Six days away from the first fall practice, which takes place next Monday at 7:45 p.m., but unfortunately is closed to the public. But we'll have a story on it in next Tuesday's Miami Herald and of course write something about it here on the GPP.
Before we get to your final 8 questions with MC...here's some FIU baseball news in case you didn't catch it in Tuesday's Herald or Herald on-line. Only the paperwork is left to do to officially announce the new FIU baseball assistant coaches. The pitching coach -- which just about everyone on this blog is interested in -- will be BCC's Felipe Suarez, who was the Seahawks pitching coach the last four years. Felipe has only one way to go: up, after the last 2 seasons of FIU pitching. These are the last two FIU team ERAs with no pitching coach on staff since Mark Calvi left for South Carolina. The 2005 FIU pitchers had an ERA of 5.43 and the 2006 pitchers were at 6.18. That's pretty good if you're playing slo-pitch softball. Again, can't put the blame squarely on the pitchers shoulders, remember they've had no teacher since Calvi. On the bright side, TT got an oral committment from Mason McVay, a senior left-hander from Killian High. McVay was All-County last season for the Cougars and is tall at 6-7. He was 6-3 with a 1.92 ERA last season. Back to football. . . .
FIU Fanatic: How difficult is it recruiting for FIU outside of Florida?
MC: We really try not to extend ourselves outside of Florida, unless we have a great connection on a great player that we love and want to have and that player is really interested in FIU. Fortunately for us we end up getting a great defensive end from California, a great one from D.C., because of our connections out there. A couple of linemen from Georgia and a quarterback from Nebraska and Louisiana which if you would have told me we would have gotten 6 out-of-state kids in our first 3 weeks here I would have told you, you were crazy, but again there is a buzz. The people we've come across in our network system over the years, they know what we're about. They know that a university is about the people who are there and if the right people are doing the right things it will be great.
Quijote: So far the preseason rankings and season projections for FIU have been downright insulting, with most predicting another winless season. What's your answer to all of the negativity sportswriters across the nation are showing the program? What do you have to say to them?
MC: I think everyone has a couple of different things that stoke their fire. I think when selecting this staff we wanted to make sure we selected people that kind of take the same way I do. Stuff like that is perfect for the group of men that we have. We know we have a huge challenge. Our guys wake up every morning with a hunger. These guys are salivating at the opportunity of what we are going to do here. Stuff like that -- just keep printing it, because we'll keep using it, because when the time is right we'll open up that folder.
gpantera: What role is there for former FIU players who want to be part of the FIU family?
MC: Whether they do great in the NFL or off the field, I would like the former players to come back and educate our young guys and encourage academics, because a football career can be short-lived. We want all our players, current and former, to understand the pride of FIU. We want the former players that started this program to be involved in every aspect and in the community and be part of this family.
CJ: What team would you like to create a year-in, year-out rivalry with if um decides to pull out of the series with FIU?
MC: UM !
FIUandMe: Describe for me how you will feel when FIU beats um this year?
MC: [laughs] I promised the athletic director I wouldn't make any predictions on any games.
FIU Fanatic: What do you mostly sell recruits about FIU?
MC: The truth. The absolute truth. We came here to build a monster. We did not come here to mess around. To build a monster we need some great football players that have great character and that are great people. We have a great school where you are going to walk out of here with a big time, big time degree and let's face it you want to live in South Florida and one out of every two graduates in Dade County are from FIU -- guys you do the math, who are you going to be working for or who are you going to be working with, probably FIU alum.
24/7: Why do you feel you are qualified to run a D-1 program when you have never ever been a coordinator at a D-1 program?
MC: I have worked under some of the best coaches in college football over the last 9 years and I think more than anything I've been able to see 3 different pictures in that process. Number 1 at Miami, a team was coming off probation and how to deal with limited scholarships, how to deal with academic situations, how to evaluate a little bit more strictly and somehow summon enough energy, enough pride in the program and somehow turn it back around. We went to the most difficult situation in the world at Rutgers. I don't know if there's a better training ground than going to Rutgers in the year 2000 after Sports Illustrated wrote an article "Rutgers: The Graveyard of College Football". That was handed to me before I went and got on a plane to go to New Jersey and dealing with the 80-7 routs against West Virginia and being on the plane ride back and picking up a paper and reading the media talk about how Rutgers should drop football and how it should be I-AA. Those things harden you and you could do one of two things: you could just do your job, you can go to sleep and come back do it or you can spend every waking moment you can with the head coach and find out exactly what to do. Butch Davis and Greg Schiano told me a long time ago every single day on the job is your interview for your next move in your career. Every single day you should be interviewing to be the head coach in every thing that you do. When you are the o-line coach you are the head coach of the offensive line, when you coach the tight ends, you are the head coach of the tight ends. So being around those kind of people and having those experiences I think more than prepare me to be a head coach here. Not to mention the fact that this is my home. I am from South Florida, born and raised down here. I'm just a local guy who grew up right down the street.
GPP: What do you think of the slogan: "Those Days Are Over, Son!"
[Without saying a word, a big smile runs across MC's face].
Check out the Herald's FIU football preseason poll that I created at this address: http://www.miamiherald.com/637/story/187513.html
Vote early and often.
Quijote: Glad to know you're a fan of Jewel. Know you enjoyed the last blog.
Messod: Keep reading/posting on the GPP even at NC and USF.
TheFIUfan: I think Messod got the name Bobby Alonso from the greatly revered broadcaster Bobby Alonso from the old Miami High days, at least that's the story I've heard.
FIU-GO-PAWZz: Go ahead and use your cMC and cTT on your posts. You own the copyright to that.
NYPanther: Glad to hear you enjoyed the MC series. We'll try to make it an annual thing here on the GPP.
CJ: Freshmen are already on campus. First practice is Monday, August 6 at 7:45 p.m. but it's closed to the public. You could find new FIU stories starting next week when practice opens and of course when the Herald's FIU football preview comes out on August 29.
FIUBlueandGold: The um folks are attracted to this blog, because the GPP is damn good blogging.
24/7: The FIU football program is behind the other state schools, because of two reasons: 1) At 5 years old, FIU is the youngest of all the Florida football programs. 2) FIU football was mismanaged the last few years as you could read in my Back to the Future blog that concocted a strange Kool-Aid.