Only two more days for you folks to get a glance of the Golden Panthers in person as practices are closed beginning Monday. This Saturday the team will scrimmage at 8 a.m.
Unlike my postcard to you all, the Golden Panthers will tell you the scorching summer practices on the AstroPlay field are anything but lounging on a beach chair under a palm tree with a tropical drink and a little umbrella in it. In fact, players may tell you camp is a bee-ach, but in the long run they'll be better for it.
Anyways, with daily FIU features (among them a wrestler, DJ and pianist)http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/colleges/fiu/story/202448.html
and FIU preview stories keeping me away from the GPP the last 5 days, it's time to sneak in some Cristobal Camp tidbits and some FIU baseball news.
Looks like the QB battle may go on a bit longer since none of the 4 have yet to standout. Wayne Younger is taking all the first team reps and just because of his ability to run the spread offense I got a feeling he'll be under center for the first snap at Penn State. But I still stick with my earlier comment that Colt Anderson will be the regular QB of this team.
The other day Anderson showed why MC went to Nebraska to get him. During 7-on-7 drills, the play was breaking down and the defense was closing in on Anderson. The freshman kept his poise and stepped up in the pocket and with several defenders hands in his face, CA did a Doug Flutie-like hop and easily delivered a dump pass to A'mod Ned, who took off. Not that CA is 5-8, he's 6-4, but the D-line's hands blocked his vision.
Daunte Owens is turning heads at running back. Hurt most of last season, Owens has the speed to run outside and the toughness to pound it inside. Julian Reams is also carrying the ball with more authority. RB coach Mike Cassano has shown him how to prevent fumbles.
While the receivers keep impressing, tight end Eric Kirchenberg is looking as good or better than Moses Hinton. EK, who MC brought from Caneland, has velcro hands and can get upfield. Might see plenty of 2 TE sets with those two.
The defense still looks strong. Up front along with Roland Clarke, Jonathan Betancourt and Audric Adger have bullied the O-line on occassion.
Speaking of the O-line, really can't get a grasp on them yet. One play they'll protect the QB and open a big hole for the RBs, but on the next they break down. Maybe we'll get a better look in Saturday's scrimmage.
Linebacker Scotty Bryant is not as big "El Monstruo", but that guy is all over the place. He's has EM's speed in Keke Bouie's body. Need to come up with a nickname for that guy. Tyler Clawson has also had a solid camp at Bouie's old spot, middle LB.
You folks need to show up and check this team out for yourself in Saturday's scrimmage. Like the personality of William Wallace and his FIU coaches, the scrimmages are NOT like other teams' scrimmages -- a glorified version of flag football. Send me your thoughts after watching the scrimmage.
On to FIU national pastime news. While camping this week at FIU, I ran into TT in the football offices and word is FIU will play a 4-game series this upcoming season at Arizona State. Add to it that the Golden Panthers home opener is a 3-game series with USC and I'd say TT is not backing away from playing real teams. No more University of Puffcake lining the FIU baseball sked.
Also, heard from several local high school coaches that TT has rounded up about 17 new pitchers and that TT is actually visiting schools the previous FIU coaching staff never went to. Former Louisville 1st baseman and cleanup hitter Jorge Castillo is now a Golden Panther. He was named MVP of his summer league playoffs hitting 4 HRs in 5 starts and a walk-off HR in the 9th inning to win the league title. Suddenly, FIU baseball, like football, is getting interesting.
Before we get to GPP mail, check out "El Monstruo" Antwan Barnes on national TV Sunday night on NBC when the Ravens host the Giants. No, the Peacock network did not pay me to say that. There's been nothing to watch on there since Seinfeld ended its run.
FIU Fanatic: Toronto Smith is an interesting guy. He was supposedly headed to N.C. State, but the Wolfpack ran out of scholies. From what I hear he can play ball, but has yet to stand out in camp. Marquis Rolle is awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse to practice. He's ready to put on the FIU uni, but the NCAA has to clear him.
FIUJUM: Hinton is lining up on the 1st team, but like I said above watch for Kirch. Joey Myers has also made some plays in camp as well.
Ultimate FIUFan: Speaking with Alexander Bostic, he tells me Keke in is Pahokee getting ready to start up his own business. No word on Sam Smith. Last we heard, Sam was cut from the Saints camp.
FI-UM Fan: GPP is glad to provide damn good summer reading. Well said on NY Josh's practice diatribe.
CJ: Speaking with Coach Mirabal yesterday, he confirms he no longer heads butt players without a helmet. He does say he's pleased with the TEs progress.
FIUandMe: The offense did not show up in the OB scrimmage the other night. They have been hot and cold all summer. Let's see which one comes out on Saturday.
WOrta1128: You gotta think the O-line will get better with one season under its belt, but they have yet to show any consistency. Here's hoping that the defense is just that good that they are making the O-line look shaky.
NY Josh: Certainly a Columbia grad like yourself knows that practice is important. I wouldn't put too much stock into anything AI says when it comes to practice. However, if you're looking for help on how to do cornrows then he's your man.
Congratulations to Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox on breaking the all-time ejections record with his 132nd career ejection on Tuesday night. Bobby got 133 last night and he's never juiced. Getting tossed out of games has been all natural for Bobby.