The first scrimmage is in the books and it belonged to the defense. It wasn't until the action moved closer to the fence that the offense got going and FIU police wanted to show someone to the back of the fence -- all part of an interesting Tuesday morning at the FIU rec fields.
Outside of Julian Reams (below, right) breaking off a 54-yard TD run early in the scrimmage, there was not much offense to speak of thanks to a physical, aggressive FIU D.
The O could not sustain a drive, in part because of dropped passes, penalties and a tough run D and pass rush. The O went 3-and-out on the first 3 series. Freshman DL Andre Pound had a tackle for loss early on and Marshall McDuffie had a nice pass breakup on a 4th down to stop the offense.
On the 4th drive, Reams looked to be stopped on the right sideline, but bounced out to the left and took off on his 54-yard TD run. He finished with 5 carries for 72 yds. A'mod Ned was given the day off.
The good pass D continued with Jeremiah Weatherspoon deflecting a pass and Dez Johnson with an INT.
Also in the defensive action getting tackles in the backfield, were "Little Canada" Toronto Smith, Armond Willis, Jonas Murrell, Ryan Martinez (twice), Robert Mitchell, Quentin Newman and Tyler Clawson.
Other INTs were recorded by O' Darris D'Haiti, who returned an INT 35 yards for a TD. Scott Bryant also got an INT off a deflection from the WR.
Some of the freshmen defenders must have heard that before, because Kambriel Willis, Jonathan Jackson and James Jones all got sacks on Tuesday. KW also had two quarterback hurries. Might be too early for a nickname, but if KW keeps this up he shall be dubbed "El Mini-Monstruo".
Quentin Newman also added a sack to the defensive field day.
When the ball was spotted at the D's 20-yard line, the offense got going.
Freshman running backs Shawn Bright and Darriet Perry scored short TD runs. Daunte Owens (right) did not score, but showed some gritty running inside the 10-yard line moving the pack a couple of times to set the ball up inside the 3-yard line so the freshmen could punch it in for the score.
The top 3 QBs were about even in their performances. Paul McCall finished 5 of 9 for 76 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT. Wayne Younger was 5 of 9 for 67 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT. Colt Anderson's stats were a bit skewed, because 5 of his passes were dropped by the WRs. CA was 3 of 12 for 2 yds and 1 INT.
Still, CA has shown enough in the spring and in camp to have MC say afterward: "Colt has really made a tremendous jump. All of the sudden he’s put himself in a position where we’re sharing reps now. It looked like 2 guys had separated themselves, all of the sudden Colt is back in that mix. You can’t deny a young man playing time when he makes up ground like that. You got to give him a chance."
The thought here is: CA has definitely improved, but don't think it has been quick enough to grab the starting job. PM still is the top decision-maker, has command of the new O and has a strong arm to get the starting nod. WY and CA have definitely gotten much better than last season, but PM seems the most in control out there. FWIW (For What It's Worth).
On the receiving end, don't have to mention that Blue25 (White25 in photo, left) made a couple more nice grabs. You already knew that. B-25 had a 28-yd catch and a 26-yd catch. B-25 did show he can be subject to Kryptonite by dropping a beautifully placed pass from CA that would have set up the offense inside the D's 10-yard line.
Greg Ellingson snagged a tough throw for 21 yards and made a diving catch on a TD. Marquis Rolle was solid as well. Junior Mertile beat his defender to catch a 34-yard TD.
About FIU police making the GPP blog, as CJ posted on his comment: someone with a green and orange shirt showed up to the scrimmage and FIU police jokingly told him he was not allowed to watch the scrimmage. Can you blame the green/orange guy? If you're not a season-ticket holder in Coral Gables, you are not allowed to watch practice over in CG. Welcome to FIU, the university of the people.
Glad to see we can move past all the uniform talk already as 76.5 % of you good people have said the new unis are sharp and let's drop the GQ magazine. Amen.
Max: I just want to know how high row 8 might be? Had no idea that players were puking last season, I guess the tougher practices took their toll last year huh?
GPP: The way the stadium rows were built was that each row is higher than the previous row. So whether you're in row 1 or row 8, you will not have anything or anyone blocking your view. Unlike the traditional stadiums that have the rows of seats going backwards from the field, FIU Stadium has its rows of seats going up toward the sky so that if you get Yao Ming sitting in front of you will still be above Yao. And by going up with the rows, that also ensures that your seat is close to the field. In the diagram I saw, the section numbers were somewhat fuzzy so I read 114 when it was 124. Your seat is behind the FIU bench.
There was more puking from players last season, because the Golden Panthers were used to the country club practices that the previous coaching staff ran where it was 4 gassers and off to the showers. Last season, the players were in a bit of shock when the new conditioning program was installed with the new coaching staff. The team is in much better shape this season.
Quijote: Do you see Colt Anderson as the new front runner @ QB? You haven't been raving much about Paul McCall..what's the inside scoop? Also, FAU ranked #3 in their non bcs power rankings....pretty impressive. What's your take on their team this year, SunBelt champs with maybe a BCS bowl or last year's news?
GPP: Colt has had a terrific spring and 1st week of camp, but Paul (left) has been just as good and has a better command of the offense and decision-making. Guess, I've gotten used to PM making plays. CA has definitely gotten better and will eventually be a starting QB for FIU, just don't know when.
FAU should repeat as Sun Belt champs, but like I said in the previous blog: this is the Sun Belt where there is a lot of parity so don't be surprised to see FAU stumble a little, but the Hooters should be there at the end. Troy is looking for revenge on FAU after last season's final game loss.
FIUJM: I noticed that Andy Leavine is playing RT position. I'm assuming that once Cedric Mack (below, right) gets cleared to play he will be our teams LT. Am I right to make this assumption? Is game against Kansas going to be broadcasted? Are the new jerseys available yet?
Right now, the KU game is only televised in Kansas on a local TV station. Been told by FIU that the new on-line store is supposed to be ready at the end of the month with all the gear with the new logo.
FIUBlueandGold: I'd like to know who is wearing #56 on the O-line (Dickerson?)
GPP: 56 is Devon Dickerson, who switched over from the D-Line.
GPP: These are the team scouts I've seen at the first 8 FIU practices: Jets, Chiefs, Vikings, Saints, Chargers, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions and there's 1 NFL guy that has been to almost every practice, but does not wear his team's gear, might be the Dolphins. Not a gambling man, but here's an early wager: If he keeps working hard and has a good 2 final seasons at FIU, the next FIU player in the NFL is Jeremiah Weatherspoon in 2 years.
Gold: I was wondering if FIU was on pace to complete the stadium prior to the inaugural home game or should we take hard hats to game one? You mentioned that there were more and more high school students present at our practice. Any updates, names or schools that we should look out for?
GPP: Unless you're a fan of the Village People, you can leave your hard hat at home for the USF game. Odebrecht will hand the stadium keys over to FIU on August 28. The 1st phase of the stadium is just about done. What is being worked on now is the inside of the club suites and Panther Club. Odebrecht will work on the fieldhouse throughout the season that's why you will still see their trailer and equipment there. Just to alleviate any concerns, I will go on another stadium tour in about a week or so and have new photos on the GPP for all to see. Central and Northeast are some of the schools out there.
john thomas: If CM has such a strong leg why are his kickoffs so short?
GPP: Welcome to the GPP. Like all 3 FIU kickers, CM is not consistent, but during punting drills there is no mistaking whose punt is about to bring down rain. Here's the story on CM: Munera
SouthPaw: Any updates on Derrick Clark and Aaron Davis? Just curious if the coaches have given Kambriel Willis any looks at LB vs DL.
GPP: Both have made plays, but have not stood out like Kambriel Willis, Jonathan Jackson and Chuck Grace in the 1st week of camp. KW has been working with the D-Line. Have not seen him with the LBs.
clm88: Is there practice or another scrimmage this coming Saturday, I would like to go and watch?
FIU Fanatic: How is Jonas Murrell looking?
GPP: He came in at 350 pounds and has since dropped into the 340's. JM is still making plays in the backfield like he did the last time he was on the field for FIU. He's a powerful dude and once he loses a little more weight, he will be a factor on D this season. In the 1st practice I thought JM was not going to make it in the conditioning drills, but then he's smiling and talking as if nothing afterward.