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FAU plucks another linebacker transfer from a lower level of the sport

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In looking to shore up its depleted linebacking corps, FAU has turned to the lower level of the football transfer portal.

This past week, Hosea Barnwell, the Owls’ leading returning tackler, entered the NCAA transfer database.  Also, as noted by the Sun-Sentinel, senior linebacker Akileis Leroy is not currently listed on FAU’s online 2020 roster.

Conversely, FAU added a starting linebacker in the middle of last month from a shuttered Div. II program. Over the weekend, Antonio Andrews committed to the Owls as well.  The transfer made the commitment via Twitter.

The linebacker will come to FAU from Football Championship Subdivision member Stetson.  A graduate transfer, this will serve as his last season at the collegiate level.

This past season, Andrews led the Hatters with 3½ sacks and eight quarterback hits, while his 5½ tackles for loss were fifth.  He was also credited with 34 total tackles and a fumble recovery.

During his time at Stetson, the 6-3, 248-pound Andrews appeared in 25 games.

FAU is coming off a 2019 football campaign in which the Owls tied a school record with 11 wins.  Included in that was a first-ever win in the Conference USA championship game.  And the program’s fourth straight win in a bowl game, a streak that stretches back to 2007.

Almost immediately after the win in the Boca Raton BowlLane Kiffin left to take over as the head coach at Ole Miss.  Kiffin was replaced shortly thereafter by former Florida State and Oregon head coach Willie Taggart.

Howard Schnellenberger named recipient of the 2021 Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award

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It’s not the Hall of Fame where he absolutely belongs, but it’s still a solid honor for the legendary Howard Schnellenberger.

Friday, it was announced that Schnellenberger has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.  Schnellenberger will accept the award, named in honor of the Hall of Fame Alabama head coach, at an annual awards dinner on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, in Houston, Texas.

Schnellenberger had served as Bryant’s offensive coordinator at Alabama from 1961-65.

“I am truly honored to receive the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Howard Schnellenberger in a statement. “It is an even greater honor to be placed with past honorees, most of whom have been friends and colleagues at one time or another. I am reflecting on the five years we were with Coach Bryant at Alabama and the three national championships. Coach Bryant was always a mentor and friend, and one of my favorite memories is being tasked by Coach Bryant to recruit Joe Namath. We look forward to celebrating this Lifetime Achievement Award with everyone.”

Other winners of the award, first handed out in 2000, include Lou Holtz (2005), Bo Schembechler (2007), Tom Osborne (2008), Barry Switzer (2009), Bobby Bowden (2011), Jimmy Johnson (2015), Mack Brown (2016) and Steve Spurrier (2018).  Last year’s honoree was Bill Snyder.

Schnellenberger took over a Louisville program that won a combined five games in the two years prior to his arrival, leading the Cardinals’ to their first-ever 10-win season in school history in 1990.  Five years after taking over a Miami program that finished above .500 just twice in a decade before his arrival, Schnellenberger guided the Hurricanes to a national title.  At Florida Atlantic, Schnellenberger literally built an FCS program from the ground up and turned it into one that thrived enough to move to the FBS level.

As a head coach and assistant, Schnellenberger was part of four national championship teams.

It’s long past time that Howard Schnellenberger takes his rightful spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Do the right thing already.

FAU’s leading returning tackler moves into the transfer portal

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FAU has seen its defense take a hit courtesy of the football transfer portal.

Last week, Hosea Barnwell posted a cryptic tweet that read “Can’t get feelings involved with business. It’s all about the money!” A week later, it has been confirmed that the linebacker has taken the first step in leaving the FAU football team by entering the NCAA transfer database.  It’s unclear if the tweet and the move to the portal are related.

Barnwell would be leaving the Owls as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 campaign will be his final year of eligibility.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Barnwell joined the FAU football team as a walk-on in 2017.  During his time with the Owls, Barnwell played in 34 games.  This past season, his 57 tackles were fourth on the team.  Because of departure ahead of him, Barnwell would’ve been the team’s leading returning tackler.

FAU is coming off a 2019 football campaign in which the Owls tied a school record with 11 wins.  Included in that was a first-ever win in the Conference USA championship game.  And the program’s fourth straight win in a bowl game, a streak that stretches back to 2007.

Almost immediately after the win in the Boca Raton BowlLane Kiffin left to take over as the head coach at Ole Miss.  Kiffin was replaced shortly thereafter by former Florida State and Oregon head coach Willie Taggart.

NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

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The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.

Michigan State adds future games with Central Michigan, FAU

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Michigan State has added games to its future football schedules. Including a series with a directional Michigan school.

Wednesday, Michigan State football announced it has added a future three-game series with Central Michigan.  The dates of the new series are September 2, 2023, September 11, 2027, and August 31, 2030.  All three of those games will be played at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

“There is such a great tradition between Central Michigan and Michigan State, and we are excited to build on that with this three-game series,” CMU athletic director Michael Alford said in a statement. “I appreciate the staff at Michigan State working with us to put together a series that I know our fans and alumni really look forward to and is another great opportunity to play an in-state opponent.”

A noteworthy non-MSU portion of the CMU announcement? “The game in 2023 takes the place of a contest scheduled at Alabama.”

Alabama had announced in 2018 that it would be hosting Central Michigan at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2023.

The two programs have met 11 times previously.  The Spartans own an 8-3 advantage over the Chippewas.  The three wins for the Chips came in 1991, 1992 and 2009.  That first win, the first-ever meeting in the in-state series, was a 17-point CMU upset of then-18th-ranked MSU.

In addition to CMU, Michigan State also has a new future football date with Florida Atlantic.  MSU and FAU will square off Aug. 31 of the 2024 season.  In East Lansing, of course.

Those Big Ten and Conference USA schools have met three times previously.  Those three meetings (2009, 2010-11) were all at Spartan Stadium.  And were all wins for the Spartans by a combined score of 91-17.  Two of those wins, incidentally, were by shutout.