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