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Q & A with Turtle Part 3

There's certainly not much of a positive vibe surrounding the FIU hoops team at the moment in what Train_2 has become a trainwreck of a season. The latest installment last Saturday losing to Louisiana-Monroe, the only winless team in the Sun Belt. So let's get back to the dugout and the sunny skies of Turtleland or as some may know it: FIU baseball and continue with your Q & A with "La Tortuga", that's the Turtle in Spanish. 31 days until Opening Day vs. USC at FIU. Ttt_3

fiufan751: While it appears that FIU has some bats, the old saying that pitching and defense wins games/championships is so true. Assess those two areas.

TT: We know pitching and defense are interrelated, meaning that if you have good pitching there's not as many tough forehand, backhand rockets hit at you in the infield and deep fly balls that you have to chase down in the outfield. If you get good pitching the quality of the plays that you make are not as many, because your pitchers are going to strikeout some guys. There are more routine ground balls and fly balls instead of those hot shots hit at you. We think that our pitching is somewhat better. Chris Allen has improved over last year. Steven Stewart was not available last year due to injury. Corey Polizzano is a stronger, physical guy now. We feel that he could withstand the rigors of a season a little bit more. Guys like Danny DeSimone, Evan Ellison, Jorge Ramos are better. We think the pitching is a little better. The problem is we don't have a tremendous amount of depth. That could be an issue a little bit on Tuesday, Wednesday games. Defensively, we probably shored up a few areas a little bit, but it could be a concern. We just have to see how the season plays out. It's still a question mark at this moment.

Yandro: Who do you see making the starting rotation?

TT: If we had to open up today. I would imagine on Friday night it would be Chris Allen. Saturday night it would probably be Polizzano and Stewart would probably be the Sunday guy. That's opening right now, but there's the potential of somebody coming out and improving, moving ahead of one of those guys or maybe a potential arm injury. Anything can happen.

GPP: Do the number 4 and 5 starters look like DeSimone and Ramos?

TT: I would say Ramos would definitely be one guy. We're thinking about DeSimone out of the 'pen. Maybe if he didn't get some significant work on Friday, Saturday or Sunday maybe he would pitch on Wednesday or maybe even a Tuesday.

Concerned Fan: Where can I get tickets to the Sun Belt tournament, because I'm booking my trip now to root for FIU?

Lou TT: Call Louisiana-Lafayette. That's where the tournament is going to be played. I like that question. That's my man right there.

Baltimorepanther: What are some of the qualities you look for in recruits knowing most of them might go pro?

TT: You're really looking for three things when you look at a person. Number one: does he have the tools or skills that you're looking for that is better than what you already have. We're always looking to upgrade each position. There is no question. We don't want the same guy, unless he is a great player. Number two: when you look at that transcript you have to get a good student. Number three: you do a background check on these people. Talk to his high school coach, people around him, his summer or travel coach, maybe somebody that had him in a showcase. Is he the type of person that you want in the program? Does he have the work ethic? Does he have the character?

GPP: As far as the roster is comprised for this season, about how many players are still left from last year's team?

TT: 19.


Again taking it all for what it's worth and remembering it doesn't mean a thing until it's signed on the dotted line, but heard from very trustworthy sources that FIU got a recent oral committ from one of Dperry_2 Georgia's top running backs in Darriet Perry of Lowndes. This season Perry broke the school's all-time rushing record. Perry is not considered a blazer carrying the ball, but knows how to run the ball and is supposedly very tough to bring down. Maybe this is the feature, every down, workhorse running back FIU needs. Let's see what happens on Feb. 6.

fiugrad78: The last time I checked the designs of the new FIU Stadium, there will be plenty of parking on the east and west sides of the stadium, plus areas of Tamiami Park just south of the stadium.

NYCFIUFan: There haven't been any rumblings of any objections regarding pro soccer coming to FIU. Only Miami mayor Manny Diaz seems to have curdled milk about it. Getting pro soccer and other events to FIU Stadium is a win-win situation for FIU and Miami taxpayers ($120 million) we won't have to help pay.

Baltimorepanther: The way FIU hoops is playing right now, a pickup team at Tropical Park could probably beat the Golden Panthers. The players lack motivation. Only when they get down by a substantial amount do they muster some pride to make a run, which lately the runs have come too late anyway. It's just bad hoops being played right now (missed free throws, turnovers, sloppy defense). There seems to be a lack of discipline.

UltimateFIUFan: Just because he didn't have a spectacular year, I don't think Lionell Singleton will be invited to the NFL Combine. He should get a long look as a free agent in some NFL camp, because of his return ability, speed and cover skills. I, too, would take him over Ted Ginn. Who the hell ever heard of drafting a player in the 1st round, because he's got "great character" as Cam Cameron put it on draft day. Give me some players, who can play football. If I wanted character, I'd go watch some theatre on Broadway.Bway


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"If I wanted character, I'd go watch some theatre on Broadway."

HA HA as Nelson would say!

I am excited regarding the 31 days left until opening day. When will there be some inter-squad games so we can get a sneak preview of the things to come? I understand that there are NCAA restrictions, but are they going to play any exhibition games, or does that count against the games they can play?
Besides the new players, are there any additional changes that will be obvious? New uniforms, new logo, stadium improvements, etc.

Pete, one can buy FIU football jerseys on-line, can you find out from Athletic Marketing if either basketball or baseball jerseys will EVER be available for fans? My kids always wear their FIU football jerseys when they go out to the park, mall, etc. They would love to wear FIU basketball or baseball jerseys also.

When is football signing day? Is it Feb 6th?


Football signing day is Feb. 6th. RB Perry is a really good back. This is the guy I wanted from Day 1 to commit. He has strong work ethic. I'm sure MC and staff will get the best out of him(if he signs).

Pete, thanks for informing us about FIU baseball. TT seems like he's ready for the season!!! I'm definitely going to be there against USC.

UFF, good question about FIU basketball and baseball gear. It would be nice to get FIU at Sports Authority(football jersey available there).


TT is a good coach, he is honest with his answers and is not promising a miracle, I like his attitude and his commitment to FIU. I hope in the future we can find a coach like that for the hoops team. or maybe we can go to Broadway and find a musical director or producer to run the team. Maybe he/she could bring some order to that mess.

i saw the video on perry the kid might not have breakaway speed but he isnt a thumper either.. and he can make guys miss cut back and vision is deadly combo and the kids got it. pete eanny word on dannehower?

Hello my name is John Petika and I play baseball for FIU. I realize there is a lot of FIU supporters in this Blog and I just wanted to inform you that;

I am selling seats at our BASEBALL BANQUET on Feb. 9th

and that I am also selling SEASON TICKETS.

We would really appreciate your support in helping our program become one of the best in the country.

if you are interested please email me at

thank you and hope to see you all on Feb. 22nd opening day

CJ and FIUJM... I love your passion, guys, but what you just wrote is yet another reason why talking about recruiting is a complete waste of time for any college sport until they sign on the dotted line.

How do you know this kid Perry's got "it"? From a video? One that was likely edited by a coach or friend of his? One that does everything possible to hide whatever weaknesses the kid's got?

Videos are like resumes. The secret to a good resume is to highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. And Lord knows that both the player and their high school coaches have every incentive you can imagine to try to make the player look good on tape.

Believing from a video that this guy's a "stud" is like saying you know Mario Cristobal's a good coach. Maybe he is and maybe he isn't... but just like you can't judge MC on one season, you can't judge this kid on a video that does everything possible to make him look good.

This is why no one just accepts resumes at face value. They do interviews. They do background checks. They do more than that. And unless you're doing all that (which I doubt), then there's no point in just looking at tape. ANYONE can look good on tape. Kyle Wright sure looked like a stud coming out of high school, right? So did Kirby Freeman. So did a lot of 4-5 star players that end up being nothing but hot air once they get to college.

My point? Fretting over this is pointless. The coaches will almost always know better than us whether a player's worth a damn, and that's because they have the job, the time and usually the resources to do precisely that. Fans simply don't, unless that's what you do for a living.

Sorry for the rant... it just ticks me off to see people make statements like that. I'm not trying to rank on you guys. It's just that sitting here, pointing at some obscure recruit and saying "he's our man" does more harm than good for everyone. The only way you can judge a player in college is by seeing him on the field. Period. There is no other way.

messod i get where you are comming from but if you own team records and help lead your team to 3 out of 4 state championship games and in those games rack up 100+ yards. start all 4 years... thats pretty good man. i agree people edit tape to make their kids look good. but... those kids still do the things on those tapes.

MB, I definitely understand your point and respect it. The reason I care about recruiting is because this is the future of the FIU football program(or any other FIU sport). I believe that if college "coaches" are looking at a kid or even offer a scholarship it must be for good reason. Now, if the commitments change their mind, that's a different story. I realize players are just 17-18 years old.

Another thing, you will get your 4-5 star(personally I don't care about those stars) recruits that turn out to be bust. But it's good to know what recruits have done at high school level. Realize that's pretty much what we have to go by and the coaches also.


I agree with you guys here. Messod has his point, but I truly thinks he takes it to an extreme a bit when he says it is a complete waste of time. That is his opinion, and I don't agree with it. I enjoy talking about it, while understanding the nature of 17 year olds and their frames of mind.

Messod, you are correct in what you are saying but you forget that the FUN in all this offseason, as a fan, is to try and predict who has "got it" it's what makes NSD and the pro-draft entertaining. No one, not even coaches are always right.

Pete does a great job at getting us the 411, we make it fun by adding our predictions and entries, that's what is fun about a blog vs and article.

By the way, I know most of u hate UM but on the UM blog there is a very good entry on the recruits for UM. Well written and it's the type of guys that hopefully MC will be getting for FIU in the comming years.

FI-UM, not all of us hate UM i know there are some that dont like UM but before FIU got a team.. MOST... not all lol were fans of the U... i read the article it was good manny is a good beat writter and keeps everyone well informed just like pete. he covers recruiting a bit more but pete is giving us more q&a w/ coaches. the hearld has good writers.

hey i think we should all try and support petika here and try and buy some of those banquet tickets. from what i heard this would do a great deal as far as money is concerned for the baseball team and it would be a great experience. i already bought my season tickets from one of the guys who was pumped for the season to start. also, from what ive heard there will be a scrimmage coming up next friday night hopefully this would be available to the public?

Darriet Perry is a great recruit. His resume speaks for itself. He's a hard-nosed, battle-tested runner, but most importantly, he's a winner.

First time GP Blogger. PP, this is great stuff. I'm used to the FIU blog, but from now on I'll stay here. I see some passion about football recruiting and also about the Turtle debut, but I don't feel there is any feeling toward any other sport. Let's face it when PG signed on the dotted line I thought he was nuts coming to my beloved FIU, A/K/A the graveyard of collegiate sports in America. For years this university has had great fans and we see it in guys like MB and Roman Garcia who have given their very best and continue to do it despite FIU's perennial under achievements.

My problem is the apathy that exists toward basketball. As fans it is our duty to tell the administration how we feel so they can make changes accordingly. When we disagreed with the "overrated, overpaid and overfed" Rick Mello's decision to drop Soccer, (One of the more successful program in the short history of FIU) we let him know and we stop him from terminating it. Basketball should be one of our flagship programs. It is sad that we jump from Football to Baseball because we assume, (So far we have been right), that Basketball will not win, will not draw and will not be entertaining. This program loses 20 games every year in what is probably the worst basketball conference in the US.

When are we, the fans, going to start taking ownership into our university sports programs. We can critizise UM, UF, FAU and the rest of the schools, but let's not be blind. Their fans really care about their programs and make their voices count.

Kudos to John Petika (One of the best baseball hitters in America) for promoting the Baseball banquet and their season tickets in this very blog. John, I'm sorry that I had already bought my season tickets and I won't be in Miami for the Baseball Banquet. How many of you know of John Petika?. Let's stop being typewriter's fans and let's get involved where it counts, on the field.

I am awesome!

Just noticed that the baseball roster has been posted on the FIU website.

hey pete while on rivals message board someone posted the article that confirms troy dannehower and kasey smith's committment to FIU... again i know .. dotted line but i thought id help spread the link http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Sports/Headlines/sptFBH01012308.htm

First of all, that Darriet Perry post was great(regardless if it was him or not)!!

RabidPantherFan is correct, we all need to support FIU athletics.

CJ: There's a famous person (I forget who) who once said there's 3 kinds of lies in this world: lies, damned lies and statistics. That's probably hyperbole, but one thing I've learned from doing a year of HS football in North Carolina is that statement has validity. Stats at this level are usually vague at best and outright fabrications at worst.

I'm not saying that's the case with Perry... I don't know if it is or if it isn't. But all HS stats need to be taken with a really BIG grain of salt. Most of the people compiling those numbers are usually parents, friends or supporters of those HS teams. And, unlike most media relations people you see at the collegiate level, most of them do not have qualms about inflating their boys' numbers to make them look good.

I'm not saying a video is worthless, either. Just realize that it's designed to make them look better than what they really are. Just like a resume.

FIUJM: Recruiting is the lifeblood, and I totally understand why so many people look into it during the off-season. No games... no practices... the beast must be fed somehow. It's the challenge all reporters face... the one that must keep the public fed with info even if we have to find new ways and new sources. And even if those new ways and new sources aren't all that relevant... if it keeps people entertained, then off it goes into the jaws of the public. This is particularly true with programs that stink, and FIU certainly falls into that category (presently).

But coaches go by more than what they did in high school on the field. Like I said, they dig into the kid's life. They talk to teachers and friends. They look into grades. Where he worked. His family life. Criminal checks. The list seems endless. To say they judge a kid basically by what he did on the field isn't true. Those programs that do that are usually the ones that end up with the NCAA breathing down their necks. They also end up with losing seasons because part of the reason you recruit a kid - the BIGGEST part - isn't because of what he did in HS, but what he can do in the next 4 years. For me (like you), 4 and 5-star athletes mean nothing. I care more what he can do for me in the next 4 years, and that info you cannot find just by looking at HS stats.

Fanatic: Looking back at what I wrote, I didn't say it the right way. Let me try again. I don't think it's a complete waste of time trying to find out who FIU is recruiting. You do quite a commendable job there. I always look at your posts on the FIUgoldenpanthers website for that reason alone.

Where my craw gets stuck is when people say "we got to get THIS kid! he's going to make us BCS champs! etc, etc!" THAT kind of talk is useless and damaging. You don't do that kind of thing, and that's to your credit. But unfortunately, many people do, and that's my problem. It's a product of no football games and too much time thinking about football. And it especially happens with bad programs... and hell, even with good programs it happens a lot. I don't think fans should be hyping HS kids. They have too much pressure already. And there is no way to predict how well a kid transitions from HS to college just like there isn't one from college to the NFL. So all I'd like to see is people just lay off these kids. They're just talented kids playing a game. I wish more people thought of them that way instead of thinking they're the Second Coming.

I have been looking for the roster info, but everytime I go to the athletic website, I get something from Jump TV saying this site is not available. I can not get on the FIU web page.

One more thing.

If you look back at the stats of A'mod Ned and Julian Reams in HS, you'll see they had great numbers. Ned in particular. FIU's recruited many a player with great HS numbers. That's sure made a positive difference... right???

If you look at hype, a similar trend exists. Fanatic probably knows this better than I... and probably Pete, too... but the only FIU player I can recall who had huge hype in high school AND became a star was Antawn Barnes. I can't think of another, in all honesty. Turnbull had some hype in HS, but academics scared off a lot of schools, if memory serves me there. Jamie Burke's knees ruined his chances.

On the flip side of the coin, Rashod Smith had a good career with no one hyping the kid much. I don't think Keke Bouie had a ton of hype, either, even though he had great numbers in high school. Bostic had more hype than Bouie, but which one had more of an impact?

My point? Hype is hype. I'm more interested in seeing what these kids got. And that you won't see until they show up for fall and spring practices. So I'll just sit and chill until then. Plenty of other things to do in the meantime... like bitch about FIU basketball and hope the Turtle man is as good as advertised. As RPF just said, there's a lot more going on than just football and baseball 'round these parts. :)

Messod, once again you make great points and as a fellow HS coach we have a different perspective than most fans. But again, the fun as just a fan is hearing all these stars and stuff and getting excited about your team.

We know that scouts and coaches dont ask for "highlight films" they ask for "complete game tapes" because they have the time and get paid to watch all of it.

Fans however just want to see the highlights. Only coaches and scouts want to watch complete tape. and by the way tape can lie!! have you ever watched a kid on film who seems slow and then he burns you on gameday? While we are busy prepping for spring ball or in the weight room, fans have nothing to do so as someone else said earlier, the beast must be fed. dont get worked up over it. It is what makes FB the "king of sports" to quote my high school coach. Even in the down time, the interest is super intense!

MB, good job bringing in Jamie Burke into the discussion. :) Your points are valid.

I didn't elaborate on the recruits getting offers. I'm aware it isn't solely based on their play of the football field. I'm aware there are many other factors that coaches look at before offering. Like I said before, I understand your point and respect it. I just like all aspects of football(even recruiting).

As for the basketball team, I've shared enough of my opinion of them. I'll always root for them but I'm definitely not happy with the coaches.

And I can't wait for baseball. I'll be there Feb. 22nd.


Very good points Messod. I do agree with them all. I understand the limitations and pitfalls of over-relying on tapes and stuff. And as you said, stats are stats, and it depends greatly on type of competition, teammates, and accuracy of those stats. However, some of that information could be of significance, and some not. For me, it's fun gathering what we are after, and what we are not.

Keep going FIU!!!

messod youo seem to think that i am putting all my chips on one or two recruits... trust me... i am a UM fan as well as fiu. i know highly ranked recruits that fail. just i am excited about the new class never has a coach worked hard enough to get players ... FOOTBALL players given MC's track record as a good recruiter. i trust in his judgement... for now. one more point i want to remind you of, most the recruits that FIU are getting are, to most of the country undersized, underskilled, and in their minds will be out classed at the next level. i am trying to look around stats. i know they are flawed b/c of commpetition level etc. but when you have a guy that has helped you get to 3 state champs. who is considered a star on your team but is to small so the big boys dont want him, i see them as jems. thats why i get excited about recruiting. its a new year, new recruits, new stadium and hopefully a new tradition of winning. thats what gets everyone excited about recruits. not that they will be the saviors but that they bring new hope to an otherwise hopeless team (last year)

Has anyone else noticed that there is a distinct deficit in left-handed pitching this season? One starter and the potential closer; nobody else in the pen. Plus, although FIU could potentially put up 5 lefties at the plate, that is ALL there is? And the only new lefty addition this season is outfielder Ty Main? Not that I am lefty-biased or anything, but it IS a big advantage to be able to take advantage of both sides of the plate from both a hitting AND pitching perspective.
Just an observation. Maybe it wont make any difference.

Pete I read an article about how some NW High kids started classes at UM, have any FIU high school football recruits started taking classes at FIU?

Also, I am curious to see how FIU's recruiting class stacks against teams in the Sun Belt.

Life in FIU basketball kingdom. One more loss, one more player quitting the team, one more silence from the staff.

It seems that every year is "Ground Hog Day" for the basketball team. Season starts with 11-13 players, during the season they might add a football player and then they end the season with 7-9 players.

We have played Julius Eppinger, tried to recruit Nick Turnbull, Moses Hinton. These are football players.

Sad that a state university with well over 35K students cannot recruit local basketball players.

RIP 2007 - 2008 basketball season.

It has been hard being a BB fan. Lets do what is necessary to move the basketball program forward. Great that we can see TT and that he has turned the baseball team around. There is new excitement on campus. Looking for the same thing from the football program. Would like to see MC talking to us and the players selling tickets.

who quit the basketball team?

Red White quit. I heard there had been problems with him before. I heard he had problems at Texas A&M, which is why he transferred. It seems he isn't the most "TEAM PLAYER" type. He wants his numbers and the rest is secondary.


Pete, how much recruiting does SR do locally? If you look at the local high school coaching fraternity, one sees several former Golden Panthers players coaching locally. This includes Marcus Carreno head coach @ perennial powerhouse Miami High. I would hope the relations are there.


Pete, in todays Herald there was a sub-heading under the "Undecided" recruit article, stating that on MiamiHerald.com had recruiting analyst Larry Blustein discussing FIU's recruiting class. However I could not find this article anywhere on-line on the MiamiHerald.com site. Could you provide the link to Bluestein's review? Thanks.


A little off topic, but I went by campus yesterday to have lunch with an old friend. As I left, I stopped by the stadium site. WOW !! Looks great so far....I have some questions for the PM on site:


Is the press and media box on the same level with the suites ?? or will it be on the north side bleachers this season where VIPs sat in those temp. bubble suites ?

Any changes to the field ? I got close and it looked like there was new paint on the turf ?

Any chance that the field could be used for the Spring game ?? As far as I can tell, I don't see an issue playing a daytime spring game there and allowing fans a taste of what is to come next fall...Actually, if the site can be secured for that one day, it could do wonders for ticket and suite sales...

FIU has to think out of the box, which I think they are, however we need to be very aggressive in coverage to reach those passive fans that will eventually jump on the bandwagon.

Back to baseball...no practice today. No scrimmage today. In fact, no baseball players have worked out five of the last nine days.

Just wanted to let everyone know in case they were planning to stop by the field. I think practice starts Feb. 1.

PP - more baseball info, please.

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