April 16, 2001
Boca Raton News
Guest Commentary: Howard Schnellenberger
Apprehension and excitement permeated the 100+ Owl football players and staff as they boarded busses at the Tom Oxley Athletic Center and headed to Pro Player Stadium for the semi-final exam of spring practice. Saturday was the only opportunity to dodge the Marlin's home schedule and hold a scrimmage on our home field.
The imposing structure awaited the completion of what should have been a 32-minute journey. As chance would have it, one of three busses got up feeling bad that morning, and the defensive team had to be transferred to a more prepared bus.
Parents, students, faculty, staff and fans eagerly awaited the team's arrival. Cheerleaders, the press corps, public address announcer and Jumbotron messages created a spirited atmosphere in the country's best groomed stadium. All systems were activated exactly as though it was 2005 and we were about to play the University of Miami.
Fans welcomed us with cheers of "Go Owls!" when we ran on to the field. Players, coaches, officials, and observers had the opportunity to view the game in real time and experience what September 1, 2001 will be like.
The spring game is now history, and the outcome has been chronicled duly by the four hometown newspapers, the news services and our new scribe on the block, the Internet. The defense prevailed, showing that they're ahead of the offense, as is customary at this time. Statistics that follow the names of each player will be preserved in our time capsule soon to be planted in the Tom Oxley Field.
Probably the best news coming out of the marathon battle that happened east of the Marlin's diamond and in left field was that players and coaches had the opportunity to participate in 185 plays. This is more than twice the number that most teams would engage in on this day!
Captured on videotape, the scrimmage is being scrutinized, analyzed and graded block by tackle, step by step and play by play. In the study hall of football, we will relive, learn from, and improve by this day.
Last Saturday we filled a small percentage of the 76,000 available seats. Our final spring scrimmage and first Family Day will take place Saturday, April 21st with players taking the field for photographs at 3:00. I'm certain that all 500 seats on our Boca Raton practice field will be filled.
Even though we now are in a work in progress mode, I look back in the
mind's eye of my memory to the first days at Miami, Louisville and
Oklahoma. It's evident that young talent abounds, physical immaturity
prevails, and game experience is all too scarce. It's evident that spirits
are strong and bodies are willing, thus giving great promise of a wonderful