the young players, and the veterans within this team like Weber, Robinson, BJ Etienne, and Doug Johnson Jr., the offensive line for the Owls is one that’s set for the future and also ready to pop off in the present.
Tomorrow, the media will get to speak to the quarterback and safeties coaches and the players that exist within those positions.
📸Credit: FAU Football