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 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 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.
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 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 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".
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 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 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.