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 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 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
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.
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.