Prank nets benching for FAU seniors

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Twenty-eight Florida Atlantic players,
including 14 starters, won't start against Edward Waters on
Saturday after skipping a day of practice in what was described as
an "ill-conceived practical joke."

Coach Howard Schnellenberger handed down the punishment
Thanksgiving morning during a meeting with the offending players,
all seniors, who skipped practice Wednesday. The mass boycott was
meant as a prank, the players said, and was not meant to express a
grievance with the coaches.

"Obviously they are players and I am a coach and they have a
long way to go before they know how coaches think and feel,"
Schnellenberger said.

Schnellenberger accepted the players' explanation.

"We didn't want to upset anybody; we probably didn't think it
all the way through," said Jared Allen, the Owls' starting
quarterback and one of the players who will sit at the beginning of
Saturday's game.

The Owls (7-3) will likely not suffer much Saturday as they host
Edward Waters (8-2), an NAIA school. A Division I-AA semifinalist
last season, FAU is in its first year as a I-A provisional team and
is heavily favored.

"Any further silliness or immaturity will be dealt with doubly
tough," Schnellenberger said.