Sure it's been a rough week around FIU sports, but there are sunny skies ahead. I know you're tempted to push that panic button, or you might be on that ledge, but hold your finger and come down from the top of that building.
You good people remember that TV show Quantum Leap where the protagonist would always finish his opening line with: "Anyway here I am, bouncing around in time, putting things right that once went wrong, a sort of time traveling Lone Ranger."
Well that's two TV shows, but who's counting. Now is your chance to tell us what you would do to put things right with FIU sports that once went wrong. You be the time traveling Lone Ranger. I'll start you guys off....
Baseball: It's no secret TT is a great recruiter, but the man had only 6 months since he was hired last June to bring in new players. Give TT a whole year to recruit and see what he does. I'm sure TT has already beat us in this time traveling thing and rounded up a bunch of pitchers for next season. One thing that was neglected in past FIU baseball recruiting classes was a focus on pitching. And as we've all seen in the first five games, pitching is FIU's most glaring weakness. Don't care how many runs you score, if you can't get anybody out you don't have a chance whether it's college baseball, slo-pitch softball, Nintendo RBI Baseball or wiffle ball.
Also, we need to go in the future and get some team speed for the Panthers. Speed can help you win games offensively and defensively. The hitting is there for FIU, but hitting can slump and as the old adage goes, speed never goes into a slump.
Football: MC addressed in his second recruiting class some of what was missing from last year's team: playmakers with speed, especially on D with half of the Class 4A State Champion Booker T. Washington defense. The Tornadoes are guys that can pressure the passer like El Monstruo, Alexander Bostic and Keke Bouie used to do.
The hope is FIU found its workhorse, every down running back in Darriet Perry. If not, we'll go into 2009 and bring that stud runner back for MC. Outside of possibly Rashod Smith, FIU's all-time leading rusher, the Panthers have never had that rusher with breakaway speed. If Smith would have had more size you might have seen him playing on Sundays.
Basketball: Let's find a way to break the full court pressure. Teams have done it all season to FIU and with a few exceptions the Panthers have struggled to solve the press.
Was going to visit Steve Nash, Magic Johnson or Jason Kidd to see if any of their sons want to play guard at FIU, but SR has some pretty good guard talent joining him next season in point guard Josue Soto and wide receiver/shooting guard T.Y. Hilton.
Add to it possibly, forwards Freddy Asprilla and J.C. Otero and next season could be SR's most talented team. We could leap into 2009 to see if it is, but what fun would it be if we didn't watch the season unfurl.
Even with a loss last night, heard the FIU women's hoops team clinched a 1st Round Sun Belt Tournament home game next Wednesday. Congrats to the Lady Panthers.
FIU baseball looks to rebound this weekend with a four-game home series against Wagner. It's been a tough start to the 2008 season, but here's something on the lighter side: FIU will be looking for its Number 2 win of the season against Wagner. . .Hopefully, you get the pun.
FI-UM Fan: The new sound system at the baseball stadium sounded pretty good to me. Among the other improvements, the stadium got a fresh coat of paint on the inside, there are some suites available now for rent and there is talk of building field-level suites behind home plate. The talent on the team will eventually improve as well. TT knows what he's doing.
WhosHouse: From what I'm hearing FIU commit and pitcher Mason McVay has a sore elbow, but should be fine by the time he puts on an FIU uniform next February.
dan le batard, FGCU, maniac'82 & shocked: Welcome all to the GPP.
shocked: Unfortunately TT has to clean up the previous coaching staff's mess. In one of the last comments on the previous post "A What We Learned Weekend", dan le batard hit it on the screws with his comment. Forget for a moment about the baseball team's past academic woes, because that can be traced to FIU as a university not being prepared with enough tutors, computers, etc. to help a Division I athletic program. You can't pin that solely on the past baseball staff.
But the neglect of past baseball recruiting, the questionable game-decisions and the poor overall conditioning and preparation of the team -- all of this is what TT is cleaning up and building.