Yeah, it's never too early for your Golden Panthers to take the field after you good people have been waiting all summer for practice to start for the 2008 season, but for the next 20 days it will take the nocturnal GPP some getting used to these practices at an ungodly hour.
Did take an improvised stadium tour after practice and will have updates on that after the following first day practice notes....
So there were the Golden Panthers and yours truly at 6:45 Monday morning stretching and hollering in their first practice. The Golden Panthers were doing the stretching and hollering. FIU coaches and staff were all decked out in new FIU logo shirts, shorts and hats.
While the first four practices are glorified "P.E. classes" as MC calls them -- since the team is in shorts and shells and there is no hitting -- there was some action Monday morning at the FIU rec fields.
For starters, 85 of the 99 players on the camp roster went through the entire practice, about 14 freshmen had to leave at 8 a.m. for orientation.
The team does look bigger and stronger than last season -- a year older and a year under Roderick Moore in the weight room will do that.
We saw some offensive action when FIU broke into 7-on-7's.
So did Wayne Younger (below, right) in his first team practice since breaking the collarbone last season against FAU. According to MC, PM and WY were 95 percent accurate in their decision-making during 7-on-7's.
PM took the first snaps with the first team and looked comfortable completing short and intermediate passes. WY looks like his arm is 100 percent healthy and it showed on a 25-yard completion to tight end Travis Felder.
However, it was Colt Anderson and Darold Hughes that may have had the prettiest passes of the day.
CA and Greg Ellingson connected on a 35-yard bomb down the left sideline -- similar to the deep pass CA hit Marquis Rolle with in the Blue/Gold Game in April.
DH and Jason Frierson hooked up on a 30-yarder a few plays later.
There wasn't much notable from the freshmen since many of them had to leave practice before the team drills started. But guys like T.Y. Hilton and company should be at it the rest of the week. By the way, this (photo, left) might be the view opposing defenses will have of the speedy T.Y. this season.
As far as the backs, Julian Reams and Daunte Owens broke a couple of long runs.
Again, these offensive highlights need to be taken with a grain of salt, because the FIU defense showed very little as far as schemes Monday and probably will be vanilla until they get into pads on Friday.
One noteworthy defensive look Monday was Jeremiah Weatherspoon (below, left) lining up at safety with the first team. Again, salt there, because of it being the first day, but I could see that happening all season.
They started putting up the wall that surrounds the FIU locker room and the south part of the fieldhouse.
The four lights poles and lights are up and was told they were on all day last Friday and several people working in Downtown Miami that know Odebrecht people called FIU to tell them that you can see the FIU Stadium lights from Downtown Miami. Well, you can see Downtown Miami from FIU Stadium as you folks have seen photos on the GPP regarding that.
The last layer of pebbles is on the field and the field turf is expected to be installed either later this week or next. All the asphalt surrounding the field has been laid down and the walkways under the stadium were all being paved as we walked today.
All the club seats have been installed and the club suites are just about done. There are only 5 unsold suites left. The media structures for TV cameras are installed on the club suites roof.
The visitor's lockerroom is just about done too. The Panther Club was having its windows installed today and the Panther Club bar is open, but no booze has arrived yet.
Will be back to the Crown Jewel in a few weeks to snap some updated photos.
alt7787: Do you have any info whatsoever on when [USF game] tickets will go on sale to the general public? or Do you know any reputable scalpers?
GPP: Like FIU Florida Power & Light wrote below your comment, the only way to get tickets for the new stadium opener is to buy season tickets. Unless, you're a student then hurry to the FIU ticket office. "Reputable scalpers" that's sort of like saying "Ugly SI Swimsuit Models". Sorry don't know if either of those two groups exist.
Gold: I wonder if the stadium had anything to do with verbal?
GPP: Don't know about ET's particular verbal with the stadium, but I have spoken to several recruits from Dade and Broward and one of the first things they mention when talking about FIU is the stadium and the closeness of all the seats. This new stadium is a great recruiting tool for MC.
college football fan: Has FIU ever had a QB throw for 3,000 yards or even close to 3,000?
GPP: Welcome to the GPP. Former FIU QB Josh Padrick (left) holds the program record with 2,493 passing yards in 2003 and threw for 2,461 yards in 2005. And he was an option quarterback coming out of high school. With a little bit better coaching, JP could have thrown for 3,000 yards. An average of 250 yards passing per game can be done. I don't think it will happen this year, but with the spread offense an FIU quarterback could make that happen in the future.
Keep the votes coming on our poll questions from past posts. In the last one, 53.6 percent of FIU Nation says the O-line's improvement will lead to 3 or 4 wins this season. Folks in Melbourne, Fla. and Washington D.C, have bigger aspirations, voting that better play from the O-line will translate into 7+ wins and a Sun Belt title. From your keyboard to God's eyes, sure would like another trip to New Orleans this year.
But for now we're back at the FIU rec fields for the latest question.