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Fall Practice Preview: The Offense

Plenty of questions abound on both sides of the ball as fall practice nears for the 2007 season. A number of key players on both offense and defense were lost to graduation and the NFL, so let's see what we can make of the 2007 Golden Panthers before Camp Cristobal opens next Monday night.

Since fall usually signifies the start of the new television season, let's see if we can tie each of the position groups to a classic TV show here. First, the offense. . .

Quarterbacks: Three's Company 3c_2

Better make that four adding Cindy or Terri. With 4 QBs to choose from, offensive coordinator James Coley is sure to be keeping long hours watching each practice film and carefully studying each quarterback in practice to see who will be under center against Penn State on Sept. 1. It's a new offense: spread and after spring practice many on this blog think Wayne Younger is the guy. Yes, Younger had a great spring and Coley helped him with his throwing mechanics which were a little off last season. But don't discount Paul McCall. Although he did not stand out as much as Younger in spring, when he has to run McCall has shown the ability to move. Freshmen Colt Anderson and Darold Hughes look great on film, but they weren't playing Penn State or Arkansas in those games. Let's see how the rookies do in the next 4 weeks.

Trek Running backs: Star Trek

Never was a big fan of this show, more a Star Wars fan. Anyhow, since Rashod Smith graduated FIU has been on a trek for that star running back. Julian Reams has all the tools to be that guy, but has yet to put it together. A'mod Ned has the speed, but has also had the injury bug. Yes, the offensive line has to block for anyone to run effectively and we'll get to that, but until his senior season, Smith, never had a great o-line. Incorporating fullback John Ellis more, like MC and Coley did in the spring, will work out. Ellis had some nice runs and caught some passes in March. Be interesting to see what Daunte Owens and Devon Freeman can do. MC said seniority has nothing to do with who plays. May the best back show up this month.

Receivers and Tight ends: The Wonder Years Wy

There is a plethora of talent in this group. Ash Parker, Jeremy Dickens and John Houston Whiddon showed some flashes last year during their freshman season. Coaches are really high on incoming freshmen Greg Ellingson, Marquis Rolle, Kendall Berry and Jason Frierson. With the spread offense, these receivers should see plenty of action. Not to mention tight end Moses Hinton, who has made it a habit of dragging tacklers with him when he catches the ball. Plus, there's also tight end Joey Myers, who was so underused last season by the previous coaching staff. This could be the strength of the offense if someone can get them the ball consistently.

Offensive Line: Mission: Impossible ?  

Mi Before Tom Cruise took it to the big screen, MI was on TV. The reason I added a question mark to the title is because the o-line's mission: to block people and open up holes for the backs, is not impossible. Last year, there was a complete turnover of the o-line and it showed with Josh Padrick running for his life and backs getting stuck at the line of scrimmage. But with one year under their belts the o-line can only get better, right? Some reinforcements are in with freshmen Brad Serini from New York, Ernest Goodley and Georgia's Chris Cawthon to help out Xavier Shannon, Jeffrey Eugene, Joe Alajajian and Andy Leavine. Plus, there are now 2 coaches to show this unit the way. MC and o-line coach Greg Laffere, both of who were former o-linemen.

Wh_2 Kicker: What's Happening 

The last thing FIU fans want to see is a "Re-run" of last season. Ok, that was a bad pun. My bad. But you get the idea. Most of your e-mails have been asking about the kicking situation this season. As camp draws near, there are 3 candidates looking to win the starting kicking job: incumbent Dustin Rivest, newcomer Chris Abed and quarterback-turned-kicker John Paul Fraites, who was All-State in high school. Rivest had some good moments last season and has worked diligently since last season ended. I saw Abed kick for Cypress Bay High a few games and the kid has a pretty good leg. Fraites, who did not get a chance to kick last season, was all-state so he has talent. Let's see who's lining up for that first field goal in September.

Send in your thoughts and concerns with the offense. On the next blog, we'll turn the channel to the defense.

PANTHER PAWSE No. 26

CJ: The Miami Herald's FIU preview runs on Thursday, August 30.

YouGotGold: TT will have three assistant coaches: a pitching coach, fielding coach and a volunteer assistant.

gpantera: Glad the GPP could bring the Jersey noise.

FIUBlue82: As soon as the July numbers come out, we'll post them. Last month we stayed at No. 4 in sports, but dropped to No. 10 out of 32. Politics, Crime, TV and Gossip blogs leaped the GPP.

FI-UM Fan: They haven't decided which FIU football practices will be open yet, but MC said there will be some that will be open to the public. As soon as I know I'll post it here.

24/7: Read FIU X's explanation in the last blog's comments regarding the politics of the Florida legislature. All that political stuff doesn't really interest me. That's the reason I didn't choose to be a political writer.

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CanEASTER...jk

I think this IS the last chance we have to make it a rivalry because as far as I know, there are not any FIU-UM games scheduled beyond this year (somebody let me know if I'm wrong).
Granted. 35 pts. I'm not gonna make any excuses for that because it's behind us.
Goose Egg??? Our D last year was the best part of our team BY FAR. If you only look at the final scores it doesnt seem that way because our Offense would never give us a chance to win the game(by leaving the D all backed up), which will be different this year I'm sure. And we are returning 7 starters on D. Obviously we'll miss the LB's but we have all 4 on the secondary returning.
I really like our chances this year...I'm not making any predictions, but I do think the game will be A LOT closer
Let's see...Kyle Wright is gonna do great against Marshall, get rocked against Oklahoma, and all the cane fans will say: Start Firby against FIU!!!

This doesn't have anything to do with this topic, however, what's with the NASCAR chick reporter?? Can she write anything about NSACAR except Montoya, Montoya, Montoya and does she know anything about NASCAR other than Montoya, Montoya, Montoya? You think the Herald will ever get someone competent to write about all the racers and the sport? So, our subject is way off track (excuse the pun), but inquiring minds want to know.

PP, The 'putz' comment may have been over the top. Was just a little frustrated with the way the blog was going. However, if you're retracting the use of the term "UCG" then I feel it's only right to retract my comment as well. I look forward to having a more healthier football discussion in the future.

YouGotGold, As far as I know, this will be the last time we meet for a while. But hopefully in the not-too-distant future, and with some greater progress in FIU football, we can actually begin a respectful, but hard fought rivalry.

Our D was also our best feature. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe our offense was mustering 18 points per game. We were ranked in the mid 80's on offense. I'm not putting too much on either KW or KF to get the job done, but with the absence of experienced LB's and with the emergence of Cooper and Baby J, I really don't think you guys stand a chance. However, I won't predict anything until after the OU game.

Good luck this upcoming season!

In response to questions about FIU academic programs, please note that Senator Graham (Bob's dad) originally proposed a state u in Miami in the 1940's. This was shot down after pressure from you guessed it UM and Miami-Dade. That school eventually found its way to USF in Tampa.

A state school in Miami was finally approved in 1965 and the school opened in 1972. Again, because of opposition from the U and from Miami-Dade, it only offered upper-division level courses. Lower-level classes were added in the 80's. So given the strong opposition FIU had locally, something the other state schools didn't have, and the fact that it only opened 35 years ago, I do think it's impressive that the school has made the progress that it has. And then you wonder why UM doesn't give us the warm and fuzzies.

All of this is very short-sighted because if Miami's every going to develop a real economy and move away from its dependence on the tourism industry, it's going to need more college graduates (preferably those who can spell ridiculous correctly). For that it's going to need a solid state school (FIU) and a private school (UM) complemented by smaller, niche schools.

Separately Pete, I'd like to get your insights on the soccer program. I'd like it to continue moving forward given its successful history but many are suggesting that it's likely to get the ax in order to dedicate more resources to football. What's the deal?

thanxs for the update pete god the sooner the season starts the better. what the hearald should do is see if it can go in junction w/ FIU to do somestuff during the homegames aka giveaways etc. also i want to get back to school to find out what fiu is goin to do for the pennstate game

Great post by Puma. It's putting the history in its proper context. Don't forget that the demand for public higher education was so high in South Florida/Miami (in part due to both local colleges efforts), that when FIU opened its doors in September of 1972, close to 6,000 students were enrolled for that very first school session. To this day, it is still the largest opening day enrollment ever in American History of Colleges. Impressive.

love all the info about FIU opening day and all but how bout we talk about sports...

Yeah, I'm sure the UCG would love to just sweep all that HISTORY under the rug. Looks like you're going to have to live in the bed you've made!

FIU Fan, No reason to try to hide anything under the rug. In 1940, UM was only 15 years old. A small, private university, in an area not too many people knew about. You add a large state University 9 miles away, and it's like signing a death warrant for the University. UM has a right, just like any other university, to protect its own interests. Not to mention the fact that UM was knee-deep in financial problems in the mid 40's.

Is it any coincedence that FIU started providing lower-level classes in the 80's? Just putting it out there.

What FIU has accomplished in that short of time is remarkable. But let's just wait and see where these new additions lead. I say give it another 5 - 10 years and then go ahead and check the rankings again.

FIU Fan, No reason to try to hide anything under the rug. In 1940, UM was only 15 years old. A small, private university, in an area not too many people knew about. You add a large state University 9 miles away, and it's like signing a death warrant for the University. UM has a right, just like any other university, to protect its own interests. Not to mention the fact that UM was knee-deep in financial problems in the mid 40's.

Is it any coincedence that FIU started providing lower-level classes in the 80's? Just putting it out there.

What FIU has accomplished in that short of time is remarkable. But let's just wait and see where these new additions lead. I say give it another 5 - 10 years and then go ahead and check the rankings again.

lol pete we seem to be becomeing a blog of academic acheivments instead of athletics lol

CJ - It was only a matter of time until this blog turned into something other than FIU sports acheivments, it had to, FIU has no sports acheivments to really talk about -unless you count the cheerleading Nat'l title. But I agree, lets stop talking about the history of FIU academically, myself included, no-1 cares.

CJ,I agree with you about talking up sports here. However, a bit of true, historical, factual information to correct some errors and misconceptions made by others here, doesn't do any harm, only if done once in a while.

Now, on to sports. I would like to also know what is the scoop on soccer. I'm intrigued by what is the plan, as Mello tried to do this ( for one or two days, he actually "dropped" the sport)in order to redirect the funds saved, some say more than half a million dollars, (presumably) into football and other sports. What do you know or have heard? What do you think should be done?

###########################################################################################################
Pete, you made great points in your analysis of the team. Your writing talent entertains with flair. I bet 95% of the bloggers /readers would love to see more of your articles.

Quarterbacks: Who ever win’s the position should show more than anything, brains that really connects to an arm that simply delivers on the money. Accuracy is the name of the game. Today too much emphasis is put on strength and athletic ability. A perfect example for cMC to study and follow is the process Howard S. / UM used to select and stay with Kosar over Testaverde that resulted in their 1st championship.

FIU Fanatic & Puma: Excellent posts. History, especially around here is very important that it be brought forth again and again. Not only to avoid previous mistakes, but to teach the younger Golden Panther Nation (The GO-PAWZz) about the obstacles their predecessors had to overcome to succeed.

###########################################################################################################

CrazyCane,

I read your Cheerleading comment and I was just wondering...
Were you part of that squad when they won? Not as a girl, but as one of the happy little fellas in the back...Man! Somehow I knew that deep down you had some FIU ties. It all makes sense now...Thanks for clearing it all up.

This is an FIU sports blog, but I think it's okay to go a little off-topic here and there because it goes back to FIU anyways...Especially for current students like myself who don't really know much about FIU's "early days"...I never knew of the 6,000 students story on their first session.

Question Pete,
WHERE will the team be practicing?

I don't know what I'm more worried about: the offensive line, or, after last year, the kicking game.

I guess it's the o-line, simply because they're used so much more and account for the protection of the most important player on the team. That being said, though, after the one-point losses last year...

You know, I think the O-Line will be vastly improved, mostly from "within". I say that, since we have like 6 or 7 part-time starters returning. Yes, it was patchy last year, but we all know how much a young kid improves from a freshman season to a sophomore year as his body and mind becomes more in line with Div. IA challenges. I saw our O-Line "grow up" from the inaugural year into the 4th season, and the difference was amazing...

I think we have no experience whatsoever in the QB position. Don't know how talented they are, but it will be a "growing pains"-type situation most likely behind Xavier Shannon (the center) this year. Hope whoever becomes our QB grows up a lot during practice....

Finally, our kicking game...heck our whole special teams play was a disaster last season. Hopefully, the experience gained last season, coupled with different coaching, will bring enough positive changes to make it a decent unit. Some "new blood" could perhaps also improve this unit....

Why does this guy CANESTER keep talking about FIU being founded in 1940 - we were founded in 1965. scUM was not 15 years old in 1965. scUM was just greedy and wanted Miami to be a one horse town when they could not, and would not, serve the educational needs of the community at large. They have fought every success and milestone we have so vigorously fought to achieve yet we persevere. We will persevere until we overtake scUM in EVERY category, until they become as irrelevant as a condom in CandyCane's wallet. And that, my friends, is irrelevance.

scUM - who keeps a condom in their wallat - what are you like a 100 years old dude? I think my dad probably did that in high school. wow talk about irrelevant, when you show your age like that, as far as this blog goes, I think you are irrelevant. There is a reason why the FIU fan is reduced to reciting history on this blog, that is b/c the football team is not very good (right now), the baseball team is in the crapper (right now), the basketball team is the definition of irrelevant (right now) and the coaching staff on these teams is unproven. So, that only leaves the political history of the school to discuss. I do not see a problem with it. As far as me being on the FIU cheerleading squad, I was not, but if i was, i would not be ashamed of it. I mean, those guys have nat'l title rings (i think they give those out for cheerleading) If your school was smart, which they have proven not to be, they would cancel football, and poor all of that money into soccer and cheerleading - that seems to be the only thing you all are good at anyway. maybe MC should hire the cheerleading coach to be on his staff, after all, he does have "head coaching" experience - that is more than anyone else on his staff.

scUM - i know you think that your humor is funny, news flash buddy, it isn't. it is cheap. be more creative, try and show the posters here that FIU fans like yourself have graduated beyond the third grade humor, i mean condoms in a wallat, is it any wonder that if you represent the FIU student you all get made fun of as being half retarded?

scUMsanitizer, Uh correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Grahm attempting to a create state university (i.e. FIU) in 1943? I never once said that they WERE founded in 1943, just that they tried and that UM was being aggressive about that not happening. And then I went ahead and gave you the reason Miami was being that way. Reading comprehension buddy.

"....to create a..." whoops

so ive heared that they are prob. doing something on campus for the Penn State game. Prob. watch it on the big screen projector or something. if thats the case whos up to go watch?

How long of a trek is it to Happy Valley from DC?

I may be able to make the game. The outcome may not be all that nice :( but at least we will be playing in a historic stadium.

Pete, the receivers are pretty inexperienced. Do you foresee some of these heralded freshmen starting?

Thanks in advance.

LOL CandyCane - keep sucking on that scUMmy lollipop so hard and you're gonna chap your lips. You probably carry around a box of condoms with you, such a stud. On second thought, Manuela has no need for them so no worries.

You're a living, breathing joke dude.

CJ,

I did a quick Google research on it and I found out that the BTN (Big Ten Network) will be giving the Penn State game. Last year when they showed the Middle Tenn game, it was on ESPN+...My point is that I don't think it's so easy to get the BTN signal here in Miami. ESPN+ goes nationwide so it's easier.
The only option that I can think of is the athletic dept getting the ESPN GamePlan (which is like $100) and showing it on campus...preferably on the projector
This GamePlan includes games outside of the local area
I could see MC asking the dept for it since getting the fans involved is one of his main priorities...unlike old-Strock

Hey Pete, I would appreciate if you could get some better info on that for us...

Usually with certain networks you can buy it for a day so you can see the game that you want. We did that for the Alabama game last year at a players parents house.

There are plenty of projectors at school, and screens. If they get the station there will be no problem getting everything else planned around it. It's already in the works and when we do something more, or if I hear anything I'll be sure to let you all know.

by the way, amazing stories Pete. I always look forward to reading them.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!?!

FIU Blue 82,
From DC is about 4 to 4.5 hours, if you make if you go try to leave your house around 5:30 so you can make the tail gate party before the game. See you in 4 weeks

UEE (University of Eastern Everglades) and UCG fans never cease to amaze me. Been out of this blog for over 2 months and decided to check it out this morning and realize how shallow you guys are. PP is a great writer (I wish he was covering the REAL TEAM in the STATE) and he's wasting his time and talent on you guys. He gives you an inside on the team and nobody pays attention and start blogging 'bout history and fantasies and a bunch of crap that has nothing to do with what he gave you. Listen history buffers, if you want to know how old or how many students were there the first day (who the hell cares) then go to the library and read 'bout it. UCGers I'll spare you this time not because I want to 'cause you know I don't like UCG, but I feel sorry for the coming season. The fact that you are looking forward to play UEE is a crying shame.

For now I’m gone and all I can say is if you want to talk ‘bout sports there is only ONE TEAM in Florida, The G-A-T-O-R-S. By the way if you want to talk about the main topic in this blog UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA created history.

PP you're way too good for this blog don't waste your time.

From this gator, see you later.

Thanks for the update Pete. I'll be in town Mon-Fri next week and would love to check out a practice. I appreciate your posting and updating on the practice schedule.

Gator champ has a couple of good points, we as FIU fans need to concentrate in building a great tradition as the gators rather than dwell in our short history and to keep comparing our academics to others. we are lucky to have the great opportunity to see the birth of a great program, and hopefully it wont take us as long as UF and UCG to become top programs.
Second our blog is the best blog in the Herald, the UF blog really sucks, and the other blogs are also mediocre, but Pete really keep us inform of what is happening in FIU sports and has gone the extra mile to become the voice of our coaches and our sport programs. We might have the worst college athletic program (we were really bad last year)but we have the best blog, thanks Pete. Also let remember that when you are the bottom there is only one way to go UP and that is where our program is heading.

GATORCHUMP - shouldn't you get back to inbreeding or fixing your barn or something? I'm sure there is some kind of redneck activity going on in Gainesville right now that you should be at.

You can go cool off instead blogging here...

http://www.lilligren.com/Redneck/images/redneck_wading_pool.jpg

Take the kids to a Gainseville park for swinging...

http://media.funlol.com/content/img/redneck-swing.jpg

Tend to your garden maybe...

http://rednecks.info/pictures/redneck-garden.jpg

Or take the boat out on the lake...

http://www.ahajokes.com/cartoon/redneck01.jpg

Enjoy Gainesville, stay off the civilized people's blog.

As I have stated before, if we ignore the ignorance it will eventually disappear. Misery loves company, and the more we react the more we feed them. Let's just concentrate on our own and let the others figure things out for themselves. Monday starts a whole new era, and I myself am very much looking forward to it.

GatorChump,

The dog days of summer are really setting in. Surely, you have other, more repsectable blogs to visit. Afterall, you're criticizing Pete for "wasting his time" on FIU, yet here you are, on the FIU blog, reading this response. You made some referenece in your post that reveal you went back and caught up on old posts. Now is that the way a chest thumping Gator chump should be spending his/her time? What would the proud yehaws in Gainesville think of you when they learn of your interest in FIU? Oh, I see, you wannt to keep your enjoyment of FIU blogging our quiet little secret.

As I've done with other so-called visitors to this blog a.ka. ravid FIU panther fans in hiding, i'll chose to believe that you only represent yourself and perhaps a small fraction of the Gator Nation. Until now, most Gator visitors to this blog have been either neutral or friendly...then along came you, the gator chump.

FIU mom, i'm with you. Can we get some football going already?! Entertaining these so-called visitors who dislike FIU yet love reading and posting on this blog is boring me.

As always, Go G-Panthers...gpantera

Gator,

Whichever way you put it, I don't think we're fading away from being a SPORTS blog...I think all of us here REALLY appreciate what Pete has been doing for the Panther community the past few months. The fact that not only he provides us great info, but makes it extremely fun to read with all the spins related to pop-culture or whatever it may be...you dont see a lot of writers do that
The positive attitude that he brings makes us "almost" forget the type of program we had last year...even though we shouldn't because somehow it will help us in the future
At least on my part, I think that most people are waiting for the first few days of practice to see what each player can do and THEN make constructive arguments. The football team is going through some BIG-TIME changes so there's not a lot to back up an argument (Ex: who should start at QB, new freshman class, etc)
The fans and this blog are ready to explode in the upcoming weeks. We are about to see HISTORY in the making...for the ones that like the expression: "The T.D.A.O.S. Era"

On a side note...Penn State ranked #20 in the rankings, OUCH! I did not think they were that good this year...I'm sure MC is psyched about the challenge, being his first game as a HC and all

***I've been having a hard time posting comments recently due to errors on the website, anybody else?

hey guys i just heard from a freshman friend of mine doing summer b at FIU, they are goin to play the Penn STate FIU game in the GC ball rooms. im goin to go and check that info out and double check it but thats whats the update. as to the gator chump... go back to redneck country in your ugly jean shorts and doing your gator chomp to the Jaws music ".... your not sharks unless you want to be like miami dade college." so back to the penn state game if any of you want to go let me know.

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