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12 posts from November 2007

November 30, 2007

Orange Bowl Finale and Coincidences

Down to the season finale for the Golden Panthers and of course, the Orange Bowl finale.

Ob4 What a great football stadium during the great Don Shula Dolphins years. Ds_2

Before we get into the FIU/North Texas game, I'm not much into superstition, but anybody notice the eerie similarities between the Golden Panthers and Dolphins games this weekend?

The two Miami teams have identical records and are at home.

Both Miami teams are playing teams with poor records who both wear green and white colors, have predominantly white helmets with green highlights and both Nt Jets opponents (North Texas and New York Jets) -- regardless of how bad they are -- have a history of giving FIU and the Dolphins problems. Not to mention last season's FIU/NT game went 7 overtimes and the highest scoring game in Dolphins history was a Jets' 51-45 overtime win over the Dolphins in 1986. Somebody cue Rod Serling. Rod_2

On to the FIU game. Despite the 2-9 record, North Texas has been rolling on offense and FIU has not been on defense. The Mean Green have scored 28, 62, 27, and 27 points in their last four games. The 62 came in a loss to Navy.

FIU's run defense has given up 249, 177, 287 and 228 yards on the ground in the last four. NT has a mini-Tim Tebow in Giovanni Vizza, who can run as effectively as he throws.

Paul McCall makes his first start for FIU at quarterback. The sophomore showed encouraging signs in putting up 20 fourth quarter points last week. The Golden Panthers will need to score plenty on Saturday to stay with the Mean Green, because I haven't any seen evidence from the FIU defense the last few weeks that convinces me they can stop the run.

The GPP went against the logical choice last week thinking FIU would be pumped up enough for the Shula Bowl to overcome Florida Atlantic's better talent. The Owls proved me wrong.

Once again will not adhere to logical thinking and will count on the emotional edge of the final game of the season and the OB. Plus, the Dolphins gotta beat the Jets on Sunday too, right?

The GPP thinks: FIU 30, North Texas 28.

PANTHER PAWSE

What a horrible performance by the FIU hoops team last night. You can't take away from Robert Morris and his 4 bros. shooting prowess. They hit an astronomical 70 percent of their 3's, but FIU was not mentally or physically in Pharmed Arena last night. The offense was stagnant. No Golden Panther would dare attack the basket, instead settling for jumpers. And when FIU got in the paint whether it was a Nelson shot or a rebound, a much more physical Colonials team just took FIU's lunch. Golden Panthers would come down with rebounds and have the ball stripped or would go up for shots in the paint and have the ball stripped. Right now, the Golden Panthers hoopsters seem like a very soft bunch. Like Carvel's vanilla ice cream. It got so bad, I had the game story written 5 minutes into the second half after RM drained 5 consecutive 3's to start the second half. If this keeps up, Florida Gulf Coast, Buffalo and the Hurricanes are going to smoke FIU in the next 3 games.

Yandro: Yes, Stosh was part of the Canadian team that FIU clobbered last month. But Stosh did not pitch in that game.

alt7787: No, writers do not write headlines at the Miami Herald. McCall is a sophomore on the football field, but a senior in the classroom. McCall said the other day that he will graduate this summer with a degree in electrical engineering.

November 29, 2007

Centers of Attention

There's a new quarterback under center this Saturday when FIU plays the final game at the Orange Bowl against North Texas.

The Golden Panthers centers were shown by USF's brick wall center Kentrell Gransberry what it takes to dominate in the paint on Monday and now FIU gets a chance to rebound tonight at 7 p.m. at home against Robert Morris and his four brothers: Cat, Jack, Day and Garrett.

Mccall_2 The GPP will give away free admission to Saturday's football game if you can answer what Robert's four brothers are more known for other than basketball. One hint: Meow.

While you guys ponder that, let's get to the FIU business at hand. After Tuesday's practice, Paul McCall was named the starting quarterback for Saturday's game against the Mean Green. With PM at the helm, it gives the Golden Panthers the best chance to win, nothing against Colt Anderson - he will be a very good quarterback before his FIU career is over - and erase that doggone 23-game skid. Nice performance by PM against FAU.

Offensive coordinator James Coley does not expect to change the offense much. I know there are a few GPP readers who have always said McCall is a statue in the pocket. Not true at all. PM is very mobile and athletic. In spring drills, he was constantly one of the first to finish in drills such as the shuttle run, tire push, etc. Now is he lightning quick like Wayne Younger? No he is not, but I think he'll do just fine on Saturday. You can tell he was prepared when he was called into last Saturday's game against FAU. PM completed 3 of 3 passes on his first series and finished 23 of 35 for 181 yards and 2 TDs.

PM mentioned in yesterday's press conference that former FIU quarterback David Tabor, another QB Tabor who was prepared each time he entered a game, was one of the bigger influences on him when it came to learning the QB position. Tabor was FIU's first-ever recruit in 2001 and led a two-touchdown comeback win at Youngstown State in 2004 to give the Golden Panthers their first-ever road win. Spoke with Tabor yesterday and he is currently in the police academy in Hillsborough.

For the record, the headline in today's Miami Herald story has McCall listed as a senior. Not my error. Writers have nothing to do with headlines. Editors are the ones that write the headlines. I clearly stated in the story that McCall is a sophomore on the field and a senior in the classroom. That's what PM is. Here is the story in case you missed it: McCall to start

FIU missed a good opportunity to knock off USF in hoops on Monday. Is it me or do FIU's hoops centers need to get in the weight room? Gransberry at 270 pounds did as he pleased around the basket on Monday. The Golden Panthers were outscored 48-30 in the paint. That's not good. But not as bad as the non-existent defense in the paint. They'll need to remedy that against Robert and his bros. tonight.

Be back on here tommorrow afternoon for a preview of Saturday's Orange Bowl finale and possibly the finale of the losing streak.

PANTHER PAWSE

Yes, I know FIU's game against North Texas in the Orange Bowl is free admission. Still, who is Cat, Jack, Day and Garrett?

Yandro: We'll have your baseball blog fixing soon when the GPP sits down with baseball coach Turtle Stoshmexico_2 Thomas for a Q & A with questions coming from you good people. I will put on here when you can start sending questions. I'm not a big fan of breaking down recruits in a blog, because we don't know who will actually play at FIU and who will get drafted by Major League Baseball. Plus, there is still more time for TT to get more players before the final signing day for baseball in April. But since it's the Christmas season, here's a recruiting gift note: Right-handed pitcher Stosh Wawrzasek has agreed to sign with FIU. He is a pitcher on the Canadian National team who throws 94-95 mph. But here's what I'm talking about above: Stosh is also projected to be a high draft pick by MLB in June. So we may never see him in an FIU uniform. Still, kudos to TT for landing Stosh.

FIUJM: After 11 weeks and all of spring and fall practice, I don't think the game plan is going to change just because McCall is starting. There will probably be a little bit more passing on Saturday, but don't be surprised to see McCall tuck the ball and run like Younger has done most of this season.

NY Josh: Saturday's game spread (-2.5) for FIU is the smallest of the season for the Golden Panthers. FIU has not been favored in any game this season. If I'm not mistaken, the closest spread before this Saturday was when FIU was a 6.5 underdog to Arkansas State on Nov. 3. Since you're 24/7's lawyer, if he was on my Sunday morning softball team, he would probably bat 8th or 9th with that .277 batting average.

CJisBenedictArnold: Welcome to the GPP. Why do you have to hate on C.J. Parker like that. Cj

November 26, 2007

Bulls, Turnbull and No Bull

Busy little Monday blog: Los Toros from Tampa visit FIU's hoops team tonight, a former FIU DB looks for a new home, we're down to 5 contestants in the Win a GPP Blog Challenge and time to see what one Golden Panthers quarterback has.

Fuller South Florida Tampa (yes, I know Tampa is not part of the name, but they're not located in South Florida) Bulls play the Golden Panthers at 7 tonight at Pharmed Arena. First big test for FIU going against a resurgent USF team that was won 3 straight, among those a 31-point blowout of FAU and a win against Florida State.

Should be interesting to see Bulls 6-10, 270-pound center Kentrell Gransberry go up against FIU's two giants, Russell Hicks and Badara Ndiaye. Gransberry has both players on the muscle. Hicks and NDiaye may have him on the quickness. Chris Fuller (photo, above left), Alex Galindo and the rest of the Golden Panthers need to be on point from the opening tip. The Golden Panthers sure cannot play sloppy like they did last week against Kennesaw State. Los Toros will run over FIU if that's the case again.

Had the chance to speak with former FIU defensive back Nick Turnbull on the sidelines of Saturday's Shula Bowl. NT says he's healed from his abdominal muscle tear and that the Atlanta Falcons took him off the injured list and he became a free agent. The Dolphins and Carolina Panthers have contacted NT. Dolphins Would be kind of neat to see NT with Chandler Williams on the Dolphins.

Pretty good showing by FIU backup quarterback Paul McCall on Saturday night at the Orange Bowl. The sophomore kept his poise, ran the offense like if he'd been playing all season and displayed a strong arm. If you read today's Miami Herald, then you know starter Wayne Younger is out for this Saturday's season and Orange Bowl finale against North Texas. If you missed the story here it is Younger Out . WY was getting better and more comfortable as the season progressed. You really could tell in his last complete game two weeks ago against Louisiana-Lafayette. He went from a scout team receiver last season that had trouble throwing a spiral to a more than capable QB with nifty footwork and escapability this season. His 2-point conversion at Arkansas State, as of today, is the play of the year, unless something more remarkable happens against North Texas on Saturday.

Credit McCall (photo, left) for knowing the playbook and being prepared when his number was called. PM had gotten into only one game this season at Middle Tennessee. PM showed what he could do in a real offensive scheme and not the 1920's offense that was run the previous 5 seasons at FIU. The former FIU head coach never gave PM a shot to play last season in preparation for this season. Even when FIU was down by a ton at halftime in last year's games, PM still held the clipboard. He saw limited duty handing off late in the 4th quarter of a few games in 2006. While theMccall half-empty glass people will point that PM performed well against FAU's 2nd and 3rd string defense, you still can't take away that PM did help lead FIU to 20 points in the 4th quarter and gave the offense some life.

Watching Colt Anderson in practice all season long, I can tell you he is a heck of an athlete and will eventually be a good quarterback at FIU. But CA struggled Saturday and does not look as comfortable as PM. My two cents: PM gives FIU the best chance to win on Saturday against North Texas and whack the 23-game losing skid off the FIU campus and that's no bull.

PANTHER PAWSE

With one game to go we're down to really 5 contestants in our Win a GPP Blog, while there are still 8 people on the board, 5 have a realistic chance to write their own blog on the GPP next week. Sorry, 24/7, but your points total (277) is approaching a good batting average for a pinch-hitter. Of course, an FIU win, which none of the leaders have predicted thus far, will throw the whole board off. Any ties with records and points for first place, then we'll have multiple guest bloggers. The more, the merrier.

Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard Gpp

11-0: NY Josh 210; FIUrulez 220; Fomenter 227; CrazyCane 270.

10-1: FIUPantherFan 215; 24/7 277. 9-2: FIU Fanatic 246. 6-5: Messod 286.

GPP: 9-2, 263.

FIUDad: I love your enthusiasm, but you may have coached one too many Pop Warner football games. Elec Where do you get your ideas from? Electric Football?

Andy: Yes, the new FIU football stadium will still host high school football games. I'd say the new place, along the football facilities attached to it will be one heck of a recruiting tool.

November 23, 2007

What's that? Uh -- Playoffs? You Talk About -- Playoffs?

   Apparently, there's a playoff game at the Orange Bowl on Saturday night between FIU and FAU. Don Fauhelmet Fiuhelmet Shula Bowl VI is a "playoff" for FAU as it needs to beat FIU to have something to play for next week at Troy.

Now before anyone brands Owls linebacker Cergile Sincere as the next Jim Mora. The Owls senior makes  a valid point when he said earlier this week: "That’s what’s been in the air the whole week – Mora_3 [FIU] is trying to end our season and make their season, because they know what’s at stake. They know that if they beat us, we’ll be out of it. But as a team, as FAU, we’re going in there to take care of business. We’re taking it as a business. It’s no fun and games. I mean, it is the Shula Bowl, but it’s the playoffs. This is the game setting up the Super Bowl. So if you wanna make it to the Super Bowl, you’ve got to make it out of the playoffs."

As former Indianapolis Colts coach Mora said in his infamous rant: "What's that? Uh -- Playoffs? Don't talk about -- playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!"

If FAU (4-1 in Sun Belt) wins tommorrow, then next Saturday at Troy (6-0 in SBC) is for the conference championship and a trip to the New Orleans Bowl.

The Golden Panthers can ruin the Owls' travel plans, if they continue to produce on offense like they have in the last three Sun Belt games they've played. FAU has one of the best offenses in the conference. The least amount of points the Owls have scored in a Sun Belt game this season was in their season-opening win against Middle Tennessee 27-14.

So the onus for this one will be placed on the FIU defense, especially the secondary which will have to stop QB Rusty Smith and a physical corps of receivers. Only two teams have thrown for more than 300 yards on FIU's defense this season: Penn State and Kansas. But that stat may be a bit skewed, because the Golden Panthers have had a tough time stopping the run.

The good news is FAU's defense is giving up 35 points per game in Sun Belt games so like last week's game it could be another offensive show.

Spock Logically, the GPP sees this game as FAU 30-17, but I've seen a livelier atmosphere this week at FIU's practices. So we're going to throw Spock's logic out the window on this one. Could FIU's increased enthusiasm at practices this week have been due to the Thanksgiving week joy? Maybe. But here's taking a shot that the Golden Panthers are ready to snap the skid and in a big way by denying their rivals a chance at the Sun Belt crown.

GPP thinks: FIU 27, FAU 26

PANTHER PAWSE

While this has nothing to do with Saturday's game, I found this Howard Schnellenberger quote interesting. Earlier this week, HS was asked whether MC will be more competition than Don Strock when it comes to recruiting:

"We don't know yet. They were behind schedule last year. [Cristobal] will have his coaches spend a lot more time down here than Don (Strock) did."

alt7787: You are correct on your Google reference.

fiugrad78: We'll put up a baseball recruit list in the next blog. There is definitely a noticeable difference in the excitement for FIU baseball this season. The only negative about all the new good recruits is that not all of them will wear an FIU uniform, because some will be drafted by Major League Baseball. But that's part of the recruiting game and at least TT is not afraid to go after those guys.

NY Panther: More cowbell and more cowgirls!! Fsuc Cowb_3

UltimateFIUFan: There is no radio deal with FIU men's hoops this season. Games can be heard on the FIU student radio station 95.3 FM. Will check on your Panther Pass question. Your welcome on FIU hoops.

Messod: Sorry to hear about the 25-degree temps in NC. It's a comfortable 72 with a gentle breeze and clear skies down here.

paradox: We've had a picture on the GPP's left rail of a Miami Herald FIU sportswriter since its inception. The GPP appreciates all the ladies that read our blog. Thank you.

Cobra cobracommandr: Welcome to the GPP. Your rookie posts have been as impressive as Adrian Peterson this season until he went down with a knee injury. Keep it going!Ap AP will be back next week and hopefully so will you!

November 21, 2007

MC and the Night Owl

Yes, there will be plenty of turkey on the Golden Panthers plate tommorrow, but FIU will also have to deal with its share of Owls this week.

Tonight at 7 p.m., it's the Kennesaw State Owls visiting the FIU hoops team at Pharmed Arena. Yes, FIU Fan there is hoops tonight.

Coaches_3 On Monday, it was dinner with the head Owl. MC and FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger got together at the South Florida Touchdown Club's FAU/FIU Coaches Dinner at Miami Shores Country Club and each had some interesting points as they addressed the dinner crowd.

HS took the mike first and told the story of how Bobby Bowden and himself drummed up interest for the Hurricanes/FSU series when there was very little.

HS said back when he was the Hurricanes head coach, in the early 1980's Bobby Bowden called HS and said he was having trouble getting Florida to cooperate for a yearly series. So BB asked HS to join him in some media photo-op events to make more people aware of their series. While FSU cowgirls in the Fsu_3 stands may have helped more this is what the two coaches did. The first year HS and BB staged a boxing weigh-in. HS said he won that one, because he was much slimmer. The next year, BB called HS to a Tallahassee boxing ring. The two coaches put on boxing gloves and got in the ring for another photo-op. While the series eventually would gain popularity, because of the play on the field, the two coaches had the right idea from the start.

MC and HS are adamant about making this series special as well through public appearances and by developing top notch football teams. HS mentioned the FAU/FIU series is at a similar point as the "Seminoles and Ibises" --those were HS's words-- were when BB called him in the early 1980's. Both the "Seminoles and the Ibises" were looking to establish themselves in college football at the time.

Shula_2 The FAU/FIU series or the annual Don Shula Bowl as it is also known, has a chance to develop into a true college football rivalry once these two teams establish themselves. And for the cynics, it may not be too much longer before that happens, because of the location and leaders of both schools.

Yes, FIU is behind FAU now, because of the ineptitude of the previous coaching staff, but both schools are in a hotbed of high school football and unlike their Sun Belt rivals, the Golden Panthers and the Owls will have first crack at these players. FAU can win the Sun Belt this season with a win over FIU on Saturday and then beating Troy next week. Within a few years, FIU should be among the Sun Belt's top teams as well. While MC does not have HS's experience, you cannot deny that FIU's head coach and his staff have a work ethic the football program had not seen in the first five years. MC told the crowd that college football is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year job and then went on to give an example of a typical day for FIU's coaching staff. After about a 5-minute speech on all that FIU coaches do on a daily basis, HS jokingly told MC: "I'm not going to your school" to which the crowd burst out in laughter.

MC mentioned to the crowd that with schools developing new stadiums and football facilites (like FIU) it then comes down to the high school player's choice of whether he likes the people at school A or school B and whether that player wants to go to school A and possibly sit for two years and then play OR go to school B and play as a freshman, which is the case with most Sun Belt schools.

You can see the Sun Belt talent already coming to fruition. This year Troy knocked off Oklahoma State, FAU beat Minnesota and last week Louisiana-Monroe beat the Alabama Saban Tide. Not bad for a conference that is only in its 7th year of football. About Monroe's win over Bama, HS cracked to the dinner folks: "That was one win everyone down here loved."

With limited space in Tuesday's print edition of the Herald, I wasn't able to get all of the above in the story, but here's what I did get in: MCHSstory

HS, who recruited both MC and his brother, Luis when he coached at Louisville, gets reacquainted with MC on Saturday in the Orange Bowl for the 2007 Don Shula Bowl.

PANTHER PAWSE

Cran Pass some more of the cranberries, and Happy Thanksgiving to all the GPP faithful, even you wacky folks from Coral Gables.

Don't know how many of you saw the fine print in today's Herald, but TT has inked another pitcher to the Golden Panthers baseball team. Miami Dade College right-hander Eric Berkowitz, a former All-Dade pitcher from Killian, signed with FIU on Tuesday. Berkowitz was 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA and had 22 K's in 23 IP last season.

Head scratcher & FIUer: Welcome to the GPP.

24/7: While Carr, Callahan and Coker all have more experience than MC, I don't think they would be the right fit for FIU if they were available. The Golden Panthers needed discipline, an infusion of energy and better recruits. None of the 3 coaches above provide any of that. MC has the first two qualities and the third, we'll find out in due time. As far as MC being in la silla caliente (hot seat), although my Spanish spelling may be off, as John McEnroe would say: "You cannot be serious". If you're going to judge by the first season, then Randy Shannon should be on his way out the door as well. But neither of those two coaches should be checking their mailboxes for pink slips, because you got to see what they can do when they got their own talent in there and not when they inherit another coach's mess.

We'll be back either Thursday or Friday with a preview of Saturday's game between FAU and FIU.

November 19, 2007

Down Goes the Fieldhouse; Here's What's Up

Southstdemo_2 They tore it down and now the third part of the new stadium is going up. There is also plenty going on this week with FIU sports.

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 Mcdemo 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 Rudy_3 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 Demol 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 Bada_3 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.

Iva FIU women's hoops hosts its Thanksgiving tournament beginning Friday. FIU plays Providence at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

PANTHER PAWSE

Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard Gpp

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.

November 16, 2007

Cajun Cooking

All the elements are in place for the Golden Panthers first win: FIU is coming off a bye week, it's homecoming, the offense is performing better coming off its season-high scoring output of 24 points and a 2-8 team visits the Orange Bowl.

Water So why is the GPP hesitant about FIU's first victory in this game against Louisiana-Lafayette, a university close enough in proximity to Bobby Boucher's U?

Three reasons: 1) ULL QB Michael Desormeaux is the nation's leading rusher among quarterbacks and can throw the ball as well, 2) Bruising RB Tyrell Fenroy, who has gashed FIU for 319 yards and 3 TDs in two games and 3) ULL's spread offense which FIU has never been able to handle. Yes, it's a different FIU team and coaching staff, but the Golden Panthers defense was more talented last season with the Killer B's among others and FIU has had trouble stopping the run this season.

Now with the Golden Panthers coming off their best offensive performance of the season in their last game at Arkansas State and a generous Ragin' Cajuns defense, this game could be an offensive game as beautiful as Miss USA 1996 and Louisiana native Ali Landry (photo, right). Ali_2

As of Wednesday of this week, Desormeaux was listed as questionable with a clavicle injury. If he's out on Saturday, FIU may be on its way to a win. Maybe, the Golden Panthers will prove the GPP wrong again like they did against ASU, but I'm just not able to pull the trigger on this one. A Po' Boy sandwich and some gumbo could change my mind.

GPP thinks: ULL 34, FIU 23

PANTHER PAWSE

FIU Fanatic: I have not heard of any FIU hoops signings. SR may be waiting until April to get in his new players.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Yes, McVay is the coach's son.

Concerned Fan: As far as I know, none of the new FIU JUCOs will play this season. Have not heard of other transfers. There could be more players headed to FIU when April rolls around. The second Wednesday in April is the deadline for signing players.

fiufan751: The GPP has a Q & A planned for GPP readers and FIU fans with TT coming soon. Will post on here when we get to it.

FI-UM Fan: Been covering FIU since starting at the Miami Herald in 2002.

Gpp Here's our Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard heading into Saturday's game:

9-0: FIUrulez 171; NY Josh 177; FIU Fanatic 182; Fomenter 183; 24/7-11 197; Crazy Cane 226.

8-1: FIUPantherFan 174. 7-2: yippee 226. 6-3: Messod 230. 5-4: CJ 227; SouthPaw 236

GPP: 8-1, 195

November 15, 2007

Coming to University Park in 2009

It's early signing period for college baseball. In the last few days the GPP has scoured cyberspace, spoke with several high school and junior college coaches and received e-mails from parents of future FIU Base players, to bring you this list of the newest Golden Panthers baseball players that apparently have signed with FIU to play in the 2009 season.

It looks like an impressive list, new FIU coach Turtle Thomas has assembled. Not surprising, with the new truncated season, there are eight pitchers among the signees and more may be on the way when the baseball signing period ends on the second Wednesday in April 2008. Been told FIU will not release an official list of signed players until April when the baseball signing period ends.

Among the players signing with FIU are four junior college all-stars, one high school pitcher of the year, the No. 1 prospect in Wisconsin and the No. 13 outfielder in the nation. Here are your newest Golden Panthers:

Rembisz_2  Scott Rembisz (photo, left), a 6-1 230-pound right-handed pitcher from Manatee CC. He was a JCC All-Star who was 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA and struck out 87 in 73.2 IP last season. His 87 Ks led Manatee, which has won its conference championship 29 times in the last 49 years.

Tim Jobe, infielder and RHP, from Indian River CC. Another JCC All-Star who struck out 30 in 31 innings and hit .289 while leading his team with 31 RBI.

Matt Gilson, a 6-4, 214-pound LHP from Broward Community College, was 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA. The lefty also a JCC All-Star was second on BCC with 53 Ks.

Miguel Mejia, a 6-1, 190-pound RHP from Pensacola CC, was a JCC All-Star. The Puerto Rico native was 11-0 with a 2.65 ERA last season.

R.J. Fondon, LHP from Pembroke Pines Flanagan was 10-1 with a 1.51 ERA last season. Fondon was the 2007 Broward High School Pitcher of the Year.

Cheese_2 Looks like TT went to the land of cheese and got Wisconsin's No. 1-ranked prospect in Sam Munson, who is listed as a utility player. Locally FIU got outfielder Pablo Bermudez from Miami Springs High. According to Perfect Game, Bermudez is the 13th-best OF in the nation.

With more games per week now in the new NCAA baseball season format, FIU will need catchers. Sean Reilly, from the home (Mass.) of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, signed with FIU.

Local players set to become Golden Panthers include: Killian LHP Mason McVay (6-3, 1.92 ERA, 78 Ks), and Killian infielder Mike Martinez.

Krop High infielder Garrett Wittles, who hit over .400 the last two years, also became a Golden Panther. As did St. Thomas Aquinas and BCC left-handed pitcher Robbie Scott.

Staying down south, FIU inked infielder Raiko Alfonso from Key West High. Alfonso is ranked the 107th best overall player in the U.S.

Other FIU signings include: Bryam Garcia (photo below right), a RHP from Gulf Coast CC, who was 6-1 with a 2.86 ERA to Garciabry lead the team. Doug Joyce, a utility player from Washington. Alex Kush from Cush Satellite Beach High. "This is Kush" hit .444 with 3 HR, 20 RBI. Outfielder Stephen Spradling from Delray American Heritage and utility player Michael Vargas from Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey.

Reading Herald High School writer Andre Fernandez's Dade signing story today, I got a chuckle from a quote from Hurricanes signee and Killian left-handed pitcher Sam Robinson, who said of playing against his high school teammates at FIU: "It's going to make the series with FIU a lot of fun playing against some of my teammates."

Apparently in Coral Gables, they have not told their signees that the series with FIU has a slim and none chance of continuing beyond the two games this year.

Be back on here tommorrow afternoon with a preview blog of FIU vs. Louisiana-Lafayette football.

PANTHER PAWSE

UltimateFIUFan: Sun Belt basketball tournament is in Mobile, Alabama. Unlike football, where the Sun Belt has gotten two additional bowl bids besides the New Orleans Bowl the last two seasons, Sun Belt hoops needs to win conference tourney to get into NCAAs. The only TV for the FIU vs. Purdue and Kentucky hoops game may be local TV in Indiana and Kentucky.

Yandro: Your baseball blog is above.

Rosa Congrats to FIU All-American Yarimar Rosa on getting 1,000 kills in just her sophomore season and kudos to the FIU men's soccer team for knocking off No. 5 SMU.

FIUChris: I'm sure the sports content of the Beacon is just fine. The only things I was pointing out were some factual errors with FIU football and spelling mistakes. I know it's tough there, especially without much support. Maybe they can get the journalism school involved in the paper. Ash Parker can become one of the best football players at FIU before his career is over here. He's a natural athlete which we can see in his transition from offense to defense this season.

FIUJM, FIU Fanatic & FIU-GO-PAWZz: Thanks on the Toronto story and FIU centers.

Quijote: Apparently just the rumor mill.

Jim Even though CJ/Jim from American Pie has volunteered, I must say it's a damn funny exchange between some GPP readers on who they most resemble considering no one has their picture up on the GPP except yours truly. OK, I'll bite, I'll hear my look-a-likes.

November 12, 2007

Basketball Tips-Off; Baseball Signs-On

FIU begins the first of the final three games of the Orange Bowl this Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette, but before we get to Golden Panthers football this week let's see what's going on in FIU hoops and baseball.

Galindo The FIU basketball team tips-off tonight at 7 p.m. against Florida Tech at home in Pharmed Arena. It should be a much-improved Golden Panthers team with Preseason All-Sun Belt forward Alex Galindo (left) and the addition of the two giants down low in Russell Hicks and Badara Ndiaye, plus shooting guard Redd White from Texas A&M. Ndiaye has a left shin stress reaction and will not play tonight, but could be ready for FIU's next game Nov. 21 at home against Kennesaw State. The Golden Panthers first seven games are at home. For more on FIU hoops, check out this story in today's Herald: FIUSeasonOpener

Wednesday is National Signing Day for NCAA baseball and the Golden Panthers are expected to have a strong first class under new coach Turtle Thomas. Got a call from Flanagan High coach Ray Evans the other day. Evans, who led the Falcons to two of the last three Class 6A State Championships, let the GPP know that R.J. Fondon, the 2007 Broward High School Pitcher of the Year, has verbally committed to FIU and will sign on Wednesday. Fondon, a lefty who was 10-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 2007, had an offer from the Rj_4 Gators, but according to Evans, Fondon (right) decided to come to FIU after talking with TT and new FIU pitching coach Felipe Suarez. Said Evans: "R.J. told me he likes the way Turtle is running things down there at FIU and Felipe Suarez is the kind of pitching coach that can help R.J. get to the next level."

Heard from several high school baseball coaches there might be some pleasant surprises in TT's first-full recruiting class. Some of which may or may not suit up for FIU due to those players being drafted in the early rounds by Major League Baseball next June. Still, if this talk of top recruits heading to FIU comes to fruition, it's a testament to TT. Let's Wens_3 see what Wednesday brings.

Memo to the Golden Panthers football team: the 2-8 Ragin' Cajuns are NOT a pushover on Saturday at the Orange Bowl. ULL stomped the same Middle Tennessee team that wiped out FIU earlier this season. Plus, FIU has never beaten the Cajuns in four tries. It will be a challenge to get the first win on Saturday. If you missed it in today's Herald, here's a story on LB Toronto Smith: Little Canada

PANTHER PAWSE Gppaw

FIUandME: Here is a better explanation of the Panther Club in the new FIU Stadium. The Panther Club will be located on the bottom floor of the stadium. It is for club seats ticket holders. The folks who will watch the game from club "suites" have their own suites to watch the game from above. There is no field view from the Panther Club. It's just a gathering place for club seats ticket holders.

UltimateFIUFan: From what I'm hearing once the football stadium is done, then attention will be turned toward upgrading the hoops arena. There is already talk about work on the arena.

TNGoldenPanther: Agree with you that FIU should start some kind of pre-game tradition. Maybe it will begin next season in the new stadium. A live Panther sounds good, but don't know how much of a liability that would be. What they have to do is get Roary into the gym. That Panther needs to get somePant_2  muscles on him. He has too much of a cartoon character-look. FIU football strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore has to get Roary to look like this....

Quijote: There is no news of late regarding any logo and/or color changes. If and when there is we'll keep you posted on it.

FIU-GO-PAWZz: Glad to have you back on the GPP.

Roar BABY!!!: Welcome to the GPP.

FIUDad: Don't know about having a pack of live panthers on the field in the new stadium. There already have been live animals on the FIU Stadium turf. True story: During the inaugural season of FIU football, a pack of wild dogs ran across the field during practice. As the FIU offense and defense were split up on separate parts of the field, four wild dogs that live in the preserve behind the baseball stadium came sprinting out of there, across the football field and ran below the portable bleachers in the southeast corner of the old FIU Stadium. The players freaked for a moment, but went back to practicing as the dogs left the stadium.

Crazy Cane: Thanks for your readership on the GPP. Every time you click on our blog you help keep the GPP in the top 10 among Herald blogs. But let's try to leave essential human body parts out of your posts, the GPP claw came out earlier today. Thank you.

November 09, 2007

The Freshmen

It's the final bye week of the 2007 season, so with idle football time on our hands -- don't worry passionate FIU baseball fans, who have been clamoring for Golden Panthers baseball news, the GPP has you covered -- more on that at the end of this post -- let's take a look at how the Golden Panthers freshmen are doing three-quarters of the way into their first college football season.

This is MC's first crop of players and very likely the type of players we can expect to see in future seasons of FIU football. Let's start out on offense.

Elling_2 With a new spread offense, MC and his coaching staff went out and stockpiled a plethora of receivers. Among those pass catchers to stand out thus far have been Greg Ellingson (left) and Jason Frierson (below, right). Elllingson'sFrier  size (6-3) and speed have given the passing game a boost. He made a nifty touchdown catch last week against Arkansas State. Frierson, at 5-8 is not as big, but has shown his playmaking ability like the 37-yard reception against Troy. James Rucker and Kendall Berry have also shown potential. Berry is learning a new position after playing quarterback in high school. Marquis Rolle, who got a late start to the season, is the real deal and is going to get more involved in the offense.

Along the offensive and defensive lines, only two freshmen have gotten ample playing time. Center Brad Serini and defensive lineman Cody Pellicer (left) are starters while plenty of other linemen are likely to redshirt. Serini has held his own at center which is the most demanding position on the O-line. Serini Pell never played much center in prep ball. The athletic Pellicer, a former wrestler playing at just 220 pounds, has done well with two sacks. As for the other linemen: "At the pit positions you're a little leery putting guys out there for the first time coming out of high school," MC said. "Their bodies go through a tremendous adjustment. They used to rush 230-pound offensive tackles in high school and now they're going up against 320-pound animals that will break you in half if they get their hands on you."

Some of the likely-to-redshirt linemen to keep your eyes on when spring ball rolls around are: Bryan Frye, Ricky Booker and James Wiggins. Watching Frye in practice, this freshman is a man. Each of these defenders has size (Frye and Wiggins are 6-4, Booker 6-3) and with a year in a college weight room all three should be making a bid to start next season.

If you didn't see linebacker Toronto Smith's play last week against Arkansas State, do yourself a favor and watch the replay of that game on Panther Pass on FIUsports.com. Finally, this season we got to see an FIU defender consistently cause a ruckus in the opponent's offensive backfield. Shades of the Killer B's from last season. Smith, who you can read more about in this Sunday's Miami Herald, reminds me of Keke Bouie, but with more speed. Toronto is not really a big guy, generously listed at 5-11, but "Little Canada_3 Canada" is a headache for QBs and RBs, eh!

In the secondary, Anthony Gaitor is proving to be a future All-Sun Belt and shutdown cover corner. The velcro-hand Gaitor (right) has picks against the Hurricanes and Arkansas this season. Freshman KregGaitor  Brown has made a nice tandem with sophomore Ash Parker at safety.

Freshman quarterback Colt Anderson has not gotten extended playing time, but has shown in practice there is plenty of promise with the former Nebraska prep standout. The other day horsing around after practice he connected on a 60-yard touchdown with Gaitor, who was playing receiver and being covered by Rucker. Darold Hughes, who will redshirt and has been running the scout team, at times has beaten the first team defense in drills. Hughes has a real strong arm and a genuine pocket presence.

Many of you have written in wondering about FIU's recruiting for next season. Keeping in contact with numerous coaches throughout Florida, I can tell you MC and staff are all over the state going after the Js_3 top recruits. Unlike past years, FIU is not shying away from going against Top 25 teams. Again, not going to waste time with a recruiting blog. Thank you Messod for understanding the Jessica (display gratuitous JS photo on left) and Marge analogy. For those into verbal commits, FIU got Coral Springs Charter defensive back Chris Charles (5-11, 180) to say yes Wednesday night.

PANTHER PAWSE

Yes, there is a tremendous amount of interest in FIU baseball this upcoming season. The GPP applauds both fiugrad78 & fiufan751 for their enthusiasm. New coach Turtle Thomas has the program abuzz. The Tt_2 attendance for this fall's scrimmages was probably more than some regular season games last season. So therefore, the GPP is working on organizing a Question and Answer session between you FIU fans/GPP readers and TT. Just like we did with MC before football season, we'll do with TT. I'll let you folks know soon when to start sending in your questions for the new FIU baseball coach and we'll try to get to as many of them as possible.

UltimateFIUFan: There are some good early football commits for FIU from top programs like Booker T. Both MC and TT in baseball are not afraid to recruit against the Top 25 teams. But like I've said before until these "kids" sign on the dotted line it doesn't mean much. Still, it's encouraging to see FIU's Sign aggressive recruiting strategy. Will get back to you on the arena.

FIU Fanatic: Yes, 6-10 Freddy Asprilla is an oral commit to FIU hoops and if the kid can keep his grades up and signs on the dotted line with FIU it would be huge for next season to have Russell Hicks (7-foot), Badu Ndiaye (6-11) and Asprilla (6-10) in the frontcourt. I've heard Asprilla could be the best player ever to set foot at FIU.

FI-UM Fan: I'll wait until next week on an FIU/ULL prediction. MC and the team are positive and have their heads up after the tough loss to ASU. They are fully aware there will be lumps the first few seasons.

FIU0406: The field goal posts from the old stadium are the correct size for college football. If you want to take them down when FIU beats South Florida in the home opener next season, go right ahead.

Concerned Fan: If you would like to change your GPP name, just click on "comments" and go down to the bottom and change it in the Name Box. As far as Ryan Mollica, he seems to have a better bat than Corey Lozano. From speaking with TT, one plan might be to have Lozano split time between shortstop and 2nd base.

FIUandME: Will get back to you on the Panther Club.

alt7787: I agree with you that the Beacon should change their name to include FIU or Panther in some form. But a bigger concern with the school newspaper are some of the egregious errors. The other day I read two different issues of the Beacon in the FIU media relations office. In one issue, there were spelling mistakes all over the place. In the other issue, they were referring to FIU football coming from Division II. The Golden Panthers were never in D-II. They began play in Division I-AA. No matter the level of newspaper, spelling should always be correct (The Herald has that issue at times as well), especially with everyone having access to spellcheck. And not getting the history of your own football team correct is also inexcusable. As far as sports are concerned, the quality of the paper may have started to decline when non-sports editors began editing sports stories.

November 05, 2007

New FIU Stadium Tour Part 2

Last Saturday was a glimpse of what the Golden Panthers may look like in the next few years after a few more successful recruiting classes and as those players develop the physical and mental aspects of football. It was by far FIU's best showing this season and we should see more of it in the final three games of this season and of the Orange Bowl.

The building of the Golden Panthers continues and so does the construction of the new FIU Stadium. Last week, we left you good people standing on the club level looking at the impressive view of the FIU campus. Now let's mosey on over as we walk around the rest of the stadium.

The "turn" as our guide, Rudy Armenta - Odebrecht's Senior Project Manager says, has begun from the south stands going into the east end zone. I don't have updated photos on the turn, but here on the left Visitfieldhouse is what we were looking at last Monday. There are now steel beams in the land behind the east end zone. This is where the east end zone stands will go and embedded behind those stands will be the visitor's locker room and the officials locker room. High above the east stands will be the new state-of-the-art video scoreboard which will stand apart from the stadium. The old scoreboard is going above the west end zone stands when that part of the stadium is complete.

Also in this turn or east part of the stadium, the first of two ramps will be built that will take fans to their seats. Unlike the ramps at Joe Robbie Stadium that are circular, these ramps will be more of a zig-zag shape. The other ramp will be built at the entrance of the west end zone, around where this Westlimit photo on the right is.

Rudy says there will be four ramps in all once the stadium is completed. All four ramps will extend into the upper deck when finished.

Before we move onto the north part of the stadium. Let's show you where the Panther Club will be located.

Southmainenter If you walk into the stadium from the south entrance, that's where the Panther Club will be located. This picture on the left is the main entrance on the south side of the stadium. Imagine concrete walls here and this is your Panther Club. Just to the right of this are where the four elevators are located. (1 for FIU coaches, 1 for opponents coaches, 1 for club level suites, 1 for public access).

Let's go north now.

When the stadium opens next September for USF/FIU, the north stands will still be the same ones from the old FIU Stadium. The student/welcome center along with the north stands are expected to be built after the 2008 season. So what you are going to see next season is a stadium in the shape of a C like Obdestad_2 the drawings (picture, left) Odebrecht put out a while ago.

As you may know by now, the track has been taken out from around the football field. For next season, there will be grass in between the north stands and the visiting team's benches.

Moving over to the west end zone and west end zone stands. The old fieldhouse will be knocked down within the next week or two. The new fieldhouse will be dedicated solely to FIU athletics. In there will be the gym for all FIU athletes, plus the Golden Panthers locker room and football coaches offices. This fieldhouse, like the fieldhouse in the east end zone, will also be embedded into the stadium. Here on the right is a shot from the west end zone, where you may be able Westend to see the groundwork already being laid down.

Here are some facts you may or may not know about the new stadium. The new FIU Stadium is expected to be completed on August 29, 2008. As Rudy told the GPP, that's the date when the Odebrecht contract is up. As Rudy put it, "On that day we give FIU the key to the stadium". FIU will then have about 2 weeks to finish putting all the bells and whistles on its new home before the USF game. Next season, the Golden Panthers open at Kansas and then travel to Iowa before their home opener against the Bulls.

Odebrecht is building all the stadium's foundations, utilities and beams set for 45,000 capacity. The stadium is being built "expansion-friendly". The stadium will have a beige color similar to the old fieldhouse and will also have blue accents throughout the stadium. Odebrecht is "designing and building" the stadium, which is an advantage in getting the stadium done on time. Here's how: if a question arises for the architects of the stadium, Odebrecht does not have to wait to get a hold of the architects if they were from another company, because the architects are from Odebrecht any stadium questions can be answered on the spot and work can continue.

When it becomes necessary to build the upper deck, the upper deck will enclose the entire stadium providing for maximum noise level and one heck of a home field advantage. Originally the stadium was going to have an open end on the east like the Orange Bowl, but a change was made to enclose the entire place.

The stadium's construction is right on schedule as of this writing. In the next few months, we'll take another tour of the stadium and have some more updates and photos.  By then I imagine the east end zone will be done and construction should be well under way on the west. Before I left the Odebrecht offices, I mentioned to Rudy and the rest of the construction crew that I'd be back in a few months and their response was "you won't even recognize the stadium from what you saw today".

PANTHER PAWSE

Gpp_3 Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard

9-0: FIUrulez 171; NY Josh 177; FIU Fanatic 182; Fomenter 183; 24/7-11 197; Crazy Cane 226.

8-1: FIUPantherFan 174. 7-2: yippee 226. 6-3: Messod 230. 5-4: CJ 227; SouthPaw 236

GPP: 8-1, 195.

Quijote: Obviously, I was wrong with the FIU/ASU score. The reason I predicted such a score (41-17) is because ASU has always given FIU fits. Plus, the Golden Panthers had yet to break 16 points in a game this season. Shows what I know, keep proving me wrong FIU. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the Golden Panthers probably played their best so far this season. Unlike last season, FIU has been prepared for games this season, but the talent level obviously is not as good as 2006. Don't know how many saw Saturday's game, but on offense, FIU O-coordinator James Coley had ASU mixed up with the variety of looks he gave them. FIU ran like 5 different plays out of the same formation. ASU didn't know what was coming. Now the Golden Panthers just need to finish off a game when they have the lead.

UltimateFIUFan: FIU men's hoops opens the season next Monday, Nov. 12 at home against Florida Tech at 7 p.m.

SouthPaw: Here's what Bryan Mann did at Hinds Community College in Mississippi this season which ended on Oct. 25. In three games played, Mann was 26 of 54 for 360 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs. I called the Hinds coach to find out more info, but still have not heard back from the guy.

FIUJM: Thanks for the props on the hoops story. FIU should be much improved with the two big centers in Hicks and Ndiaye. And next season may even better with some of the players, FIU is targeting. Stay tuned on that one.

CJ: Don't know what the GPP will produce this week with the bye week. Could be some more football blogs, maybe even some hoops before the season opener next Monday. I'm not a big fan of a recruiting Jess_2 blog, because we're dealing with teenagers who sway with the wind when it comes to recruiting. One day John Doe could be saying I'm going to AU and then the next day Marge he's going to BU and then CU. It's like Jessica Simpson saying she's going to the dance with you and then changes her mind and you end up going with Marge Simpson. It's a waste of blog space. Until those players sign the letter of intent on the dotted line it doesn't mean anything.

November 02, 2007

Uh-Oh Orange

If you were from out of town and had seen FIU practice for the first time ever this week you may have thought the football team's nickname had something to do with the color orange. Which regarding Panth_2 Orange_2 Saturday's game is not a good one.

FIU is still the Golden Panthers, but you would have never figured it out looking at their defensive backs this week in practice. Six of the nine regular DBs sported orange non-contact jerseys and some may not even play against Arkansas State on Saturday.

Indians QB Corey Leonard is one of better passers in the Sun Belt and could have a field day against the FIU secondary tommorrow. Out for this game are Robert Mitchell (foot) who is also out for the season. Safety Alonzo Phillips (back) is also out. Safety Kreg Brown (ankle) is likely out as well. Ashlyn Parker, Anthony Gaitor and Lionell Singleton all also had the orange on this week. Of those three Parker is the most likely to miss the game -- which is not good considering how the former receiver has emerged as a defensive force this season.

Other secondary players like: Brandon Ellison, Cory Fleming, Dez Johnson, Malik Jones, Jeremiah Flood and Devin Parrish could see more action. Receiver Kendall Berry even worked a little as a DB in practice this week.

However, if FIU can put together a consistent and productive offensive effort on Saturday, the Golden Panthers can leave ASU with their first win of the season. The Indians have given FIU trouble in years past, but this is the Sun Belt where anything can happen. ASU is giving up almost 30 points per game and nearly 200 yards rushing.

Before I thought I had walked into an orange grove this week at FIU, had the feeling that the Golden Panthers could pull out the game against ASU, but with a depleted secondary it looks like it will have to Ob_2 wait until the next game at home in the, yes you guessed it, Orange Bowl against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 17.

GPP thinks: Arkansas State 41, FIU 17

PANTHER PAWSE

Part 2 of the new FIU Stadium Tour will be on here early next week, got tied up this week with the FIU men's and women's basketball previews that you can catch in the Miami Herald on Sunday (men) and Monday (women) or on-line on the Herald's sports FIU page.

Esola_2 BTW, an update from FIU men's hoops. Forward Cedric Essola (picture, left), whom coach Sergio Rouco said earlier last month was going to redshirt this season because of asthma problems, will now play this season giving FIU a complete roster when they open the season on Monday, Nov. 12 at home against Florida Tech.

FIU Fanatic: There will be 4 elevators at the new stadium: 1 for FIU coaches, 1 for opponents coaches, 1 for club level suites fans and 1 for the general public. For next season, the media and coaches will each occupy a different suite.

FIUBlueandGold: The north stands of the stadium will go down when the student services and welcome center are built next year. And yes, the north stands and student/welcome center will be embedded into the stadium. The animation you last saw was NOT the complete rendering of the stadium when it is done. The second level is a wait and see approach.

CJ: All seats in the new stadium will have back rests. Taylor Beasley is not coming to FIU. He was offered a scholarship by the old coaching staff. The freshman quarterback you are referring to is Darold Hughes from Marrero, Louisiana and is likely going to redshirt this season. I'll tell you this, the kid has shown he has some quarterbacking skills when he directs the scout team against FIU's first team defense. Hughes has a great arm.

UltimateFIUFan: Yes, the NW linebacker got an offer from FIU, but he has not committed anywhere yet.

FI-UM Fan: Yes, high schools will play football in the new FIU Stadium. That will definitely help with recruiting.

FIUDad: Like your enthusiasm of playing the final home game at FIU Stadium, but the players would have to dodge the construction workers, cranes and other building materials. The stadium will not be ready for Dec. 1 of this year against North Texas.

24/7: For your answers on possible NCAA sanctions against FIU read the GPP's "Thursday Night FIU Baseball Live Blog" on Oct. 24.


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