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On The Fence at the Blue/Gold Game

OK, the post really should be titled On Defense at the Blue/Gold Game, but why not get a little creative.

Defense_2 Actually, from the looks of the seating at the FIU Soccer Stadium, if you don't arrive early to Friday's spring game, you may be standing by D fence, because of the limited seating. Or just bring your own lawn chair.Lc_3

Enough on the FIU fencing, let's get to your Golden Panthers defense and what's been going on in the first 13 spring practices.

In the two scrimmages, the defense has started slowly, but eventually come around. The two scrimmages, notwithstanding, the FIU D has had its moments in the other 11 workouts thus far.

Last season, until the North Texas game, the Golden Panthers didn't muster much of a pass rush. Then Audric Adger went all "Monstruo" on the NT QB. Well, AA has graduated and El Monstruo has been terrorizing NFL QBs for a year now. So what's the pass rush look like this spring, you ask?

D-lineman Reggie Jones has gotten six sacks in the scrimmages and Quentin Newman has also had a fine spring getting into the offensive backfield. Jonathan Betancourt, Curtis Bryant, Cody Pellicer and Jarvis Penerton all have delivered pressure as well.

What has not really shown up consistently this spring has been that speedy pass rusher that EM was Speedy during his 4 years at FIU. Maybe we'll see it in Friday's game, or maybe we'll have to wait for the BTW freshmen and James Jones to arrive in August.

The D-line's run stopping has been pretty good at times. There have been several instances where they've denied the FIU O when the team has practiced goal-line situations.

The linebackers have not been at full strength this spring with Toronto "Little Canada" Smith and Matt Garris limited with shoulder injuries.

Still, Scott Bryant looks more and more like a future All-Sun Belt performer. SB has put on some muscle since last season and looks faster on the field as well. What's stood out from SB this spring is how he's Sb_2 kind of taking control as the quarterback of that defense. When SB's not tackling, he's coaching up the other defenders.

Fellow LB Mike Dominguez continues to make plays this spring. MD has picked off a few passes and even returned one for a TD in the first scrimmage. Jarvis Wilson and Ryan Martinez have also had good springs.

The FIU secondary may be the strength of the defense this season. Counting the returns of Robert Mitchell, Jeremiah Weatherspoon and Marshall McDuffie, FIU will have 9 new defensive backs this season. Of course, RM, JW and MM were previously on the team, but didn't play much or at all last season.

Those 3 returning veterans have looked like they haven't missed a beat this spring. JW is even excelling as a kick returner. Anthony Gaitor and Ash Parker have continued their stellar play and Brandon EllisonAp_2   and Kreg Brown have also made some plays.

The secondary is only going to get better when the 6 freshmen DBs/safeties arrive in August.

Nothing new with the kicking game. Walk-on punter Carlos Munera has handled all the kicking duties this spring and will likely be looking for some ice and a massage for his right leg after the Blue/Gold Game.

Punter Chris Cook (back) has not practiced all spring. Kickers Chris Abed, Julio Moraga and possibly Dustin Rivest are expected back in August.

There have been a few FIU soccer players and walk-ons try out for the kicker's job this spring, but nobody has made any kind of impression with the FIU coaches to start getting measured for an FIU football uniform.

Gppaw GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

FIU Fanatic: Besides Freddy Asprilla and J.C. Otero, FIU will also sign guard Michael Dominguez today. MD played at a Colorado JC last season. Counting guard Josue Soto that will give SR four new players on this year's team. And SR still has one more open scholarship to fill before next season.

FIUJM: Right now any talk of Charlie Jones coming to FIU is just that -- talk. Same thing goes with Alphonso Bryant and Ricky Barnum. Nothing is cooking yet with any of the three players.

MaXx: Hopefully, the kicker talk above clears up the current situation for you. Expect for FIU to have several kickers battling in August, because unfortunately many times games come down to the kicker as we have all seen at all levels of football.

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"Under coach Pete Carroll, USC Trojans has never entered the summer without appointing the next starting quarterback." from ESPN.com Sanchez Named Starter at USC. How many cents are we up to?

Pete, great write up on defense. Hopefully with our secondary improving, we should limit the big plays this year. The defense will be fine as long as we improve on the line of scrimmage. Our LB's and DB's will be productive!!!

Just incase any of you are interested, Coach Cristobal will be on 790 the Ticket(790 am) tomorrow morning. He will be on the Sid Rosenberg show(from 6-10 am). I think it'll probably be around 7-9 am. He was on today with Jorge Sedano(a little before 1 pm) talking about the spring game. If for some reason you're not local or are at work...you can listen online. www.790theticket.com.

GO FIU!!!

Talk baseball.........

Thought I'd liven things up and talk strategy. Sat against MTSU, FIU has a tie ballgame in the bottom of the 9th with runners on first and third, one out, and Jorge Castillo (#3 hitter) at the plate. Coach lets Jorge swing away - a relative no brainer in any other season where wins aren't so precious. Anyway, Jorge hits the ball on the button at the first baseman who turns a double play and the Panthers go on to lose in extra innings. I wonder (and only because FIU needs wins if for nothing more than confidence) if one of two things shouldn't have happened instead of letting the big guy swing away: (1) a suicide squeeze. Most coaches will tell you that's crazy with your hottest hitter at the plate but considering I like to win, I bunt Jorge and when he gets it down, we win, or if he fails to get it down, the runner on third is out on the play and Jorge still gets to swing away with two outs and have the same opportunity to drive in the runner that advanced to second on the squeeze, or (2) I run the runner on first base on the first pitch to Castillo to eliminate the possible double play ball and challenge MTSU to throw down with the winning run on third. If he throws him out, Castillo still has an opportunity to drive in the runner from third.

I also wonder what people think about the pitching situation at this point in the season? There's been a lot of talk on here that the team is shy on arms but Stewart, Allen and Desimone showed great potential at the beginning and all seem to have trouble getting people out now and lack confidence - what has changed? Is the pitching coach doing his job?

Look forward to your opinions.

I've been ragging on the pitching coach all season but Pete and others on this blog tell me that we need to "let TT have a full season of recruiting" and "we have a real pitching coach". With all due respect, I think that is basically bull. Considering only the pitchers who are returning and only the same types of teams they played last season, this coaching staff has actually seen a deterioration in both fielding AND pitching. Somebody is doing a job, but apparently it involves more ignoring what is here now (what - hoping they all quit or transfer?) and selling something to kids that might not be here next year anyway. I am not impressed. We do not need a bunch of used car salesman; we need coaches that can get the performances out of these athletes that they are capable of. And don't tell me they aren't capable because I saw them play much better last season under a coach the folks on this blog crucified as being horrible. At least he gave a crap about his players.

What time is the Blue/Gold game at?

I think we only have 6 cents.

Not much support for WY, maybe after the scrimmage we can fundraise some more!

Whoops, I meant to write PM

Honestly if I were the baseball coach and there was no APR I would cut every player on the team and start all over again.

I mean did Meatball Price go watch one high school game in the last 5 years?

OK - due to the lack of activity on the board, one of two things must have happened. Either, the spring scrimmage on Friday night left a lot of FIU fans so upset about the QB position, or the direction of the program as a whole, noone wants to post anything because there is too much embarassment and shccki, or, the FIU fans are finally ready to admit that this baseball team is far worse than anyone expected, TT was not the right choice (neither was MC) and the FIU fans are so disenchanted with FIU sports right now, they can not bring themselves to blog.

But do not worry FIU Fan - come cheer for the Canes. The #1 baseball team in the country just beat the other number 1 in the country (depending on which poll you look at) 2 out of 3 and the football program just completed spring practice and have a top 5 recruiting class (rated #1 by some services)in the counrty comming in next year. So, FIU Fan, noone will blame you for burning you blue and gold and putting on the Green and Orange.

OH, and just for good measure, or to add insult to injury, our basketball team is comming off a NCAA run inwhich they advanced out of the first round and in the process gained Nat'l exposure which can only strengthen the elite program that is The U.

crazy cane i will agree w/ you that there is a limited activity on this blog after the spring game but thats more than likely due to the FIU fans waiting for pete to post a blog about the actual game. trust me when i say that FIU fans are no where near ready to burn the gold and blue. more than likely the FIU faithful was in shock at how the defense stepped it off. or how on the first pass from scrimage went for a TD

CrazyCane,

How many games will UM win this year ?

Granted we are in much weaker conference, but I am ready to gamble that we come out of 2008 with more wins than your beloved U.

I cannot find more than 2 wins on your schedule. I find 3 - 4 on ours....

As for the QB question, I met the kid we signed out of Seabreeze high, and in my opinion - I hope he gets a chance to compete. Physically he is impressive and seems to have a good head on his shoulders.

CC - we do appreciate you monitoring our BLOG and hope you will continue to contribute your pathetic attempt at humor. I for ONE, have no need to read Manny's BLOG. My scUM friends keep me posted on all the gossip....

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