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First Practice Thoughts

As you good FIU fans may already know there are space constraints in the print newspaper therefore I couldn't get in all the first impressions about FIU's first spring practice in Wednesday's MH. 1st Spring Practice story

MC announced today that all spring practices are open to the public. The next one is tommorrow, Thursday at 3:30 p.m. FIU also practices Friday at 3:30 p.m. and scrimmages at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. For the rest of the spring schedule go to fiusports.com.Algore

Good thing, this guy Al Gore invented this internet thing, where space is endless. At least, that's what South Park says and you know everything on their show has to be true. Gotta give David Quinones from the Herald Sports Dept. an assist for the Gore/internet/man bear pig reference.

Manbearpig_2 Anyways, back to the gridiron or as it's known for now the FIU Rec Fields and your Golden Panthers.

From not having seen most of the team since the Orange Bowl finale victory, apparently that weight training lab of Dr. Roderick Moore has paid off. Not only did a lot of the Golden Panthers look faster on the field Tuesday, but some have also put on some weight and the normal weight that is, not the Barry Bonds-kind.

Yes, the focus until the kickoff at Kansas, Aug. 30 is likely to be the quarterback battle, but Wayne Younger is not expected to participate in spring practice. WY is still healing from the broken collarbone.

MC said Paul McCall and WY enter this season splitting first team snaps, but looks like PM will get those this spring while Colt Anderson and Darold Hughes look to take another step up. All 3 QBs had their moments Tuesday and we'll have 14 more practices and all summer to talk about them. So let's move on.

Here's a guy to keep an eye on this spring and beyond: fullback Trenard Turner. You remember him as Tt the beneficiary of those fake double reverse, fullback-wide-open-down-the-sideline touchdown passes last season. TT may be getting some more passes and some carries this season. Coaches really like his athleticism.

The receivers looked to be running more crisp routes and hanging onto the ball on Tuesday. Of course, getting the freshman hiccups out of the way helps. Remember, the majority of the FIU receiving corps will be either sophomores or freshmen this season.

Former defensive end-turned-tight end James Wiggins may be your sleeper this spring. The redshirt freshman from California is 6-5, 255 pounds and runs like a deer in the open field. Don't be surprised to see him become a favorite target of FIU QBs.

Didn't really spend too much time looking at the defense in the first practice, but will get a closer look in the next few days. The FIU secondary got much better with the returns of Jeremiah Weatherspoon, Mitch Marshall McDuffie and a healthy Robert Mitchell. Plus, wait until the highly touted freshmen defensive backs arrive in the fall.

There's a new kicker in camp: Carlos Munera and he was both punting and kicking on Tuesday. Punter Chris Cook is out with a bad back and did not practice. MC said Dustin Rivest is taking care of some academic issues. Munera showed a pretty strong leg especially with the punts. In his field goal kicking after practice: it was like two-thirds of a Clint Eastwood movie: the Good and the Bad.

Not a bad turnout - fan-wise - for the first spring practice. While there was a good-size group watching Ce_2 from the end zone, there weren't too many people watching from the concrete club suites (a.k.a - the parking garage).

Paw GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Before we get to some reader inquiries, expect FIU's basketball arena to have a new name before the next hoops season. Since the Pharmed company went bankrupt, the Pharmed Arena will be re-named the ???? Arena. FIU is actively pursuing $$$$partners$$$$ for a new name to the arena. You got cash: Your Name Here Arena.

Hello The new football stadium naming rights are also being shopped. Also, if you got $150,000 a year in between the cushions of your couch you can own the naming rights to FIU baseball's University Park Stadium. 

Got to salute FIU P.A. announcer Roman Garcia, who became a father last weekend. RG also did not welch on a friendly wager, made like Harry Caray and sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at FIU's game last week against Jacksonville.Caray

Speaking of Harry Caray, I pitched an idea to the FIU athletic department to have a different fan at each FIU baseball game wear a Harry Caray wig, Coke-bottle thick black glasses and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during each 7th inning stretch. No word yet from FIU on my idea taking life.

gpantera: I'm not anointing WY as Vince Young or Tim Tebow, all I'm saying is the kid showed substantial improvement from being a scout team receiver under Strock to being a starter for most of the season last year. Strock never gave the kid a shot or worked on his throwing mechanics. Former OC James Coley constantly put in extra time with WY and toward the end of last season you could see WY was getting better. Especially the game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Is he the best passer FIU has, probably not. PM holds that distinction. PM may have played the best game ever by an FIU QB vs. North Texas. However, it would be interesting to see how much WY has improved with one year of the spread under his belt. And the FIU offense is in good hands if PM produces during a 12-game season like he did against FAU and NT. Hey, competition can only make everyone and the team better.

INS PUB ADJ: No truth to the rumor of Jorge Fernandez becoming FIU's hoops coach. SR will be back next season and I don't think JF would be FIU's first choice anyway.

CJ & FIUJM: Thanks for the props. Will try to get as many updates on spring ball as possible on the GPP.

confused: Don't be your [screen name]. TT's leadership should not be in question, what should be is the recruiting of the previous coach. Just like MC will endure some of DS's bad recruiting for the first few years on the football field, TT will have to do the same with DP's evaluation of talent. However, TT should be able to turn around the FIU baseball program quicker than MC would in football. Just need a couple of strong recruiting classes of pitchers and some team speed on offense and defense. Football is a whole different animal.

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