On Monday morning the Golden Panthers old fieldhouse came down with excavators demolishing it rather quickly. MC (right) and PG took ceremonial knocks at the building. Now from the west parking lot you can see the entire stadium.
Our next tour of the stadium will be the first week of January when it should be halfway completed. Until then, here are some more updates the GPP got this morning from Odebrecht Senior Project Manager and unofficial new stadium tour guide Rudy Armenta. You guys remember Rudy (left) from our tour last month. Here he is standing where the west end zone stands are going up in January.
As many of you have seen from being on campus, the east stands are going up rather quickly along with the southeast corner ramp. Rudy expects to have the east side done by Christmas. Thanks to the fast work by Southern Bleachers installing all the backrests and chairbacks, by Dec. 25 the south and east of the stadium will be finished, with the exception of the club suites on the south.
The concourse walkway behind the south stands is already completed. This is the concourse that will wrap around the stadium when all the work is done. And the way the concourse will be set up, will allow you to not miss a play as you stand in line for another burger. Around the entire stadium, you will be able to see the field from the concourse.
The concrete for the club suites flooring gets laid down on Wednesday and by late January most of the club suites should be close to being finished.
Also in January, the construction of the new fieldhouse will begin. The new fieldhouse will contain FIU's locker room, meeting rooms, coaches offices and FIU athletics weight training gym. The west end zone stands will actually sit on top of the new fieldhouse and the tunnel which the Golden Panthers will come out of for the start of games will be in the southwest corner of the west end zone. The tunnel will be three times the size of the Orange Bowl tunnel. The FIU fieldhouse will open as a two-story building with expansion expected to go up to four-stories. The fieldhouse is expected to be completely done by next Christmas. FIU, however, will be able to use it when the stadium opens next September.
The opponents and officials fieldhouse, which will be behind the east end zone, is expected to be done by the time the opening game of the new stadium against USF rolls around Sept. 20, 2008.
USF is on the FIU men's hoops schedule this season (next Monday, Nov. 26 at FIU), but the Golden Panthers next game is against Kennesaw State at Pharmed Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Speaking with coach Sergio Rouco at Saturday's football game he expects 6-11 F/C Badara Ndiaye (below, right) to play two days from now. Bada had been out with a left shin stress reaction. SR is really excited about Bada's quickness on both offense and defense. 7-foot center Russell Hicks had a nice debut last week. Hicks was fluid around the hoop, unlike many 7-footers that tend to clog the paint, and was able to run with his teammates on the break.
Of course, the Golden Panthers host FAU in the Shula Bowl at the Orange Bowl on Saturday. Although one of the two ties to Shula is no longer around, the name of the game is still appropriate to honor the great Dolphins coach. We'll have more on this game throughout the week.
We're down to 9 contestants with two weeks to go. What kind of shake-up will FIU's first win bring to the standings? Should be interesting, in more ways than one, once the Golden Panthers notch their first win.
10-0: NY Josh 191; FIUrulez 198; Fomentor 206; Crazy Cane 244.
9-1: FIUPantherFan 193; FIU Fanatic 211; 24/7 233.
6-4: Messod 247. 5-5: CJ 248.
GPP: 9-1, 204.
NYCFIUFan: With more discipline this season from the new coaching staff, FIU is actually down in penalties after 10 games. Here's the breakdown: After 10 games in 2006: FIU had 76 penalties for 648 yards. After 10 games in 2007: FIU has 58 penalties for 441 yards. Yes, the false starts on Saturday did come at the worst time -- when FIU was trying to tie the game in the 4th quarter -- but you can definitely say that the discipline of the Golden Panthers has improved greatly.
Yandro: Your welcome for the baseball blog.
Hugh: Yes, the ultimate gauge for a team is wins and losses, but if you happen to watch this team all season, like many of the readers on this blog have, it would not be wrong to say there have been improvements across the board. The offense is finding its rhythm topping season-high for points and total yardage in 3 of the last 4 weeks. The defense struggled against the run, but the play of the linebackers and some of the defensive backs promises a bright future. Plus, FIU has given itself a chance to win games late in the 4th quarter in 3 of the last 4 games. Don't know if you have or have not seen each FIU game this season, but those who have not are quick to judge based on the final score alone. And as is the case for this team, which was left in tatters by the former head coach, seeing week by week improvement is a positive. No one was expecting this year's team to win 6 or 7 games and challenge for the Sun Belt. The 2006 Golden Panthers were supposed to do that after winning 3 of their last 4 to close the 2005 season.