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Know your Foe - Inside Dope on FAU

Looks whose back!

Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

One does not come to UB Bull Run for it's handsome writers alone.  You come because you want to learn about the Bulls and about their opponents.  I was lucky to connect with Cyrus Smith, a writer for UnderdogDynasty right here on SB Nation.  See the back and forth about the game and our teams:

We had Jeff Quinn as the head coach for the Bulls, and he was a rah rah WE are gong to get it done personality.  His optimism did not match the success on the field.  Charlie Partridge said all the right things off the field but yet to have success on the field.  What is the temperature from the fan base on your coach?

Charlie Partridge has recruited phenomenally since being hired so despite the lack of wins on his resume (3-11, with a current seven game losing streak dating back to last season), at FAU he will be given time to develop his guys. I would say on a scale of 1-10 the pressure currently sits at a 3. However, I will say that if the team doesn't win at least five wins this year, the pressure for results will be immense on Partridge and his staff next season. The talent is there. Now its up to Partridge to turn his talent into wins.

You are a Florida school and is the stereotype of depth in your state accurate?  Reports are making their way back that your starting QB and RB are both hurt - how are you looking for Saturday and how confident are the fans in the next options and who are they?

Florida is the best state in terms of high school football talent.  The state supports seven FBS football programs and is routinely relied on by other nearby states for talent. Jaquez Johnson (ankle) and Jay Warren (undisclosed) are both game-time decisions per Partridge. If Johnson can't go, redshirt freshman Jason Driskel (yes, the brother of Jeff Driskel) or highly touted freshman Daniel Parr will get the start. Driskel played well early against Miami last week and then turned into his brother and began tossing interceptions. Neither are as mobile as Johnson.

If Warren can't play Greg 'Buddy' Howell will get the start. Howell has looked great when healthy and leads the team in rushing with 216 yards and two touchdowns. Owl fans are confident Howell will pickup the slack as many believe he should be the starter anyway. Despite the talent at quarterback, both Driskel and Parr lack game experience. Owl fans will not be too confident in either if one of them has to start.

Ok you have lost Smith to the NFL and had injury issues with DL, how did Tulsa drop 47.  Is the defense young or in a new scheme, or just bad?  Can UB have success against your defense?

Tulsa had the weapons at receiver to exploit FAU's young secondary which is why they were so successful. Not too sure if Buffalo has the same talent at receiver. In any regard, FAU's defense is bad. They have been poor at stoping the run this season and can't stop the pass. Buffalo can succeed on offense if the Bulls stay balanced. If Licata can get into a rhythm and the Bulls keep feeding their running backs, they will have the ability to score at will.

UB does a really good stopping the run.  I assume that your game plan is to run over the Bulls?  I have not been able to watch your team besides looking at stats, is your running attack more of a power, I-formation running style, or spreading the ball into space?

FAU uses a spread-offense and will occasionally use an aggressive tempo in spurts on Saturday. The Owls like to run the ball a bunch as Johnson's mobility, coupled with Warren and Howell's playmaking ability at running back, has been deadly this season. However, if Johnson is unable to go, the offense will shift into a more balanced approach with Driskel or Parr at the helm. Again, neither has a lot of in-game experience and if the game does feature rain, you may get a heavy dose of run plays from the Owls regardless.

What is your prediction for this game?   Secondly, Buffalo is the home to the chicken wing.  What does Boca have to offer, except for our grandparents up here wearing speedos, socks, sandals and eating dinner at 3:30 in the winter in your neck of the woods, have to offer better than the wing?

FAU Stadium was rocking last week when Miami came into town. That will definitely not be the case this week since this game will be a noon kickoff so there is a possibility FAU will come out flat in the first quarter. FAU absolutely must have this game or else they can forget about the postseason. I have a feeling Jaquez Johnson will start and because of that I think FAU wins 28-21 behind the running game on a rainy day in Boca. If Johnson doesn't start, Buffalo's defense will be tough for either Driskel or Parr as the force several turnovers in a Bulls 31-17 win.

Here is the perspective I provided FAU fans.....

Last week Buffalo and FAU both played P5 opponents and both kept the game close going into the second half before losing. What kind of vibe are you getting from the team, knowing they went toe-to-toe with Penn State for four quarters as they get ready to visit FAU Stadium?

I believe that FAU is a way better football team than PSU.  Buffalo as well as FAU has had the ability in recent history for big victories but just couldn’t close the deal.    The Bulls just like the Owls against Tulsa shot themselves in the foot with penalties against Penn State.   It was maddening to see the Bulls give the game to Penn State.  Let me tell you why I can’t wait for this game.   Both teams are much better on the offensive side of the ball.  I am hearing about injuries but will save that when I ask you questions.   UB comes to town with a four year starter at QB Joe Licata.  Joe is going to set numerous records but many have a love hate with Joe.  The talent for the Bulls starts with five great pass catchers (including two TE’s) and two change of pace running backs.  Keep a look out for the two #1’s for the Bulls.  On offense is #1 Anthone Taylor.  Anthone is more than carrying on the great running back charge of late for the Bulls -James Starks – Green Bay & Bo Oliver – Chargers. UB has one of the largest O Lines in college football but lost three studs and seeing some growing pains.   D-Line is slowly getting better, linebackers are solid but will be overmatched this week. Secondary is solid with second #1 Boise Ross at CB.  This young man will have a shot at the NFL.

A lot of fanfare came with Lance Leiploid as he made the leap from Division III to FBS. How has Leiploid adapted to running an FBS program? How would you assess Leiploid through the first two games?

Class.  Lance comes to UB after the debacle of (I really had to stop and recall as I have tried to erase this tenure) Jeff Quinn.  Quinn followed around Brain Kelly until Kelly went to Notre Dame and Quinn came to Buffalo.  Quinn had to replace the only real coach who had success in the modern era for UB in Tuner Gill.  Where Turner was a soft spoken coach, Quinn was a fire and brimstone windbag.  Loved when Quinn came and fired up the fan base only to lose them as soon as he started to coach.  Quinn had Khalil Mack and Bo Oliver.  Think about that.   You see the success they are having in the NFL.  Lance is a quiet, humble individual and from everything I have heard and seen, a true teacher of the game.  Blew out a FCS team so nothing really to gleam from that experience in his first contest.  Very disappointed with the execution at Penn State.  This game for many will really show how well the transition from  D3 to playing your Owls this weekend.  Play call was unimaginative and beat ourselves.  I was shocked to see that from a Lance team.  Again, still early in his tenure.   The fan base really likes Lance and hoping for a sliver of the same success he has had in the past.  Lance will not fire up the fan base with his personality.  I just want Lance to fire up the fan base with wins.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that a majority of FAU's fans have yet to see the Bulls play this year. Tell us about your team. What type of offense is Leiploid brining over from Wisconsin-Whitewater? What type of defense?

Let me tell you what UB is going to try to do. I hope they do. On offense, get the two headed running back attack going to open the air attack.  You will see that UB at the end of the game will have 7-9 players with receptions.  UB was really hoping that the senior QB would have a monster year.  Looked real good against Albany and really bad in tough weather conditions in Happy Valley.  For UB to win, Licata needs a big game and torch the secondary.  Joe does not have a strong arm but if given time can read coverage and find an open receiver.  UB O-Line struggled against PSU but that maybe the best D Line the Bulls face this season.

The D line does a great job against the run but really struggle to put any pressure on the QB.  The linebackers were the biggest concern for the defense but Alozie, Berry, and Gilbo have made plays and the only real unit that forces any real pressure on the QB.  The secondary is solid but asking a lot when the QB has time to wait for open receivers.

UB struggles in the kicking game recently for field goals and extra points.  Don’t be shocked if you block or see an extra point missed.  A new kicker and hope the game slows down really soon.

Last time Buffalo visited Florida they played UCF in 2009 and lost 23-17. What's your prediction for Buffalo's visit to the Sunshine State this go round?

I sent my Dad and his best friend down to that game.  Their take - It was hot!   2008 is the best year for UB football in the modern era.   In contrast, 2009 may have been the biggest let down.   UB just won the MAC by beating Ball State (then a nationally ranked team) and played in its first Bowl Game. (awesome story on first bowl berth, Tangerine vs Florida State, that Bulls turned down

UB had high hopes for the season but was essentially over in the preseason when James Starks injured his Labrum.  With a freshman QB, Zach Maynard, (who later transferred to Cal to play with future WR star in San Diego and his brother Keenan Allen)  Season started great with a big win over UTEP and a shootout against Pitt where Buffalo fumbled the ball away four times.  Expectations were high and then the season went off track.  Keep in mind, Turner Gill was reported to be interviewing for every job opening. Charles Barkley was defending his marriage and little did we know that Turner was gone at the end of the season to Kansas.  How has firing Turner played out for Jayhawks football after two seasons?  Turner has found a great home at Liberty University.    It was a close game but too much to ask a freshman QB without its star to win.  Typical UB, when it can obtain a ‘big’ victory to just come up short.

On our site I created a weekly pick ‘em game that Matt has taken to a bigger audience. So far the fan base has decidedly pick the Bulls 33 to 26 as the combined score.    I am a typical negative Bulls, Bills, and Sabres fan.  I picked the Colts over the Bills last weakened.    I say the storm clouds slow down and the game is played in rain.  Takes the advantage away from the Bulls.  Even with your key injuries, my prediction FAU – 21 UB 17.

Who would you like to punch in the face?

That is the best question I have ever been asked.  Why when I reflected on this question so many faces flashed before my eye. Is that wrong?  I would like to make the world a better place and punch Bill Belichick right in the face

Don't hate me because I did not take the Bulls.