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Spring Football Preview: WRs, TEs, O-Line

Plenty of talk regarding the FIU quarterbacks, but as anyone that has played or watched at least one football game in their lifetime knows, if you don't have a quality offensive line, you're not going to win too many football games. Just ask the mighty Patriots about it last month. Pats

The Golden Panthers offensive front was overmatched last season against the likes of Penn State, Kansas and Arkansas, but got better toward the latter part of the Sun Belt schedule. The majority of the O-line is back with the exception of Roland Clarke. There are some pretty good re-inforcements arriving in August like Cedric Mack, Kenneth White and Stephen Bailey, but first let's take a look at who's on the Ala field starting Tuesday.

The core of the line (Andy Leavine, Brad Serini and Joe Alajajian), which was somewhat green last season, now has some game experience on their resumes. So what does the FIU head coach, a former O-lineman, think of his current O-line?

"The offensive line is getting better, leaner, stronger," MC said. "One guy that has taken a nice jump this spring is Mario Caraballo, who was not eligible the last year due to his transfer status. He's up to 270 pounds, can move, very tough, physical."

"Serini now has 12 games under his belt," MC said. "Andy Leavine now has 20 starts underneath his belt. His hand is OK. Joe Alajajian has had a phenomenal offseason. He's running, lifting. He looks good. He can flat out move. A guy that has made a big jump is Chris Cawthon. The light came on. He started pushing himself."

"Javon Hill has lost 30 pounds and flashes some of the things that he can do," MC said. "I think he expects a lot more of himself now. He knows that he has a ton of work to do. He also knows he's done a ton of work and made some significant improvements and he's been recognized for it. He's made a tremendous jump in his workouts. Let's cut to it. There comes a point in time as a football player that either you do it or you get out of the way so someone else can do it."

Dix Most of the freshmen receivers from last season now have played 12 games and have a better idea of NCAA football. Like the other parts of the offense, the FIU receivers can only get better from here.

"We expect a lot from the young receivers because those guys were thrown in the fire last year," MC said. "Elliott Dix (left) did a heck of a job. One of our better route runners in Jeremy Dickens made some good plays in games as well. Expect guys like James Rucker, big physical guys to explode on the scene this year. Kendall Berry made a couple of nice plays against North Texas as well. Greg Ellingson (below, right) put his foot in the ground and did some real good things as a freshman. Marquis Rolle should be good to go for spring. His Elling quad acted up a little bit. He's a guy who in summer camp last season was lighting it up and looking great, but injuries slowed him down a little bit. Collectively, that's a hell of a group. What you expect from those guys now is they have to start becoming leaders. They know what it is to go to Arkansas and to be at Penn State and play against a fourth or fifth year senior."

The depth FIU has at receiver does not necessarily translate over to tight end where Moses Hinton's eligibility status is in limbo, but a walk-on from last year may play an important role in this year's offense.

"We're still waiting word from the conference if Moses Hinton has a year left," MC said. "Eric Kirchenberg (below, left) had a nice first season last year. [Last year walk-on] Travis Felder is going to be a hell of a player at tight end/h-back/receiver".

Kirch Felder, a former basketball standout at Killian High, has the size and athletic ability to possibly take on a role similar to what Shannon Sharpe did in his heyday with the Denver Broncos. Easy there with your keyboard, um and FAU folks, I am NOT saying Felder is Sharpe, just saying he can play the same role Sharpe did.

We'll wrap this spring preview up with the FIU defense and kickers on the next post. Haven't forgotten about the final part of the Interview with Prez. Let's get this spring preview done and the Prez will be back on here talking about the new stadium and FIU's lack of past athletic success.

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As usual, thanks..pretty interesting, particularly the Hinton and Felder story at Tight End....Please keep us informed..

Like always, thanks for the great information!!! Like FIU Fanatic said, very interesting on Moses Hinton. I've posted a million times that he always stands out on the football field with his size for TE. I think he can be as good as Sam Smith was, but now we'll have to wait and see.

Great stuff on Cawthon!!! Hope the whole line can stay healthy and have a great year. I really don't think the lose of Xavier Shannon will be that big because we got some capable linemen ready to fill in.

GO FIU!!!

hey guys been a while. pete great posts just got caught up. position by position QB: like most i think the competition will only help. and i got my money on posibly PM as most. will like to see a strong competition the first week or so and have some1 step up and become the leader in that race. WR: they were young but they showed flashes so i wanna see what comes out. OL... please give the QB Time.

RB: Ned needs to step up this is a position that has the potential to do something big if they can just find it in them to step up. the spread Option is kinds to Backs. and finally TE: if Moss Hilton isnt eligible, we might not see GREAT production. hopefully one of these walk on can step up and next offseason MC can land a good recruit... this will all get more exciting come fall when all the Frosh makeit

btw Messod right now im tied for 16th in a bracket of ESPN FIU Fans... i tell you if Xavier makes it to the final 4 i win that braket! lol

Where is all the baseball talk? Have we given up on the team? During football season, which didnt go so well, we wanted basketball talk. During basketball season, which didnt go so well, we kept wanting to talk baseball and now that baseball is here, and not doing so well, we are already moving on to football. This pattern sucks. It is like we cant even stand by our guys - instead we want to know whats next. This type of attitiude is exactly why the UCGers talk crap about us. i know that we are 9-16 and falling way bel;ow expectations and the boys across town are 17-2, but you cares. I thought we were building something here. Baseball and football should be the jewels of the FIU empire. I remember how we all talked about UCG falling program, but they obviously do not need to rely on football. UCG made a very strong showing in the tourny and their baseball team is one of the best in the country. Instead of competing against UCG and bad mouthing them, you all know we have, maybe should just congratulate them at every turn, and aspire to have a program like theirs where three sports are successful.

... FIUdad.. i believe you were the first to back talk at the U fans... you were the first to comment on how bad the season is goin after one game in all 3 sports you mentioned... your seriously confusing sometimes.. Miami is football country. and while i agree w/ alot of FIU fans did through salt on the U basketball there were others that showed love. your attitude reeks of nothing but fire and grim stone.

either way FIU sports is at a down. so FIU fans, although i agree w/ you should show more support to all sports, are only following the City of miami tradition of looking ahead. looking to where Hope still lives. with that being said i will say congrats to you UM Bretherin on a great tourney run and almost pulling the upset on TExas.

CJ - being concerned about the direction of the program is not the same as turing my back on them and stopping to discuss them. While agree that football is most important, I am just saying, why do we have to try and be a one trick pony. There are so many other schools that excel in two or three sports. Miami, Ohio State, I hate to say it, UF, FSU in football and baseball, USC.

and that is exactly what im am saying FIU is headed into that direction but all those programs did not spring out of the dirt as high powered as they are. it took years of development to get them where they are today. in your comments its doesnt seem that you understand this concept. and thats all im trying to say to you. FIU is well on its way but we do live in miami. its hard to keep a core fan base... just ask the Heat

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