Nothing like some drama to draw one’s attention.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger told the media following Saturday’s 37-34 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns that he was going to bench starting quarterback Graham Wilbert in the fourth quarter.
Wilbert was leading an offense that couldn’t get anything done in the first 22 minutes of the second half.
Schnellenberger said he was talked out of it by his assistant coaches.
“After I told him he was going in I was asked by my coaching staff if I would relent. And I used the better part of judgment and left him in there.”
Wilbert had the best game of his four-game career at FAU, completing 20-of-38 passes for 219 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The redshirt junior led the Owls to two touchdowns, to Xavier Stinson and Nexon Dorvilus, in four minutes in the latter half of the fourth quarter to give the Owls a shot at overtime.
“To have Graham respond and the offensive team respond like they did, even with the knowledge that I hade made that decision and reversed it, will teach all of us a great lesson. Not just to myself, but to every member of our football team.
“The unusual (part) of this was that it turned out wonderfully and stimulated the right people and helped the quarterback situation to continue to improve.”
Schnellenberger said he made the decision because he wanted to give his team a spark. And give his team a spark he did.
“I was doing it simply because I wanted to jack somebody up,” he said during Sun Belt coaches’ conference call on Monday.
“Evidently it jacked the whole offense up.”
Schnellenberger said that Wilbert will remain the starter but the offense needs to improve.
“Our offense has not been as productive as it has in the past,” Schnellenberger said.
FAU will face North Texas on Saturday at 7 p.m., their final road game before they open the new football stadium at home on Oct. 15.