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Wide Bodies and Wide Receivers

Wrapping up our pre-camp look at your Golden Panthers with less than 8 hours before fall practice opens.

Time to check out the heart of the offense: the offensive line.

A more experienced offensive front will be charged with protecting FIU quarterbacks and opening holes Serini for the backs. Anchoring the line will be sophomore center Brad Serini (right) -- a Rimington Trophy Candidate.

Going into camp, the rest of the starting line stacks up as LT Andy Leavine (Jr.), LG Dustin Gibson (Sr.), RG Joe Alajajian (Jr.) and RT Mario Caraballo (Jr.).

Of course, we can't forget about newcomers Cedric Mack, Ula Matavao, Kenneth White and Stephen Bailey. The word is Alajajian, Caraballo and Bailey have had strong off-seasons and could make some noise in camp.

While the line is still relatively young -- Gibson is the only senior -- the Golden Panthers should have a better season run and pass blocking. How much these linemen have improved will be a good indicator on what type of season FIU will have. As we all know any good offense starts up front with the line, if Brady you don't believe that, ask Tom Brady (left) about the last Super Bowl when the New York Giants mauled him.

If you're a regular reader of the GPP, then you know the opinion here is the secondary is the strength of the FIU defense this season. Well, over on offense, the thought is the receivers are FIU's best offensive asset.

Of course, we need to figure out who gets these guys the ball, but once the receivers do have the ball look for a big season out of Marquis Rolle, Greg Ellingson (right), Jeremy Dickens and freshmen T.Y. Hilton and Junior Mertile.

Rolle showed with his hands and body in the spring that he can be that No. 1 receiver. Ellingson has Ellingson velcro and Dickens can be a big play receiver like his long TD catch to open the Blue/Gold Game showed.

Hilton is a pure athlete and will play guard for FIU hoops when football season is over. Mertile might be one of the fastest guys on the team.

Where you could see some special production this season for FIU is at the H-back position. At 6-4, Travis Felder showed what he could do in the spring. John Ellis (left), when he's not lining up at fullback, is Ellis also a dependable receiver at H-back. Ellis had a few long receptions in the spring.

Eric Kirchenberg and Moses Hinton man the tight end spot and both can play. I'll never forget Hinton's first catch ever at FIU. Against Middle Tennessee in his sophomore season, Hinton caught a short 5-yard pass from former FIU QB Josh Padrick and proceeded to drag 3 Blue Raiders on his back for another 10 yards to get 15 yards for a first down. Heard freshman tight end Joey Harris, fully recovered from a knee injury, could also make an impact.

Fasten your chin strap, because we'll find out about all these guys and the rest of the 2008 Golden Panthers real soon.


FIUJM: Will you give us updates on practices during the week?

GPP: Yes, I will. There will be a daily report in the Miami Herald, but unfortunately -- like it is for UF, FSU and UM -- that daily report will only be about a few paragraphs long. So I'll try and get more comprehensive info on the GPP throughout fall practice and into the regular season.

FIUBlueandGold: What's the word on Moses Hinton, Is he going to be eligible for another year? and I'm curious, who are the fastest Golden Panthers, top 3 on the team right now.

GPP: Hinton was granted his senior year of eligibility by the Sun Belt Conference, but they may make him sit out one game. It's not clear yet, whether it's the Kansas game or the first Sun Belt game this season at North Texas.Speedy_2

When they tested speed this summer at FIU: freshmen receivers T.Y. Hilton, Junior Mertile, James Watkins  and tight end Travis Felder were the four fastest Golden Panthers. QB Wayne Younger, RB Daunte Owens and S Alonzo Phillips were right behind that group of four.

NYCFIUFan: How does our O-Line look this year? Do you see the "substantial improvement"

GPP: We'll find out quickly how much the o-line has improved when the FIU offensive front takes on Kansas. While that won't be the most accurate barometer, since KU is a bigger team, I think the FIU O-line will be better this season with one year together under their belts and an off-season in the weight room. The line was made up of freshmen and sophomores last season, so one year wiser and stronger should help. Not sure about substantial improvement since we are still talking about a young team overall, but if an FIU back gains 1,000 yards rushing and an FIU QB throws for 3,000 then I guess we have substantial improvement, because the O-line will be a huge part of those accomplishments.

Gold: I just saw on Scout.com that JC, 4 star, WR Edgard Theliar from Kansas gave his verbal to FIU. Can you get some news on that.Et

GPP: That is correct and great news for FIU, but like I've always said let's see E.T. phone home and put his John Hancock on the dotted line for FIU in February 2009.


RDSM6: Welcome to the GPP.

We haven't had new areas of the world join the GPP of late, until Saturday night when someone in San Pedro Sula, Honduras logged on and voted in our latest poll that Paul McCall is the most essential FIU "back" this season.

Gracias por su voto, Honduras y por leer el Golden Panthers Prowl.

Break out the GPP readership scorecard: The 31 STATES the GPP is read in: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

Hon_2 10 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

The previous poll is still open and what do you know, 74.4 percent of you think Paul McCall is the most essential FIU "back" to the success of the offense this season. . . Read on for our latest poll question.


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Hey pete, it finally hit me today that FIU football starts up again in a few weeks. i just looked up some tickets for the USF game and i cant find any. i suspect they arent up for sale yet, but im kind of worried. I want good seats. Im willing to pay NFL ticket prices if I have to, but i checked on a few sites and I cant find any. Pete im scared I wont get tickets!!! Do you have any info whatsoever on when tickets will go on sale to the general public? or do you know any reputable scalpers???? Thanks

You can't buy the USF tickets separately, you have to buy the entire season tickets package to get them. It's $99 and you can buy them on www.fiusports.com

Tickets for all other games can be bought separately.

regarding the new 4* WR; I agree with Pete that until any recruit signs on the dotted line, its not official. However, it sure is encouraging that a 4* WR is strongly considering FIU. I guess these recruits can see an upside to playing for FIU and I wonder if the stadium had anything to do with verbal?

Anyways, thanks for the update Pete.

the 4 * recruit is really good news. and pete thanks for the updates.. really glad to hear all the imporvement FIU is making and will be making.

Its critical that we see improvement in our offensive line this year. I think its safe to assume that the QB job is Paul McCall's to lose. While Paul has a much more accurate arm than Wayne Younger, he isn't as mobile and will need the extra protection since he doesn't have Wayne's scrambling abilities. I was surprised to see Mario still without a clear front man for QB, perhaps this is of concern to him. Maybe he knows our OL is still not where it needs to be and that Paul would suffer??

BTW GPP nation, I was up in West Palm yesterday at Rapids with the honey and there was like this crew of FAU girls and they looked amazing, reminded me of the cowgirls Pete. There was about five of them though, and they were all in bright blue bikinis and had the owl logo on the tops. If FIU beach becomes a reality, we'll need to get our cheerleaders some FIU bikinis of their own!!!

They were really hot. Sorry, don't have any pictures to share lol.

"but if an FIU back gains 1,000 yards rushing and an FIU QB throws for 3,000 then I guess we have substantial improvement"

Substantial a huge understatement. Has FIU ever had a QB throw for 3,000 yards or even close to 3,000? A QB in college throwing for 3,000 yards is not an easy accomplishment and its seems nearly impossible to envision any of the FIU QBs accomplishing such a feat this year.

I think if the line is able to protect the QBs and help the running game improve its ypc then that would constitute a substantial improvement.

Did anybody make it out there at 7am to see the practice?

I didn't get a chance to pass by...almost late to work!

Pete, how did they look? Who was impressive? Any drills?

josh paddrick did it didnt he?

Great info! Also agree that, while this commitment is non-bindind and since kids change their minds continously, nothing to rely entirely on, the fact that players with that much notoriety and stars are committing to us...and this early!!! could give other highly ranked kids the extra motivation to join us....don't you think?

Also looking for some type of "report" from any blogger here in terms of today's practice. Thanks in advance!

Does anybody know any good FIU sports forums?

Seems there is a very large lack of a strong FIU sports forum.

I think I'll start one.


good forum.... lots of updates!

hey i just heard that Carlos Arroyo is following the wave of playing in Europe... goin to play for the isrealites or something along the lines

Pete, great stuff like always!!!It's nice to see that even Armando Salguero wrote article on FIU.

I'm very excited about O-Line, Serini and Leavine's experience well definitely payoff this year. Also, adding Cedrick Mack was huge also.

For anyone interested in today's practice, this is only information I've read. Wish that I can make it during the week but I'll have to wait till Saturday.



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