The first spring football season under the new coaching staff wraps up with Friday night's Blue/Gold Game at 7 p.m. at FIU Stadium. And to get you ready for Friday's game this would be a good time to throw in my two cents on what I've seen so far.
The first thing you're going to notice when you look at the 2007 Golden Panthers on Friday night is the new energy this team has discovered. This team did not practice the last four weeks like an 0-12 squad. Granted, they haven't played anybody, but there's just a different feel to the FIU football atmosphere.
A reader in the last blog wrote: "We have kids coaching kids over in southwest miami people, let's not lose our perspective here."
The thinking here is...he or she may have misunderstood the perspective of TDAOS. It's not that FIU will play in Arizona next January for a national title, but rather that there is finally some energy and discipline present that this team sorely needed last year. Players will be held accountable with MC and his staff and a fresh approach, especially on offense will definitely help this team.
As for the reader, who hopes this enthusiasm extends to the baseball program. . .I don't have a Spidey sense, (I'm partial to Batman...the Begins franchise), but I have a strong feeling the baseball program will catch the enthusiasm.
Anyways, back to the spring thing:
Since defense is the holdover strength of this team, let's start out by mentioning the defensive line which had their way with the o-line early this spring. Jonathan Betancourt, Jonas Murrell were among the standouts. Reggie Jones and Roland Clarke did some nice work too.
The linebackers, which FIU lost three of their best in the Killer B's, seem to have some talent left over. Scott Bryant, Matt Garris and Michael Dominguez made some plays.
The secondary could be the strength of the team with Lionell Singleton, Robert Mitchell, Jeremiah Weatherspoon and the return of Kent Henderson, who when last on the field deflected a Hail Mary pass by Middle Tennessee to seal FIU's win in the 2005 season finale.
One thing that will definitely have you folks rising for a standing ovation is a creative, attacking, shotgun, spread offense. Although, you may have to wait until fall to see it all.
Quarterback Paul McCall -- who finally gets a chance to do something besides handoff late in the fourth quarter of blowout games -- showed this spring he has some promise.
Running back Julian Reams has broken some nice runs and fullback John Ellis may have had one of the best springs of any player, especially catching the football.
The receivers have had their moments. Tight end Moses Hinton still needs 3 or 4 guys to tackle him and some of the young receivers like Torrelt Solomon and Sanchez Anderson have had flashes this spring.
The O-line is a work in progress, but hey, after one year together for these guys they can only get better, right.
As for kicking, Dustin Rivest has put in some extra work and the results have shown (6 of 8 in FG in first scrimmage). Plus, there will be competition coming this summer to find the best kicker. Sort of like FIU Kicker Idol....and that's the last time you will hear an American Idol reference in this blog.
Check out the game Friday night. I'll spot you a penny and you write me your 3 cents on the 2007 Golden Panthers.