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Florida Atlantic Plans on 10-Game Schedule, As Safety Opts Out


FAU hopes to play 10 games this football season, one that includes a home opener against USF.

The Owls, with first-year coach Willie Taggart, are set to kick off the season Sept. 19 at Georgia Southern, before coming home for their first game at FAU Stadium Sept. 26 against the Bulls.

Then, FAU’s eight-game Conference USA schedule begins at home Oct. 3 against Charlotte.

“We still have 10 games on our schedule,” athletic director Brian White says. “I feel like we have a lot of flexibility and we still have our full Conference USA schedule as well as the South Florida game to start off our home season.”

C-USA still hopes to play its full eight-game league schedule as originally planned. The conference is leaving it up to each team to fill out whatever non-conference games it can, due to the pandemic forcing a shuffling of schedules.

Taggart’s team lost two games on its original schedule, the season opener at Minnesota, which was eliminated when the Big Ten went to conference games only; and Sept. 12 at home against Stony Brook, a game that was cancelled when the Colonial Athletic Association suspended all fall sports.

Athletic officials at the Boca Raton-based school are working on guidelines for their home games. They have not determined how many fans will be allowed into FAU Stadium, nor any protocols once spectators are inside.

However, FAU had one day of camp last Wednesday with its first official NCAA practice. The next week will look much like their summer workouts, before returning to training camp.

White adds that all players will be tested this week and the school will continue testing once a week.

FAU schedule:

(Times to be determined)

Sept. 19: at Georgia Southern

Sept. 26: USF

Oct. 3: Charlotte

Oct. 10: at Southern Miss

Oct. 24: at Marshall

Oct. 31: UTSA

Nov. 7: Western Kentucky

Nov. 14: at FIU

Nov. 21: Old Dominion

Nov. 28: at Middle Tennessee

In related news, Florida Atlantic’s secondary just got thinner.

Safety Quran Hafiz announced Saturday on Twitter that he is opting out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

Hafiz becomes the first FAU player to opt out the season.

“I believe it is in my best interest to do this to avoid contracting the virus and, even worse, pass it on to my family,” Hafiz tweeted.

Hafiz went on to say that it was a “hard decision with the passion and love I have for the game, my teammates and FAU.”

“This will be a (sic) even harder year being without football, but decisions like this come with being a man and I realize that I’m not making decisions just for myself anymore. I have to make decisions that aren’t just in my best interest, but also for my son and my family. Florida Atlantic coaches and strength coaches have been doing a great job with taking the proper protocols to prevent an outbreak, but when we start traveling and going on flights to different states is what worries me.”

He plans to redshirt this season and return next year.

The 6-foot, 195-pound safety from Jacksonville has played in 39 games for the Owls the past three seasons, recording 91 tackles (52 of those on his own) and two sacks in his college career.

Fox Sports 640 South Florida is the official radio partner of FAU Football. Go Owls!