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1st Practice Week & Top 10 List

Time to wrap up the first week of camp with some highlights from Friday and Saturday's practices and also a Top 10 list of what we have learned in the first six days of 2008 FIU football.

Maybe it's because they couldn't wait to model the new FIU uniforms in Friday's FIU Media Day LuncheonDbs_2 or maybe they just wanted to get their names in the award-winning GPP blog, whatever the reason the Golden Panthers defense kept up the good work from Thursday's practice into Friday. That's the FIU secondary on the right. (L to R: Marshall McDuffie, Robert Mitchell, Anthony Gaitor, Ash Parker, Jeremiah Weatherspoon)

On Friday, safety Kreg Brown picked off Darold Hughes. Devin Parrish, Tyler Clawson, Peter Riley and Anthony Gaitor all had pass deflections to make it a tough day on the receivers.

Daniel Chacreton, Armond Willis and Jonathan Betancourt all got sacks and "Little Canada" Toronto Smith seems to be healthy again as he was a disruptive force in the offensive backfield all day Friday and into Saturday.

Before we get to Saturday, the offense had their moments on Friday. Freshman running back Darriet Perry had a nice run over left tackle during team drills and made some nifty moves on a screen pass to pick up yardage.

Lam Greg Ellingson, Marquis Rolle and Jason Frierson all had nice grabs on passes from Colt Anderson. GE and JF's catches were on deep passes. Once again T.Y. Hilton caught a pass in traffic and then outran the defense. T.Y. is the Lamborghini or Ferrari, whichever is faster, of this team. Junior Mertile would be whichever car T.Y. is not.

What was apparent on Friday was how much quicker the FIU defense has gotten. Wouldn't say it's "El Monstruo"-speed yet, but definitely faster than last year's D.

SATURDAY'S 2-A-DAY

This first day in pads with full contact turned out to be the day of the quarterbacks. The top 3 QBs: Paul McCall, Wayne Younger and Colt Anderson (right) all showed what they could do during 11-on-11's and 7-on7's.

CA placed a perfect pass over a DB's shoulder that Junior Mertile hauled in. CA also found Reggie Ca_2 Thompson on a 60-yard TD. CA's passes have been sharper and are tighter spirals all this week and in the latter part of spring. His decision-making seems to have improved considerably as well.

No shocker here, Blue25 (Alonzo Phillips) made a couple more acrobatic grabs both from PM. The second catch was more impressive. The FIU D blitzed a lot Saturday and on this play PM made a nice move to avoid the blitz, kept his composure and stepped up in the pocket to find a darting Blue25 across the middle, who caught the pass with one hand before securing the ball with the other hand. Found a Blue25 pic from last season on the left.

Ap_2 WY got free of the D's blitz several times -- no surprise there with 14's athleticism. He also had some crisp passes, one of which was a bullet to Elliott Dix, who held on after he got hit hard.

Jason Frierson and freshman Troy Dannehower also had a good throw and catch.

Marquis Rolle showed his toughness when he got drilled by two defenders, the ball popped in the air and MR still caught it. His right arm got banged up and missed the rest of practice, but came back for the 2nd practice in the afternoon. He's OK. There's the update you requested FIUJM.

The collision of the day, brought to you by State Farm Auto Insurance, occurred when 220-pound + safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon and tight end Eric Kirchenberg rammed into each other after EK caught a short pass. JW knocked EK's mouthpiece out, but EK remained standing while JW hit the turf.Crash

EK looks to have packed on the most muscle from Rod Moore's off-season strength program. He's listed at 235 on the roster, 250 in the media guide, but looks like 270 and did I mention he can catch the ball too.

Let's not forget the defense from Saturday. The freshmen DBs continue to shine. Emmanuel Sourain and Chuck Grace had INTs.

Little Canada had a tackle for loss and was a menace on blitzes. Franklin Brown (1 of the BTW 4 Ds) Zach_2 had some solid tackling and recovered a fumble.

Kambriel Willis, who looks like a Zach Thomas (left) clone, but with speed, got another sack.

Like FIUJM pointed out in his comment on the previous blog, punter Carlos Munera has got a helluva leg. Now if CM can improve the accuracy on field goals, then the Golden Panthers have got both jobs covered. CM nailed a 52-yard and a 57-yard punt on Saturday. The ball is like cannonball shot out of his leg on punts.

Top 10 List of What We Learned During the 1st Week of Camp:

10. OC Bill Legg's voice can be heard from SW 57 Ave.

9. If T.Y. Hilton or Junior Mertile get a slight opening, the D is not going to catch either one.

8. So this is what it feels like to be part of the workforce: getting up before the sunrise and driving to work each morning.

7. More and more high school football players show up for each FIU practice.

6. The new uniforms look sharp and have a different look from all those futuristic styles that are the fad nowadays.

5. There has been less puking during and after conditioning drills this season.

4. The top 3 QBs have all definitely gotten better with their arm strength and decision-making.

3. The freshmen on D are going to have an impact this season.

2. FIU's strengths so far are its "Air" people -- pass catchers and pass defenders.

1. There is no Jerrell Lamb on the team, but Blue25 is pretty good at receiver.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Your LAST CHANCE to see your Golden Panthers before they take on Kansas is this Tuesday, August 12 in the team's first scrimmage. Practice begins at 8 a.m., but as MC says "the hitting begins at 8:20 a.m". Sounds like it's time to call in sick to work.

FIU would scrimmage later on that day, but been told there's a risk of losing a practice day with the typical Miami summer afternoon thunderstorms.

**One more thing about the unis, which I think is a unique feature: all the new helmets have the eyes of a Panther above the facemasks. So when an FIU player is talking to you, there are four eyes looking at you: the player's eyeballs and the Panther's eyeballs. Will try to get a photo of it on here soon.

The idea is the brainchild of new FIU equipment manager Steve Smith. No, not the former FIU O-Line coach Steve Smith, this SS comes from Northeastern University.

Max: Section 114, row 8

GPP: From looking at the stadium diagram, it looks like you're seating is in the west end zone. So this onMaxseat  the right is what your view would be like. This photo is before the turf was laid down last Friday.

FIUChris: Where's the info on these bricks?

GPP: The FIU "Not Another Brick In The Wall" campaign (GPP patent-pending) is alive and well. Call FIU Brickmaster, Jose Sotolongo at 305-348-8393. Mention the GPP sent you and you get free admission to Tuesday's FIU football scrimmage.

FIU Fanatic: Any updates on what went on at the Media Day Luncheon?

GPP: MC spoke about the upcoming season, the players walked down the catwalk with the new unis  and Pig media people pigged out on free Shells food.

NYCFIUFan: Has anyone seen the new SI College Football report? They have FIU ranked 118 out of 119 Division I schools and predict that we will match our win total from last year. (oh by the way they predict that FAU will go undefeated in the SunBelt and win 10 games this year). What are your thoughts, is there really that much of a disparity?

GPP: Remember most of these publications have never seen FIU in person and go about making guesses based on stats alone. I read SI and the 1-11 and 0-7 Sun Belt record predicted for FIU. I think FIU can win anywhere from 3 to 5 games this season, considering last season they were within a touchdown in 5 of the last 7 games in the second half. FAU is loaded and could run the table in the Sun Belt and will be good next year, too. The Sun Belt is a very even league so don't be surprised by anything that happens in this conference.

TheChampionUnderdog: What's Wayne Younger weighing in at now?

GPP: 180 from the latest roster handed out at practice.

SouthPaw: It does look like we're officially dropping the "golden" from our name in looking at these uniforms. Pete, can you confirm that isn't true?

GPP: I am still writing "Golden" Panthers in everything that hits the Miami Herald both in print and inBlue  cyberspace. FIU is NOT making any official announcement of dropping "Golden". Only shortening the three words of the school to just FIU for all sports stories and references. So what we got is the "FIU Golden Panthers". BTW, the beloved blueberry pants from last year are being used as practice pants. The new blue pants are a darker blue.

FIU Fanatic: Are Cedric Mack and James Jones, two of FIU's best recruits, eligible for this season and/or enrolled at FIU?

GPP: Mack practiced all week and looks like a mountain. Jones is awaiting clearance.

chris smith # 39: Welcome to the GPP. This secondary has a chance to be as good as your No. 4 FIU pass defense of 2005.

OK, all you Monday morning GQ editors, you decide:

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Actually Pete, from the diagram I have that was sent to season ticket holders, section 114 is pretty much at the 50 yard line. I just want to know how high row 8 might be, I am a bit afraid that I'll be too low and not get a good enough view of the action because of the field being blocked by the sideline crowd.

Great top 10 list Pete, had no idea that players were puking last season, I guess the tougher practices took their toll last year huh?

Max,

The diagram that came with the season tickets is a little off.

Pete's probably right about your view. Try guessing your view by counting by which Suite you are located under. That should give you a better idea.

Thanks for the updates Pete!!! Glad to hear Marquis is going to be ok. IMO, he's going to be the star of offense this year.

You hit it on the money with Carlos Munera; it would be great if he can kick field goals.

GO FIU!!!

Which diagram is it that's off? I've seen these two:

https://www.nmnathletics.com//pics16/1024/BJ/BJVOGADBOOHCIJE.20080415185327.gif

http://media.ticketmaster.com/en-us/tmimages/venue/maps/flo/22588s.gif

and both have section 114 in the same part of the stadium. I know what a view from there will look like pretty much. I just wanted an idea of the the height above field level.

Sorry about the long reply, it's just that I am here expecting 50 yard line seats and then Pete says I have an end zone view so I went looking for all the seating charts I could find, ha.

pete great update good running into you at the practice sat. morning. bit off football.. lets talk merchandise. took a stroll into the bookstore today after attempting to pay off tuititon for the upcoming year.. and strolled on over to the section where they have clothing, chairs, tents, noise makers, etc. notices that the shirts are starting to have the new logo on plain T's for 15 $... decent price id pay that. but for lawn chairs w/ the old logo... the cost is 35$+tax... this is rediculous. i go to sports authority and play 10$ per chair... outragous... and the tent... i couldnt even find the price. personally i think FIU needs to re-evaluated the pricing of such items. for the chair w/ the old logo it shouldnt be more that 15 $ ... a new logo chair i would say 20$. anything higher and its just collecting dust and losing floor space for sales. what do you think is a fair price?

Pete,

I made it to practice on Saturday and was very happy with what I saw... Team speed has definitely improved on defense. If the secondary can step up (which I do expect they will) on run stop support and covering deep passes better than last year - we should get some more stops and opportunities to keep the games closer.

**An area of concern is "kick-offs" - I only saw (1) kick inside the 10 yard line and the majority between Rivest and Munera were caught on the 20 - 25 yard line ??? In my estimation, this is a BIG deal. I kicked in high school, not saying I was anything special, but I also played soccer...Rivest seemed to have the better leg and mechanics on kick-offs (height and deeper) Carlos seemed somewhat too close in his approach and straight onto the ball....Just my 2 cents on that. We cannot afford to spot teams the ball on kickoffs near the 40 - 45 yard line.

Pete,

Seems like you're speaking highly of Colt since practice started. Do you see him 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?

Thanks.

Who has purchased their season tickets? Just curious...

Quijote, I purchased season tickets. I try to support all FIU athletics.

CJ, you make a great point. I actually noticed that exact FIU jerseys are sold cheaper at Sports Authority. As for T-shirts, i prefer buying those at FIU. The selection is wayyyyy better.

Pete or anybody, I noticed that Andy Leavine is playing RT position. I'm assuming that once Cedrick Mack gets cleared to play he will be our teams LT. Am I right to make this assumption?

GO FIU!!!

Hey! check this out!
Here is the bottom 10 of Division 1-A
What do you think?

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview08/news/story?page=bottom1008preseason

Cedric Mack is out there in full gear playing LT...As far as I know, he is good to go !! Kid is a beast !!

I'd like to know who is wearing #56 on the O-line (Dickerson ???) what happened to Javon Hill ?? I think Donnell Wilson is also impacting the line.

They look much better than last year !!

Great comments and info...Pete, great reading into your practice report as of now....Guys, keep informing us....Thanks!

Hey guys, dont know if you guys know already, but they are broadcasting our game vs Iowa on the Big 10 network:

FIU vs Iowa: Big Ten Network at 12:00 PM.

Watch party????

FIU fan im not sure if your still a student but ive been trying to figure it out for a while. i know last year we had a watch party for FIU and have been trying to figure out if they will hold those same watch parties for kansas, iowa, etc. i really hope they do... a good idea might be to host teh watch parties in the stadium suites... depending on the max amount of people per room stuff in like 30 or so lol perferably though i think the best place would be gracies... as for sat. morning practice... it looked good.. the defense looked strong and there were some plays made on offense.. but there was something that concerned me.. i saw about 2 or 3 drops sat. morning.. one of which would have been a nice 20 yd + catch in traffic... would have been a "tuff" catch but really it hit him in the bread basket.. i know they are still young but i want to see a lot of consistency out of that possition. i might be nit picking a bit, overreacting.. but if the QBs are starting to get their throws in the right location(somthing not happening last year) i think the receivers should catch everything that hits their hands

Quijote... I'm a season ticket holder... and I hope Big Ced starts (thats what we used to call him)... trust me he and Leavine best out there.

I'm down for a watch party FIU Fan. Is game against Kansas going to be broadcasted?

Thanks FIUBlueandGold,I thought I was losing my mind seeing Leavine play RT. You're also right about Cedric Mack being a beast...i'm excited to see how O-Line will play this year. My only concern on O-Line is Center/QB exchange, lots of fumbling.

Just to follow up on what Pete said, I noticed many HS players showing up to practice. Just tells me staff keeps recruiting hard.

FIUMania, hope FIU coaches save those type of rankings and wipes you-know-what with it after they turn this program around.

You guys noticing i'm ready for football to start?

GO FIU!!!

CJ,

The bookstore can charge that because they have a virtual monopoly on all FIU merchandise! I have an online store (www.miamisportshop.com) that sells merchandise for all Miami sports (Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Hurricanes (I know, sorry) and Panthers). I've been trying to find distributors to sell FIU merchandise but it is IMPOSSIBLE! FIU has cornered that market and won't be letting go until FIU becomes a whole lot more popular.

If anyone knows who their distributor is, I'd be happy to know! That way I can give you guys a better deal on their merchandise.

TN i get ya.. i just think they are not doing themselves justice when it comes product location and product movement. im no business major or anything but if you have an item that is not moving or your competitors are selling a comparable item for 2/3's less a smart business plan would be 1 to lower your price at a level that will help the product move. 2) change the location. (its all the way in the back corner ... no foot traffic. thats just me thinking.

Pete: Has the NFL visited FIU practices lately?
I read 4 NFL teams were at FAU campus last friday.

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/aug/09/state-colleges-fau/

GO FIU!

Pete,

I just passed by the stadium and it looks great and VERY unfinished. Considering that the stadium seems to be still completely under construction, I was wondering if FIU was on pace to complete the stadium prior to the inagural home game or should we take hard hats to game one?

I am not trying to be pesemistic about the completion of the stadium but I am simply stating the obvious.

GO FIU and thank in advance.

Gold,

I thought the same until I stepped foot inside. Very little is left that is needed to host the first game.

Now, remember, the Stadium is still going to be under construction for a while. So it wont look like 100 percent finished for A LONG TIME.

But yes, I agree, the outside does need some cleaning up to be presentable. But I am sure its nothing they cant hash out in less than a week.

If CM has such a strong leg why are his kickoffs so short

He may need to learn mechanics of kickoffs and field goals, but I was referring to him having strong leg as punter.

Quijote, I purchased the THIRD season ticket in year one. The first season ticket purchased was by President Maidique, #2 was then VP Paul Gallagher and #3 was I (UFF).

TNGoldenPanther there is a list of AT LEAST 200 licensed vendors approved to sell FIU merchandise. From the biggies (i.e. Addidas, New Era, Under Armour, etc.) to local merchandise companies. It used to be run out of the FIU Alumni Office, it might be run out of Athletics now. Call one of those two departments.

If you speak with Alumni Affairs, inform them that you have an on-line store with competitive pricing, you’re an alumnus and you want to promote FIU merchandise. They MAY include your on-line store site on one of their publications that goes out to all alumni because they too want to promote FIU to everyone.

If you get it done, give us the site because I will definitely buy!!!!

GO FIU!!!

UFF,

Thanks for the info. I know FIU purchases their merchandise straight from the manufacturers (i.e. Addidas, New Era, et al.), but those guys have deals with the school and the big chain stores. Guys like me, with an online store, they hardly ever do business with. Regardless, I'm going to give it a shot and contact, as you suggested, Alumni Affairs. I would love to sell FIU merchandise. I know there might not be much of a market right now but, looking into the future, it sure looks good!

GO FIU!

QUIJOTE,

i've been trying to contact you, Please send me a PM with your e-mail address via a personal message on the FIUGoldenPathers.com blog.

Thanks...gpantera

FIUmania :

I saw a Vikings personnel (scout) guy out there on Saturday afternoon...

The most important thing in field goal kicking is accuracy, the two other kickers one a senior and one a freshman I think are much more accurate.You don't just convert from a punter overnight.Go for the accuracy!

I agree, we need an accurate kicker. Field goal kicking has been a huge issue for FIU ever since our inception except for maybe Adam Moss' junior and senior seasons.

Yeah... I almost had heart attacks every time we were up for an extra point last year... accuracy please... then we'll talk about power.

CM appears to be the stronger punter,I guess one of the other two will handle the field goals. Someone said one is a senior, and one is a freshman.

Glad to hear Mr. Mack is in camp--I think he's a big key to our season. Also, let's hope James Jones get cleared soon--it doesn't hurt to have another guy who can pressure the QB, something we really need. Let's keep the competition going on the D-line.

Also, any updates on Derrick Clark and Aaron Davis? Those are two guys I think have the ability to make an impact in their freshman years. And just curious if the coaches have given Kambriel Willis any looks at LB vs DL. I see him as a tremendous OLB prospect at least in his first few years until he adds more size, similar to Antwan Barnes' progression.

And thanks for the 2 updates on the uni's that you slipped in recently, both of which I really like: the black shoes replacing the white shoes, and the panther eyes on the front of the helmet. If done well, the panther eyes could be a really unique trademark of FIU.

TNGoldenPanther, I will gladly buy from your online store.

Same goes for me TNGoldenPanther.

As much as I would like to go to scrimmage today, unfortunately I won't be able to attend. Any updates from you guys would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

GO FIU!!!

Pete,

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?

Thanks

I've sent an email to Alumni Affairs for assistance with distributors of FIU merchandise. If I get a hold of FIU merchandise, I will make sure to let all of you know.

Thanks everyone.

GO FIU!

I read that bottom 10 list on ESPN, we have been on that list for a lonnngg time.

CJ I visit the book store sometimes as well when I am in town, and you are correct, their prices are inflated. I would think if they wanted to increase awareness of the FIU brand they would make the apparel more affordable.

NYCFIUFan,

That was exactly what I wrote in my email to Alumni Affairs. If they want to increase their brand awareness, make the merchandise affordable for everyone. More people would buy the products and thus increasing the visibility of the school when people wear your merchandise.

When I was in school, I always remembered people wearing UM stuff to FIU. That really bothered me.

I always thought FIU should have a huge promotion, where students could bring their UM stuff, caps, hats, shirts and turned it in for FIU stuff.

So if you brought a UM cap, they would burn it and give you an FIU cap. Same with shirts, shorts, what have you.

I guess that might be a little too brass...but it would be fun. Maybe one of the frats should look into that.

I went for an hour today before heading into work, JETS, LIONS and CHARGERs scouts were on hand. ***Reams had a long run for a score right in front of all 3 scouts.

Team was a little sloppry again with snaps, but no worries (2nd team issues) Brad Serini is solid. I could not find #77 Mack today and looks like Ula #51 is getting looks at LT...Frosh, Stephen Bailey listed at 6'6" and 265lbs, looks bigger more like 285 ? He looked good in my opinion.

lol FIU fan i think that would bee a good fun idea... but really i would really just take the garbage i dont wear anymore lol i was at the scrimmage today. good times when a friend of a couple of police walked in in a UM shirt... they threatened to escort him off the feild (all joking) but you can see the reaction lol. practice was a back and forth battle b/w defense and offense but i wont spoil it till pete does his write up

blue and gold i didnt see the lions' scout out there.. i only saw jets and chargers coach. where were you didnt even see ya lol

The Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals have done promotions like that before. Basically, you take some type of apparel of another team and they give you a brand new Marlins cap. It wouldn't be a bad idea for FIU to run something similar.

Thanks FIUBlueandGold and CJ. Serini is solid, I think backup center may be Kenneth White.

That would be great if students started dumping their UM gear for FIU's. Are the new jerseys available yet? I just want to see opening game filled with blue and gold in the stands.

GO FIU!!!

Is there pratice or another scrimmage this coming Saturday, I would like to go and watch?

No more practices or scrimmages open to the public. Today was the last day.

clm88 i think today was the last day they were goin to hold it open to the public.. not sure if they will open another one

Thanks for the comments..and reports..hope to get some more info from Pete as well. Pete, I see in today's article that James Jones was cleared to play, and his "acclimatation" period (or something like that) is over now....

Besides Reams exploits (thanks 'Blue and Gold) who else excelled? Question...how is Jonas Murrell looking. I know he didn't play for one year, but I always thought he could have been an outstanding player and run-stopper. He had several games were he was almost unstoppable, in my opinion...(as a freshman and sophomore).

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