With two weeks remaining until the season opener against the Florida Gators, the Florida Atlantic offense is no closer to naming a starting quarterback.
Saturday’s FanFest scrimmage could have been the perfect setup for either Graham Wilbert or David Kooi to separate themselves in the competition for the starting position.
But neither one did.
The two redshirt junior quarterbacks combined for four interceptions in the 28-25 loss to the defense.
Turnovers remain of dire concern for an offense that has committed 12 combined in two preseason scrimmages.
“The turnovers are the thing that is holding us back right now,” offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson said.
Wilbert, who isn’t known for turning the ball over, tossed three interceptions, including one that was returned by safety Tony Rodriguez for a score.
“I’m getting too greedy,” Wilbert said. “I need to be more efficient and play within the offense and do my job to help the team win.”
Wilbert did lead the offense to two touchdown drives, connecting with fullback Xavier Stinson and receiver Marcus Cunningham for the scores.
Kooi, who had one interception that was returned by true freshman safety Damian Parms 93 yards for a touchdown, led the offense to a Willie Floyd rushing touchdown drive and a 37-yard Marcelo Bonani field goal.
Coach Howard Schnellenberger didn’t see any separation between Wilbert and Kooi.
“I saw a lot of stuff, none of which I would call separation,” Schnellenberger said. “They are still close together by default.”
He plans on announcing the starter 10 days prior to the opener at Florida, which means the announcement will come this week.
Things were a lot brighter for the Owls defense who had another dominating outing, showing that the switch to a 3-4 defense is already producing results.
The defense has produced a combined 12 turnovers—nine interceptions and three fumbles—in two preseason scrimmages and have rattled both the quarterbacks and opposing offense and forced them to make numerous mistakes.
“The defense is playing as tough and hard-nosed football as we have ever played here,” Schnellenberger said.