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Fall Practice Preview: The Defense

In about 17 hours the Golden Panthers will open fall practice and you're invited to come check it out.

The first practice tonight is open to the public. The team takes the field at 7:45 p.m. Practices will be held on the fields behind the parking garage that stands just north of the basketball arena.

Let's wrap up our fall practice preview continuing with the FIU defense and of course, with our classic TV theme....

Munsters Defensive Line: The Munsters

You may have seen this one coming with the departure of "El Monstruo" Antwan Barnes to the Baltimore Ravens. There is plenty of experience and talent on the defensive front with Roland Clarke, Jarvis Penerton, Reggie Jones and here's someone to keep an eye on: Jonathan Betancourt, who always seems to cause havoc in the offensive backfield. The promising freshman class features Ricky Booker, who from what I'm hearing has the same motor as "El Monstruo". But let's not get ahead of ourselves because Barnes's shoes are pretty big to fill. Curtis Bryant, Bryan Frye and Cody Pellicer all have a chance with the rest of this unit to become "Los Monstruos".

Linebackers: Cheers                                                         Cheers

Last year, FIU was the place where everybody knew their names: Keyonvis Bouie, Alexander Bostic, James Black and sometimes even when "El Monstruo" lined up in the linebacker slot, these guys were the heart and soul of the 28th best defense in the nation and the No. 1 ranked defense in the nation in tackles for loss.

This year's linebacking corps won't exactly make you shout "Norm!" when you first see them (there isn't a Norm among them), but get to know them, because there's potential there led by Scott Bryant, who had a strong spring. Matt Garris showed his versatility when he was forced to play d-line after all the suspensions last year. Now, Garris returns to his natural position and that can only help. Mannie Wellington made some plays when pressed into duty last season and Michael Dominguez also can play. Having seen a couple of Jarvis Wilson's games last season at Carol City, I think he might emerge.

Ent_2 Defensive backs: Entourage

Ok, this is not classic TV, but it will be. The writing is great and Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is hilarious. Right now, Lionell Singleton is getting all the publicity from the national media when it comes to FIU, but the other members of the defensive backfield entourage can make a name for themselves with their play this season. Robert Mitchell looked like he was on the verge of breaking out last season with that interception returned for a TD against South Florida and Jeremiah Weatherspoon and Cory Fleming also contributed. Keep an eye on Kent Henderson. The last time he was on the field for FIU we saw him have a huge game against Middle Tennessee in the 2005 season finale. With former safety Chris Smith (now with the Philadelphia Eagles), Henderson knocked down the final play Hail Mary to preserve FIU's last win a 35-31 triumph over the Blue Raiders in December of 2005. Wow, doing the math, that makes it 21 months since the last FIU win.

Special Teams: The Jeffersons                                             Jeffer_2

Yes, we all know they were anything but special last season. So we'll turn to George and Weesie and sing...."They'll be moving on up" or at least we imagine that's the only way to go. Just seeing some of the drills new special teams coach Apollo Wright had his new unit doing in the spring is cause for optimisim. Several former Golden Panthers who were standing next to me and talking, told me they had not seen some of Apollo's ST drills since high school or had never seen them at all.

Apollo Ring the bell, Apollo, "ding-ding"....let's get this season started.

PANTHER PAWSE No. 27

FIUBlue82: I think not only with the wide receivers, but with any position group on this team -- anyone can wind up the starter. It's a new coaching staff and as is the case when a new staff takes over, that staff will likely have a different eye for talent than the previous one. Player A may have been considered a starter for Strock, but maybe MC doesn't think of Player A that way. We'll find out in the next 3 weeks.

CJ: I do appreciate the history behind Golden Panther academics and the founding of FIU, but let me Stoob make like Captain Stubing here and direct this boat that we call the GPP back on course to FIU sports.

FIU Fanatic & Puma: I'll look into the soccer and get back to you.

YouGotGold: Football practices will be held this season in the fields behind the parking garage that is north of the FIU basketball arena. You could see the fields on the left when you're driving west on SW 8 Street between SW 107 Ave. and SW 117 Ave.

scUMsanitizer: I can not stop laughing at your Gainesville photos. That was awesome!

Baltimorepanther & yippee & FIU-GO-PAWZz: Thanks for the blog props.

B & G: Why does the Herald cover Montoya so much in NASCAR, I really don't know, but that's a good question. I'm not a big auto racing fan. I covered the IRL a couple of times when they're down here in March -- that's the extent of my Herald experience with the autos. You can e-mail our auto racing writer Sarah Rothschild at srothschild@miamiherald.com and ask her. I do thank you for your interest in the Golden Panthers Prowl.

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ENTOURAGE IS CLASSIC show, and a while back you were talking about FIU merch. around stores that there was more of it, well i passed by lids at pembroke n they had quite a few hats

will you be at the practice tonight?

hope to see you all there!!

ill see if i take a swing by the practice after work. but like i mentioned at the last blog the Penn State Game Will be held at the GC ballrooms from what im told. (ill double check and get back to you all) but if anyones goin let me know ill save the seats lol

Don't forget Parrish!! I'm just ready for the season. Bring on PSU!!!

Go Panthers!

Give us, out of towners, an account of the practice and how it went. Any new name, new player, walk on....ANYTHING!! LOL.

Yes!! FIU Football...Cristobal Era!!

I never heard anything about the game being shown in the GC ballrooms and my friend is in charge of the event. I'll ask him today and find out what's going on.

The game will be shown in Gracies Grill, which is located in GC but not at the ballrooms. It is around the main part where Pollo Tropical is but towards the back. There will most likely be signs up to show where it is. It starts at 11am and the game starts at noon. It's not a huge place and when I get more details about it I will let you all know!

thanks yippee, ya i wasnt to sure about the ball rooms and i found out later today it was in gc. thanks for the info let me know where you are at when your there we can get the GPC to meet up there lol

Seems to me this year's defense may very well be last year's offense. We haven't had a balanced year since, well, ever. Too many fresh-faced kids lining up on the defensive side, this thing may all line up 2 or 3 years from now once MC's recruits start balancing things out, but I got a not-so-good feeling about losing all those defensive studs. I sure hope I'm wrong.

BUT we did have one of the BEST defenses in ALL of college football last year and where did that get us??? If we had Rashod Smith's offense with last year's defense we would have won 6 or 7 games last year...probably beat pathetic scUM too. Here's to a power offense leading us to victories this year! At least beat the evil wannabe empire and all will be good.

Man, Gracie's Grill fits like 13 people...considering there's only 1 tv there, unless they are adding a few more screens around the place...I guess it could work, even though I really liked the big projector in between the Gold and Blue garages last year...but since the game is at noon, it's gotta be indoors
The Ballrooms WOULD be great for the game though

Pete, isnt Ricky Booker a LB? Shouldnt he be part of "Cheers"? I'm pretty sure he played both in HS...I'm not a coach or anything but I think we need more help at LB than DE

Loving the Entourage stuff...that's where the term "YouGotGold" is from
The best show on TV in my opinion

Did FIUandME really just call FIU one of the best defenses in the country??? PULEASE!!! And yes, I know PP loves to put where they ranked in yards allowed, pts allowed etc but really people, they were playing middle tennessee, arkansas st, north texas, LA-Monroe, LA-Lafayette, Troy...

Not to mention your "great" D gave up a whole lotta pts to Bama, FAU, Bowling Green and a struggling UM offense.

Please dont tell me you believe they had one of the best defenses in the nation? That is just ridiculous. The best defenses in the nation win a few games for their teams by themselves (see Miami). How many games did the FIU defense win for the team?

Simple math gives you this answer...but for those of you still struggling to come up with the answer, it is 0 or CERO.

The only thing with the ballrooms is that during the weekend they have to be reserved and you have to pay to use them during the weekend. They are usually booked in advance. I would rather be in gracie's than sit in organized rows in the ballrooms staring at a screen. How many people do you actually think are going to come? The only reason why there were so many people at the one between the garages was because it was the conclusion of trail of the torch and thats where they ended the whole thing. Plus the game was delayed about 30 minutes. I watched it in my room and then walked over there.

gracies grill has more tv's than one big one so even if your in a back table you can still be watching it on the smaller tvs... what really would be great is if they opened the game room durning the game and we could watch it in there as well.. that would be great. NY josh i agree D=fenses should help win a game or 2 and your right fiu did not... yet there is no denying the statistical aspects of it all FIU had great stats (it doesnt matter who you play if you do it on consistant basis is still good)... and you are quick to mention games like Bama and Miami, you forget fiu was actually up for a while 3-0 (or down 0-3) at half time and against UM we were only down 7-0 at half time before the fight which kicked off most of our starting players.. hense the late season slide down that pole which we did not slip down to far. but hey that just showed the lack of depth and experience... things that are being fixed. .. just thought to give you some insite

NY SLOSH - FIU Defense: 28th in the nation. Sorry to burst your bubble but that is amongst the best in the nation. Here's the official NCAA.org link. You can now go back to eharmony.com, don't worry you will not be lonely forever.

http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2006&div=4&rpt=IA_teamtotdef&site=org

scum, i conceeded that the ranking was the ranking, however, I wonder what that ranking would have been if it didnt count games against non D-1 schools???

I was there. I hung out with MaXx and Miri - there was a female poster but I don't recall her name (help me out MaXx/Miri).

I didn't see Devon. Mom, any word on Devon's status this evening?

As for the atmosphere, the team had energy, MC was all over the place and coach B. Clark could be heard from a mile away he was soo pumped up. During stretching exercises, the team chanted, "C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N!" What a difference from the dull pre-MC days.

As for the QB play, IMHO, P. McCall took a step back. Colt Anderson has the most accuracy and zip on the ball. Freshmen QB Darold Hughes looks athletic but his ball floated at times and he got picked off. Wayne Younger looked good at times. Today's QB winner's: Anderson and Younger. Please don't read too much into this report. it's only one day of practice.

Freshmen LB Ricky Booker is a big, strong kid. Has the kind of size that intimidates. I didn't follow all his drills, but according to Pete Pellegrin on the Herald blog, we may be onto something special with Ricky Booker.

The coaches kept testing RB A'mod Ned at punt return. He does NOT look natural at that position. He appears uncomfortable awaiting the ball to drop out of the sky. I say Ned keeps to RB only.

No WR stood out but a few freshmen WR's struggled. Freshmen WR's James Rucker and Kendall Berry dropped a few passes. The coaching staff demanded countless push-ups from WR's who dropped catchable passes. Discipline, i like that.

Overall, I was just happy to see our guys on the field, even if only for practice. Let's get this season started!!!

As always, go G-Panthers...gpantera

Josh,

If that were the case, they would NOT have a ranking because they did NOT play any non D-1 schools last year
I understand what you are trying to say...they did not actually WIN any games by themselves...Miami did, granted.

The reason we LOOOVE to talk about last year's D so much is because they actually gave us a CHANCE to win some games (keyword: chance)...Look at our first 6 games (ok, except the one against Ark. State)...those were all winnable games because of the Defense...Why did we lose them all? Flat out b/c we had no OFFENSE...mostly offensive coaching in my opinion
As much as you wanna brag about your UM offense having an off year and still win games, it was hell of a lot better than what we had...
Do we have better offensive players this year? I think so but only time will tell
Do we have better offensive coaching this year? DEFINITELY yes

love to hear about the offense play in the paper finally even better that we got the "top" story on the sports (online) page a nice change of pace. who's goin to the practice today i think i might head out there today. maybe run around campus and get some excercise before watching it. how long do the practices last

can you all stop. geez. I think my IQ goes down every time I see you all fighting.

Pete thanks for posting the practice time today. I was able to attend, very fun to watch on the old intramural fields. Man how that school has changed. The offense is going to be fun to watch when it comes together. There are some Fr players who might make an impact early.

I was out there last night and enjoyed the freshman's energy. Man some of these kids can fly...The kid "Rolle" from Orlando Olympia was not on the field. I wonder if grades was an issue, I did see coach give him a hug when they walked out on the field. Anyone know if Rolle was hurt ?

I was out there last night and enjoyed the freshman's energy. Man some of these kids can fly...The kid "Rolle" from Orlando Olympia was not on the field. I wonder if grades was an issue, I did see coach give him a hug when they walked out on the field. Anyone know if Rolle was hurt ?

2 questions .. any precise time table for how long practices go and for pete.... Sept. 1st roles around, are you at beaver stadium or in gracies w/ the rest of us?

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Pete thanks for your feed back.

Ladies & Gentlemen: The practice last night was not only the start of our new football era, but the re-birth of all “F-I-U Athletics” breaking through, into the “BIG TIMES”, period. FIU shall appropriately run over all barriers until NCAA championships are achieved.
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I watched the first cMC era pre-season practice and was impressed by the energy and speed. It’s smart to due the first few practices at night. At minimum it allows the players to concentrate on learning the calls (technique, speed, coordination, teamwork etc.) instead of the heat, humidity or dehydration.
I watched the practice from the (north) window openings in the garage 4th level. The field view was spectacular from there with a breeze. If the practice field is in fact, Astro-Play, that is great.

The Pharmed Area should be considered as the venue for watching the Pen State game (and others). That’s a place where the entire family can go. The training grounds for our kids to develop, as our present and future FIU die-hard fans.

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AGAIN: These are the GPP “GO-PAWZz Post Tag AWARDS”


Today’s “GOOD -POST- TAG” goes to: gpantera, YouGotGold, CJ,
Today’s “GREAT -POST- TAG” goes to: scUMsanitizer (for your link)
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FIUBlueandGold: You are right about the players flying. In the R-Back group, there‘s one that looked like flash, he ran low to ground with great strides, just couldn’t pick-up his number from a distance.
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MIA/NY Josh: before eighteen of our guys were thrown out of the UCG game, we'd held UCG to 14 points, seven in the first half. Following that game, FIU actually exerted some form of disclipine, as opposed to the laughable actions taken by UCG. The next week, we played 'Bama and LA-Monroe the week after minus a number of defensive guys, including two who were eventually kicked off the team. I'm pretty sure our breakdown in defense would happen to UCG also if they'd believed in discipline of any sort last year, as opposed to just suspending everyone for one game against -- none other than -- Duke, a game UCG almost lost.

FIU-GO-PAWZz, are you the Paw-Claw man?

WOrta1128 - I have been intentionally avoiding jumping into certain topics, but you know what, your comments are so unfounded - it deserves my expertise. First you accuse UM of not disciplining players - Do you remeber Ryan Moore - yeah he was suspended for a majority of last season. And as I recall, there were players from the brawl which were suspended for more then one game. As for the suspensions on the FIU side, I ask you, in all seriousness, did it really matter. You guys had zero wins before the brawl, were the players suspended makeing that big of an impact anyway. Also, how many of those guys do you think MC would of kept anyway. It is hard to say he would of kept any of the suspended players. If you want to build a winning program, you do not do it by keeping a bunch of losers. I am sorry to say it, but when your team goes winless (though you may have a few bright spots, see last years NFL draft) for the most part they are losers. Second, you talk about a game against DUKE in which Miami almost lost. Point is - they didn't lose. They won. And, Kyle Wright was 24-of-41 for 299 yards and 2 TDs. Lance Leggett finished with six catches for 131 yards. And, missing defensive backs, Miami had 4 interceptions. The point is, teams find a way to win - even when they are shorthanded. Good teams have good benches. FIU had neither a good team nor a good bench - that is why they were winless before the fight AND after. Now I think MC is turning things around, but stop trying to explain FIU's record last year and blame things on the fight. As I said before they sucked before the fight and they sucked after the fight.

Worta,

You are mistaken about FIU's apparent discipline. Do you remember your players going to the UM side during warm ups. Do you remember your receiver getting a late hit penalty for hitting K-Phil who intercepted a ball in the endzone and sat down and all of a sudden your WR decided he was man enough to hit somebody? Do you remember your team starting a fight? Jeez, reality check. This isn't your parent's saying "I don't care who started the fight". When it's on film and the facts don't lie, it's hard for FIU to expect UM to punish their team in the same manner.

Pete, any word if Bouie is going to help our Defense Line at FIU this year? i saw that Bostic is listed, thought he had been drafted? Any other DL from last year joing our team?

Thanks for keeping us in the loop

Worta, do you play ball - or are you just a Monday night quarterback? you sure spew alot... IS THAT A UM THING? what expertise are you mentioning? sportscaster???

Seriously, I'm glad you were refraining from comments.. should have kept it that way.

7-11: Two of those so-called "losers" that were suspended for the whole season and NUMEROUS games are now in the NFL (Chris Smith and Chandler Williams, respectively). scUM suspended a couple thugs for a game, pathetic, period.

And don't even mention that "kitty cat" Lance Leggett on an FIU blog - he is the sorriest excuse for a man to ever grace a football field. To sucker punch someone in the back of the head and then run away like a "kitty cat" is deplorable. Typical scUM.

We all know what he does in the off-season anyway...

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l134/fiufootballer/4LanceLeggettWR.jpg

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l134/fiufootballer/4Rupaul.jpg

Thanks for the information, guys! Please, keep them coming!!

I meant...about the information of the first practice...

Momma J: I have no idea what you're talking about.

In regards to everything else, this is an FIU blog, so, since I'm a student and a fan, I responded. My point wasn't to try to justify a winless season. I'm not denying that we lost. I was responding to Josh's claim that our defense, which was ranked 28th last year, wasn't really good because we gave up 35 to UM and something along the same lines in the following weeks when we played 'Bama and others. My post simply stated that, in those weeks, our defense suffered because we had so many people suspended for a number of games while UCG suspended their guys for one game, that game being against Duke, a game that UCG almost lost. And to say that it doesn't matter that our guys were suspended is just ludicrous because, well, look at the scores in the weeks leading up to the brawl. That was my claim. Not even a claim. It was fact. Aside from that, I really have no idea what you're talking about.

I heard that the first practice in pads is on Friday, during the day.

hey pete any new article, or blog coming out soon?

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