Since today is a day when rabbits are popular, I thought I'd refer to two American icons to illustrate the transformation FIU's offense has been undergoing so far this spring.
While it is NOT a finished product yet, because not every facet has been installed and not every player is in camp yet -- 11 freshmen offensive players are headed this way in August -- the FIU offense has been slowly progressing from looking like Elmer Fudd to Bugs Bunny. The Golden Panthers got three carrots in Saturday's scrimmage.
At the halfway mark of FIU's spring practices (6 more practices before the spring game on Friday, April 20), there is a noticeable difference in the Golden Panthers offense as Saturday's second spring scrimmage showed.
Obviously, the Golden Panthers have not played against any other unit except its own defense so far, but you could see definite improvement in the offensive scheme and its execution on Saturday. A lot of it having to do with the offensive line's performance which gave the quarterbacks more time to throw and opened some holes for the running backs.
The offense couldn't find the end zone in the first scrimmage last week, but scored three touchdowns on Saturday. Julian Reams again led the running backs with 48 yards and a touchdown. Reams broke off a nice 21-yard run. Other backs with good runs were James Jones (13 yard-run, 27 total yards) and Devon Freeman, who on his first carry got 10 yards.
Paul McCall didn't disappoint throwing for 112 yards. McCall had a 25-yard completion to John Houston Whiddon at the start and finished with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Moses Hinton.
Tight end Joey Myers (30 yards), receivers Travis Felder (21 yards) and Sanchez Anderson (20 yards) also had big catches. Felder made a nifty catch from Wayne Younger in traffic in the red zone. Fullback John Ellis, who is having a solid spring, gained 15 yards on a short pass.
The FIU defense again had a strong scrimmage. Jonas Murrell racked up another two sacks. As did Kent Henderson, who FIU missed last season in the secondary. Senior defensive lineman Daniel Chacreton also had two sacks. Matt Garris, Robert Mitchell and Scott Bryant all got one sack.
I think now after two weeks under MC and the coaching staff, the players are beginning to adjust to what's expected of them.
With officials calling the scrimmage, the offense and defense combined for one penalty on the day -- can you spell D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E?
When the defense was trying to make a goal line stand, the players on the sidelines began chanting "Defense!, Defense!" -- looks like a real sense of team unity is taking shape.
And you folks remember those silly penalties FIU would get in a handful of games in the past for having too many men on the field. Since the first practice this spring players GOT the message that they jog on and off the field and NOT walk....well, on Saturday during game-like conditions I didn't see one player walking.