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"I Knew This Question Was Coming" & More Of Your MC Questions

DENVER -- Welcome to the Mile High City, GPPers. Here for the 4th of July weekend to cover the Marlins/Rockies 4-game series, but the Prowl boarded the plane and got into the overhead baggage compartment and is here as well.Mmc_2 

Got some Denver scenery observations for you later, but for now let's continue our Q & A with FIU head coach Mario Cristobal (right),

FIUBlueandGold: I'd like to know if our lack of depth on the roster at many positions will prompt you to get as many of the 2008 frosh class on the field this year or can we expect many of them to be red-shirted?

MC: We have to play a lot of freshmen. It’s going to take 4 years total just to have a complete roster. Yeah, we are going to have to play freshmen. Quite frankly, they are talented enough to play right now and all that does is up the competition. It’s going to make everybody better. We didn’t recruit these guys to come in and sit down. We don’t have that luxury, because we are so thin. Every young man we recruit is a guy we’ve identified as someone, who not only has the physical tools to do it, but has the mental toughness to realize that.

Frank: What are some of the future out-of-conference games you would like to play when you get control of the schedule in 2010?

MC: We are still looking to play big time opponents. We want to play Miami. Hopefully, they will come around and understand that it is a great game for the community. Florida and Florida State are also teams that we’re looking at as well. After having recruited the west coast, I would love to get some of those opponents as well. We always want to continue that we’re upping the challenge. Umfiu We want to make a situation that we put ourselves on a national stage. Hopefully by 2010 our players, recruiting and player development has taken us up another level and give us a chance to win those football games.

Clawing Cancer: What do you think of the "FIU Beach" idea and other ideas for the stadium that were posted on the GPP?

MC: I think creating an exciting atmosphere, especially in a unique place like FIU, is an idea that has a lot of merit. I don’t exactly know the dynamics of how you can work [FIU Beach] out. There is great enthusiasm behind all those [GPP readers'] ideas. Keep the ideas coming, because we certainly are going to go with something that makes sure that we bring a lot of fun to that stadium.

GPP: What's the timetable to make a decision on your starting quarterback?

MC: I knew this question was coming. It could be decided day 1, 10 days out or a week out. There really Jeop_2 is no magic formula to that. Would you like it to be done right now? Absolutely. But the bottom line is when a guy distinguishes himself as the guy, he’s the guy. The quarterbacks know we won’t tolerate any non-sense regarding that kind of stuff, because all that does is become a distraction and hurts team unity. A guy needs to stand up, be the quarterback and in every aspect. I don’t care if a guy looks pretty throwing a couple of balls here and there. This guy has to be a tough-ass, son of a gun, who is a team leader and gives it up for the team day in and day out. I think our guys are ready to do so and take that step and that thing should really work itself out. We’ll make a decision, we’ll announce it and we’ll go from there.

CJ: What do you think of the Shula Bowl Trophy?Dstroph

MC: It’s a pretty unique trophy. I think it’s a hell of an honor whoever wins that thing and it’s something all the players look forward to at FIU and FAU to take that thing home. We have to work our tails off to go win that thing. The bottom line is that it’s been placed there for a purpose for the winner to take home and not let that thing go the other way.

FIU Fanatic: Are any of our original "signing day" signees ineligible, or not cleared yet?

MC: It looks for the most part that most of the guys are in and have qualified. The class looks like it’s about 95 percent eligible right now.

LogoGOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

A couple of thoughts here on the Mile High City. Spent some time in Lo Do (lower downtown Denver) last night after the baseball game and must say the scenery reminded me a lot of South Beach and the Grove with all the clubs, bars and female population. Nope, didn't see the Coors Light Twins, but several of their relatives were hanging out in Coorslighttwins Lo Do last night.

Another thing about Denver, people are actually into their baseball team, despite being at the bottom of the NL West division standings. Sold out crowd of 48,000-plus at Coors Field last night. The Rockies fans broke out chants of "Tulo" throughout the game for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and sang every word in unison of the national anthem before the game and "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" in the bottom of the 7th inning....So that's what a baseball town looks and sounds like. On to your questions....

Quijote: 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 Sun Belt 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?

You can just about forget about UM calling FIU to play for any sport. The folks over in Coral Gables are cancelling just about every series with FIU. Football ended last season and unless there is a change of heart over there (which I wouldn't hold my breath) the series is done. We all know the baseball coach over there holds a grudge toward TT so FIU/UM baseball ended after FIU won the final game of the series last April in CG. And the hoops series is done after this season's game in CG between the schools. I believe the only sports the two schools will still compete against each other are women's tennis and track & field. The scheduling and logistics are no problem whatsoever for the crosstown series -- the schools are only 9 miles apart.

FIUBlueandGold: Do you know if the USF game might be on a regional telecast within Florida on espn? Do you know if anything will be done to the exterior/facade or any landscaping to cover the metal and beams that are exposed?

Tv It's early, but right now the only FIU games scheduled to be televised are the first two against Kansas and Iowa. The KU game is on the Big 12 network and the Iowa game is on the Big Ten network. Sun Sports or ESPN regional might pick up the USF game. Several FIU Sun Belt games could be carried by CSS. The Sun Belt Football Media Day event is July 21 in New Orleans and that's when the Sun Belt TV schedule is expected to come out. I'll be in New Orleans for that and I'll blog about it as soon as I know.

Like FIU Fan pointed out, the east (alumni center), north (student services/welcome center) and west (fieldhouse/training center) sides of the stadium will have attachments. Before those buildings are constructed, sponsorship signs are expected to adorn the exposed metal beams.

WRGPLovesAxlRose: Any word on when the Baseball recruiting class is coming out?

TT has a couple of more spots to fill. When he does so the 2009 baseball recruiting class will be released.

The GPP keeps rolling worldwide. FIU baseball's ultimate destination the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska joined the ProwlOmaha  on the last post to give us 29 states of readership and Bangkok, Thailand also has an interest in FIU. Like 57 percent of FIU Nation, our reader in Bangkok thinks the FIU offensive line is the most critical position for an improved 2008 season. My thoughts exactly. If you can't run block and pass block, you're not going to score too many points and you got to score to win football games.

The updated readership totals: The 29 states the GPP is read in: ALA, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS. 9 Countries: Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A. 1 District: Washington, D.C. and 1 Territory: Puerto Rico.

Let's follow up MC's thoughts on the future out-of-conference schedule....

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Where's the anyone but UCG option? I'm glad we aren't scheduling them anymore, I think like this we could develop our own fan base without having to worry about them at all.

Also, good to know that almost all of our recruits have qualified and are ready to play.

I agree. I think it is more important that we play UF and FSU for statewide exposure than UM. Everyone in Miami already knows of FIU, but not so much in the rest of the state.

FAU ranked higher than Miami?
One of the most exciting times of the year for college football fans is the summer. As the season approaches, fans are given an information overload with the release of several national college football magazines. At least one publication should give the Miami Hurricanes all the needed motivation to turns things around.

The annual Phil Steele mag, which is one of the best previews, ranked Miami No. 48 in the Top 50. Not a bad assessment considering the Hurricanes' recent woes. But if you scan up the rankings, you notice something. At No. 37 ... is Florida Atlantic. Has UM's neighbor to the north finally caught up?

The Owls are coming off a banner year, winning the New Orleans Bowl. Last year quarterback Rusty Smith was the best in the state not named Tebow. I still remember receiving an IM last year from a writer covering the FAU-Minnesota game. It asked could the UM offense put up 42 points against the Golden Gophers as FAU did. I'm not so sure the `Canes could have.

I must say Phil Steele's magazine was the only one unkind to the Hurricanes. Athlon and Lindy's both had UM ahead of FAU. Still, based on the projections UM is expected to be the fourth-best team in Florida. The Gators are likely the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, followed by South Florida and Florida State.

The Hurricanes will have a chance to prove the doubters wrong with games against Florida, Florida State and Central Florida.

Quijote:
the reason is indeed MONEY.
here is FAU's ideal sked, and one which has been endorsed by Howard:
8 Belt Games.
2 non-conference games against teams of about equal strength that can be home-and-away, such as the deal with UAB.
2 non-conference games against teams that will pay a minimum of $500,000, though that price keeps going up, and soon FAU could be getting a million for a game.
Miami, despite its success, does not have the kind of money an SEC or Big 12 team has, so FAU pass on that game and go for ones with the biggest payouts, at least until they don't need those games to balance the budget.
University of Texas is paying FAU $ 900,000 on 08/31/08

I wanna see FIU play UCF or USF on a yearly basis....

I would really like to see FIU play big time teams like Michigan, Ohio State (who wouldn't play FIU anyway), Virginia Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, etc...

Pete
who or what is to blame for UM stoppoing the crosstown matchups? it seems we are willing and very interested in continuing these games. I am sure it is not money seems like UCG will not return our calls....

Ridgepanther,

The blame for stopping the crosstown series lies squarely with UM. I think that it is highly evident, especially since our athletic department committed to "turning this ship around" two years ago.

UM cannot afford for FIU, FAU, or even USF for that matter to steal their proverbial "thunder" on any level. They have rested on their laurels for way too long, and it appears that, even though we are not at their level yet, we are outworking them in trying to achieve our goals. They became way too satisfied with past success and it showed. Can you come up with a better example of this than UM going 5-7 last year with the same team that went 9-3 two years prior?

As a program, we have to continue to grow, and continue to work hard at it. The landscape of college football has changed. That's why you have Boise State beating Oklahoma, Appalachian State beating Michigan, and FAU being ranked ahead of 'ole UM in some pre-season rankings. These programs have outworked their opponents and have enjoyed the results.

As an FIU alum ('04), I am proud and satisfied that we are headed in the right direction. By reading these posts, I am also pleased to see that the athletic staff in working extremely hard to stay on that right direction. All this said, I would still love to reignite the crosstown rivalry. I really believe it is a win-win situation for both programs.

Of course it makes sense for UM-FIU to be a yearly staple in all sports... very few colleges have the potential for an intra-city rivalry, especially in a major media market. And having FIU be strong can only mean more interest in college sports in Miami, which is ultimately a winner for both schools (and probably FAU, too). But that can only happen when FIU becomes a big time program instead of just having the aspiration of becoming one.

Let's face facts. Miami gains little or nothing from playing FIU right now other than the (slight) boost in local interest and the (slight) boost in ticket sales. When they put FIU on the sked in the past, it was in the expectation that they'd be an easy win and a light snack, if you will, before the real meat hits the table. Now that FIU's made a serious commitment to being at UM's level, they're worried about losing their alpha male status in Miami... and rightly so, considering how bandwagon their fan base is.

If I were them, I wouldn't give FIU the chance to prove they're better. Playing FSU and UF has its risks, but Canes fans aren't likely to switch allegiance to either one of those schools. With FIU, it's a serious possibility if this program can actually become a winner.

As things currently stand, it has always made more sense for FIU to want this series than for UM. Until FIU makes themselves a more attractive opponent, that's the way it'll be. And the only way to be more attractive is to win, win and win some more until it becomes impossible for Miami NOT to schedule FIU.

With all that said... Miami's who we should play yearly. FSU and UF are nice, but Miami is the one opponent FIU fans get excited about. Always has been the case and probably always will be. But considering the mood in CG these days, it doesn't seem likely to continue. It's a shame, but that's how life goes sometimes.

ok thanks for the replys....here is one for ya.......as of July 1 there is no one running the compliance office. Jody Smith left June 30. plus they do not have a general counsel either. is it not odd that we are on probation yet have no compliance office?

I would love for us to start a rivalry with Florida State. Everybody hates Florida already...so nothing new if we hated them too.

I would love to go to more local away games withing the state. Definitely USF would be an awesome rivalry (and a short 4 hour drive to see the away games).

Here's a question for everyone... alot of FIU fans agree with me... Do you think FIU could have beaten UM last year had Paul McCall been under center??

I think so...UM was pretty bad last year...what do you think?

hey pete great Interview, keep em comming... i just got back from Vegas yesterday so i didnt get to read it till today. leaving the airport i got to see the campus of UNLV great campus very unique... UNLV this weekend, Tenn and vandy last weekend. ive seen more colleges this weekend than in the past 4 years lol that being said i would love to see FIU get another SEC school not named florida, tenn or vandy, or maybe ol miss.

lol or how bout UNLV that way i get another chance to hit up vegas lol

Not sure if we beat UM with Paul behind center last year ?? I think against Maryland we might have pulled it off. That game was close all 2nd half until the fumbled punt return inside the 20 gave maryland an insurance TD.

Great post, Clawing Cancer...My sentiments are shared in this regard with you pretty much 100%. Once this program reaches its ceiling base, it'll be a lot harder to sidestep us....

Talking about colleges' visiting...I'm in North Carolina dropping my son at Duke Soccer Camp...Duke, Elon, UNCGreensboro, Wake Forest, and today UNC, and NCState...Beautiful campuses, historic sites...Elon was just stunningly beautiful and amazing athletic facilities, albeit not super large...I was surprised...

How can you idiots think UM is "resting on its laurels and FIU is "outworking" UM to improve? If I am not mistaken - did Miami not just have the #1 recruiting class in the country? Did UM not just have one of the greatest college baseball regular seasons in recent history? Whyere do you all get your ideals and information, from cracker jack boxes? I mean seriously people - you all need to stop with the crap and look at the facts. Miami is rebuilding bigger and badder than ever, and FIU has made up no ground in several years, if anything, they have taken several steps back due to changes in staff, several NCAA sanctions, and a losing culture which is still in place. Please for the sake of the FIU fans that only occasionally look at this site and say things that are comprehensible, do not keep up with the garbage posts about how UM is on the decline and doing nothing to pick it self up - you sound stupid.

^^^^^ is a loser ^^^^^

I would not mind some mid-major home games on the future schedule mixed in with some more Big East and Conf USA action. FAU is positioning themselves for a spot in those conferences very soon. We need to focus on winning our conference games NOW and competing on the same level as FAU and Troy.

New rosters are up on FIUsports.com - some interesting JUCO and prep transfers. There is a kid (Hicks) from Texas that has Noel Devine speed and moves, go to youtube and check it out. There is a highlight reel with Hicks and Devine....

I selected other in the rivalry section. I know it might be a bit expensive, but I like intersectional rivalries....pick a fight with some one in the mountain west or the wac, and play them every year. If we can travel to Kansas and Iowa every year, we could do home and homes with somebody like Colorado St. or San Jose St, It would be fun to travel for the team, and also, we could get on tv on one of those thursday or friday nights ESPN likes to show of the Non-BCSers (other than the sun-belt)

I would also like to see FIU (and I know this is more up to the discretion of the bigger bodies) Play at more major BCSers. The SEC, as a bunch of pansies, only play out of conference home games against rivals, mid-majors, or FCS opponents (except for occasionally LSU, and always Tennessee), Like with Arkansas 2 seasons ago, how about a trip to Georgia, South Carolina, or the Mighty Gators?

CrazyCane: First of all, go and tell your school to get some money, so FAU gets interested on playing Ur struggling program. FAU just passed up an opportunity to play UM because you did not have the money. Actually you are lucky FAU did not go down there to make you look like a clown in front of the whole nation. At least the golden panthers have real fans that really attended FIU and have a really cool stadium. It is a shame that with so many years of success and 5 national titles UM does not have a stadium.

Oh boy FAUowlChamps07, you're in for a world of hurt from CrazyCane...

I would love to see an FAU/UM rivalry. I love when similar species fight. They can call it the Bird Bowl.

FAUchamp way to come strong. i did want to see that FAU vs. UM game would have been great Seeing HS go up against the program he built. FIU fan i donno if i would want to see that rivalry... i mean that rivalry would be for the birds haha

The thing is that in a few years UCG is going to say that FAU was affraid to play them and that is why they got out of the schedule.

Fanatic: Thanks for the kind words. And enjoy your trip to NC. You're actually near my area. I live and work in Winston Salem these days. The Triad's a great place to live... at least, it is if you're not a huge partier. Miami's got that part smoked. But otherwise, it's beautiful up here. I've heard lots of nice stuff about Elon, but the one campus I always hear is just rockin' is Appy State. Wake Forest is nice, too. I've been to the campus to cover the occassional story. UNC-G's a lot like FIU... it has a real commuter feel. Can't say much about the others.

AxlRoseLovesWRGP: I like the name, son... and that's coming from a former WRGP'er. But starting a rivalry with someone from across the country? Dude, that's been tried already. New Mexico State and Denver, to be precise. It doesn't work. If FIU wants to attract people, they got to play teams people know. For all intents and purposes, that disqualifies a lot of the schools west of the Mississippi. Staying as local as possible is the best thing FIU can do right now. Play as many Florida schools as possible, and unless the opponent is just amazing, there's no need to leave the South to find a quality opponent.

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