FIU football

FIU tight end Zach Schaubhut battles for starting job


FIU tight end Zach Schaubhut could draw on the discipline he learned at the Air Force Academy as he tries to become a starter.

Special to The Miami Herald

The tough treatment of players has made national headlines in the past week, and — to a certain extent — FIU tight end Zach Schaubhut said it reminds him of his days at Air Force.

Schaubhut was at the school’s Colorado campus for one year before he transferred to FIU, and he said his experience was beyond anything he could have imagined.

“You go for long runs before breakfast, and the drill sergeants are in your face the whole time,” Schaubhut, a 6-2, 230-pound senior, said Tuesday. “It was different — very tough.”

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired last week after video surfaced of him throwing basketballs at players, shoving them, and berating them.

Schaubhut was asked if he could relate.

“Yeah, without their hands on you, it was in your face all the time,” Schaubhut said. “You can’t say anything. You just have to take it. That’s the biggest thing you have to get used to.

“The discipline is complete — everything from the way you eat to the way your room is. The training sessions start at 5 a.m. and go until late at night. The military aspect was unlike anything I’d known.”

Schaubhut was born in New Orleans but played his high-school ball in Florida as a quarterback/receiver for Chipley. When he decided to leave Air Force, his high-school coaches sent out his videotape to numerous colleges — and FIU responded.

Last year, Schaubhut played in all 12 of FIU’s games, started three, and made two receptions for 29 yards.

This spring, he appears to be locked in a battle to start at tight end with Ya’Keem Griner, who is three inches taller and appears to be the more fluid athlete.

As a freshman last season, Griner played 12 games and started four, making nine catches for 113 yards.

Schaubhut said there is room for both.

“The tight end is important to the offense here,” he said. “We are pretty much rotating. Competition is still pretty much all the way open. You have to come to work every day.”

Schaubhut is doing “OK”, according to FIU coach Ron Turner.

“He’s had some good days and some bad days,” Turner said. “There are some things he needs to get better at, but he had a good day (Tuesday).

“He needs to improve his execution — especially the mental part, the attention to detail.”

Schaubhut said Turner and the rest of FIU’s coaching staff have been great.

“Coaches here are not near as bad as drill sergeants,” Schaubhut said. “But they are in your face if you are not doing what you are supposed to do. That’s OK, though, because I’m not the fastest guy or the quickest guy out here. I have to work harder to get ahead.”

• Miami Columbus coach Chris Merritt said recently that FIU doesn’t yet realize the type of player it has in running back Jakhari Gore. “He’s the same type of playmaker as (NFL and former FIU receiver) T.Y. Hilton,” Merritt said of Gore, a former Columbus star who transferred from LSU. “They have an SEC athlete in Conference USA.” Gore is the cousin of San Francisco 49ers and former Miami Hurricanes running back Frank Gore.

• Another transfer, 5-11 junior wide receiver James Louis, seems to be having a quiet spring camp. He was a four-star recruit at Delray Beach Atlantic and spent the 2010 season at Ohio State. This will be Louis’ fourth season in college, but he has yet to play a down.

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