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Think. The Big - - - - - - - Picture

Apparently, the last session several readers of the GPP had with our guest psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane did not really help matters when it comes to putting this season and the state of FIU football in perspective.

So let's try this again, but this time with a different approach so none of you Golden Panthers fans goes Bracco all Paulie Walnuts FOUR games into the season. Let's see if Dr. Melfi and Tony can Soprano help us out here.

GPP people. . .We're not in Kansas anymore (that's the last Wizard of Oz reference here until the 2008 season opener back in Kansas). The out-of-conference schedule is just about done, with the exception of the Oct. 27 game in Arkansas. So now we'll get a better measuring stick of where FIU football is at with games against the Sun Belt.

For those of you who wrote already complaining and hyperventilating about MC....I'll let Mr. Soprano deal out some advice for you folks. As TS said in one episode..."Think. The Big [Frigging] Picture." Of course, he used a more colorful word that begins with "f" and ends with "ing". But hopefully you get "The Picture".

(Before anyone starts pounding the keyboard, I AM NOT COMPARING MC to the coaches in the following examples -- just the situations) Here are two NFL historical examples of what MC DID and DID NOT INHERIT at FIU. Walsh_2 When S.F. 49ers coach Bill Walsh retired in 1988 he went out with a Super Bowl win and left a loaded team for George Seifert. The only thing Seifert had to do was NOT screw it up. He didn't and won the 1989 Super Bowl. If Seifert starts 0-4 with the '89 49ers then he's being run out of town with pitchforks. THIS IS NOT MC'S SITUATION coming into FIU.

MC's situation is more like when Jimmy Johnson inherited the 1989 Dallas Jj Cowboys. Tom Landry went 7-9, 7-8 and 3-13 in his final three seasons and there was a lack of talent on the Cowboys. JJ had to come in and build his team with draft picks and trades -- like the highway robbery of sending mediocre Herschel Walker to Minnesota for a bevy of picks. THIS IS THE SITUATION MC inherited when he took over at FIU.

Forget about the Kansas game for now. Yes, FIU was annihilated, but I think KU may be the best of the 4 BCS teams FIU has played this season. We'll find out for sure when Big XII play starts, but the Jayhawks have a balanced high-powered offense and a stout D. Penn State could not run, but threw on FIU, and its D denied the FIU offense. Maryland will struggle this season. The Hurricanes have a good D, but their offense is like tea -- it's hot and cold.

Now in these next 7 Sun Belt games we'll see where FIU is at. The offense had some spurts in the first half against KU. Wayne Younger went downfield more and the freshmen receivers made some plays. KU focused on A'mod Ned and they shut him down. The defense had no answers for that no-huddle KU offense. That reminded me of the Louisiana-Lafayette no-huddle offense which has given FIU fits over the years. The FIU special teams are better than last season, but are still a work in progress.

So when it comes to FIU this season and next, the GPP like TS says "Think. The Big - - - - - - - Picture". MC has to clean up and build what was left from the previous coach, which is basically nothing. Asking Ja fans down here to follow TS's quote is like asking Jennifer Aniston to be ugly -- it's an impossible task (BTW my pick, Jen over Angelina). But that's where FIU football is at. With each game and practice these young Golden Panthers gain a little more experience and develop. There are too many great athletes down here in our area for FIU not to become a successful football program. The previous FIU leadership did not capitalize on that and that's why FIU is where it's at today. Have faith and "Think. The Big - - - - - - - Picture.

PANTHER PAWSE

GPP WinaBlog leaderboard

4-0: FIUrulez (79), NY Josh (84), FIUPantherFan (86), MRedArmy (90), Formenter (91), FIUmom (96), GPP (96), FIU Fanatic (100), Hay (106), 24/7-11 (107), FIU0406 (108), yippee (121), Crazy Cane (122).

3-1: CJ (111), JMFIU (111), SouthPaw (132).

2-2: Messod (135).

1-3: NYCFIUFan (127), YouGotGold (149).

0-4: alt7787 (151), FIUandME (156).

** FIU/Middle Tennessee scores need to be in by 11:59 pm on Friday, Sept. 28.

quijote: Got to have the Cuban coffee pix in there - good stuff. As far as your Texas A&M question, they are just overrated. I don't think you can read too much into what FIU did vs. the Hurricanes and what the Hurricanes did vs. A&M. Only if FIU and A&M played each other. There is nothing new on the PG situation. And in NO way is getting Don Strock back going to be better for FIU. Like has been said before here you can make a strong argument that DS may have set back the FIU program 2 or 3 years, because of his recruiting and lack of work ethic from practice to game planning.

MRedArmy: MC & PG inherited the brutal out-of-conference schedule from DS & Rick Mello. Word is future out-of-conference games will be toned down some instead of playing a gauntlet of Top 25 teams. MC & PG take control of the sked in 2010. FIU's sked is booked through 2009.

YouGotGold: 1) Chris Cook is just a sophomore and he's still developing. He has gotten better from last season. Read my story on him in Tuesday's Miami Herald for more info. 2) There is no excuse for FIU's offense to be taking those early timeouts vs. the HCs and KU. They need to get better organized, b/c that will cost them in a close game. 3) As far as the QBs in the 4th quarter, I'll look into it and have your answer in the next blog. 4) I don't follow your question about kicking a field goal when down 27-3??

UltimateFIUFan & chil'in man: Nothing is wrong over here. I did not travel to Kansas, because the Herald decided to cut the travel budget for last week. I WILL BE IN Nashville this weekend to cover the FIU/MT game. Looking forward to some good BarBQ and country music.

FIUJM: There is nothing new on the PG front. Ryan Young is a writer from a Kansas newspaper who filled in for me last Saturday. I'll be back with the Golden Panthers this Saturday in Nashville.

Caned_out & fiurabbit: Welcome to the GPP!

Must correct myself on one of the highlights from the Turtle Thomas interview on Descarga Deportiva last Wednesday. It was FIU pitcher Chris Allen whom TT noticed was tipping his pitches last season, and NOT Corey Polizzano. TT fixed Allen's problem and said Polizzano has been hitting the weight room like never before.

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I hope you're right about Kansas, Pete, because that was as bad an ass-kicking as FIU's ever gotten. It sure seemed to me that KU was as big of a undefeated lightweight as they get, considering the crap schedule they played to start. I have a hard time believing they're better than Penn State or Miami, though. Kansas might be better balanced, but I think either one of those schools takes them.

Still, KU's better than I thought they were. They sure looks like a good candidate to compete in the Big 12, which basically means they get the right to get smoked dirty by either Oklahoma or Texas. Best of luck to them... BUT... I think FIU made them look better than what they are. That game should have played out a LOT closer than it did. FIU gave KU too many gifts, and we can't afford to give out any at this stage. Still, gotta give the Jayhawks credit... that was a decisive whipping. They're doing what they should with that easy out-of-conference slate.

As for next week... this could well be the most winnable game in the Belt for FIU. Strange to think that considering MT gave L'Ville fits earlier in the season, but their QB Craddock is out (lucky, too, 'cause he might be the best in the conference) and MT is real, real, REAL young otherwise... almost as young as FIU. Their D sucks, too. I've always felt that, talent-wise, we're up there with anyone in the Belt except maybe Troy, so this should be a W... I'll save the prediction for later, though, once I get a better read on this game.

As for all of you asking for MC's head... people, RELAX. I know some of you think we're better than we've shown... and we are, I think... but let's get real. You gotta be at least decent to beat any of the four teams FIU started with, and you don't go 0-12 if you have a good team to start with. There's a serious lack of talent on this squad. The only other FIU team I've even seen in worse shape talent-wise came the year after Donnie Marsh left FIU. Sergio had a real hole to work out of with that team, and it took him three years to come up with a team that could compete in the Belt. Football should be faster than that, but Strock didn't leave MC a hell of a lot, and it shows. One or two more recruting classes is all it should take, hopefully. I just want us to sniff .500 in the Belt. I'll be happy with that.

First of all.......why did I drop off the leader board?

Secondly, my prediction for this week:
FIU-24
MTSU-10

My prediction for the KU game was posted at 4:52pm on 09/20. I predicted KU-32, FIU-14.

FIUmom,

I got you on the leadboard now. Sorry missed the first time. Apologies, PP.

PP
Reading your blog is like flashing back to Middle school. All tease and no output. You keep teasing us with bits and pieces of baseball but no real output. When are you going to have a COMPLETE article on the baseball team?

Pete, why is it that Moses Hinton doesn't get more playing time. He's 6'5 270lb with pretty good hands. Is it a work ethic thing or is he one-dimensional? It seems a guy that big who can move decently should get more balls thrown his way. When you are trying to establish a passing game and you have this HUGE target, why not capitalize? Unless there is something we aren't seeing. Please let us know.

GO FIU!!!!

FIU Fans:

If you've ever heard it said that every dark cloud has a silver lining, then you have a hint of the state of Golden Panther football in its present state. I attended the KU game, and I must admit there were times during that game when I felt as if I were the one getting JACKED UP.

It was flat out ugly for the most part. We got run over, at times. We lost contain, at times. We ran the wrong coverages, at times. We even ran the right coverages, badly, at times. The only thing worse than our pass play selection was the pass play execution, most of the time. I cannot complain about the running game because there was no running about which to complain. Again, that was most of the time.

But somewhere in the midst of the confusion, on the very periphery of ineptitude, a glimmer of hope remains. The offense will get better - as soon as MC decides to let them loose. We cannot be all that we can be as long as keep calling or going for pass plays which, even if they work, net 1 - 2 yards. Younger can throw long, but he needs more opportunities. If not deep passes, let's target the intermediate routes at the very least. Ned is a capable runner, if we can get him out of the backfield.

The defense had its moments, including some really nice hits. They played hard, but they are constantly playing with a scoring deficit. They are routinely hamstrung by poor field position courtesy of the offense. They still made plays, some very good plays, but not consistently. When they string together more than two good quarters they will be in a better position to win.

FIU may well have been in over it head for the first four games. They may well be an overly young team with an equally young couch. But football is as it has always been - all about production. If they play they way they can play, produce the way they can produce they will still win their conference. DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT???

FIU Fans:

If you've ever heard it said that every dark cloud has a silver lining, then you have a hint of the state of Golden Panther football in its present state. I attended the KU game, and I must admit there were times during that game when I felt as if I were the one getting JACKED UP.

It was flat out ugly for the most part. We got run over, at times. We lost contain, at times. We ran the wrong coverages, at times. We even ran the right coverages, badly, at times. The only thing worse than our pass play selection was the pass play execution, most of the time. I cannot complain about the running game because there was no running about which to complain. Again, that was most of the time.

But somewhere in the midst of the confusion, on the very periphery of ineptitude, a glimmer of hope remains. The offense will get better - as soon as MC decides to let them loose. We cannot be all that we can be as long as keep calling or going for pass plays which, even if they work, net 1 - 2 yards. Younger can throw long, but he needs more opportunities. If not deep passes, let's target the intermediate routes at the very least. Ned is a capable runner, if we can get him out of the backfield.

The defense had its moments, including some really nice hits. They played hard, but they are constantly playing with a scoring deficit. They are routinely hamstrung by poor field position courtesy of the offense. They still made plays, some very good plays, but not consistently. When they string together more than two good quarters they will be in a better position to win.

FIU may well have been in over it head for the first four games. They may well be an overly young team with an equally young couch. But football is as it has always been - all about production. If they play they way they can play, produce the way they can produce they will still win their conference. DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT???

FIU Fans:

If you've ever heard it said that every dark cloud has a silver lining, then you have a hint of the state of Golden Panther football in its present state. I attended the KU game, and I must admit there were times during that game when I felt as if I were the one getting JACKED UP.

It was flat out ugly for the most part. We got run over, at times. We lost contain, at times. We ran the wrong coverages, at times. We even ran the right coverages, badly, at times. The only thing worse than our pass play selection was the pass play execution, most of the time. I cannot complain about the running game because there was no running about which to complain. Again, that was most of the time.

But somewhere in the midst of the confusion, on the very periphery of ineptitude, a glimmer of hope remains. The offense will get better - as soon as MC decides to let them loose. We cannot be all that we can be as long as keep calling or going for pass plays which, even if they work, net 1 - 2 yards. Younger can throw long, but he needs more opportunities. If not deep passes, let's target the intermediate routes at the very least. Ned is a capable runner, if we can get him out of the backfield.

The defense had its moments, including some really nice hits. They played hard, but they are constantly playing with a scoring deficit. They are routinely hamstrung by poor field position courtesy of the offense. They still made plays, some very good plays, but not consistently. When they string together more than two good quarters they will be in a better position to win.

FIU may well have been in over it head for the first four games. They may well be an overly young team with an equally young couch. But football is as it has always been - all about production. If they play they way they can play, produce the way they can produce they will still win their conference. DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT???

Thanks for answering the questions. Let's forget about that last question, put that game behind us and focus on getting this win on Saturday.

Just a thought here...Do you think that MC or Offenseive Coord. (whoever calls the plays on offense) has NOT opened the entire playbook against the O.O.C teams?

Maybe MC didnt want to give the SunBelt teams everything that could've been on gamefilm...because afterall, isn't "competing on the SunBelt" what MC wanted to focus on this year?

I know..."you play to win the game"...but maybe during these first 4 games MC just wanted to put these kids on as many game situations as possible, letting them learn and grow, before opening things up. Just like NFL preseason, you never wanna show them everything you have.

YouGotGold - Are yu serious with that "excuse?" Yes, I am sure MC wanted his kids to start out 0-4, getting embarrassed in 3 of the 4 games, and get the stigma of the longest losing streak in the country attached to them. I hope for FIU's sake that MC is not that stupid and your pitiful attempt at an excuse for the 0-4 start is a sign of your football lack of knowledge and FIU degree then it is a truthful statement.

As to PP's post - I think your your dislike for UM is starting to cloud your judgment. For you to say that KU was the best team that FIU has played is a freakin joke. Both Penn State and UM are better. Where is the evidence that backs up your comment. Who has KU beat? Um beat a top 25 school (even if YOU think they are overrated, I mean you think FIU has a future so how valid is your opinion on the matter) and Penn State is a lot mopre balanced then KU. PP - you know I love this blog, and I think you are the best at the Herald, but you need to start giving credit where credit is due.

To U24/7:

We will get a better idea of Kansas and have a more accurate comparison when KU plays @ Texas A&M. If they (KU)gets to the Big 12 Championship, they would most likely play OU. Then a comparison is more legit with UM.

YouGotGold: I highly doubt that MC would be holding back on the playbook at this point. It doesn't make sense. If he did, it was probably just against Penn State, and that would depend on if the team was ready to take the whole playbook... but considering they've been working on the same plays since fall practice started, there's no reason to think the coaches would hold back at this point UNLESS they didn't think the players were ready to run the plays correctly.

The only thing missing that the players need at this point is actual game experience, and you won't give them that if you hold off on running certain plays. It's better for the team to learn from game film, anyway; you learn more about your guys there than from scrimmaging against the same people every day. Some coaches even go so far as to say you should open up your playbook at this time of year, so that you know what you can and can't do once conference play hits. I don't know if MC is one of those guys, but I would say he probably is, if what we've seen so far is any indication.

Every game is important, but reality says that this year's a wash for MC and FIU. It isn't as important for the team to win this year as it is to learn so that they can win consistently next year and the years beyond. They have nothing to lose by trying new plays and new things and finding out what works and what doesn't.

E-man: Valid points... but do remember one thing. To run long pass plays usually requires long routes. That means the O-line has to hold their blocks longer. That's an issue for this team, and it was the same last year, too.

A lot of Strock's blandness on O came from not trusting his offensive line long enough for his team to run 10-to-20 yard routes. That's why you saw so much of the same crap in the passing game, and it's also why the safeties, linebackers and corners were able to play 10 yards off the line of scrimmage and jump routes every damn game. The only way to beat that is for the O-line to get better, and I don't think the talent is there yet.

Random rant here... what drove me crazy about Strock last year is when he'd continue to try to pound the ball inside when his lineman can't even control the line of scrimmage. He'd have been better off trying to get the RB's outside more on running plays, I think, with the guards pulling out. If you can't hold the line, don't try. Use the big hogs outside. Maybe that would have worked. A moving pocket could have worked, too... matter of fact, Pelegrin mentioned that to me once or twice during one of the football games last season... but I think it'd have been easier to try to run outside than hold a moving pocket, personally.

24/7 i think what you got gold was trying to say was that MC kept his offense to a min. to try to develop a couple of things so that the offense can have something to fall back on. im sure in every coaches play book they got something stored away to suprise the other. MC prob. wanted to just get the basics down and thats what YGG was trying to say

Pete, thanks for the answer there. Just an absolutely ridiculous stretch of games that any team in the country would have struggled with I think.
Mid Tenn. State is also one of those unpredictable Sun Belt teams that looks really good, and then plays like crap. Which one will we see? And can the FIU defense hold their WR's in check? This one'll be interesting.

What happened to 3 step drops and curl routes for first downs, short routes, keep the ball moving north....clocking ticking ?

4 games in and I wonder if the O-Line will be up to the task against conf. opponents ?

Where is Moses Hinton ? Marquis Rolle ? Stretch the field and get more isolation with corners and keep the safeties thinking run or deep plays. Then you go mid-range. C'mon this is elementary. I am starting to believe that the personnel is just not there. I was at PSU, Maryland and Miami. Wayne or whoever ? Needs more time to deliver his passes. I am hopeful that the line can get corrected and we see this team execute some of the basics. WE NEED A WIN !!

lol the natives are getting cranky lol see i have a feeling that this week will be differnt i have a feeling that this week we will get it done.. this will be the week that some1 else has the nations longest losing streak... if we win this week that will give us SO much confidence and then goin home to play troy (a good team) can help more after a win.

a win this week can bring more fan support than ever thought i think. FIU nation is craving a win and if FIU delivers sat. then on the 6th. the crowd will grow and we might have the 12th man (granted he would be a lil man right now) that we are looking for. (as you all can tell im very big on crowd support

UltimateFIUFan - though you make valid points, it is a very slippery slope when you start comparing this team to that team based on games played against common opponants. I do no thin a game b/tw KU and A&M, or a game B/tw KU and Okla will be a valid measuring stick as to who was the better FIU opponant UM or KU. Using that rationale, Appalchian State is better then Penn State - I don;t think so. I don't think App St is better then Mich - and they beat them. Like I said, good argument, but a flawed rationale.

crazy i cant wait to see what you have in stored for your score of the game. you goint to give Midd Tenn more than 50 on us?

Let's win this damn one. We need a win under our belt so bad. PP, have a question, can you compare and contrast the plans for FAU's stadium and ours (seats, skyboxes, money put into it, etc)? I am curious.

We need to stop MTSU offense, I saw them against Louisville and they looked good (I know Louisville's defense is nothing to write home about, but they can score. Our defense needs to play big b/c we are having a tough time scoring)

FIU - 16
MTSU - 14

Please let's win!!!

No problem, Pete. I knew it had to be just an oversight. Thanks (I have to make sure that these people here realize that a female knows her stuff).

We know you know your stuff mom (i feel like we have gone through this many times)

Your tremendous amount of knowledge was clear when you correctly picked FIU to start 0-4.....but now that you picked them to win by 2 TD's (a TD is worth 7 points) on Saturday, I am once again beginning to doubt your knowledge.

lol josh come on your not goin to even give us 2 tds against midd tenn?

NY/MIA Josh (aka "I am so insecure I need mention to everyone that I went to Columbia") your so condescending, what is your prediction?

NYCFIU(aka "I am so insecure I feel the need to call every UM poster uneducated, even ones that went to FIU)...I will hold my prediction until Friday, I dont want people copying mine since I am in second place and intend to climb into first

AWW come on josh it wouldnt be giving it away if you say you think FIU might score more than a td and a fg... just wondering cause your questioning FIU mom for saying we might put up 2 tds.... if i read it correctly... just wonderinng why you would think that against... this team no less

I may give FIU 10 pts, or even 20 pts....what I was questioning on FIUmom was she said they would WIN by 14 (scoring 24)

NY/MIA Josh (aka "I like to begin every conversation by saying I went to Columbia"), I won't hold my breath for your prediction.

GO FIU!!!!

NY Josh - why are you defending yourself. I will question MOM and her ludacris prediction. I want to know what she has seen from this years GPers that makes her think (since she knows so much about football) that FIU will score 24 points and win by 14? For someone who claims to be so football savy - that prediction looks pretty dumb.

I'll even give you my prediction now

Midd Tenn 40
FIU 10

NYCFIUFan, there is no reason to be jealous of NY Josh and his Columbia diploma - I am sure your FIU degree (if you went there) is comparablE. I mean, they are both printed out on paper, they both have writing on them, they are both in different languages (Columbia probably in Latin or some other dignified language) and Fiu (in Spanish or Spanglish)

NYCFIUFan - I am sure you now live in NY because you got job offers from the same top dog financial, attorney, brokage (or whatever) firms NY Josh got from Columbia - only difference is, he most likely has a desk and a computer and you have a mop and a bucket - but look at it this way - you get to wear more comfortable clothes to work. So you win.

Pat yourself on the back NYCFIUFan.

Jeesh, I go on vacation and I come back to people just tearing at each other. Talk about semi-entertaining. Hmmm, If Midd. Tenn. loses this week I think they are safe bet to carry the torch for the SBC as the worst team in 1-A. But Midd. Tenn did win the conference last year with Troy. Their offense should be able to score more than enough points against FIU to win, but I might have to wait a while and let the euphoria of my trip subside. It should be a tougher game to pick but the loser can pretty much pack it in for the year.

actually Midd tenn. isnt the same team it was last year if ive read correctly plus w/o a starting qb on an offense thats already has question and the defense that also has a ? mark i can see FIU puttin up some points w/ the run game.

CrazyCane....
First of all, learn to spell. It is "savvy."

Secondly, your prediction is based on what? Dislike for FIU? It is not based on anything else. Have you even taken a look at the conference standings? I think not. Nothing there indicates the score should be anything close to your uninformed prediction. Though both of our offenses are consistently the bottom two in the conference, the difference here will be that our line allows fewer sacks (almost 2 less per game). Our defense consistently is ranked higher, with FIU tied for the lead in sacks. Thus the edge goes to us again.

Would you like to investigate for yourself? I'll make it easy for you. Here's the link:

https://www.nmnathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=22157&SPID=1808&DB_OEM_ID=4100&ATCLID=1206419


Now, if you can provide a logical justification for your lopsided prediction, other than personal feelings, I would be willing to have a conversation with you about the subject. Otherwise I will just resign to the fact that your name is very fitting......crazy.

I don't think that link posted properly. Go to www.SunBeltSports.org. Click on "football" and scroll down to the statistics link.

Messod, up there with ANYONE in the Sun Belt except Troy?? And your smoking what exactly??? You have yet to beat ANY Sun Belt team, and you sure as hell are not "up there" yet with my school, let alone the other sun belt teams who are 1-0 against you. Id rather not do the FIU/FAU battle because ive done that already with a few people on this board and I enjoy you FIU fans and your opinions, but show some respect. You mention Troy but not us??

NYCFIU, I can tell one thing we have that you dont. Bit** old boca people who are already complaining that a 30k stadium will turn boca into a tailgating party!! lol! Be thankful you dont have to deal with the bingo crowd!

lol no no we welcome the old timers down here cause we play a different game... its called dominos!

btw andy congrats on being 3-1

Thank you CJ, and I think you guys are def going to win this weekend. Good luck buddy!

Don't take it personally, Andy D....it's just an FIU board....wow, the crazies at ucg are at their delusional peak right now...

Oh i never do fanatic, thats just the way i type, i enjoy the debate/conversation with you guys so if i see a post that I have a reaction to, I post my opinion.

I think FIU will be one of the top teams in the sun belt soon. Not sure if its this year or next. We will find out a lot about your program this weekend. I think you guys will finally break that losing streak, good luck! We will have more then our hands full with Kentucky and their QB.

And now for the definitive word on the FIU / MT score: FIU 27, MT 9.

The brutality that has been these past four games may have just taught this young team a few things:
1. If they can play, even for two quarters, against the teams they have face, then they should be able to sustain that effort against their conference foes;

2. Their O line was able to provide enough time against all 4 teams to allow Younger to go deep WHEN THE CALL WAS MADE TO DO SO. they just have to connect on their attempts.

3. The defense, when fresh, can hold its own, provided it doesn't have to play with their backs to the goal line. The line and linebackers are capable of limiting the running game of conference teams. The problem arises when the running game is suppress the secondary has to step up. Their best safety is on the bench he's not flashy, but he's reliable and steady.

4. MC will stop "dumbing down" the offense. If the players can't run the plays by now replace them and run the whole book.

5. Special teams are just about there. Out punter has already had his lone permitted sub-par performance. Kick-offs are tolerable and field goal attempts seems to on track. Kick off returns are still an adventure, but fumbles seem to be less of a concern with the current return tandem.

6. Lastly, it doesn't matter which MT team shows up this Saturday. It matters only which FIU team takes the field. Will see the team hat will do what it take to win the whole game or the one willing to settle for holding their own for a quarter or two. MC has made a big deal about not allowing his team to seek solace in moral victories. Well, MC, get this group hooked on real winning and they'll accept no substitutes.

The moment is about to be seized!

Andy D:

I said talent-wise, bro, not record-wise, and I totally stand by that statement. You may not know this because FAU has a head coach that's worth a damn, but FIU football's been terribly mismanaged almost from the beginning, especially the on-field part of the product. Strock & company did not make many of the players better, and his schemes sure didn't make them look better than they were. Almost every year under Strock, the team was an underachiever, save for the Inaugural season. (Some would say 2005 as well, when we finished 5-6, but 2 of those 5 wins came against I-AA teams, so I wouldn't call that overachieving by any means.)

Lemme put it to you this way... there's been few times I've seen FIU play where I honestly thought they didn't have the talent to hang with a team. Most of the times they lost, it was coaching, bad attitudes and/or a lack of discipline that did them in. And the few times they did have a severe talent gap does not include anyone in the Belt. That conference has the most parity of any other in FBS, hands down. It seems like every year someone can come from nowhere and win it.

About the only team that has been consistently good is Troy. To me, they are the cream of the Belt. BUT... I think that has more to do with coaching than actual talent. They are the most talented team in the conference, but they also have the best coaching, too. The Belt title is usually decided by the best coaching, not the most talent, since the talent levels are so even across the board that it usually doesn't make a serious impact. (That's one of the reasons I've always given FAU a good chance to win, too. Howard may be old, but he knows what he's doing.)

As for FAU... I don't think you can say they have more talent than FIU. For all intents and purposes, they get pretty much the same quality of player... that is, what the big three Florida schools don't get. The difference is that Howard instills in them the ability to win games while Strock did not. Look at our rivalry for proof. Almost every game has been relatively close, and FAU's won all of the close ones. That speaks more about coaching than talent, to me. I don't really count the last two years' games, though, since both were real aberrations. FIU was mentally shot when we played FAU last season, and the year before was a combo of a young FAU team and a hell of a lot of mistakes and good luck going FIU's way.

I think a good coach can make FIU a legit Sun Belt contender next year for sure, and with some good play and lucky bounces, we could even challenge this season. FAU's a good team with good coaching... all credit to them... I like and admire what you guys in Boca have done... but I don't think you've proven among the best in the Belt just yet. Eventually, though, I fully expect both FIU and FAU to be the teams to beat in the Belt... probably within 2-3 years.

Happy now? :)

Oh yes..he will...partly..

Go FIU!!

Pete, how is the blog ranking with the Herald?

I agree with you about the talent, but I also think when you are recruting at the bottom, its more about having an EYE for talent that most likely HS has that DS didnt, jury obviously out on your new coach for now. But I do agree with most of your statements, fair enough to say until weve done it, you cant put us at the top of the sun belt.

Disagree with your reasons for the blowouts in the last 2 shula bowls. We had just lost all our seniors from our first 4 year class when you beat us, with your 4th year seniors. The next year, you lost all your 4 year seniors and we had the same team from the year before. Simple as that.

Andy D,
I have a great idea for you and your fellow owls, buy lots of folding tables and chairs and block a section of the parking lot, get a bingo machine and lots of ensure and ovaltine, find out the cost for bingo at the local bongo halls and do a discount 2 for 1 or something like that. I am sure that will keep the seniors happy and will make you some money, oh and don't forget some Frank, Dean and Lisa music and let them dance a little too.

lol tell them the kidney beans are free an hour before the game right after the bingo.

The U24/7, yes I did go to FIU. In case you have not realized this, unlike the UM fans, fans of the FIU program actually went to the school. Also, I love the way you went to NY/MIA Josh's rescue and hold him in such high regard (do you do vacuuming at his home?). Oh, the U24/7 did you answer my original question, did you go to the U? Again you are so quick to disregard the degree I have and lambaste FIU and defend the UCG, I am just curious where this deep alliance you have with the U and all of the people who supposedly went to UCG?

ok i think im not goin to wait till friday to post. (although i will repost) lookint at the average w/ yrds stats etc. tells me to go w/ midd tenn. but you know what... this week is the game that we snap the 16 game losing streak. somethings got to give and it will be FIU winning the game 17-13. 2 tds' and 1 fg wins it and i think FIU will do it.

nycfiu, i dont understand your vendeta against 24/7. who are any of us to say who he can cheer for. i didnt go to UM but you best believe when they aint playing FIU ill wear my finest Orange and Green and hopefully soon UM fans when not playing the Panthers will wear their best Blue and Gold. b/c we are all Miamians.

well except crazy.... we dont need pycho's to cheer for us lol

I'm not quite sure how it matters if you went to the school you cheer for? Why is this something that you FIU fans bring up like it's supposed to be a knock on our program? I would think it would be far more flattering to have a school that is as selective as UM is, and still garner the same respect and fan following as any other program. (Of course not exactly saying something considering the fact that S. Florida fans are terrible for attending games....but I digress). I live in Richmond, and I see plenty of VT flags waving (a school in Blacksburg which is more than 3 hours away). Many of these flag wavers never even went to the school. So what? They are still fans of that team, cheer for them, and even attend their games whenever they get a chance.

If the only people that went to games were UM students, we wouldn't even fill up the west end zone. If you add all the alums that still reside in S.Fl, I doubt you would even fill up half the stadium. Yet, even with that, and coming off a 7-6 season, we still manage an average 45-50 thousand in attendance.

Now look at your school. You guys claim over 30,000 alumni and I don't know how many students, and yet have you filled up the OB? What are you average attendances?

Don't knock on a program that has fans that didn't go to the school. Truth is, UM is a very difficult school to get into, and very expensive. The fact we DO have that kind of following is impressive, and should not be looked down upon; it should, in fact, be envied.

I can't believe that any UCG fan is knocking on any school's attendance. They have the lowest attendances of any of the "Big 3" in the state. And I'd be willing to bet that USF and UCF will soon surpass them.

FIU is Young Program it takes time to develop fan support. like you said most UM fans didnt go to UM. alot of those are FIU alum/students. kind of hard to jump onto another program after supporting one for so long.. (trust me i know). give it time FIU will start putting fans in the stands... a win this week will help

Andy D:

The eye for talent is definitely important... but I don't think that was the biggest of Strock's problem. The talent was there to win more than we did under him. A bigger problem was that he couldn't coach players up or motivate them to play better. The biggest of all his issues was that he didn't understand the psychology of college kids.

Howard's old-school in the Bear Bryant mode... it's his way or the highway... and his kids know it. They respect him, listen to him and probably fear him a little bit. In other words, he's kind of like a father figure. It's a good style to have with kids still trying to become adults.

Strock was totally different. He treated his kids like they were in the NFL... that is, as professional adults and not the 18-to-23 year olds that they were. I think that's a big reason why you saw so much undisciplined play and stupid mistakes. Those kids needed leadership... needed someone to push them and make them better... and the head coach is supposed to set that example. Strock didn't because he wasn't that kind of guy.

I know it's not all on the coaches... the players must be held accountable, too... but as a college football coach, I think you have to account for your players not being fully grown adults, and he didn't.

With that said... I don't think all head coaches need to be father figures. You ultimately have to do things your way, and if Strock wasn't a father figure type, that's fine. Not all coaches have the right skills, but it's important for them to know where they lack and remedy it somehow. I don't think he did that very well.

The greatest thing I think MC's done is give these kids a leader to follow... someone to be scared of... someone they can respect and admire... someone who pushes them to be better as players and as people. That's much more effective for college players. Plus he's a better recruiter and definitely more of a risk-taker offensively. It may not work, but I do think MC's got the right idea.

As for the last two Shula Bowls... I don't think we disagree as much as you think. That FAU team who took that 52-6 beating was very young. I liked FIU to win that game because we were more veteran. But it was a very poor performance and a lot of mistakes from FAU that made the score much worse than it would've been otherwise. As for last year... I agree there, but do remember that last year's FIU team played well enough, for the most part, to win all their games until the Miami game. That brawl screwed them mentally, and the rest of the season was thrown in the toilet. FIU hardly showed up for that game, or for UL-Monroe, either. You may have won, but if we had played early in the season, you wouldn't have won that big. I would bet on that, if it were possible.

CJ, like you said, a win will go a long way. Getting butts in the stands will happen when the wins come - unfortunately that is the way S.Fl sports has always been. MC is not the guy, I'm sorry, that will help you do this. Look at how UM got on the map, it took someone like Howard S (never could spell his name) to do it, someone who knows his X's and O's. Maybe it's still too early to say anything about the progress being done by MC, it's just that nothing I've seen shows improvement. In fact, looking at these first 4 games you guys have played, it almost looks like you've taken a step back.

Is it still too early? Sure. But honestly, I don't believe MC (who really wasn't even that good of an O line coach, just a good recruiter) is going to get you those wins to put those fans in the stands. Just one man's opinion.

But like I said, my original post was just to those people who scoff at our program just because we have fans that never went to our school. Absurd.

see canster thats where we differ ive seen some improvement. its in the attitude. the atmosphere. you must remember that most of our team is young so when it looks like a digression on our part its actaully the learning curve that is taking place. but the attitude is better. never went to a game of FIU that i saw players get excited to get the crowd involved till now

btw guys there is a new rendering for the football stadium at the school website. think its fiusports.com

I saw the rendering, it looks pretty sweet. Can't wait to go to the first game next year at the new house.

Yes. Nice rendering of our new, ON CAMPUS, state of the art stadium. Interesting the new developments there. As for MC and the future, I don't know how anybody can make those arguments so early into his career. Sure, chances are overwheming for him not ending up being a Howard S...but anybody can say that, without truly knowing what the heck they are saying.

Point is...nobody should be so confident and state, one way or another, how MC will fare. Remember, there is nothing more true than one day after another. Tomorrow may prove to bite you.

where are those renderings, can you provide a link?

Messod, you seem to know quite a bit about Strock. I didnt follow you guys much, but from a distant eye he didnt look like he was doing very much. I must admire you hardcore FIU fans. You have a team that isnt winning and you support them 100% and keep a positive outlook.

I think you need to give MC at least another year before you even start to make judgements about him, but I really am not one to know, you guys who follow your team closely would be, and you all seem fairly happy with the direction.

Midd Tenn. is HUGE for you guys. They are middle to lower of the pack Sun Belt, you need, and should get the win. Im going FIU 24 Midd. Tenn. 10.

And also hate to say it, but im a realist, and i dont think FAU will beat a top 25 Kentucky team. That being said, im hopeful we can give them a fight!

And you guys are hilarious... gotta love the FIU board, never thought id say that one.

I love your ideas, bingo, kidney beans... what if we promise to show a murder she wrote marathon on the stadium screen after every game? lol

Make that a Cosby Show marathon and I'll buy your popcorn, Andy.

Quijote,
Go to our message board. You will see the latest drawing there. Hope all is well in Spain.

New Stadium will be rocking the first game of the year against South Florida in '08. The home-field advantage will help against quality program. I wonder if they will serve alcohol though? Not that it matters to me, but curious.

We got a chance to beat Middle Tennessee. FIU is not in the level of recruiting same athletes as Miami, Kansas, Penn State and Maryland...but we have athletes to compete against Sun Belt opponent.

I expect the defense to bring it to the party on Saturday!! And I'm going to predict at least two touchdowns from offense this week; maybe even one on specials teams/defense.

FIU 24
MTSU 20

Go FIU!!! Break that losing streak this week.


FIUJM, on campus stadiums don't sell alcohol, but usually it's pretty easy to sneak some in anyhow.

Don't expect alcohol at the new stadium on campus...

It figures that a UCGer would talk about sneaking alcohol into a dry location.

no they never had to remember the ob sells it. and FIU mom UM students/fans arnt the only ones that have ever snuck in alcohol

FIUmom - why does it figure that a UM fan would talk about sneaking in alcohol? At UM games, you can buy alcohol right at the stadium, so why would a UM fan have any type of advaced knowledge of sneaking in alcohol? Please explain yourself? And while you are at it - kindly remember it is one of your fans who is more concerned about whether or not alcohol will be served at "The Cage" rather then whether or not the team will win a game there. I'll give you my prediction for next years opener against SoFl - SoFl 55 - FIU 0. FIUMom (or Lombadi, whatever you choose) stick to the Cosby marathons rather then trying to belittle UM fans. You are not that good at it. By the way - how many yards does your son have this season? Since I have no idea who you are, and therefore, who your son is, I would just like to know how he has been playing this season.

I was just curious!! Canester it's funny you say that usually it's pretty easy to sneak alcohol in on campus stadium. UCF has new on campus stadium(Bright House) and a friend of mine that graduated from there said to me that they sneak in alchohol. My question to him was ; How safe should people feel in that stadium???

Thank you for clarifying that to me.

Now FIU better go and get a W on Saturday.

U24/7...because I ask about alcohol doesn't mean that I'm going to drink at games. I'm truly more interested in the football game and could care less if there's alcohol or not. School policy doesn't permit alcohol on campus; but for some reason I thought it would be different at stadium.

Another thing, what's your problem with FIUmom...last time i check this was FIU blog. She's allowed to say whatever she wants; as for you mentioning her son...I wonder if you ever played a down of even Pee-Wee league football?

I won't go into your ludacris prediction for next year's opener! One thing though, keep in mind we lost last year to USF 21-20(and if you follow FIU football...we should have won that game).

so pete a new article soon. read some of the updates on the injury report and LS getting the nod at Punt Returner. what are your thoughts. good, bad? im alil worried but i have faith if they/ you say he's securing the ball then ill believe.

damn i think you all had to much coffee.... alcohol will prob. be allowed at the tailgating. but i wouldnt want it in the stadium. it just makes people more VILE i love the OB but i wish the wouldnt when i was at the UM vs. FIU game the UM hecklers did have a stench of alcohol. not saying thats what it takes to get like that but it did help.

Andy D:

I don't pretend to be an expert on Strock... though I did interview him a couple of times... but covering the team from before the inaugural season up until Cristobal's hire has its benefits. I saw and heard some things that didn't hit the front page, the web page or the TV screens. I kind of wish that were still true, but I'm enjoying life out of South Florida, so no complants there.

Anyway... I'm pretty sure the new stadium won't have alcohol, for those asking. Which, truthfully, isn't a terrible idea. I personally don't have a problem with stadiums selling alcohol, since the financial benefits are there, but there's no doubt that stadiums which sell beer tend to be rowdier. I think most of us would agree that much of the craziness at the OB is fueled by that. I'd just as soon have the stadium dry, for that and because it will reduce the number of DUI accidents. Most people get ther slosh on at the tailgate parties anyway, and 3 hours of football's a good way to sober out.

agree'd the game should be a time to sober up after major tailgating lol for those old enough to drink lol dont want to get busted by undercover cops lol

OK, let's knock out the prediction real quick.

FIU 21
MT 14

First off... I like FIU's chances to get something done offensively. MT's defense isn't that great, though you do gotta remember that they did play LSU and Louisville, just two of the best O's in the nation. FAU's scoring power isn't bad, either, for a Sun Belt squad, though losing to WKU at home is not that great. If WKU put up 20, we can do better than that. Younger should have his moments, but the win will come because Ned has a big game. At least 100 and a score, I think.

With that said... I would call this game a loss if Joe Craddock was under center for MT. That kid's really impressed me whenever I've seen him play, especially the Louisville game. The Cards D sucks, but he kept his team in that game way longer than anyone else thought they could. I would trust MT's offense over FIU in a shoot-out. But with an inexperienced QB under center, I like FIU to give Dasher problems.

MC's probably gonna pull his hair out if we don't win this game. Hell, I think most of the faithful will, and with good reason, too. MT's probably the most beatable team in the Belt right now. This is a perfect chance to get a W and get some momentum going into Troy. If we don't win this game, I don't think we have a prayer against the Trojans.

well midd tenn and louisiana laffayete

Messod is right the Big MO. will be with us goin into the troy game. a win and home field advantage will help FIU vs. Troy. a loss would put us behind the Belt already . we need confidence and Midd Tenn game will do it. remember inexperience (coaching and players) effect most when playing big names. thats something that will be righted by next year.

Isn't it incredible how LS goes from being All-American honorable mention PR/KR and this year he forgot how to hold on to the ball? I'm pulling for this kid...any points or good field position will definitely help our offense.

Pete, what's the deal with Marquis Rolle? How's he doing in practice? I know FIU is recruiting a LB from his HS; hopefully Rolle is liking FIU and can bring some friends over from Orlando area.

speaking of recruiting ive heard we already have 1 verbal. and scout.com is giving great coverage actually showing who is intersted in us or who we are goin after. (rivals just shows who you got) still we seem to still be ahead in recruiting in the Belt

Here's my prediction:

MTSU 17
FIU 24

FIUMom, very pathetic that you must be of adult age, yet childishly make a joke at my expense. I shouldn't be all that surprised what with all that "UCG" garbage you seem to spew in all your posts.

As people have already said, the OB sells alcohol, so I PERSONALLY have no experience in sneaking it in. I did, however, have friends who went to UF, FSU, and VT that did it very easily, which is why I said it. And on a personal note, I only drink a beer or two during the tailgating experience, and NOT during the game, for the sole purpose of being as sober as possible to watch us either destroy our opponent or be beaten by them. That's just who I am. My comment about sneaking in alcohol was meant partly in jest, and do believe you are ridiculously uninformed if you believe FIU fans will not do so anyhow.

I would ask that you retract your ridiculous statement, but somehow I doubt you have the intellectual fortitude, and maturity to do so.

I thought we already had 2 verbals. I'm just glad MC and his staff aren't scared to recruit anybody!! They'll go after any kid in the US. Colt Anderson was a great find in Nebraska.

Thanks for the scout.com website; usually i do Rivals. They give you an idea of who they are recruiting at that site also.

ya i do rivals as well but rivals you have to go player by player to see who they are goin after.. (unless they can do it another way im not sure of.. but whenever i click FIU it only shows me one guys.

FIU 17 - MTU 13

Canester,
Though I am probably more mature than you could ever imagine, I will not retract my statement. As a matter of fact, it was you, my friend, who showed immaturity by making such a statement. The discussion was about an on campus stadium. Someone asked if alcohol was served at an on campus stadium. It required a simple "yes" or "no" answer. However, you chose to take to the level that is criminal in nature. So, before you go slinging immaturity accusations, I suggest you start with the man.....or boy.....in the mirror. Have a good day.

FIUMom, criminal in nature? I responded to his question by saying No. Then added to it by saying, but you can sneak some in if you want to. Would putting a " :P " have made you feel better? It's a joke. Grow the hell up.

Like I said, I doubt you would have the intellectual fortitude nor the maturity to retract your statement, which is why I didn't ask you for it. But I guess along with your ridiculous statements and childishness, reading comprehension is not your forte. I hope your son gets a better education than you apparently received.

Canester just relax. You can obviously draw an impression about the maturity level when a grown woman is on a blog/messageboard and being overly involved in her son's life,a grown man.

a grown man? he isnt 40

40, 18, or 30. He's no longer a kid, if he can fight for this country and die for it he's a man.

Come on Fomenter, it was a joke based on the Ok. State coach's tirade...he said dont make fun of players, write something about me, I'm a man, I'm 40

Thank you MIA/NY Josh for explaining the joke, I too missed it. Your Columbia education is far superior to all of ours. You need to dumb it down for us FIU grads. Anyway, I agree with Canester and whoever else believes that FIUMom has no sense. She loves to post on her about how smart her football IQ is, but when it comes to common sense, it appears she is seriously lacking. If she cannot understand the difference between a youthful, and joking suggestion regarding the alcohol consumption at a game, and a "criminal" act - maybe she should be the one to look in the mirror. FIUMom - I am sure you are a very nice lady, but you are so far out of "the know" on this blog and current trends, all your comments are truly suspect. I am still waiting for you to tell us how your son is doing this season.

i do think mom took it alil out of context. so is UM fans bashing of her.. i think we all need to drink decaf coffee in the morning people. sorry i didnt get the joke either josh.. i havent seen the complete rant. 24/7 seems like your trying to stalk fiu moms son lol

Remember, some have a loser mentality...I guess U24/7 is dumbing down from the Columbia smart dude because of his affiliation with the canes and their fans...not because of his alleged (hmmmm..) education at FIU...

As for FIU commitments...I have read/heard of 5 known commitments so far:

1. LB Corey Lattimore from El Camino CC..out of South Dade HS
2. Milhomme Jean-Charles a DE from Bayside HS in Florida.
3. Marquee Williams a HS quarterback, recruited as a WR from Ocala Vanguard HS.
4. Joey Harris, a 6-3/240 TE/DE from Chiefland HS in Florida.
5. Aaron Davis- a 6-2/240 DE/LB from Bartow HS in Florida.

There you have it...

MT 24 FIU 17

My son is running on the scout team because he is not eligible academically. He made some mistakes last year and has had to make up for them. For the first time in his life he is working hard in the classroom to get A's, and I could not be more proud of him for not giving up. That is how my son is doing. However, how my son is doing has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

And the fact that a comment was made about alcohol at games is not the problem. The fact that the statement was made that alcohol being snuck into a dry stadium, which would be illegal to do, was the problem.

FIUmom, the problem is, sneaking in alcohol has been going since the beginning of the policy of alcohol being banned in on campus stadiums. I was simply pointing it out to FIUJM.

As much as you might not like it, the truth is, FIU fans who want to drink in the new stadium can very easily do so; unless FIU implements a full cavity search to every person walking in. :(

"unless FIU implements a full cavity search to every person walking in"
don't give them any ideas.

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