With a 1-5 record that could easily be different with a few bounces here and there, what is the feeling of the fan base from the first half of the season?
At worse the Owl fans figured FAU would be 3-3 entering this matchup in the preseason. So yeah, the fan base is disappointed. Despite upgrading the talent at FAU, Charlie Partridge has yet to produce results leaving some to wonder whether he is the right guy for the program. FAU continues to lose close games and continues to blow leads in the fourth quarter. Something that was an issue last season in Partridge's first year.
What do you feel has been the main issue on either side of the ball that the Owls have had this year?
On offense its been consistency. At times FAU moves the ball with ease. Then once they get inside the 40-yard line the drive stalls due to a penalty, questionable play calling, or a missed assignment from the offensive line. As for the defense, these guys still can't stop the run.
Has Jason Driskel shown enough to safely say he could be the Owls quarterback of the future, or is the jury still out?
The jury is most definitely still out. Last recruiting class Partridge brought in highly-touted quarterback
Daniel Parr who turned down Miami (FL.) to come play for FAU. The plan was for him to redshirt this season and compete for the job next year but with Jaquez Johnson being hampered by ankle injuries, and Driskel not performing well, some believe Partridge may burn Parr's redshirt and play him this week. I certainly hope that's not the case.
Who are two FAU defensive players UTEP should be aware of?
Freshman defensive back Ocie Ross and senior defensive tackle Trevon Coley. Ross has been phenomenal this season. Ross has three interceptions and returned two of them for touchdowns. His first pick six came in FAU's lone win of the season against Charlotte as his pick six ended Charlotte's attempt for the go-ahead touchdown drive. Last week against Marshall, Rose set the school record for interception return yards in a season as he recored a 90 yard interception return for a touchdown against. If FAU registers any pressure look for Coley to be the guy. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks this season.
How much does the offensive scheme or philosophy change with Driskell or Johnson at quarterback?
For the most part, the offense has looked the same. Driskel isn't the runner that Johnson is but that hasn't stopped offensive coordinator Brian Wright from calling speed options and zone-read plays. Wright really leaned on Johnson to convert in short-yardage situations so being that Driskel isn't that type of runner, running backs Greg Howell and Jay Warren have gotten those carries and suffice to say, they haven't been all that successful. With Johnson at quarterback the team has played more uptempo and occasionally Wright will dial up a deep passing play. But with Driskel at the helm the team plays at a slower tempo and plays more conservative.
Score and one stat prediction
UTEP has had two weeks to prepare so that worries me a little bit. Jaquez Johnson has been upgraded to probable for this week's game so it seems he will get the start. As a result, I like FAU to win a close game 31-21. I'll say FAU wins the turnover battle which will be the deciding factor in an Owls win.