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Big Easy Bits

Bourb NEW ORLEANS -- Le bon matin de mardi mes FIU amis.

Combining some of the French I learned back in high school with what I've picked up here in New Orleans, my Frenchspeak above translates to: Good Tuesday morning my FIU friends.

It's about 2 in the morning here, 3 a.m. back home in Miami. Just got back from Bourbon Street and must say outside of the smell, it was an interesting night in the French Quarter.

But that's not the purpose here. Wanted to share some news, notes and funny anecdote relating to the Golden Panthers that I came across today in N'Awlins.

First, got that call back from Turtle and he informs me all the new FIU baseball coaches have been hired and there should be some announcement within the next week or two. TT would not comment on specific names I brought up, but from what I'm hearing former Broward Community College pitching coach Felipe Suarez is the new FIU pitching coach and an assistant coach from the University of Houston will take the other FIU assistant coaching position that deals with the fielders.

Also asked TT about the FIU/um series and the prospects of playing beyond the 2 games scheduled for 2008. TT says Jim Morris has not called him to discuss playing after next season. I asked TT if he would like to continue playing um two times every season like FIU has done in the past. TT's response: "Heck, I'd like to play them 4 times a year if we can."

Caught up with Lionell Singleton for some Po' Boy subs at Serio's for lunch today for the story running in Lionell_2 this morning's Miami Herald.

By the way, before we get to LS, this place Serio's is the type of restaurant/sports hangout that needs to open across the street from FIU in that shopping center on SW 107 Ave. and 16 St. Especially, with the new FIU Stadium ready to open next year. My brother wants to get in the restaurant business, might need to make a suggestion. Anyways, Serio's has just about every Division I college football team helmet hanging inside the place and a boatload of LSU memorabilia. Absent was the FIU helmet, but I suggested to FIU media relations guy Evan Koch to donate the FIU helmet he brought along. Heard someone inside Serio's say the um helmet hanging there was taken when the Tigers brawled with the canes at the 2005 Peach Bowl. Thought it was funny.

Back to LS, you can read the nuts and bolts of the story at Miami Herald.com. But here's one question I didn't get in the story.

Me: Did you hear the phrase "Those days are over, son!" a few times during spring practices?

LS: Yeah, I remember the coaches would say it. I think it's a reminder for us that whatever happened last year is over. The days of lollygagging or walking back to the huddle are no more. There's no more time to be lazy. It's time to step up now.

Tiger Meanwhile, MC left at 5:15 Monday morning to visit LSU's workout in Baton Rouge. Speaking with MC later in the day, he said his coaches have made a habit this summer of visiting top programs such as Florida, Florida State and Rutgers.

"We're always looking for a competitive edge," MC said. "Whether it be with our strength and conditioning program, our offensive scheme or whatever. Going to LSU today, they have a knack for developing  great football players and that's what we pride ourselves on doing at FIU."

MC also said FIU hired Roderick Moore as the head strength and conditioning coach for football. Moore joins the Golden Panthers after previously being at the University of Tennessee.

As for the funny anecdote, well, that came to me after meeting with FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger in the afternoon. Our conversation eventually turned to the FIU/FAU game and the Don Shula Trophy, which HS refers to as the "Dunce Trophy" because the 4 times FAU has won the game and trophy, the Owls place the trophy against the wall with the FIU side facing the wall -- like a dunce in school.

That's not the funny part, but it was somewhat humorous. Here's what had me laughing....The Shula Trophy has two wooden sides with each team's helmet on one side. On each side after the game, a gold "little" plaque goes on the winner's side of the trophy with the final score and game MVP.

The one time FIU beat FAU in the teams 5 meetings, 52-6 in 2005. Someone from FIU went out and had a "large" gold plaque made with the score in big numbers and had it placed on the FIU side. HS was cracking up as he told me the story.

Part 4 of the MC Q & A will go up once I settle back down in Miami.

PANTHER PAWSE No. 23Gppaw

YouGotGold: Maybe I didn't make myself clear to 24/7. Yes, coaching does make a difference, when a coach does have to actually coach. On a team that is not as talented as a team that is loaded with talent, that's where a coach makes a difference. If a coach inherits a team that is an all-star team then his job is not to screw it up. Let's turn to baseball here....Ever since the Atlanta Braves (my favorite baseball team) had to follow a strict budget when Ted Turner sold the team to whatever corporation, Braves manager Bobby Cox Cox has had to really manage his tail off just for the Braves to stay near the top. With a payroll no longer in the $100 million range, Atlanta cannot go out and get whatever star free agent to add like the Yankees. So Cox through his managerial skills has probably helped ATL win about 10 games a season since the late 1990's budget cuts. Whereas, Joe Torre over in New York has about a $200 million payroll and basically any player the Yanks want, they get. So Torre has never really had to manage that team, because its been a team of all-stars for a long time now. Some will say Torre has had to manage lately, because the Yanks stink this season. Yes, he has had to manage, but the Yanks are bad this season, b/c age is catching up with that team. Hopefully, this clears it up a little.

FI-UM Fan: I'm planning on breakfast this morning at Cafe du Monde and definitely trying the beignets. The place is right by the riverwalk and the Hard Rock on Decatur Street. That was one of the first places, the Scarlett-look-a-like bartender told me to go have breakfast during my "first rodeo" here.

Sj

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