Plenty to get to from today and Wednesday's practices. Had to take care of some stuff for the Miami Herald's College Football Preview on Wednesday, so you good people get a happy hour practice special blog: 2 for 1.
It was a Harvey Dent-kind of past two days for the FIU offense. We'll get to the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" offense first that showed up in Wednesday's practice.
The last couple of days in camp have shown us that the FIU freshmen might be ready to make an immediate impact. I usually don't pay much attention to all those recruiting services, but this time those folks may have gotten it right when they said this is FIU's best freshman class in the 6-year history of the program.
Let's start with Wednesday's highlights. Jerrell Lamb, oops, Alonzo Phillips (Blue 25) continued his good work at receiver opening the practice with two more nice catches and then split the defense snaring a bullet from Wayne Younger that goes for 6 if they are playing for real. WY and AP connected again later in practice. If Blue 25 learns the offense quickly, FIU may have a secret weapon on O.
Staying with the O, Greg Ellingson (right) is making a case for the being the top pass catcher on the team. He made a terrific sideline catch on a pass from Paul McCall. And then hauled in a 35-yarder from PM.
Freshman receiver T.Y. Hilton showed his speed zipping past the FIU D and grabbing a 40-yard pass from Colt Anderson. Going by summer timing, T.Y. is the fastest Golden Panther. But he saved his best for the end of Wednesday's workout, when he went across his body to snare a pass from CA.
CA also found senior walk-on Jodie Basemore for a 20-yard pass that turned into a 60-yard TD when JB got past the defense.
There was defense played on Wednesday.
Freshman safety Chuck Grace got a sack and two plays later got in on a pass deflection. On those two plays, Grace reminded of the speed and ballhawking abilities from the El Monstruo-led 2005 FIU defense.
Linebacker Matt Garris was all over a CA pass that would have been an INT return for a TD if he holds on to the ball. Quentin Newman and Artis Warthen combined for a sack.
Today, the offense had some early moments, but after that the FIU defense made it a miserable day for the O. Got so bad for the O, that at one point, MC stopped the practice and had the O doing Up/Downs.
Again, center/QB snaps were a problem. Plenty of botched snaps. According to MC, starter Brad Serini did good, but reserve centers: freshman Kenny White (who is being worked as a center for the first time in his career) and Juan Gonzalez need work. Backup center/starting right guard Joe Alajajian has missed most of practice this week due to final exams and was not at practice Thursday.
Daniel Chacreton and Tyler Clawson got an early sack. Toronto "Little Canada" Smith got into the O's backfield to cause havoc like he did at Arkansas State last season.
At the end of practice, it became the Kambriel Willis Show. KW went into the O's backfield on four straight plays. He got one sack, a tackle for loss and batted down a Hughes pass. Any wonder the dude led the state in sacks last season?
The O's top plays from Thursday: Greg Ellingson did like T.Y. on Wednesday and caught a ball across his body. Then while GE was getting mugged down the field by two DBs (easily pass interference), he got separation -- Rod Moore's summer strength and conditioning program paying dividends -- and grabbed a deep pass.
Junior Mertile, a freshman receiver, made a diving 1-handed catch on a deep pass from PM.
And a practice report this week wouldn't be complete without a Blue 25 sighting. PM did a nifty job avoiding the blitz and stepped up in the pocket to find Blue 25 for a 15-yard gain.
You good people have 4 more chances to catch your Golden Panthers in practice: Friday at 9 a.m.; Saturday at 8 a.m. & 4 p.m. and the team's first scrimmage is Tuesday, Aug. 12. The scrimmage is open to the public, but the time has not been set yet. It will be posted on here as soon as they tell me.
FIU is expected to unveil the new uniforms at Friday's Media Day Luncheon. If it happens, will have photos on here for you later on Friday.
It's was a HD-kind of moment on the GPP for SouthPaw. First the good: let's hear it for SP for being the first GPP reader to get the Sidd Finch question correct. The bad: FIU's new uniforms will not have gold pants. The only gold will be on the trim lines that run down the sides of the uniforms. One last look at the gold pants as A'mod Ned (right) models them against Bowling Green.
FIU will have 4 new uniform combinations to choose from: 1) blue top/white pants; 2) white top/white pants; 3) white top/blue pants; 4) blue top/blue pants.
Max: Keep us up to date on those stadium tours. I am anxiously awaiting to see what the view looks like from my seats.
GPP: Where are your seats? I might be able to put a photo on here from your seats' view.
CJ & Civil Eng FIU: Any word on Alphonso Bryant's status?
GPP: Great to meet you, CJ, at practice today. Bryant is enrolled in classes at FIU. He is expected to join the team at some point during the season. He is on the roster and listed as No. 15. Still waiting on the NCAA. Same deal with Moses Hinton, FIU is waiting on the Sun Belt. When I was in New Orleans, the Sun Belt people were telling me they expect to allow Hinton to play.
Pantera Dorada: Any idea how the brick campaign is going?
GPP: Last I heard about the bricks, there were more than 100 sold in the first month.
alt7787: Forgot to give you props on getting FIU smack dab on on the front page of the sports page. Plus it was also interesting to see Armando Salguero writing about FIU.
The Miami Herald front page could be FIU's on a regular basis. The phrase the MH higher-ups always tell me at the start of every FIU football, hoops and baseball season is: "When FIU starts winning, you'll get more space and they'll be on the front more". It's not just the FIU fans that are eagerly awaiting for the Golden Panthers to turn the corner, the largest newspaper in Florida is ready to give FIU its due. Of course, the 140,000 FIU alumni also has something to do with that.
FIU Love: Please tell me FIU got a good kicker during the off-season recruiting.
GPP: FIU has 3 kickers in camp: Dustin Rivest, Eric Karcinski and Carlos Munera. DR and EK are more accurate in field goals. CM has got a booming leg and will likely be the punter. Although, MC said the other day if he had to kick a 65-yard FG to win a game, CM would be in there.
esteban688: It's been said that FIU has only sold 2,500 season tickets, which is not much. We all have read from many sources the "the USF game is sold out" as you can see none of this adds up. Can you find out about the ticket sales situation?
GPP: If the sources you're talking about are Tampa-area sources, then they're not correct. The USF game is "close" to being sold out. The only way to get tickets to that game is by buying season tickets or if you're an FIU student, then you get one free admission to the game. FIU is not releasing season ticket sales numbers. But there are still tickets available.
GPP: Been told there is a major advertising blitz for FIU football this month that will include: TV and radio ads, billboards and ads on movie theatre screens before your featured motion picture begins.
TheChampionUnderdog: Welcome to the GPP.
Time for you good people to be the fashion critics....