Just 2 weeks left before FIU hits the practice field for the first time in preparation for the 2008 season. The Golden Panthers begin fall practice August 4, but we won't wait that long to finish your questions with MC.
Here's the final part to your questions and MC's answers.
Frank: Will you schedule less body bag games when you take control of the schedule?
MC: If you go in there thinking it’s a body bag game, then you are going to come home in a body bag. I think it is a despicable mentality. Our coach in high school told us all the time: they are still putting their pants on one leg at a time too. There are no superheroes on the other side. Can they be more gifted, more talented, guys that are more mature after years of recruiting the elite players in the country, so what. The bottom line is this is football and you get to settle it on the football field. We never ever use those words (body bag). We eliminated it from our vocabulary. For us there is no such thing. Every game is an opportunity to go out and win and hit somebody right in the mouth and that’s what we aim to do.
CJ: Kansas fans are already talking about how big a blowout game 1 is going to be. Saying by a 40 point margin. What do you think about such an outrageous prediction?
MC: Do they have superior talent to us or than us? Absolutely they do, but I know one thing us as a program we have matured physically, mentally in terms of our process, our toughness. That’s a challenge that if that doesn’t in some way shape or form doesn’t stoke your fire or if that doesn’t hit you hard in terms of your pride then you don’t belong playing football. You need to look at that, you need to take that and you need to use that. You can’t approach that with fear. You have to take that personally as an individual and turn it into a team thing as well and you have the best off-season that you can and you go up there to win that football game.
FIU Fan: What traditions would you like to install for the program?
MC: First of all I would like to say we are open to suggestions, because we do want something special. I have been around FIU now for one year and one thing I know is that it’s a special place and people have a lot of pride in FIU. Our job as a football program is to take it to the next level so that pride grows and nurtures itself and creates a giant snowball of enthusiasm and energy. So we’re open to suggestions. I would love a Panther Walk where those players as they come off the bus and are in that gameday mentality mode they get to see the people that have been the essence of FIU, who support FIU, just line that entire walk toward the stadium as they are going along with the band. Let the band sound off. Let the people go nuts, let the high-fives start flying. Let them know that come hell or high water that they have our back. As a young program – and people have to understand this – you have to build this. It’s a young program, you have to build this program right. This is not about bringing in 45 renegades, win in 1 year and then going back to nothing. It’s about building it with character, with integrity, with hard-ass work and discipline. I want our guys to always see that there is support there and we’re always going to work our butts off to make sure we make them proud.
I would like to get some F-14s from the Homestead Air Force base to fly overhead. Some of the things we’re doing is we are building a gigantic sand pit which we are going to use for training during the week, which could double as “FIU Beach”.
(Note: That sandpit will be on the other side of the road between the baseball stadium and the preserve. The framework for it is already set. I mentioned to MC that "FIU Beach" has to be inside the stadium. Still, good to see the FIU coach is enthused about "FIU Beach") [Great job, Clawing Cancer].
SouthPaw: Are there any particular areas that you and your staff will be focusing on harder than others in the 2009 recruiting class?
MC: We still have a lot of holes to fill. We recruit and we stagger the classes. If you look at our depth chart in our war room, it’s not only done by position, it’s done by year and position to make sure we’re never caught in a situation where we have to sign 7 receivers or 9 offensive linemen. We always want to sign a good amount of offensive and defensive tackles – the guys that are at a premium. The skill guys we’re always going to sign anywhere from 2 to 5. Receivers 2 to 5. Defensive backs 2 to 5. Linebackers always 2 to 4. Defensive tackles 4 and if there are 8 we’ll take them. Offensive tackles the same way. Guards and centers you can create, if there is a special one out there we’ll go get him. Running backs we’d like to sign 2 to 3. Whenever there is a great quarterback, even if we have 9 quarterbacks on our roster, if there is a difference-maker out there, you go get him, because the guy touches the ball on every single play. If he can be better than what you have, no matter how good you are, you have to go get him. We’re always going to upgrade every position. A rule of thumb is: everybody we recruit is as good or better than what we have.
GPP: How will the offensive play calling go on gameday? Will Coach Legg be calling the game or will you call the game?
MC: As a head coach you always have some suggestion, you have your feel for it. This is truly his offense which I really like. I trust him to call the football game. I want him to call the football game. As a head coach you want your coordinators to have ownership on their side of the ball and that’s something that he’s going to do. I’m always going to have my hand in there, but I don’t believe in letting a coach’s ego try to take over the situation. This guy has called a lot of games. He’s got a lot of experience. There are certain things that I might like, of course, I’m going to have input on both sides of the ball and special teams as well, but I want him to call the football game.
FIU Fanatic: How happy or not are you with the physical development of not just the stadium, but the fieldhouse/offices with all the amenities?
MC: I love the development of the stadium and fieldhouse. I’m very excited. Of course, you would like for it to be done now, but you have to love that we have an awesome President and administration that have made this thing happen. That stadium is going up fast. We went up there the other day to the top with a couple of recruits that looked down, looked across, looked across how the downtown Miami skyline looked and then looked at the campus and they just fell in love with FIU. They are going to be future Panthers. It just shows you the impact of a facility and it’s still in its infancy. The stadium is taking shape, but it’s quite impactful. It’s a home. It’s our place. There’s a lot of pride being taken every single day. Trust me, when we start running stadium stairs at 5 a.m. there will be a lot more pride invested in that thing.
Went back to the "Crown Jewel" last Friday morning to take some photos different from the tour 2 weeks ago and there have been several new additions to the new FIU Stadium. Will have a few more stadium tour blogs on here after the Sun Belt Football Media Days in New Orleans on Monday and Tuesday.
By the way, the Sun Belt will make a postseason announcement Tuesday in New Orleans. Likely, another postseason bowl tie-in for the Sun Belt. Will post it on here as soon as they tell us what it is.
Will get to your questions on the next blog from New Orleans. For now, you good people said Paul McCall (38.1 %), Marquis Rolle (28.6) and Colt Anderson (12.7) were the most improved offensive players from last season after watching them work in spring ball.
Tell us who is the most improved defensive player....