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The Flying Burrito Bros. & Other Answers To Your MC Questions

Mc In about 35 days, FIU football begins its second season under head coach Mario Cristobal when the Golden Panthers open fall practice.

But before MC and his Golden Panthers step onto the FIU recreational fields to start preparations for the season opener at Kansas on Aug. 30, the FIU coach tackles your questions in the first of a series of interviews.

You good people sent in a bevy of questions and MC answered them all. If you don't see your question on this post, don't worry it will eventually get on the GPP. So let's get to it....

CJ: Is the athletic dept. going to hold a watch party, like they did for the Penn State game, for all the away games?

MC: Not sure yet, but we want to create that. What we need to do at FIU from a public relations standpoint is that we do publicize that as much as possible and make sure that our alumni is woken up not only in Miami, but everywhere else in the country. We have to create that buzz. Every year we are going to get better as a football team. This is a process. It’s going to take some time, but that momentum, that energy, is something that we have to create on a daily basis. I totally encourage it. Anything that I could do to help that out, please let me know and I will do it.

FIUJM: What are the difference between Coach Coley's and Coach Legg's offensive philosophies? Leg_2

MC: They both do a great job. I think what we’ve done now with coach Legg (right) is we’ve moved to a true spread, multiple offense. Coach Coley, I wish him the best. He did a great job here. We’re tremendously blessed to have coach Legg here. A guy with great experience that led the Big Ten in offense two years in a row with some guys that probably weren’t as talented as the rest of the teams in the Big Ten. You look at a guy that has great leadership skills, commanding presence. He knows what he wants to run. He’s a guy you can trust. He wants to build FIU and that’s what gets us excited.

FIU Fan: What measures are being taken to make the fans have the greatest football experience in the new stadium?

MC: Besides a scoreboard that should be second to none with a jumbotron, putting the games at 7 p.m. is an opportunity to create a dynamic pre-game tailgating experience and with that I mean everything from alumni with the Panther Club, to families and others. There is going to be a set-up out there like Fb Wre the NFL Experience Game Day thing that has everything from a tackling circuit to the throwing competition to the moonwalk. You know as a kid I actually got kicked out of the Youth Fair for having a wrestling match in the moonwalk, but that’s another story -- The Flying Burrito Brothers. But we want to create basically a gigantic FIU gathering/party/rally/event. We are going to have a traditional Panther Walk which as we pull up we want the sides of the sidewalk and entry to the locker room lined with FIU fans and the band and cranking that thing up. Other things are in the works, which we’re keeping low-key right now. But our goal is making sure that people understand that this is really a commitment. This is not a “hey, let’s kind of win a couple of games and build a little”. This is to build a monster program, to take care of our alumni base and everyone else down here and give back to the South Florida community and really go to the next level in customer service and gameday experience.

MaXx: What incoming freshman do you think can make an immediate impact this season?

MC: I think they all will. We are never going to discriminate. There are guys that are walking on and are going to make an impact. They weren’t recruited by anybody. I think we have a boatload of very talented freshmen. I think we have a good amount of guys that have gone through a year where the culture has been changed and they’ve endured and understand the expectations. Every freshman is Btw_2 going to be expected to compete right away. They know we are in dire need of talented, talented guys that can step in and play right away. That’s what they have been brought in here to do so I expect them all to compete for immediate playing time.

SouthPaw: Are there any transfers we can expect to see in FIU uniforms this coming year?

MC: Ulavale Matavao is a 6-3, 338 offensive lineman, I expect him to come in and play right away. Other than Ulavale, I can’t comment on other players that have not signed with us.

FIU Fanatic: After the success in recruiting of the 2008 class (if any new recruit/transfer, please mention) how is recruiting going so far for 2009, both in terms of general response and in terms of commitments, if any?

MC: Other than Ulavale Matavao, I can’t comment on any other players that are not here. Recruiting for 2009 is going excellent. The camps we just had were a big, big hit. We had 360 prospects show up at our Dade camp. I would love to share commitments, but I can’t do it, because I want to protect our guys. We are at a stage right now where we’re very, very young and for us to advertise the guys who have committed to us would only be putting information out there for the people that have not done their work.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

More of your questions with MC will be on here soon. Will be blogging to you next from Denver where I'm headed Wednesday to cover the Marlins/Rockies 4-game series at Coors Field (right). Coors_2

Speaking of baseball, here are some FIU baseball recruiting updates. FIU lost two more recruits from the No. 15-ranked class in the nation. Infielder Kevin Fontanez from the Puerto Rico BB Academy decided to sign with the Cleveland Indians, who drafted him in the 24th round. Also left-hander Matt Gilson did not qualify academically at FIU.

On the plus side, FIU did sign infielder Corey Figueroa, who was a Florida Gator recruit and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants earlier this month. Figueroa, who turns 21 today, said he is not signing with the Giants and is coming to FIU. Figueroa was a 1st team All-State player at St. Petersburg JC last season.

Hay: Could you briefly summarize the questions you're answering in the pawse section. It's easier than looking for the comment on the last blog, and gives a bit more context for the answer.

Not a problem. We'll debut the Pawse's new Q & A format with your question. I knew we had readers in D.C., I just have forgotten to add the nation's capital to the readership list. Miri and MaXx are up in D.C. too, reading the Pawse on vacation.

Gold: Do you have any news on whether the people from the FIU athletics department are taking into consideration any of this blog's suggestions for "tradition starters". I know you did a story on this not too long ago.

Beach_2 Yes, I have spoken with the athletic dept. about some of our ideas here on the GPP. It seems the "FIU Beach" is the most popular one not only among GPP readers, but with FIU as well. I'll keep talking to FIU about creating "FIU Beach" at the new stadium. Maybe we can even get Sports Illustrated to come out and shoot part of their swimsuit issue at FIU.

Puma: Any update on what's going on with the soccer program and what should we expect for the next season?

One thing we know is the men's soccer program is NOT being eliminated, contrary to what several "insiders" have been harping about since PG became AD. Coach Munga Eketebi signed three recruits for next season. Among them is forward Ricardo Ximenes, who scored 7 goals and had 3 assists last season for San Jacinto College -- the No. 5 JUCO team in the nation. FIU soccer finished strong last season with its run to the C-USA final.

ridgepanther: What is the real time frame for the fieldhouse part of the stadium to be completed, Can that really be completed in six months like PG says? Also, NO PRESS BOX? where are you goin to work on game days?

PG and Pres. Maidique both have said they expect the fieldhouse to be done by January. I've been told one of the suites is going to be used as the press box this season. Don't worry, you'll still be able to read FIU game stories in the Miami Herald on Sundays this fall.

FIUJM: If Alphonso Bryant is cleared to play football, will he be able to play this upcoming season?

From everything that I know regarding Bryant, he would be eligible for this season if he's cleared.

We're still a little more than a month away from the start of fall practice, but here's an opening question to whet your football appetite....

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Solid interview, Pete. Keep the goodness rolling.

I'm glad to hear the beach idea is gathering steam within athletics. I just hope it isn't too much of a logistical nightmare to do.

Also... for the love of criminey, will some of you people stop saying soccer's going to get cut? If PG and the other FIU admin were really serious about doing that, it would've happened already. It's just more proof that, for some, facts should never get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Pete, great interview!!! Looking forward to the rest of the interview. Also, thanks for answering our questions.

What catches my attention most about interview is how hard these FIU football coaches work at recruiting!!! It would be great to know some names of '09 commitments.

I'm liking that "FIU Beach" idea even more after the photo you posted SI models.

Thanks for asking MC our questions Pete. I love getting my football updates. As time passes during the Summer, I get more and more excited for football season. Have fun covering the Marlins in Colorado. And yes, we are checking the blog up here in D.C.

I don't know if it is at all possible, but try to let FIU to allow you to show the new uniforms first before even they show it here on the blog.

Ah, I forgot to mention, I think the Dline needs to improve the most. Quarterbacks were able to pick us apart because they had WAY too much time to throw. The one game where we got pressure (against North Texas) we won the game. I think they need to step up their play and get some sacks.

Great interview, Pete....I too agree with MaxX in the assessment of what needs the most improvement. Obviously, every unit needs improvement from a year ago. However, I did vote for the D-line...for the same precise reasons MaXx stated...BTW, I've been here in New York for some days now, doing Shea and Yankee Stadium...watching their new stadiums "grow up" just like the 'new cage' is "growing up" right before my eyes...

I'm super excited for next season...Thanks for the info on the baseball recruits..the one that are not coming..and the new one coming in.....

Good stuff, Pete! I like the "Panther Walk" idea. I've been to a Tennessee game where they do that before every game and it's great to stand there and cheer on your team before they suit-up.

Nice entry Pete.

I read in Sunday's Herald that FAU has declined their invitation to play UM this upcoming season (or was it next?) due to guaranteed funds not being too attractive (nice to see the SunBelt champ muscle their way around). With this said, it would be interesting if you can tell us is the FIU/UM tradition can continue, taking into account scheduling/logistics/etc issues.

I'm back in the dirty south, drove by the stadium looks very nice. I hadn't seen it in nearly one year, quite stunning seeing it from bare bones to what it is today.

pete good stuff man... like the fact that i got teh first question :-D awesome.. hopefully a few more of my questions are on the list. i really do hope the put the FIU beach idea. and have everyone start coming in bathing suits!!!! lol forget the panther walk lets have the GC women march.... in bikini and at the start of every game we anounce the sexist woman of the game lol doubt that would happen but hey would be funny

High Five! Great Read!

One thing that caught my attention was reading between the lines on MC comments regarding recruiting. Apparently, we may have some silent or soft commitments but FIU will not be publicizing it. I think we can all admit that FIU Football is not a sexy program yet but if we can snag a few athletes who fly under the radar, than we can build on this program and make it sexy! We have a lot of catching up to do in the football world and I firmly believe that this is a fantastic strategy. Our approach to recruiting will reflect how we are approaching our seasons: Flying under the radar until we gain momentum, then we are going to hit you in the mouth. Thanks Pete!

Pete,

Do you know if the USF game might be on a regional telecast within Florida on espn ??

I drove by the stadium again, been about 6 weeks since my last visit, the west end zone is looking good !! Do you know if anything will done to the exterior / facade or any landscaping to cover the metal and beams that are exposed ??

I think a good idea is to line the concourse wrap-around with potted palms, lending to a jungle type theme - thus covering that exposed fencing.

Just curious on what things might be done to beautify and accent our facility. Thanks in advance.

Great interview with MC. We def. need to bulk up on both the offensive and defensive fronts... i think we got pushed around a little too much last year in that department against schools like penn state.
so its great to hear about this Matavao kid

FIUBlueandGold,

Eventually the whole side where the old stands are (the missing part of the 'C') will become a Student Support Complex. Its going to house Admissions, Financial Aid, etc.

That's how they were able to get the go-ahead on the stadium, by selling it as a Student Support Complex/Football Stadium. The West End Zone will have the field house. The East End Zone will have the FIU Alumni center building.

So eventually, in like 5 years, all 4 sides will have buildings attached to it, so you really wont see any of the metal structure.

It's going to be an amazing structure once all is finished. With offices facing the field.

FIU baseball updates...
I bealive Chris Allen has decided to play independant ball, which is good
Garcia won't be coming back but Marban will (woohoo)
All i know for now ;)

sorry i meant "believe*"

A few more baseball updates:
McOwen, Baustista, Dunn and Castillo are all doing well in pro ball. Townsend & Mollica are doing very well in Summer Ball. Hopefully, TT is doing as well in bringing in some arms so that we can compete next year.

Thanks Pete this was packed with great info!

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