FAU coach Kiffin downplays importance of spring game, his Owls’ debut

As his first spring game as FAU’s head coach approaches, Lane Kiffin has opened the final two days of spring practice to media and given them full access, beginning Tuesday.

*Kiffin’s first recruiting class gets good reviews

*QB De’Andre Johnson survives ‘darkness’

Observations from the practice at the Oxley Center:

Lane’s game: For as much as Kiffin loves talking football, the constant chatter about Saturday’s spring game may be too much for the veteran head coach — namely, the talk that there’s any real significance to the game.

“It’s not a game — it’s really just the 15th practice,” Kiffin said. “It’s going to be no different than probably what the [April 8th practice at Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale] was as far on tackling on Saturdays in a scrimmage format. It’s not a game; we need to get better in the meantime and the last thing we need to do is rest up for Saturday.”

Though a final format for the game has not been announced yet, one FAU official confirmed to the Palm Beach Post that the current plan is to treat the first half like a normal game and that the rest is still being decided — including the quarterback situation.

Versatile Owls: As he learns more about his players, Kiffin has made the most of trying some of them at different positions this spring, including using Seminole Ridge product and rising sophomore running back Kerrith Whyte as a wide receiver. In addition, fellow running back and Georgia transfer A.J. Turman — who redshirted last season and spent part of this year’s camp at linebacker — is now adding to his resume by playing tight end.

“He did some good things over there on defense and we wanted to see really kind of a hybrid fullback/tight end and see what he looked like there,” Kiffin said of Turman. “We still have the ability to put him back at running back like we did the other day in practice.”

Noteworthy: Quarterback Jason Driskel, currently fighting De’Andre Johnson for the top job, did his best Tim Tebow impression with a jump pass. … Kiffin also praised the defensive line, a group that he called the team’s “biggest concern” on Saturday. … Senior defensive lineman Haiden Nagel missed practice with flu-like symptoms.

Saturday’s FAU spring game will kickoff at 4 p.m. Saturday at FAU Stadium.

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