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30 Days to Signing Day

As has been evident from the time the GPP was born on-line more than 10 months ago, the lifeblood of this blog is no secret: FIU football.

But let's NOT play the role of all the talking head/scouting "experts" out there that love handing out stars to prep players and, of course (a hint of sarcasm here), know exactly how each player is going to pan out and know exactly who has the best recruiting class and blah, blah, blah. Kyle Wright, anyone? You get the drift.

While the GPP won't hand out stars (How much do those stars actually matter anyway? Since when do you need 5 stars to score a touchdown or get a sack?), we will try and Bp_3 figure out with your help since you good people follow the Golden Panthers just as closely, what positions do you think MC and his coaching staff need to have signed 30 days from now. This blog assesses what's on FIU's roster right now. We'll have another blog soon with all the possible recruits headed to FIU.

But for now, YOU be the FIU football Big Tuna for the day and post your thoughts after reading yours truly below: Let's go from the most needed positions on the FIU football team to the least.

Offensive line: As anyone who follows football from Pop Warner to the NFL knows, your offense is only as good as your offensive line. While the FIU O-line did a decent job last season, it still needs to get much better. Sure could use (to quote Keith Jackson) 2 or 3 "big uglies" here to help open holes and pass Kj protect better.

Pass rush specialists: This could come from either the defensive line or linebackers. There used to be a few of these two seasons ago in El Monstruo, Alex Bostic and Keke Bouie, but the former coaching staff left the cupboard bare on these type of players last season. FIU has a nice core of linebackers with Scott Bryant, Michael Dominguez and Toronto Smith. Plus, the Golden Panthers will get to see what redshirted defenders: Bryan Frye, James Wiggins and Ricky Booker can do this season. But again the one defensive aspect that stood out like a sore thumb last season: was the lack of a pass rush.

Defensive linemen: While the pass rush specialists would take care of the opposing passers, FIU still needs some big bodies on the D-line to help plug all those run-first Sun Belt teams like Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State. You know the type of D-linemen I'm talking about. The ones that can punish a running back and mobile QBs like Dwight Dasher of Middle Tennessee so that the next time those ballcarriers try to hit the hole, they'll think twice.

Running backs: I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. For the Golden Panthers spread offense to be truly dynamic, FIU needs that every down workhorse running back with speed and power. With some added weight A'mod Ned could be that guy, but he's already a senior this upcoming season. Looking to the future, it would be nice for FIU to find a nice one-two punch in the backfield to make it one of the best offensive schemes in the Sun Belt and eventually college football.

Kicker: Both Dustin Rivest and Chris Abed had their moments last season. But neither was consistent enough that if a game had come down to a last second field goal, MC would not have had to reach for Alka the Tums or Alka Seltzer. Actually, place kickers have been an issue with this program for 5 of the 6 years FIU football has been around. Only during former FIU kicker Adam Moss' senior season was kicking NOT a worry for the Golden Panthers.

Defensive backs: There was not much depth in last season's secondary due to injuries and some lack of talent. Now Lionell Singleton has graduated and who knows how well Robert Mitchell will recover from his foot injury. Ashlyn Parker was a tremendous addition here last season. FIU needs more Parkers this season.

Quarterback: We'll throw this position at the bottom, because there's already plenty of QB talent on the roster. But for what many think, including the GPP, is the most important position on the field (just ask the Dolphins- they're still looking for the second coming of Dan Marino) you can never have too many quarterbacks. So why not add another one if he is as good or better than what you already have.

PANTHER PAWSE

In Saturday night's hoops postgame comments, the Golden Panthers said they were "just tired of losing" and that's why they played their best basketball of the season. Let's hope they're "tired of losing" the rest of the season. Or maybe, BBPanther, they found that Cuban coffee stand. Great win by both FIU hoops teams.

Traded e-mails with Odebrecht (FIU Stadium) senior project manager/official stadium tour guide Rudy Armenta today and he says the groundwork for the FIU fieldhouse (west end zone) begins this week. Rudy said the GPP can tour the stadium at the end of January, so that's when we'll have the next stadium tour and updated photos on the blog.

NYCFIUFan: You're right on target when you point out that the recruiting for FIU is getting better and better. Just to know that the FIU coaches are actually out there hitting a zillion high schools, junior colleges and looking under every rock for talent. Will it be the best yet? We really won't know that answer until a couple of years when these players have some college football experience under their belts.

CJ: As far as I know from contacting the Jacksonville prep writers, A.J. Grant is headed towards FIU. Again that's an oral committment, so take it for what it's worth. From the prep writers descriptions, Grant sounds like another Ashlyn Parker.

paradox: I'm meeting with TT at the end of the week, so we should have the Q & A up on the blog this weekend and have your questions answered.

UltimateFIUFan: Didn't have a chance to sit down with Carlos Arroyo on Saturday. Had to write the FIU women's hoops game story while at the same time watching the men's game and then writing that one. I'll try to catch him next time he's in town.

FIU/GOLD & BLUE: Welcome to the GPP. I'll be on the FIU baseball stuff real soon, don't worry. As far as the baseball roster turnover, I'll have to borrow a saying from a friend of mine who has followed FIU Kir baseball for a long time. My friend is well aware of the roster turnover and as an avid FIU baseball fan he tells me all the time: "How many College World Series did FIU go to with the players Danny Price brought in?" Sure, TT did inherit some talent from DP, but that baseball roster like the FIU football roster needed a Kirstie Alley-type of makeover.

John: Welcome to the GPP.

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Build the OL and DL 1st, then the rest will follow. Build it with size and power. Make them nasty! Then it wont matter how much Ned weighs cuz people wont be able to hit him.

In the spread offense, having a BIG O-Line gives a mobile QB time to either pass or run, while opening holes for the RB. A big DL with active LB gives you the best mix to disrupt any offense. A powerful DL will make your LBs look even better than they may actually be, so if the LBs are good / quick then they'll look great / faster, etc. if a a great DL exist.

This translates to: A need to build the 1) OL then 1B) the DL.

GO FIU!!!

It all starts in the line of scrimmage and I'm sure that MC and staff are addressing that position. To a certain extent last year FIU started addressing need at O-Line position. Last year they recruited 2-3 guys over 6-3 and over 300 lbs.

Pete, I couldn't agree with you more...we need to get that great RB for spread offense. Ned and Julian Reams are going to be fine for this year, but for '09 we need to have someone ready.

As for the defense, we need to beef up that D-Line. FIU needs to be able to stuff the run. LB position is fine. As for secondary, there is need to add depth at that position. I think Devin Parrish and Anthony Gaitor are going to be good for years.

Likewise, I think we need to shore up both lines in order to free the ahtletes up to make plays when needed. That doesn't mean, every time we can land a fairly highly sought after recruit, we have to go for it, regardless of signing one less lineman.

However, we need to have depth at all positions, so we recruit the best players we can, regardless of position...But, if you have two position players regarded by our coaching staff at about the same level..then go for linemen...

It is nice to see that some of the "verbal" (Kenneth White, Kambriel Willis)commitments and some of the players FIU is recruiting hard(Pullins,Taylor,Hilton,etc.) made the All-County team. Shows that FIU wants to keep these kids at home.

GO FIU!!!

Very good showing in the All Dade kids..Also, Sean Ferguson, Eric Adeyemi, Drayquan Crawford, Robert Sands, Janary Gray, and Jonathan Jackson were 2nd team Dade, as well Emanuel Sourin (1st Team Dade), Tommy Streeter, and Marquise Law were also 1st team Dade have all been offered by FIU with no known "commitment" yet to any school. Kendall Thompkins, committe to Miami, will visit FIU soon, was also a 1st Team All Dade.

In Broward, Philip Pierre, Jordan Rae, Christian Thompson were Broward 1st Team and being offered by FIU with no pick yet. FIU's commitment, Chris Charles was a Class3A-1A 1st Team All Broward as an Utility player on Defense.

Thanks for the info FIU Fanatic. I didn't go into Broward county, but I'm impressed staff is making sure they recruit hard in South Florida.

If we could land that kid Jonathan Jackson, our Defense is going to be scary in two years!!! As for Tommy Streeter, I think he might be out of our league...but we never know.

Couple of FIU football updates. Safety Marshall McDuffie has been reinstated to the team. He'll be a senior this season. Former FIU receiver Chandler Williams was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins yesterday.

Interesting twist on McDuffie's career at FIU after the UM fight and all. He was a Junior during that season, so he must have taken his redshirt year this past season, thus playing as a Senior (if he does) for this coming 2008 season. Wow!

Great news on McDuffie!!! The kid must have earned his way back on the team.

Hopefully Chandler Williams can play for the Dolphins next year. They do need a #2,3,4 receiver. lol

thanks for answering my question pete and for the update on chandler and mcduffie guess he proved himself to the staff

i think everyone is hitting the nail on the head... the better the lines get the better play we will get out of our qb's and skill position players... if Mack signs that will be big

I have a kid that can def help Fiu with their kicking duties. Who can I talk to about that?

FIU Fanatic #1, have PP inform the special teams coach for FIU!!! I'm serious.

Go FIU!!!

whos goin to the game tonite?

Can't tonight, however I'll watch on PantherPass!

GO FIU!!!

PantherPass with me too....

Great news for Marshall McDuffie. You've got to respect that guy for not quitting and getting himself in a position to earn a spot back on the team. That says alot about his character.

Pete, do you have any update on Jonas Murell, a DL who was good at stopping the run and clogging the middle a couple of years ago? You mentioned earlier last year that he was going to be back for the 2008 season.

I completely agree with everyone on this blog--strengthening our OL and DL are the keys to sustainable improvement. I like to see MC going after junior college linemen who can step in and play right away (we need it), and it would be really nice to land a few high school DL and OL studs for the future. One thing we can sell more than most schools is playing time.

thanxs for some recruiting updates, i agree with you and the runningback situation we need a player that can be every down and have the potential to explode in the open field, im also pretty excite for 09 i went through rivals top 100 and saw fiu had offered alot of them

Oh my God - I am so sick of reading the same boring crap out of you all every time a blog gets posted about the roster, and the recruits signed and needed. Look, any team that wins one game in two years has NO solid positions. Stop sugar coating your teams pitifulness. Yes, MC is a seamingly doing a good job recruiting the second and third teir high school players, but lets not start thinking that FIU can get into recruiting wars with UM, UF, FSU, or teams around the country like LSU, TX, Okla etc, etc etc. Fiu is going to make SLOW and steady progress, i am sure, one day they may even have a breakout season like USF had last year. But it is YEARS away.

As for the FIU blog - why all the hatred toward Kyle Wright. The guy was the most highly recruited QB comming out of HS and yes, is NCAA career was less than spectacular. But is that really all to be blamed on the kid? I do believe that he had several offensive coordinators, several QB coaches, a Head coaching change, interteam turmoil, etc. YES, KW underacheived, but I am not of the opinion, like the GPP, that it was all KW fault.

crazy i agree that it all wasnt KW fault the guy was in the wrong school and in the wrong time... we all know that our program has major talent needs. no one here is disagreeing, however we are choosing to look at the light not the dark.

o btw great to see that FIU rolled all over Troy last nite. great win.

Great win for the basketball team. Hopefully they keep it going!!!

GO FIU!!!

CrazyCane,

You are pathetic.

Hey FIUJM....Just wondering on who can I talk to about this kid. Hes about to get his Associates Degree from MDC, and hes looking at transferring to FIU and playing if giving the opportunity to walk on. I know FIU needs all the help in the world if they plan to have a winning season next year and why not start by giving their special teams a chance.

Holidays season is over, I'm back to traveling and have the chance to catch up on some of these blogs.

CrazyCane has valid points, I mean just look back at Alt on here and the board many here frequent where he had the gall to say that Barnes would project to be a better prospect than Beason (despite playing in different systems and being absurdly wrong thus far) and Greg Olsen wasn't better than Sam Smith.

Everything in time, heck even FIUmom has stopped frequenting and littering the board with her absurd optimism, but I know that is due to personal reasons. FIU's time may come, but it will take a lot longer than USF considering their lack of experience in the coaching staff, talent, and probationary problems. All in good time, just make sure you stay above the 15k minimum attendance requirement so you can remain in D-1 and get better athletes.

Q: What do North Texas and Miami football have in common?

A: They both got drilled in their last game ever at the Orange Bowl. At least North Texas wasn't shut out, though.

Rumor has it that School colors have changed, hey Pete can you confirm this.

Black and Gold ??

Wow, that's interesting about school colors getting changed.

FIUFANATIC#1, about the kicker...what I suggested is that maybe Pete can talk to the coaches or advise what the process would be to add player on football team. It would be great if we don't have to worry about kicking duties.

GO FIU!!!

Don't worry about the attendance figures and overly optimistic comments. Every school has them and even more ridiculous comments, if you know what I mean.....

Thanks Hopefully Mr.Pete can help out, I really want to help this guy I know Cristobal would love this kid.

well just so everyone knows the kicking duties will no longer be a problem as fiu has recently added last years all american kicker julio moraga from homestead high to the roster, kicking will def be the least of fiu's worries

J where did yo ufind that FIU added the Kid from homestead.

im one of his really good friends

Well it wouldnt hurt to have two really good kickers would it? after all FIU needs a punter too.

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