Obviously for a team that was winless last season there are number of questions that need to be addressed this month as the Golden Panthers and their new coaching staff prepare to open the season at Penn State on Sept. 1.
The big ???s mostly center around the offense: QB, O-line and kickers. That's not to say the defense is set to go, but we all saw that the major issues were when FIU had the ball last season.
Yes, QB and O-line are uncertain, but the kicking game is what I think has MC and co. scratching their heads the most right now. We'll update the QB and O-line situation in a second, but unlike Frank Sinatra and Stewie Griffin, I don't think MC knows who he gets a kick out of right now.
(For those not familiar with the Sinatra and Stewie reference: Old Blue Eyes had a hit song called "I Get a Kick Out of You". Stewie sang the song on an episode of Family Guy). Back to the blog....
With walk-on kicker Chris Abed on the sidelines with a quad strain, Dustin Rivest and John Paul Fraites combined to miss 4 of 5 field goals in Saturday's scrimmage. This prompted MC to yell "I'm going to go to the cafeteria to find a kicker".
Being this late in camp and without any kicker showing he deserves the job, I don't see how a trip to the FIU lunch hall would hurt. Heck, the FIU soccer team is working out right next to the football team each afternoon as the Golden Panther futboleros (that's probably not a word) began their training camp. I'm sure MC will walk about 15 yards west and check out the soccer players.
This FIU team lacks experience and the last thing they need is to play a close game with a chance to win late and not have a reliable kicker. Judging from camp, Abed seems to have the strongest leg of the 3, but none of the 3 has yet to show any consistency. There's less than 2 weeks before the opener, maybe by then someone emerges.
The quarterback competition is pretty much down to 3 with Darold Hughes out with a hamstring strain. He might end up being redshirted. With the other 3 (Wayne Younger, Paul McCall and Colt Anderson) they each do something well. If you combined the three you eventually would have an all-Sun Belt QB.
As has been documented here before, Younger has got the elusiveness and speed. However, offensive coordinator James Coley has really fixed Younger's throwing motion and he seems more confident each day. Last season, Younger threw the football like a pitcher in baseball, this month he's throwing it like a QB.
With the spread offense, some GPP readers have discounted McCall. I say hold your horses. McCall is a smart guy, who may know that offense better than the other 2. While he's not Randall Cunningham with his feet, McCall can be shifty and right now may have the strongest arm of the 3.
If he does what he's supposed to do to get better, Anderson will eventually have the starting job all to himself. He is the most talented overall of the 3, but needs some seasoning and a year in a college weight room. So what's it look like this season behind center?
With a relatively green offense, why not experiment and use more than one quarterback. Go with the hot hand. We have already seen in spring that Coley is a pretty creative guy when it comes to play calling and FIU won't be playing for a national title this season so why not try out different formations with different QBs and see what happens. Just a thought. Let's see when a starter is announced later this week.
Speaking with MC today, he said the O-line is getting better, opening some holes and protecting. Right now, they are looking for the best combination on the line, that's why freshman Brad Serini is playing center and Xavier Shannon has switched to guard. You need versatility on the line and Serini, although he is a freshman, seems to have a bright future.
Look, the FIU offense averaged 9.6 points per game last season, a new spread offense was brought in and any effort made to spice things up is a welcomed change. Will it all work, who knows, but if you don't do something to try and change that scoring average you'll stay stuck at a 9.6.
YouGotGold: There are several good walk-ons that could have an impact. One is safety Alonzia Phillips (check out the Miami Herald on Tuesday for him). Phillips has been all over the secondary this summer and made numerous INTs. He's an FIU track standout who may be the fastest Golden Panther. As others develop I'll post about them here.
yippee: The Miami Herald thanks you for the photo. Needed something other than a kicking photo for that story.
WOrta1128: Right now there are no significant injuries, just some bumps and bruises. Lionell Singleton had a minor shoulder injury, but he said today that he's OK. I think you can expect to see some 2 TE sets like the Dallas Cowboys, especially with the talent FIU has at TE.
SouthPaw: The Heat-Seeking Missile is a good start for a Scott Bryant nickname, but that might be too wordy. Let's see him make some plays this season and then we'll take a vote on here.
FIUandMe: Scott Bear Bryant is clever. But with "El Oso" we may have a winner there. Like above, let's see Scott show some of "El Monstruo" and Keke this season and then we'll vote.
UltimateFIUFan: There's really no good news about FIU in many of the season previews. Most have them going 0-12 again or winning just 1 or 2 games. But hey, that's why they play the games.
Manguera: La Amenaza. I had to think about that one for Bryant. We'll see.
FIUmom: The Predator is under consideration. I'll run all these nicknames by Scott and see what he thinks.
FIU Fanatic: I really didn't find the PB Post's blog as taking a shot over here. Marcus Nelson, who writes that blog, is a good guy. He was referring to the Sun Sports reporter who was here for the MC feature on the Sun Sports Preview show. The reporter told me she remembered that last year's practices were not anything like what she saw that Friday morning when she made "The Braveheart" comment.
Quijote: Hopefully, your kicking concerns were answered above. I'll have more on them as camp progresses.
fiugrad: FIU baseball does have USC, ASU and the Hurricanes on next year's sked. I have not heard about FSU or USF yet, nor Texas, but I wouldn't be surprised if they appeared on the sked. T.D.A.O.S. is reaching the baseball program.
john rodriguez: Welcome to the GPP! Yes, I have worn a jockstrap before. Played high school baseball. No, I did not play in college or the pros. My intentions are not to sound tough on this blog, but rather to point out the fact that FIU baseball needed a change. The program was getting stale and losing interest with the local high schools in South Florida. Since your comment was written PG-rated, it will remain posted on this blog. At the GPP we take the storms with the sunshine. I think Reggie Jackson said it best: "They don't boo nobodies". Here's the beauty of this country and sports: we are all free to express our opinions. The readers of the GPP have theirs and they are all welcomed here (including yourself) as long as they are written PG-rated. The Herald pays me to express mine here. Once again, thanks for your interest in the GPP.