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7 Days Until Fall Practice, Defensive Front 7

Sunrise Around sunrise -- yes sunrise -- next Monday, August 4, FIU football gets going and then takes the field at 7 a.m. for its first fall practice of the new season. Between now and then we'll take a look at your 2008 Golden Panthers and get your input about them.

Defensive Line

In 2006 when El Monstruo, Keke Bouie and Alexander Bostic were leading the defense, the Golden Panthers delivered a consistent pass rush and led the nation in tackles for loss that season -- when they passed Florida State in the season's final game to register the most TFL in college football. Last season, FIU lacked that pass rush. Now with a season of experience in DC's Phil Galiano's system and one year in Roderick Moore's strength and conditioning program, we should expect some heat on the QB from the Golden Panthers.Rj_2

Among the returning D-linemen: Reggie Jones (right), Artis Warthen, Jarvis Penerton, Jonathan Betancourt, Cody Pellicer, Daniel Chacreton, Curtis Bryant and Ricky Booker, someone has to emerge. If we go by spring ball, Jones, Betancourt, Bryant and Pellicer showed the most, but let's see who improved over the summer when fall camp gets underway. The return of Jonas Murrell will definitely help. The last time JM was on the field for FIU in 2006, he could be found in the opponent's backfield quite often. Bryant and Booker have all the physical tools to have big seasons as well.

Kw_2 Of course, we can't forget about the heralded freshman class of D-linemen of Jonathan Jackson, James Jones, Kambriel Willis (left), Andre Pound, Donnell Wilson and Kasey Smith. It will be interesting to see what the 2 JJ's and Willis can do early on. The trio combined for 54.5 sacks last season. Jackson and Willis attended several of FIU's spring practices to see what would be in store for them in the fall. Whether these guys will be ready from the start or might need a year in the weight room we'll find out soon enough.

Linebackers

Scott Bryant is poised to have a huge season after leading the team with 91 tackles (45 solo) last Buzz_2 Oso_2 season. "The Buzzsaw" or "El Oso" (you pick SB's nickname) leads a talented LB corps and if the D-line can open some holes, these guys will help supply that missing pass rush.

Michael Dominguez (right), Ryan Martinez, Matt Garris, Toronto Smith, Mannie Wellington, Quentin Md Newman and Tyler Clawson round out the LBs. Martinez, Wellington and "Little Canada" had good seasons in 2007. The coaches say Garris had a good off-season. Newman had several sacks in the spring.

The frosh LBs (Aaron Davis and Winston Fraser) bring speed. Davis is recovering from a knee injury and Fraser was MVP of the state championship game with 13 tackles for a Booker T. defense that also featured Jackson and Willis.

Regardless, of whether the veterans or freshmen shine on the defensive front 7, FIU needs a consistent pass rush this season to have a better showing on defense and force opponents into more 3-and-outs.

While FIU almost matched opponents in time of possession last season (29:49 to 30:11), opponents did convert 3rd downs 42% of the time. Putting teams in longer down-and-distances this season with some defensive pressure will get that 42% into the 30's in 2008.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Have not forgotten about the second part of the new stadium tour. Will have that on here soon. We'll continue our 2008 position preview next with the secondary and punters.

Got word that FIU 1st baseman Tyler Townsend (right) tore it up during summer ball. In the just completed Valley League, TT led the league in batting average (.405), home runs (11), slugging Tt percentage (.763), on-base percentage (.512), total bases (100) and runs (36). He was third in RBI (34), stole 13 bases and played errorless ball in the field. If you remember, TT finished last season by hitting home runs in 5 straight games.

Max: Any idea when the seats for the club level will be put in?

GPP: The club seats are expected to be installed in early August. After the next stadium tour post, I'll try to get some updated photos on here in August.

FIUPantherFan: When are FIU Radio broadcast rights are up and what [PG] intends to do about the lack of professional coverage?

GPP: FIU radio rights are up after this football season. Will try to find out about the future of FIU radio coverage for you.

FIU Florida Power & Light: Will FIU students get +1 guest entrance like it has been in the past? Or is it just one entrance per student?

GPP: For USF game, it will only be one entrance per student. For all the others, it has not been decided yet.

inspubadj: Any word on the hiring of the new basketball assistant? With all the problems with Jorge Decespedes is he still going to work in the athletic department?

GPP: No new assistant yet for hoops. JDC will not be working for FIU.

Cowgirl_4 Quijote: Pete, the most important pic that should enlarge doesn't, pleasssse get that cowgirl to work!!

GPP: Enjoy!

Looking at your voting, most of you believe FIU will be the 4th or 5th best team in Florida in 5 years. That will be very interesting to see where the 7 Florida Division I college football teams stack up in 2013.

And almost half of GPP Nation (47.6%), said the new FIU helmet is sharp. For those that didn't really like it, winning some games will make that helmet that much better looking.

We asked about who was the most improved returning defensive player earlier this month and you good people chose Anthony Gaitor with Reggie Jones coming in second. So now let's turn to the freshmen defensive front 7:

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Kambriel Willis is going to tear things up right out of the hatch... Personally, I'm also pretty excited to see what Marshall Mcduffie can bring back for us. I think seeing him succeed in his senior year on and off the field would really be a nice story for the book of FIU Football. Anybody with me on that?

Of course, Marshall McDuffie is a true success story. I think he'll make the most of his senior year and appreciate it even more than most seniors will.

My sleeper of this year's recruiting class is Aaron Davis--I really like what I saw in his high school footage. With Murrell, McDuffie, and Weatherspoon back prowling the defense, I'm looking for big improvements this year on that side of the ball. If we can get pass rush production out of one or more of the newcomers (whether Willis, Jackson, Jones, Bryant, or Booker), we are going to be much improved. Another key player to look for, in my opinion, is Devin Parrish in the secondary. I'm looking for a breakthrough year from him to really solidify our corners.

I love having a tough defense like we saw in 06. I am really hoping these guys can tear up the back field like the killer B's did back then. Great preview Pete.

Man I love defense! I find it the most exciting. Its one thing i love about football things can turnover with just one play. We need those playmakers on our Defense. I feel like James Jones will impact alot up fron. I hear he already has the size, while some of the others might have to hit the weights a little harder. Our sack count will definetly improve!!!

By the way... i'm intrested in joining a tailgate group. My brother and friend and I have been talking about getting together with other FIU fans and get a good tailgate going. So if anyone would like to offer... we can help with anything! Its also a great way of getting to know new fans!!

Where exactly is the parking and tailgating for the Stadium?

esteban everyone is always more then welcome to come to the tailgate we will have ... dont know where but... more than welcome

Thanks CJ! I'll take you up on that. We'll stay in contact on it. Let me know if there is anyway i can help with anything!

dude there is some owl on the U board that is goin crazy and taking on everyone by himself. its funny as hell

Great article. Defense is where starts and ends. If we can get anywhere close to old defensive level and MC starts McCall we should win 4 or 5 games this year.

My belief is that under Mario and Legg, we can have the toughness and experience to win a few of the close games we usually lost under Strock.

Wow! that FAU guy is pretty funny. Don't agree with alot of what he says but he has taken on the UM-blog community. lol

I agree with OC Panther, we need 1 guy on the D-line to emerge and push the other guys. If Fraser is ready, I expect him to play and be a presence within the LB corps, and J-Spoon in the secondary - with his size and speed he can be an IMPACT guy and leader pushing the DBs - I expect closer games and WINS.

I expect a PASS RUSH to emerge with JJ, Willis, and Fraser- with linebackers closing the HITS out at the line and not 5 yards forward. I think Scotty and Mike D. play better when they don't have to be in open space making a play. LBs need to be plugging GAPs and HOLEs bringing the heat and PHYSICAL Safeties attacking the BALL carriers.....

DAMN I am PUMPED UP and WISH I could PLAY !!
All I want is for this PROGRAM to SILENCE the HATERS. A strong effort against KU and Iowa could play in our favor against USF.

**Anyone know if practice is OPEN to the public ?

Amen!

lol wow... i know i didnt like FAU before... but now they are just showing how rediculous they are. seriously its to funny. i hope we pull the sun belt shocker on them.

I heard Townsends tears cure cancer... the only thing is he never crys

hell yeah CJ... i can't stand them... but I find it funny because i get to watch UM get trampled (kinda hit'n them while they're down) and making his own school look a little stupid. Hey ... to me its just all good entertainment!

Could you post the URL so I can see this FAU owl you're talking about?

Would love to read that blog, however I WILL NOT give THEM one more blogger on THEIR counter. Only blogs I visit, GPP (95% of the time, 5% for the Dolphins). Those are my teams! I find the GPP MUCH more entertaining than the Dolphins blog. Thanks Pete for keeping us coming back for more!!!!

GO FIU!!!

man i cant wait till after tom. ill be done w/ summer semester.. and waiting for FAll season to start. hey pete any new updates / previews for camp?

True... i never read any other blogs. I also like that Pete is much more interactive with the readers that Navaro. This really is a great blog!

Pete, is anything known about where we can tailgate?(around the stadium obviosly)??

I hope they clear out some space on the East side of the stadium for fans to tailgate. But I guess they will also have the West side too since it will be directly in front of the FIU beach idea...I am not sure.

Pete, I remember for the first football game ever back in 2002 they had fireworks before and after the game. Do you know if they will be doing the same this year?

Thank you. Great job as always.

Any other updates on how fiu baseball players did during summer ball?

hey i just thought of something... from what i have heard. the student section is goin to be on the east side of the stadium... the new feildhouse is goin to be on the west side of the stadium... is it just me or does something seem a bit odd i would figure you would want the fans around your side of the stadium.. i understand the concept of having the students by the visitors locker room.. but i donno just an odd play

Any word on give-aways for the 1st game ?

- Noise makers
- "Gold" towels to wave
- T-shirts with NEW Logo

Will they continue with the Music DJ again ? The OB was too large to have the affect I think we were looking for...Perhaps with the more intimate setting of this stadium, we can really get folks excited and give the DEFENSE some energy.

Pete: since we are not on TV this year at home, how is the jumbotron used/operated. I assume it's a CCTV broadcast, but how do replays and stuff figure into that ??

Thanks.

From what I've found out, the Jumbotron, scoreboard, and control equipment has already been awarded to a vendor, whom I believe it's Texas Solutions. The "package" price is around $1.6 million altogether...

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