After Monday's practice, MC said Thursday's final scrimmage (closed to the public) will determine positions and playing time for several Golden Panthers and yes, that includes the starting quarterback.
It's time to find out, as MC repeatedly has said during camp to those players on the bubble for the travel squad: "Who's going to get on that bus?"
So why don't we start up that bus and judging by the work in spring ball and this month in camp, let's use our football IQ and at the same time look in the FIU Witches magic brew (you guys remember them? photo, left) to see who we think will earn significant playing time for FIU this season and who has got a seat on the Greyhound.
While Colt Anderson has closed the gap and Wayne Younger seems to have improved in the short time he's had to work in the new offense, the thought is Paul McCall should be under center for the first snap against Kansas and should remain there unless he stumbles. PM has the best grasp of the new O and is the best decision-maker, along with having a strong arm and he's proven to be no Statue of Liberty with his feet either.
Do see CA and WY getting snaps this season, whether it's in games out of hand or a couple of series in the middle of a game.
Julian Reams (right) has had a terrific summer and might be ready to assume that No. 1 RB job. Being a little bigger than A'mod Ned, JR can be that workhorse back. Keep an eye on Trenard Turner, who is capable of playing both tailback and fullback and came on at the end of last season. Daunte Owens will get some carries too, because of his speed. Darriet Perry and Shawn Bright are talented enough to play this season, but one or both might wear a redshirt.
FIU uses a ton of receivers with the spread, but Greg Ellingson and Marquis Rolle should line up with the first team. Junior Mertile has had the kind of camp that could have him starting in the slot. Don't be surprised if Blue25 gets a lot of playing time. Again, there are plenty of passes to go around with the spread, so look for T.Y. Hilton and Jeremy Dickens to get their share too.
Eric Kirchenberg has stood out among all the TEs, not only for some tough catches he's made, but for the 270+-pound frame he's carrying. As one practice observer noted: EK with his new size in all his football gear "looks like RoboCop". Be interesting to see Moses Hinton once he gets in there. Still no word from the Sun Belt.
The O-line looks to be anchored by Brad Serini, Andy Leavine, Joe Alajajian, Ula Matavao and Cedric Mack. Dustin Gibson could be playing too. Freshman Stephen Bailey looks like a beast, but at 265 may not be ready. Coaches have eagerly been awaiting the return of Mario Caraballo from a foot injury.
The D-Line is like the receivers, FIU rotates a ton of personnel in and out. We all know what kind of impact the Booker T. boys have had and should see plenty of action. D-Line stalwarts like Reggie Jones, Jonathan Betancourt, Jarvis Penerton, Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman and Artis Warthen should see their time. Among the younger guys, look for Ricky Booker, Curtis Bryant and Andre Pound to see some action. Jonas Murrell looks to have regained the menacing form he had the last time he played for FIU 2 years ago.
You'll see Scott Bryant and Michael Dominguez start at LB with likely Ryan Martinez as the other starter. But from what they've shown in camp: Little Canada, Tyler Clawson, Franklin Brown, Aaron Davis, Matt Garris and Winston Fraser should all see plenty of action. Little Canada (13 in photo, right) is healthy again and back to being his usual pest in the offensive backfield. He should have a big season.
The secondary should be the heart of this year's D and why not? Look at the depth and talent: Anthony Gaitor, Jeremiah Weatherspoon, Ash Parker, Robert Mitchell and Marshall McDuffie. Then you got others who will contribute like Chuck Grace, Derrick Clark, Emmanuel Souarin, Dez Johnson, Devin Parrish, Marcelus Manear and Franklin Brown -- when he's not playing LB.
The guess here is Carlos Munera wins the punting job and Dustin Rivest starts as the kicker, but we all know how fickle those jobs can be. Would be no surprise to see FIU soccer players pulling double duty before it's all said and done.
The return game (kickoff and punt) looks to come down to 5 guys: T.Y., Weatherspoon, Reams, Gaitor and Blue25.
We'll have the latest FIU Stadium photos on the next blog to alleviate any concerns several of you have expressed on the GPP about the stadium not being ready for Sept. 20. It will be ready.
Here are the 3 simple rules so that the attorneys from Coral Gables don't take the GPP to court: 1) Make a prediction each week on the FIU game (name a winning team and score) 2) The deadline for each game's predictions is anytime before kickoff. We are going by the time on the GPP, so DO NOT think if it's 6:59 p.m. on a Saturday on your clock, it's also 6:59 on the GPP clock, because you'll be late and you're out. 3) Standings tiebreakers at the end of the season will be the total point differential of your scores. Point differential is the number of points you miss FIU's score by and number of points you miss the opponent's score by. So if you pick FIU 27, Kansas 20 and the final score is FIU 34-21, then your point differential is 8, because you missed FIU's score by 7 and KU's score by 1. We'll keep a running total of the point differential throughout the season.
Two prizes this season: 1st prize: Write your own GPP Blog. 2nd prize: a 2008 FIU media guide yearbook. You can start sending in your scores for the Kansas game!
To the questions:
SouthPaw: Has Wayne Younger gotten any looks at any other positions in camp? On the subject of the Booker T. boys, what ever happened to Tarvis Pullins?
GPP: From the practices, I've seen WY (red jersey, left) has only been at QB. He could be used at WR with his speed. He played there on the scout team in Strock's last season. TP did not make it academically into FIU.
RDSM6: From what you've seen so far, how do you think we will do against the rest of the Sun Belt?
GPP: I think FIU could go anywhere from 2-6 to 4-4 in the Sun Belt this season. It's a very even league where Florida Atlantic and Troy are above everyone else right now and then it's a crapshoot. In 7 SBC games last season and with a younger and less experienced team, FIU was blown out in only 2 (Middle Tennessee and FAU). And the MT game, FIU should have been in that one, because MT is not 41 points better than FIU.
NYCFIUFan: I down loaded the FIU Football Media Guide from the fiusports.com web site and noticed that our win to FAU was not in the "Records" section of the guide. Why?
GPP: As part of the NCAA mess, all FIU game scores from 2003-2005 were erased by the NCAA. Only the FIU players stats from those years count, but the game results were "vacated", that's the term the NCAA uses. So the series record against FAU stands 3-0 Owls, with wins in 2002, 2006 and last season.
Pantera Dorada: If you go to the FOX Sports website, they have the very first Golden Panther logo as the schools logo. Any chance you could pass this observation on to someone in athletics so that it can be changed?
GPP: Saw the "Thundercats" FIU logo. I'll let FIU people know.