There's certainly not much of a positive vibe surrounding the FIU hoops team at the moment in what 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.
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?
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?
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 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.