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Spring Football Preview: QBs and RBs

FIU football returns three days from now with the first spring practice on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at the FIU rec fields. To get you ready for the 14 practices this spring leading up to the Blue/Gold Spring Game on April 18, here is the first (quarterbacks and running backs) of three spring previews leading up to Jubb Tuesday's first workout.

The last time we saw the Golden Panthers they were jubilantly closing out the Orange Bowl with a win over North Texas. FIU lost nine seniors from last year's team, so most of the Panthers are back. None of the signees from the 2008 recruiting class will participate in spring drills. Quarterback Troy Dannehower, who graduated early from Seabreeze High, came close to joining FIU for the spring, but he missed the cutoff date by two weeks.

Regardless, as you know, there are plenty of other FIU quarterbacks and figuring out who will be the starter is FIU's version of March Madness and the Madness quite possibly could last close to the kickoff at Kansas on Aug 30.

Pm_2 Paul McCall (left) led the Panthers to their only win last season after taking over for Wayne Younger (below, right), who broke his collarbone the game before against FAU. Each quarterback has different talents to run the spread offense. PM is a better decision-maker and has the stronger arm. WY is more mobile and can make throws on the run, plus he has game-breaking ability with his feet.

Last year's freshmen Colt Anderson and Darold Hughes will also get long looks this spring. MC said CA and DH will be mixed into the QB competition as much as possible and when TD arrives in the fall he will be in the QB race as well. WY will be limited during the spring because he's still recovering from the collarbone injury.

"Wayne was really playing pretty good football in the conference before getting hurt," said MC. "He Wy_2 showed some things that let us think he's going to be a real good player for us as did Paul McCall stepping in the last game and the last half of the FAU game. Paul showed he could do some real good things and be a real good player for us as well. So both those guys will split first team reps and let the best man win."

MC added there is no set timetable to select FIU's starting QB.

"Those decisions are made right there on the football field. It's real clear and evident when a guy is kicking butt and winning that job he becomes the guy. If they are neck and neck and battling day in and day out, one guy has to step out and separate himself. Until that day comes, we won't make a decision. [The decision] will always be anywhere between a week and a couple of days before game one if need be."

There will be some adjustments the QBs and the rest of the offense will have to make under new OC Bill Legg. MC said FIU's offense will "still have spread principles, but there is a little bit of a learning curve".

Also expect some physical practices this spring that will include the QBs.

Dodge_3 "Several of those quarterback drills will be live so we're going to see these guys under fire," MC said. "It's not going to be P.E. class in grade school where we're out there in shorts and tag and do-over and that kind of stuff. We're going to let these guys get after each other and knock the heck out of each other."

And knocking the heck out of each other includes the guys throwing the ball.

"Yeah, the quarterbacks need to get hit," MC said. "We have a lot of guys that haven't played much football. It's part of the game. Play ball, play hard. Football is what it is. It's a man's sport. It's a physical sport and we have to practice physical football. . .We have to play a lot of football. We have to continue developing. We have to continue recruiting like maniacs, that's what we do."

Moving over to the backfield, FIU has a designated number one running back to start the spring.

Nedd "A'mod Ned will go in as the starter," MC said. "He definitely separated himself toward the end of last season, but Julian Reams came on strong as well. Daunte Owens has got a ton of potential. What we did realize during the year, is guys like John Ellis and Trenard Turner have ball skills and they showed it when they touched the ball in the passing game. Being that they are big, physical guys we want to see them touch the ball back there too."

Next up, we'll take a look at the receivers, tight ends and offensive line.

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Any truth to the rumor of UM's Jorge Fernandez as the next FIU Basketball coach after the tournament run?

I think Fernandez will be a good fit at FIU and I hope that rumor is true, he is a top 25 recruiter and I am sure he will be a better head coach.

Hey Pete,

I respect ya but to write that Wayne Younger has, "game-breaking ability with his feet," is a mischaracterization. He runs scared, not confidently. He didn't break into the win column with his so-called "game-breaking ability."

All Paul McCall did was throw touchdowns from the moment he had an opportunity to play.

I realize these are all young men that don't get paid to play so I don't want to be too hard on Wayne. I think he'd be best serve joining the receiver corps. As for QB, I want to stick to guys who have played QB all their lives, have natural QB insticts and can orchestrate touchdown producing drives.

You can keep the happy feet QB. I prefer the guy who throws the most TD's per drive. Right now thats Paul McCall. If someone else can produce more TD's, tham my vote is for that guy.

As always, Go G-Panthers!

I'am going to burn my season tickets if Wayne Younger is the starting QB

Good blog...Thanks....I did see some improvement on WY at times, but you can't discount the fact that McCall looked very good the 1 and and a half games he played, including the win against UNT.

My, my , my....What a short memory we have. Wayne played much better in his last 2 games until the injury. I was at the Arkansas game and yes, he out ran most the defense on one play except for the safety across the field who had an angle to cut him off after 45 yds...The guy can move. BTW - if you had ZERO, u might run scared too !!

I'm actually fine with WY being QB next year. Obviously there is things he needs to work on to become a better QB. For example, his decision making. At times it seemed he just tucked the ball in and ran when there were open receivers. As for McCall, he has the better arm. I just think MC is doing the right thing and letting the 5 QB's compete for the job. Healthy competition can only make them all better!!! Also, you all have to admit that last year in the spring game the best QB was Younger.

As for the RB, I truly believe Ned and Reams will have a great year. The O-line will be better this year, so hopefully these guys take advantage of it.

Pete, good job on the blog. Looking forward to blog on OL,WR and TE.

GO FIU!!!

Is it true Alphonso Bryant, after meeting MC for a couple of hours, is set to transferring into and enrolling at FIU in the Summer? If so, any additional information regarding his supposed petition to the NCAA of granting him a waiver so that he can play at FIU right away, due to his leaving UCF for family health issues back home? Will he be used as a WR or DB?

I don't have anything against Paul McCall; have never met him although I do know the other three guys. But let's be a bit realistic and point out that he one WON game against a BAD team. Because that North Texas team that I saw was NOT good and that is the kindest thing I can say. If I see him play outstandingly well against a team that can actually play the game, then I might be willing to take a look at the bandwagon. People in Chicago all thought Rex Grossman was the second coming, too.

You are right in that respect, but I think he ought to be given a good look as well, as he also didn't look all too bad that second half against FAU where he completed 25 of 33 passes for 181 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT. That wasn't a bad outing against the eventual SBC champ with a very, very good defense, I might add.

I'm not saying he should start....just saying don't minimize what he did just because it was only one and a half games.

I want the best QB to win it... and I don't have a problem with letting the practices decide it... but do remember this, folks. The guy who practices better during the week doesn't always play better on Saturdays.

Julian Reams, for example, used to look awesome during practices. At least, he always did to me when I was covering the team during the Strock days. But come gamedays, it never showed up. I didn't see enough of WY in practice to know for sure, but it sounds like he practices better than he plays.

I think you've got to play the guy who plays best on Saturdays, period. Sounds retartedly obvious, I know, but some players play better than they practice. Let's not put too much into practice, as Allen Iverson might say. It's not always the best barometer.

For my money, McCall should start. McCall looked pretty good against FAU, and they're just the conference champion. He also won the only game of the year. I don't care if WY's the best athlete of all the QB's. We need the best QB, period. Mobility isn't the be-all end-all with the spread. You need to make good decisions, and having a quick release can do almost as much damage as mobility can. See Colt Brennan. We can utilize the athletic talent WY has in other areas. Like, at receiver, which is where Strock had him before MC came in.

UNT may be bad, paradox, but we are too. We can't be saying that getting wins over a bad team is meaningless when we suck, too. That only applies when your team is better than the other team. And we're not better than anyone in the SBC right now.

By the way, don't dismiss UNT so easily. They're going to be pretty damn good real soon and would've been a way better team last season had they had anything resembling a defense. That offense is scary, and wait until Dodge's kid comes in to run it.

Hope everyone's brackets are doing better than mine... which they probably are. :(

Was trying to find ANY score on FIU vs ASU double-header and came across this story:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=3287039

Murphy was TT's bud. Hope the investigative tentacles don't reach FIU. Unfortunately TT has a rep. about scandals! Any scores from this game please post, thanks.

GO FIU!!!

Do not know if it is a final, however on FIU's baseball website "GAMEWATCHER" tracking program has ASU winning 7-5 over FIU in the first game. This may be a final.

GO FIU!!!

It's a final ASU 10 - FIU 5. First game. Second game starts in a few minutes.

GO FIU!!!

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*Pete thanks for the info. and keep it coming!
*gpantera & Fiu Fanatic YOU ARE 100% CORRECT.
The difference between a real effective quarterback and the rest is that he makes the plays when it counts the most in the redzone that produce touchdowns (period).

Two(2) to three(3) games should be the limit (with loses) before the next quarterback gets a chance at the starting job. That also depends on the type of competition.

Game time, is the real thing and that is where P. McCall showed true grit. He got to the receivers even when getting hammered again and again still getting the TD's.

GO, GO GOLDEN PANTHER COMMUNITY !!!
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Until Cristobal realizes that he does not have a QB or RB who has the talent to play at this level, FIU will stay at the bottom.

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