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 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 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 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.
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 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.