FAU Weekend Roundup 8/15/04

(sun-sentinel.com) - New QB coach finds a niche

BOCA RATON - While Florida Atlantic is loaded with veteran players, coach Howard Schnellenberger added depth to the coaching staff in the offseason.

Gary Nord, who coached under Schnellenberger for 11 years, rejoined his boss in March and is the Owls' new quarterbacks coach.

"When you get a guy of his quality to come in and be one of the veteran coaches, you have to do that," Schnellenberger said.

Nord, 47, is in his 23rd year of college coaching and became available after he was fired as head coach at Texas-El Paso.

Nord, who had been coaching at Division I schools his entire career, came to FAU not sure what to expect from a three-year-old I-AA team about to make the jump to I-A.

"I was surprised by the number of good players that are here," Nord said. "To put together a group of talented kids in such a short time is quite an accomplishment."

Nord inherited a pair of veteran quarterbacks in four-year starter Jared Allen and backup Danny Embick.

"I'm real impressed with those two kids. Jared has so much experience and has a lot of things to him that are tough to teach. The team has a lot of confidence in him, and I feel blessed to coach him," Nord said.

"Danny is loaded with ability. He had a great summer and really improved his strength, quickness and speed. He'd be starting for the majority of teams around the country," Nord said.

The players also feel fortunate.

"He's great, he's awesome. I try and take in everything he says because he knows what he's talking about. Another great coach on the staff," Allen said.

Nord and Schnellenberger first met at Louisville, when Nord was the only coach Schnellenberger kept from the previous staff when he took over in 1985.

Nord ended up as offensive coordinator at Louisville and Oklahoma under Schnellenberger.

At Louisville they built the Cardinals into a winning program, including victories in the 1990 Fiesta Bowl and 1993 Liberty Bowl.

They split up after Schnellenberger was fired in 1995 after one season with the Sooners.

Nord first went to Pittsburgh for one year, then to UTEP, where he was offensive coordinator for three years before being named head coach.

Nord, who was born in Louisville and played tight end for the Cardinals, never employs the histrionics used by some coaches.

"He's a great communicator, a man that gets along with everybody and everybody loves him," Schnellenberger said.


The Owls had their first of five three-a-day practices Saturday.

"I think we made good progress in the first week," Schnellenberger said. "We've got a lot of good young players that have come in and will augment and support the veterans on our team."

Tight end Dantson Dareus and linebacker Tyrone Higgins both left Saturday's practice with knee pain.

Dareus had surgery to repair an ACL and missed all of last season. The knee is still causing discomfort.

"Sympathy pains for their coach," said Schnellenberger, who is also icing his knee after practices. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair damage done when he was run over during a practice last season.

By Ted Hutton
Aug 15, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005 www.miamifootball365.com

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