The youth fair is going on less than half a mile from FIU Stadium, but the team's first spring scrimmage Saturday morning provided its share of entertainment. More on that in a bit, but first.....
Like last year, the defense was again spending the day in the offensive backfield. They got 16 sacks and a handful of tackles for loss. Jonas Murrell and Jonathan Betancourt each had 3 sacks. The secondary was strong, except when tight end Moses Hinton dragged tacklers about 6 yards each time on 2 of his 3 catches. Moses is healthy again and should have a good year in the new offense.
Speaking of which, the new offense was unveiled and although they couldn't score a touchdown (No, this is not 2006 all over again, trust me on this) there was some creativity to the play calling (A'mod Ned executed a nifty halfback pass for 20 yards to Elliott Dix) and the passing game looked pretty good for the first scrimmage. McCall and Fraites combined to go 17 of 24.
Oh, and there was this strange sighting -- maybe you guys can help me understand this -- FIU quarterbacks actually lined up about 5 yards behind the center to take a snap......I think I've seen a lot of teams work out of this formation.....I think it's called something like "rifle, or maching gun....maybe SHOTGUN". Yes folks, there will be a shotgun in the offense this year and not just during the 2 minute drill.
The offensive line is still a work in progress, but it can only get better. Julian Reams had a nice 22-yard run, but other than that the running game was stuck in neutral.
Once again, discipline was stressed.
Fullback John Ellis got a first down on his own after what looked like a busted screen pass. After gaining nine yards basically by himself, MC instructed the offensive line to give Ellis a pat on the back. MC said to the o-line "Get over there and congratulate him, he made you guys look good".
An offensive lineman and a defensive lineman had a little tussle after a play. MC got the two players together to shake hands and then had them take a lap around the field while holding hands.
Players were running in and out of the huddles to the sidelines and special teams were practiced on 4 -- that's right 4 -- different times on Saturday.
Kicker Dustin Rivest had a big day converting 6 of 8 field goals, two from 42 yards out.
After one week of practice under MC and his coaching staff, I have to say this is a completely different program.