Sports Editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano interviews FAU Sports Editor Maddox Greenberg on his pre-game thoughts.
On Wednesday, The Collegian sports editor sat down with the Florida Atlantic University’s University Press Sports Editor Maddox Greenberg to discuss the TU vs. FAU football match on Oct. 7.
TU is coming off a 48-26 victory against the Temple University Owls on Sept. 28 with a three-game winning streak while FAU is on a three-game losing streak, their last game ending against Illinois Urbana-Champaign 23-17. Here is what Greenberg had to say about the upcoming game.
In your recent three-loss streak, what are some issues your team faced? What do you think your team struggled with in these games?
What I did notice was whenever the defense had success, whether it was a fumble or interception or forcing a team to go three-and-out, the offense couldn’t capitalize on those successes. Another thing I noticed was that the defense gave open pockets for the receivers to catch the ball and gain extra yards in the process. I feel they shouldn’t do that. These are very critical in a game and they shouldn’t allow that to happen against Tulsa. Another thing is having an early lead and not holding onto it. That’s a major issue. Against Clemson, they did not hold any leads, but against Illinois, they had a 10-0 lead and then gave it up. With Ohio, FAU got 10 points on the board, but couldn’t hold onto that and gave the Bobcats 17 points in a row to win the game.
What problems do you think your team may run into against TU?
I think it will be trying to get an early lead. It’s our first home game in about a month, so fans should be riled and happy backing the team up. The players have been missing home, so they’ll be excited to play back. They must make sure that they keep that lead and hold onto it. Like I said, the defense wins and the offense has to capitalize on those and vice versa. Another thing is the run game. Tulsa is tied for 30th in the nation for rushing defense, so the offense must rely more on passing and rushing. They also have to focus on stopping Tulsa, who is tied for 28th in the nation for fourth-down conversions. They must focus on their passing game. Tulsa is tied for 12th in the nation for passes intercepted, so Daniel Richardson has to make sure to not throw any picks and throw to any receivers he finds open.
With Casey Thomspon out for injury, how do you think the Owls will fare for the rest of the season? Do you think your current starting quarterback Daniel Richardson has anything he needs to focus on so he can lead the offense?
It will be tricky for him. He and the other quarterback, Michael Johnson Jr., handled the rest of the games well, both scoring touchdowns for FAU. However, in the Illinois game, Richardson also played well. Casey Thompson transferred late, and I don’t think the offense was built around him. With many defenders covering our top receiver, LaJohntay Wester, Richardson is going to have to adjust and find other options such as our tight ends or other receivers.
You have some watch-listed players on both offense and defense, who do you think TU should be most cautious of on your team?
The defense should be cautious of how good Wester is on receiver. Looking at his stats, he has 401 receiving yards, placing him 33rd in the nation. He is very fast at playing on special teams as well, so both defense and special teams will have to watch him. FAU is tied 14th in the nation at fourth-down conversion percentage for defense, so Tulsa’s situation may look bad if it comes down to the fourth-down. We have the big redshirt junior Marlin Bradley up front with three solo tackles, so that’s someone for their quarterback to watch out for when the defense comes rushing.
How do you feel about the game right now?
I feel like it all comes down to how Coach Herman hypes up the team before the game. At our first home game, he brought in a well-known Florida local Kodak Black to come into the locker room before the game, and we were able to pull out with a win. It will be hard to play against Tulsa, who is on a three-game winning streak right now, but they’ll just have to try and defend their home turf. This is also their first conference game of the season, so the fans want to see a victory. If Richardson finds Wester and any other open players and keeps the run game strong, the Owls could win this. I agree it could be a very close and exciting game though.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team (3-2, 1-0 AAC) travels to Boca Raton, Florida to face the FAU Owls football team (1-3, 0-0 AAC) this Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.