There's only so much you can look into about the first spring scrimmage. Yes, it was the FIU offense versus the defense with both sides being quite familiar with one another since they go at in every practice. And quite honestly, FIU -- on both sides of the ball -- is not in Kansas's class yet, but there were plenty of encouraging signs from Saturday's scrimmage.
Again, keeping in mind this was the first practice game and we're only in March -- another five months before the season opener at Kansas -- yet both sides of the ball for the Golden Panthers on Saturday at times looked like they were manhandling North Texas last December. Here's the MH story: 1st Spring Scrimmage. Below are the details that could not be included in the print MH.
Starting with what looked like FIU's starting quarterback -- Paul Brady or is it Tom McCall? NOT hyperventilating here and NOT saying he's a Heisman Trophy candidate, but the way Paul McCall (left) ran the FIU offense on Saturday makes you wonder if new offensive coordinator Bill Legg was his coach in Pop Warner football or at Hollywood Hills High.
PM started slow with a three-and-out on the first possession, but took over after there with some help from his offensive friends. The FIU O-line held their blocks to give PM plenty of time and for the most part the receivers were catching everything thrown their way. The most glaring negative mark on the receivers was when they dropped three straight passes inside the 10-yard line. That can be a killer for young team like FIU in the regular season.
For PM's first completion he connected with Jeremy Dickens for 26 yards down the middle of the field. That second possession ended with Anthony Gaitor making an acrobatic interception on a deep pass near the end zone.
But the fourth offensive series was the most impressive of the day. PM completed six straight passes -- five of which went for more than 10 yards each. Ned ran in another short TD to finish the drive.
The running backs also had a nice day, in part because of the improved O-line's blocking. Daunte Owens (right), who is the fastest FIU back, ran for 110 yards and a 38-yard touchdown. What made you think DO could contribute big this season was the way he made cuts in the open field and eluded tacklers.
The "Lookie Here" play of the day may have been the precise execution of the option by PM and Julian Reams. PM -- who was disappointed in himself afterwards, because he could not run all the option plays due to a slight hamstring pull -- took the shotgun snap and ran right with Reams tailing him, right before PM was about to get tackled he pitched it to JR, who took off 72 yards for a TD.
The FIU defense finally got going in the second part of the scrimmage. But before we get to the D's highlights, this caught my attention.
Standing on the sidelines with the chain gang (a.k.a - FIU's injured players) I noticed how some of the seniors were coaching up the youngsters. Tight end Eric Kirchenberg explaining to Felder how to read a blitz. Defensive lineman Jonathan Betancourt encouraging freshman Bryan Frye to keep rushing the passer even though BF was having a tough time getting through some blocks. And linebacker Armond Willis helping sophomore Cody Pellicer with the look the offense was giving.
Besides the early INT by Gaitor, the defense couldn't muster much until Reggie Jones (left) and Quentin Newman started getting in the offensive backfield. RJ got 3 sacks. QN got 2 sacks. Pellicer and linebacker Christopher Edwards each got one sack.
Remember how we always say on here how important the O-line and D-lines are in a football game, well, once the D-line got pressure it helped the linebackers make plays.
LBs Tyler Clawson and Mannie Wellington visited the offensive backfield a few times. DT Curtis Bryant also made a trip there and the 6-3 Pellicer got up and batted down a pass from the 6-3 Darold Hughes.
Scrimmage No. 2 is scheduled for next Saturday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the FIU Rec Fields. While the rec fields don't have the history of the OB or the urine stench, on Saturday it was like the Golden Panthers never left the OB.