March 24, 2001
Boca Raton News
Guest Commentary: Howard Schnellenberger
Hallelujah! The real countdown to kick-off begins. On Monday, Florida Atlantic University's rookie football team starts earnest preparation for the 2001 inaugural season and, in particular, for the inaugural game which takes place on September 1 against Slippery Rock University at 4 p.m. in Pro Player Stadium.
FAU's first-ever spring practice sessions will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 at the Tom Oxley Practice Field on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons. A spring game on April 26 will mark the end of spring practice.
My coaches and team cordially invite you and your families to watch our young players as they toil from mid-afternoon sunlight into the shadows of early evening. Seated comfortably in bleachers and with the sun at your back, you'll get to know our squad of some 90 players, 23 of whom are scholarship athletes. Soon you'll identify each player by name, number, and position.
At first, it may look to be a Chinese fire drill with small groups of players sprawled over our two beautiful practice fields. We'll move from individual work to larger group practice as the day goes on. Finally, we'll work as full teams.
Conditioning will be stressed at the end of practice so that players will have exhausted almost all of their energy. As they leave the field, they will have gained as much technical skill as conditioning.
Coincidentally, FAU's football ticket office lies at the northwest corner of our defensive field. You'll walk right to it on your way to the bleachers. John and Jake will be on hand to sign up Owl Fund Football Boosters. Priority for the best seats is ensured by becoming a football booster.
Remember, Pro Player Stadium has a mere 41,000 seats available for each of seven home games. (The 35,000 upper deck seats will be chained off with no tickets sold.) Because 2001 is our first season, no one has an assigned seat. For the first time in most everyone's lifetime, a great seat may be obtained simply by making a purchase now.
Monday marks my 27th spring practice. It will be both similar and very different. Fanship that will develop among those who come to spring practice will be similar. Yet, it will be more significant because this is the first time that Owl fans have the opportunity to see their team in spring practice. Acquaintances will be made and friendships will develop. Fans will form keen knowledge of each player and the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
Pro scouts, high school coaches, potential high school prospects, players'
mothers and fathers, and surely President Catanese will frequent spring
practice. Come out and be a part of it!