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16 posts from September 2008

September 30, 2008

West Scoreboard Going Up; Galindo Goes Down

West There was a crane sitting outside the west side of FIU Stadium on Tuesday afternoon ready to install the new scoreboard on the west side of the stadium. But heavy rains that began after FIU's practice postponed the installation until later this week.

The new board should be ready to go for the Golden Panthers next home game on Oct. 11 vs. Middle Tennessee.

FIU hoops was hit with some significant injuries Tuesday when leading scorer Alex Galindo (below, right) dislocated his ankle during individual workouts and will be lost for 8 to 10 weeks minimum. Coach Sergio Rouco said he would know a more exact timetable on how long Galindo would be out in about 1 month.

Backup center Badara N'diaye has a knee injury that could cost him a minimum of 4 weeks to possibly 6 Ag months. He will have his knee scoped later this week.

Add these injuries to incoming forward J.C. Otero's knee injury and it's been a rough preseason for the Golden Panthers. Otero has started light jogging.

SR is hopeful to have both AG and JCO back when Sun Belt play begins. Bada might be out for the season.

SR said right now a projected starting 5 could be: C-Russell Hicks, F-Nikola Gacesa and then 3 guards: Josue Soto, Tremayne Russell and newcomer Michael Dominguez (not the linebacker).


In an effort to get to your questions quicker and to have less clutter on each new post, we'll be moving the Golden Panther Pawse to the comments section of each new blog post after this current post. So if you ask a question on posts from now on, the answer will be inside in the comments section and you won't have to wait until the next post. Almost like a daily live blog.

Max: Pete, any news on a watch party for Saturday's game?

GPP: Sent an e-mail to FIU to find out for you. Will post on here when I have more info.

mra: Pete, think our running game is where it should be?

GPP: Not yet, but that could be attributed in part to playing bigger defenses in Kansas, Iowa and South Jr Florida. Julian Reams (right) and A'mod Ned combined for 126 yards and 4 TDs against a more evenly-matched opponent in Toledo. To measure any part of the Golden Panthers you have to see how they do against Sun Belt teams, because that's the level FIU is at right now. Next year could be a true test for the running game, because JR and AN are seniors this year. There will be 2 new feature backs next season.

Quijote: Pete, I'd love to hear more about TY and how Mario found this guy. You normally find a player of his calliber on top 25 teams...so yeah curious to know how we found him and what his back is all about. What is "scoring" defense exactly, I mean isn't the point of a defense to avoid scores?

GPP: T.Y. Hilton (below, left) was being recruited by UF, West Virginia and FIU. UF thought he was too small so they gave up on him. It came down to WVU and FIU on signing day. One thing that we have seen with MC and his coaches recruiting tactics is that they go after the top tier guys. Many times they may not get those guys, in part, because FIU is not a Top 25 team, but at least MC and co. are not afraid to recruit the best. However, every so often you can get some of those type of players to FIU. It's like asking the pretty girl to the dance: if Ty you don't ask, you don't have a chance.

A little insight on T.Y. during his high school days. For several seasons, he was being recruited to go play at Northwestern High, but he always said no so that he could stay at Miami Springs High, because he wanted to make his mark at MS.

The scoring defense stat is the amount of points per game a team gives up. FIU's scoring D is No. 89 in the nation allowing 28.8 points per game.

outofthecage88: Pete, when was the last time we were favored? Have we ever been?

GPP: Thought it would have been last season against North Texas in the OB, but it wasn't. FIU had lost 23 straight going into the NT game last season. Since joining Division I in 2005, FIU has never been favored until this week.

Puma: It looks like the soccer team is sucking wind this year. what's the deal?

GPP: It's the second year under coach Munga Eketebi give it time. After having a poor regular season last year, the team made a run to the Conference USA title game.

FIUJM: Pete, did you move up on blog ranking last week?

GPP: Report has not come out yet.

SouthPaw: OK, I'll ask the weekly question: is Cedric Mack going to play on Saturday? Cm

GPP: No sight of him at practice, so no. Looking more and more like a redshirt season for CM.

FIU Fanatic: Pete...question for you...I don't see Alphonso Bryant's name anymore in the roster page in FIU's website. Is he still part of the team, but not available for this season?..or is he not part of the team anymore?

GPP: AB is no longer on the team. He has several non-FIU issues to take care of and left the school.

blkpanther: Hey Pete, If you gonna be in Texas, can we have a live blog?

GPP: Normally don't like to live blog since I'm the only one covering the game, but you know what, let's give the live blog a shot against NT. If it's a rough go of it, then we'll scratch it for the Middle Tennessee game.

Gold: Pete, any news on expanding the band?

GPP: Have not heard anything.

September 29, 2008

The First Of Many For T.Y.

Ty_2 Super freshman T.Y. Hilton won the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week Award today after another solid performance last Saturday in the win over Toledo.

T.Y. had 80 yards in returns and his 55-yard kickoff return at the start of the second half sparked the Golden Panthers to the 35-16 romp of the Rockets.

T.Y. also caught a screen pass from Paul McCall and turned it into a 37-yard touchdown on Saturday.

Going to start a new feature with different FIU athletes on the GPP later this week. Let's see what you good people think of it. First up on the new feature is LB Scott Bryant and then later 2-time All-American volleyball player Yarimar Rosa.


So far 82 percent of GPP Nation thinks the W last Saturday means improvement and a 3 to 5-win season for FIU. Some (13 percent) are thinking bigger like Sun Belt champs. Poll is still open so keep voting. We'll start our North Texas talk with a new GPP question at the end of this post.

Some people will do anything to get on the GPP. Got this photo on the right e-mailed to me from FIU director of major Score_2 gifts Jose Sotolongo. Guess, that Toledo scoreboard is a major gift from the Golden Panthers to FIU Nation.

TheFIUfan: The Spanish language broadcast of the game is 100 times better than the English language attempt at a broadcast. Lucky for those of us who are bilingual. How's your Spanish, Pedro Pelegrin?

GPP: Gotten better, although some friends and family say I mangle the language. Yes, FIU's Spanish Castle_3 broadcasts are entertaining and detailed. Play-by-play hombre Jerry Del Castillo (Jerry of the Castle) and Pepe Chamby Campos (Joe Chamberlain Fields)Wilt  do a fine job bringing the Golden Panthers action over the air.

Must also add that new English radio play-by-play man Jeremy Marks-Peltz has also done a good job in his first year calling FIU football. FIU PA guy Roman Garcia brought up an interesting piece of trivia the other day: FIU is probably the only Division I football team with 3 broadcasters with 3 names each. JDC, PCC and JMP.

JM: What do you think it will take for us to move into a conference like the big east? 3-4 consecutive conference titles, Good home attendence? anything else?

GPP: FIU has to first win several Sun Belt titles before thinking conference move. FIU already has the new stadium, but attendance will also be a factor. FIU does have the Miami market working in its favor, which would attract any conference. However, like CJ & FIUFan pointed out, although it is not in the plans right now, don't be surprised that if the Sun Belt improves considerably that maybe the BCS Sbc gets tweaked in the future. Every week we are seeing more and more upsets in college football. Last week we had 4 top 10 teams go down. Granted, No. 3 UGA fell to No. 8 Alabama, but still there seems to be a shakeup in the polls every week. Even here we have a team that had lost 24 of its last 25 games take No. 12 South Florida to a final onside kick.

FIUrulez: Pete, where was your heart on Saturday? Will it be in Texas this Saturday? If you get to go to Denton, can I put mine in a cooler so that you can transport it there for the game?

GPP: This Saturday my heart and the rest of me will be in Denton, Texas covering FIU vs. North Texas. FIU Nation can look forward to Miami Herald staff (yours truly) coverage when the Golden Panthers and the Mean Green play on Saturday night. Thanks to GPP Nation for all their support. Heard there were a lot of e-mails land in important MH in-boxes today. FIUrulez: Is it possible to transport your heart while you're still in Miami?Em

Quijote: Pete, fans...What are the viewing options for the North Texas game? Will a bar be showing it, or will we only be able to buy a stream?

GPP: ESPN regional and if you can't get that on your cable or your local bar won't show it, then you can log on to meangreensports.com (North Texas website) and they will show the game on there for like $10. I'm sure fiusports.com will route that live video feed to their site by the end of the week.

FIUJM: Congrats Pete on being a Godfather!!!

GPP: Thanks, my bro made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

gpantera: Pete, Sorry for being pushy. The excitement over the W had me chompin at the bit to hear from you. Thank you for reminding us you have a life outside the GPP.

GPP: No problem. I was chompin at the bit to write from Toledo, but that didn't happen. Glad there are people who want to hear from me. Thanks for your readership.

Here's something for all GPP Nation to think about as FIU prepares for North Texas....

FIU 35, Toledo 16....So What Do I Know?

Thank you: gpantera and Quijote you guys are correct. I should not quit my day job and go make a living in Las Vegas. And you know what? That's just fine with me.

BTW, Quijote, nice play-by-play blog you conducted on Saturday night. And it was great to see the huge Ty GPP turnout during Saturday's game. I was planning on going live on the GPP Saturday night, but I got called for other MH duty.

Glad I was wrong about the Golden Panthers this past Saturday, because covering a winning team is a lot easier than what you good people in FIU Nation and yours truly have experienced during most of the first 6 years of the program.

Before we get into Saturday's win over Toledo (Do those 8 words sound and look good on the GPP?) Here's a true story of what I was covering on Saturday night:

I was at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami focused on The Miami Classic football game between Howard University and Savannah State, which featured 15 former Dade and Broward prep players. This used to be the Orange Blossom Classic that FIU played FAMU a few years ago, but is now renamed the Miami Classic and is expected to move next year to FIU Stadium, but with 2 different teams.

While at The Miami Classic part of me was thinking of what was going on in Toledo........since I had to write a follow-up story on FIU's win for Monday's paper. You can check it out click here.

I did not listen to the game on the radio, but several co-workers were texting and calling me with Bus_2 FIU/Toledo score updates. And then early Sunday morning I got to speak with MC about the game.

MC said when the Golden Panthers bus pulled up to FIU Arena at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning about 200 FIU fans were waiting for the team and screaming "FIU!, FIU!" and he said the players went nuts on the bus and were all proud of the support shown by the FIU early birds before dawn.

As for the grounding of the Rockets, the FIU D was huge again. The Golden Panthers allowed just 146 yards after the 1st quarter to this high-powered attack that put up 54 points on No. 25 Fresno State last week. Coordinator Phil Galiano's FIU D has been stout the past 2 weeks against 2 explosive offenses.

Jonas Murrell and Marshall McDuffie -- a couple of veterans from the 2005 FIU D that was No. 1 in the Mitchdom_2 nation in tackles for loss and No. 28 in total D -- played really well. As did Robert Mitchell (right), Michael Dominguez (right), Scott Bryant, Anthony Gaitor and Dez Johnson. It was encouraging to see the D not panic when it got down 13-0.

The FIU special teams set the D and O up with some strong hidden yardage. Jonathan Faucher's forced fumble and recovery gave the FIU O great field position. Punter Carlos Munera (below, left) nailed 4 punts inside the Toledo 15 and geez, he's only in his 4th college game and we're already running out of superlatives for freshman T.Y. Hilton. Or as MC said Sunday: "T.Y. is like a video game. He makes everyone look silly."

Munera Good to see the FIU O get it in gear. The O-line has improved considerably since the South Florida game and that in turn helped create holes for Julian Reams and A'mod Ned to rumble for 126 yards and 4 TDs. Also congrats to JR for eclipsing 1,000 career yards at FIU.

Now can all the Paul McCall (below, right) detractors on this blog please just sit back and watch what this QB can do with some time to throw. Like I wrote on the GPP last week, don't give up on PM, because we all saw what he can do in the final 2 games last season.

No, PM did not put up Marino-like numbers or Brady-like, in PM's case since that's his favorite QB, but Pm he did show some grit. He stood in the pocket, knowing a blitz was coming right at him and completed a pass to TE Eric Kirchenberg for 22 yards and got knocked pretty good. The hit took PM out for 1 play and Wayne Younger entered, but it was PM's show the rest of the way.

While Saturday's W was what the doctor ordered for FIU, there are still some things the Golden Panthers need to work on as they prepare for North Texas: 1) FIU is still too inexperienced to be getting off to slow starts and trying to recover each week. 2) While the O showed much improvement, they still have to prove they can drive the ball the length of the field. Would like to see FIU put together some 70 or 80-yard drives. 3) Still haven't seen the deep ball from the O. Maybe the Golden Panthers are just saving it for later? 4) Can't be overconfident going into North Texas. Forget about last year. I had written last Friday that overconfidence could have set in going into Toledo, but the FIU coaching staff addressed that last week just fine.


Suddenly, not only has the FIU season gotten more interesting. So has our WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard (FIU/North Texas scores must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday):

4-0 (pts. differential)

FIUChris (75); Baltimorepanther (86), CJ (86); Ultimate FIU Fan (99).


Clawing Cancer (69); FIUVoice (77); FIUJM (80); FIU Love (82); outofthecage88 (83); inspubadj (85); Puma (86); FIU0406 (87), Fomenter (87), ridgepanther (87); FIUBlue82 (88), Gold (88); NYCFIUFan (92); The OC Panther (94), U24/7 (94); FIUPantherFan (95), TheChampionUnderdog (95); fiufan751 (97), FIU Fanatic (97); FIUrulez (99); Quijote (101); esteban688 (102); alt7787 (105); FIUBlueandGold (106); Gazi (107), TNGoldenPanther (107); MIA/NY Josh (119); CrazyCane (121).


Max (99); gpantera (111); FIUfantastic (127).


SouthPaw (137)

GPP: 3-1, 106

Miri: Pete, do you have the picture of the stadium in a bigger size? Thanks. :)Fiustad

GPP: You can click on the FIU Stadium photo in the last blog or here on the right to get a bigger size. If you want to mess around with it go to fiusports.com and click on the FIU Stadium link and that might provide a larger aerial photo of FIU Stadium.

The OC Panther: YO Pete! get the headline on the game story fixed.

GPP: Fixed.

Puma: Case in point Pete. While not exactly a signature victory (Toledo is ranked near the bottom of DI schools), look at what we get for coverage. A special to the Herald article by I assume the local Toledo correspondent. The guy gets it wrong by saying it’s our first victory against an FBS team. We can’t even get a Herald journalist to write the story? Why read the Herald’s wire stories when we can get that somewhere else on the web? If you’re going to remain relevant you need to focus on the LOCAL content

GPP: Puma, you are preaching to the choir. Your question/comment is exactly the situation I encounter on a daily basis. You and the rest of FIU Nation can try to make a difference by writing in to sports editor Jorge Rojas at jrojas@miamiherald.com and let him and the rest of the MH know how much Air interest and support there is for the Golden Panthers in South Florida -- not sure the MH understands that. Just the GPP alone got a ton of hits during and after Saturday's game. Let's see where the blog numbers have us on Monday. As soon as FIU won against Toledo, my campaign began to fly out to Denton, Texas to cover next week's game. Let's see what they tell me this week.

caFIUne & SouthPaw: Pete, I saw the participation report for the game on fiusports.com and it said Daunte Owens started at receiver. Is that true?

GPP: No, Owens did not start at receiver. Was told Greg Ellingson, T.Y. Hilton and Junior Mertile started.

Earth gpantera: Earth to Pete Pelegrin. Come in Pete, over. Since last we communicated, FIU won a football game. Do you have any thoughts or insights to share?

GPP: gpantera, roger that, good buddy. This is Pete Pelegrin to Earth. Hear you loud and clear. My bro and his wife had a baby boy today. Became an uncle and  a godfather. Sorry I'm late to the GPP party, but better late than never. While I may not Gfath_2 post something at an instant on the GPP on days off, I'm always around.

SouthPaw: I've been surprised to see Johnathan Nieves (below, left) seeing action in so many of our first four games. Can you tell us more about this freshman? Suprised that he's seeing the field ahead of more heralded guys like Curtis Bryant, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, and Donnell Wilson.

GPP: JN is a walk-on freshman from Braddock High in West Miami, who had a Jn_2 really good camp and earned playing time. Like MC has said many times before, this FIU coaching staff is not afraid to play young players that practice well and earn time. JN has a 1/2 sack on the season and blocked a FG attempt at Iowa. CB is still nursing a broken hand. KS saw action against Kansas and AP and DW have still not seen the field and could be redshirted to get bigger.

The GPP Worldwide Readership picked up another reader in the Caribbean. In our last poll question, a reader from Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda said Wayne Younger should be starting at QB for FIU. Thirty-nine percent of you disagreed and said Paul McCall and 30 percent of you said play them both.Andb_2  

Break out the GPP scorecard: The GPP is read in 33 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

14 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

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

So what does the 1st win of the season mean for FIU?

September 26, 2008

Holy Toledo!

The expression that is the title of this post can have two very different meanings for your FIU Golden Panthers on Saturday night around 10:30 p.m. -- that would be eastern time and not GPP time.

Bat_2 First of all, let's not even relate "Holy Toledo!" to Batman, because Robin does not belong in anything Batman-related. But I digress, so let's get back to FIU. The Golden Panthers could be celebrating with a "Holy Toledo!" after their road win or they could muttering to themselves "Holy Toledo!" if the Rockets go off and score 54 like they did last week against No. 25 Fresno State.

The Golden Panthers will need to score and score often against the Rockets on Saturday to win their first road game since 2005 (La-Monroe), because Toledo scores in bunches -- 37 points per game to be exact.

It is too much to ask of the FIU D to keep the Golden Panthers in games each week with their steady, rugged play. FIU's D can derail high-scoring Toledo, but it will need help from the Golden Panthers with the ball.

Whether it's run or pass, FIU has to move the chains, get first downs and punch it in the end zone quite Mckay often tommorrow. The Golden Panthers can do this. It's all about execution -- and not the execution former Tampa Bay Bucs coach John McKay once famously said about his team when asked about his team's execution, McKay quipped: "I'm all in favor of it".

On offense, FIU's OL needs to open the holes for the RBs, the RBs need to hit those holes, OL must give the QBs time to throw, QBs must hit the open WRs and the WRs, if need be, borrow Lester Hayes's stick-um and hold on to the passes. It sounds like such a simple game, eh?

One thing FIU's D MUST and I repeat MUST, keep an eye out for is trick plays. The favorite holiday around Toledo is Halloween, because the Rockets are all about tricks in order to get some touchdown Hallo treats. You good people all saw how it worked for the Dolphins last week against the cheating Belichecks. The same can happen to FIU if it is not on guard for the Toledo trickery.

In our last GPP poll, more than 50 percent of GPP Nation thinks FIU's 1st W comes tommorrow. Sorry GPP Nation, but I'm not among those 53 percent. Just can't see FIU's O hanging with Toledo's O.

GPP thinks: Toledo 34, FIU 12



The latest example of how GPP Nation can make a difference. Thanks to FIUer noticing that the GPP does not come up on FIU google or yahoo searches, we have added "FIU" to the title of our blog. If you go to the blog page on the Miami Herald website or to the sports section of the MH website, you'll notice we are now called "FIU Golden Panthers Prowl". But for brevity's sake we'll still go as the GPP on our posts. Sort of like how FIU is FIU.

2006PA: Got a question... The rendered image of the stadium after phase I completion has the metal columns under the bleachers painted blue and a huge FIU logo on the front of the stadium. I know its a rendering and isn't going to be 100% exact, but are they going to "beautify" the stadium further during this season?

GPP: For this season and possibly until the north side is complete, the beautification of FIU Stadium will likely consist of huge banners like those currently adorning the south side of the stadium. Where youFiustadiumaerial  are going to see the real beauty of FIU Stadium will be when the Student Support Complex/Welcome Center is done in 2010/2011, because that will be the main entrance to the stadium. For now here is an aerial beauty of a photo of FIU Stadium, taken on last Saturday's game day, courtesy of fiusports.com. Click on the photo to get a nice big pic of the stadium.

Max: Pete, just to let you know, FIU's PantherPass has this game scheduled to air live on Saturday. You could sign up for FIU's service instead of Toledo's.

GPP: Actually, the service is still Toledo's and they get all the $$ from sign-ups. FIU is routing the service through fiusports.com. But you can sign up at FIU's site and give them the web hits.

Puma: Hey Pete, I know you keep teasing us that we'll get coverage for a week once we get a big win. I want that win as much as the next guy but shouldn't FIU coverage be based on demand?

GPP: Puma, I am in complete agreement with you, especially with more than 140,000 FIU alumni in SFLA and that's the big number I bring up at the MH when asking for more FIU space or the front page in the paper. However, the stock response I usually receive is when FIU wins more then they'll get more coverage.

Ca SouthPaw: Pete, do you have any new updates on how Colt Anderson is doing in practice compared to Paul and Wayne? Seemed like he was right on their heels and how his name is never mentioned. Are the coaches planning on giving him a redshirt?

GPP: SouthPaw, I asked MC about CA the other day and MC said CA has not caught PM or WY yet. In practice, CA shows some flashes, making some great throws and showing some mobility, but then there are some days when he still looks like a QB that has thrown just 15 passes in college. CA has all the potential to be the No. 1 guy on this team and because of that don't be surprised if he is redshirted this season.

NYCFIUFan: What time is kickoff for the FIU-Toledo game? Can anyone tell me?

GPP: 7 p.m. for kickoff and 6:59 GPP Time for scores.

**When it comes to who will finally settle in as FIU's starting QB that will be decided on the field by the performances, but if you were MC for a day what do you think?

September 25, 2008

Paul Younger Has Left The Stage

Pm Just when you thought Paul Younger would be headlining the FIU offense this Saturday against Toledo, MC said after today's practice that Paul McCall will start against the Rockets and that Wayne Younger would see action in the first half. Here is MC's direct quote after Thursday's practice:

"Paul will start the game and Wayne will play quickly in the first half," MC said. "Wayne played better in the [South Florida] game and he had a chance to really make a statement in practice and he did ok -- just ok. Paul really practiced well these last couple of days and now he's got to show it in the game. I'm looking for one of those guys to make it real clear and real easy, but until they do it's not fair to the team to go with one when the other one is right there.''

Will have more on the FIU/Toledo game on the Friday blog with the GPP's preview and predicted score.

Remember, your last chance to get your score in for this game in the WIN A GPP BLOG contest is at 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday. And Quijote, if a contestant does not select one game, then he or she is eliminated from the contest. The 3 simple rules outlined on a cocktail napkin at the beginning of the season are: 1) Make a prediction each week on the FIU game (name a winning team and score) 2) The deadline for each game's predictions is anytime before kickoff. We are going by the time on the GPP, so DO NOT think if it's 6:59 p.m. on a Saturday on your clock, it's also 6:59 on the GPP clock, because you'll be late and you're out. 3) Standings tiebreakers at the end of the season will be the total point differential of your scores.

Baseball's magical month is 4 days away when the MLB playoffs begin. FIU baseball is hoping to unleash Turtle some magic next season with its incoming class that TT released today. Here is the link for the FIU baseball class on fiusports.com.

The FIU baseball alumni game is Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at University Park Stadium and the 2009 Golden Panthers first exhibition baseball game is Oct. 22  at 6 p.m. against Team Ontario. Planning a live baseball blog from that game.

Will answer your questions on the Golden Panther Pawse in Friday's blog.

September 24, 2008

On The Mend, On The Fence & On Video

Some good news out of practice today, left tackle Andy Leavine was jogging around the field at FIU Leavine Stadium during Wednesday's practice and could be ready sooner than expected.

Originally, Leavine, who had a small fracture in his left foot, was expected back either for Troy on Oct. 18 or after that. After Wednesday's practice, MC said "there's a great chance he would be ready for next week" meaning FIU's Sun Belt opener at North Texas.

As you may have read in my Tuesday practice report in the MH -- help me out here Clawing Cancer, because you spotted this -- which was the website that wrote in their preseason FIU preview that the Golden Panthers starting QB would be Paul Younger?? Py_2 Turns out they could be right for this Saturday's upcoming game at Toledo.

MC said he would take the week to decide on whether Paul Younger or Wayne McCall would start on Saturday. In his weekly press conference on Wednesday morning, MC said about the QB situation:

"As of right now both quarterbacks will play and I think Wayne has closed the gap even more in the past week or so. I think it’s hard sometimes to judge everything on the first three games because Paul McCall hasn’t played football since high school. These are the first three games he’s played in the past three years and you can’t deny the fact that Wayne is doing some things really well. He provides that danger aspect with his feet as well so we want to get both in the game and make sure we do the best job that we can to play to their strength."


Speaking of Wednesday's press conference, after it was done the FIU athletic department surprised MC with a cake for his 38th birthday on Wednesday. The Golden Dazzlers brought the cake into the room as Cake Newdazz2_2 the Channel 7 cameras were rolling. You can check out the video at fiusports.com. MC is the 3rd youngest head coach in the NCAA behind Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (33) and Western Kentucky's David Elson (37).


There's no TV, but there is live video available for Saturday's FIU/Toledo game. Go to the official Toledo athletics website: Rocket Vision and click on the Rockets Vision icon on the right and you can sign up to see Saturday's game for $10, but you'll need to cancel your account after the game, if not Toledo will keep billing you monthly for stuff you don't want to see, unless you're a big Rockets fan.




I'll have the GPP's FIU/Toledo preview on here on Friday and remember the deadline for scores for Saturday's game for the WIN A GPP BLOG contest is before 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.


Spoke to some of the right people for stadium issues at FIU today and here are some updates for the next game:


1) gpantera: The Panther video that was played on the jumbotron is being checked on to see if it can be downloaded.

2) Been told the stadium's sound system has been addressed and is fixed for the next home game. Also, the stadium folks now know that when FIU has the ball -- no music -- make the place a library. Let the rest of the O hear PM and WY's snap counts.Fiuqbs_2


pikedanny: Why would FIU agree to remove the "Panthers" from the endzones for Miami FC?


GPP: Nothing has been agreed. That is just my guess since the soccer probably would like to have a completely green field. The FIU logo at mid-field would stay, because that would be too much of a hassle to remove and paint again.


SouthPaw: Pete, I thought the standard uniform at home was blue jersey with white pants? Do I need to trot out our miserable record wearing blue pants again? Blue pants bring bad karma and bad luck. I thought I saw #77 Javon Hill on the sidelines on Saturday. What's the story with him? And is Ash Parker eligible for a medical redshirt?


Dbs GPP: Yes, the blue top with white pants is, but FIU wanted to wear the blue on blue last Saturday. As the home team, FIU is allowed to choose what combination to wear. Blue pants don't bring bad luck, lack of execution on the field and mistakes on the field bring bad luck. Hill is academically ineligible this season. Parker can apply for a medical redshirt.


Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete will the other screen opposite the present one be up next season? Will it be stats only or video too? Saw Cedric Mack on the sidelines. HE IS HUGE!!! Will he be available against Toledo? Please say yes!


GPP: There's a chance the other scoreboard could be up at some point this season. Last I heard, it will be score and stats only, no video. As far as Mack vs. Toledo, he's not playing and with each passing day it looks more likely that he will redshirt this season.


Gold: I saw last night that 2 more players from South Florida committed to FIU this weekend at the game. A team mate of TY from Miami Lakes and an OL from Hollywood. Pete, what is the deal with these cats? Can we do some sort of highlight, perhaps once a month on FIU recruiting?


GPP: DB Derrick Jones from Miami Springs is 5-9, 180 and has great cover skills from what I've been told. Similar to an Anthony Gaitor. OL Derek Wimberly plays for Hallandale not Hollywood, but you're close enough (about a 5 min. drive). At 6-4, 250-pound, DW, a tackle, will need to get into that state-of-the-art weight room in the new FIU fieldhouse this summer to play his freshman season. Need to be at least 290 for OL. We'll get some recruiting updates on here soon. But remember until these cats sign on the dotted line nothing is official.


Miri: Have you heard anything about new license plates with the new logo?Xmas


GPP: Nothing new yet, but did hear the new FIU on-line store with tons of new FIU logo merchandise will open in late November in time for your Christmas shopping. Was told there will be a large variety of FIU products in the new on-line store.


FIUFloridaPower&Light: FIU Beach? What happened to that?

GPP: Was told the money is not there for FIU Beach right now. But if you know someone who wants to donate some palm trees, a truckload of sand and decorate the place then let me know and I'll get the Beach_2 word to the right people at FIU and we can get it done. I'm with you, FIU Beach is a spectacular idea by Clawing Cancer and there are plenty of telegenic co-eds at FIU for the ESPN cameras.


FIU Love: Pete, will the visitor side section bleachers be re-done as part of the April 2009 phase? it looks weird how that section is not connected to the rest of the stadium to create a perfect O.


GPP: The visitors' side section is part of the north side construction with the student support complex/welcome center, which is scheduled to be done by 2011 with an outside chance of it being finished by 2010. When the lower level of FIU Stadium is done it will be in the shape of an octagon and not an "O". The visitors side is going to look exactly like the south side. Except, there will be 21 suites on the north to give the stadium an even 40 suites when the lower level is done. The FIU Alumni Center will be attached to the east side of the stadium.


FIUer: Pete, why is it when one Googles or searches on Yahoo for FIU blogs, message boards, or anything really except the actual name, the GPP is nowhere to be found?


GPP: Yeah, we need to add "FIU" to the title of Golden Panthers Prowl so that Google can pick it up. Thanks. The MH website is going through a re-design in the next few weeks and was told after the new site is downloaded that we can ask for changes to blogs, etc.


Saturday's game is winnable for FIU, if the Golden Panthers show more offense than 10 to 14 points. So with that thought, let's get your thoughts on:




September 23, 2008

A Little More O Would = Big W

Wow, go out of town for my day off on Sunday and return to an extraordinary lively GPP. Which can also College Crowd_2 describe the great college football game day atmosphere at the inaugural game at the new FIU Stadium on Saturday where your Golden Panthers would have shocked the college football world and owned the MH front page this week with a little more offense.

The FIU D played their hearts out and probably the best I've seen it since 2005 or when they closed out college football at the Orange Bowl in fine fashion last season in a win vs. North Texas. There were even shades of the 2005 FIU D which the led the nation in tackles for loss and finished 28th overall.

I don't buy the theory that USF was still thinking Kansas. The FIU D deserves a ton of credit for Saturday's performance. The Golden Panthers went up against a USF offense that averages 494 yards and 42 points per game. FIU D held USF to 321 yards and 17 points.

Your next two FIU guys to get a shot in the NFL will be Jeremiah Weatherspoon (6 below left) and Robert Mitchell. Those two were spectacular on Saturday. JW cleaning USF RB Mike Ford's clock on 1 of FIU's 3 goal line Clock stands against the No. 12 team in the land. JW also led FIU in tackles.

Saw the replay of Saturday's game on ESPNU and in the blocked FG, RM sped past the USF line and stretched out like Superman to block the kick. RM also blasted through on his sack of Matt Grothe and had several other solid tackles.

The rest of the FIU secondary deserves some applause too for holding the dangerous MG to only 136 yards passing. Anthony Gaitor showed his speed with a couple of tackles for loss and Marshall McDuffie (22 left) had some strong stops in his first Jw start.

The FIU D-line was just as good not letting the USF O-line push them around. Jonas Murrell had a huge stop on the final goal line stand of the night and then went and gave MC a 350-pound chest bump that the ESPN cameras and announcers ate up.

Jarvis Penerton (below right with the safety), Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman, Armond Willis, James Jones and Juan Nieves all played well too. As did LBs Scott Bryant, Michael Dominguez and Tyler Clawson.

The only thing that I thought the D was not consistent enough in doing was rushing the passer. We still have not Penerton seen that on a regular basis from this FIU D. But with some more time in the weight room, that pass rush will come. As we get deeper into the season, expect to see Jonathan Jackson and Kambriel Willis among others to have that impact.

What is still troubling after 3 games is the lack of offense from the Golden Panthers. Thought for sure with the short FIU drives in the 1st half on Saturday, that the FIU D would wear out in the 2nd half, but thanks for proving me wrong on that one, FIU D and a big tip of the cap to Rod Moore and his off-season conditioning program for that.

It seems like the FIU O are not all on the same page right now. Which got me thinking to last season when FIU went to a new O and it took about 5 or 6 games for FIU to get it together on O. This season is another new O with new OC Bill Legg. Maybe it will take 5 games for FIU to get the O together.

Ty Of the few O hi-lites from Saturday: T.Y. Hilton (left, running away from the USF D)-- enough said.

Also, the banged-up O-line blocked better in the 2nd half and I thought -- with the exception of 1 run where he danced too much and La Pierna let him know it on the sideline -- Julian Reams (below, right jumping with Brad Serini after a TD) did a nice job of running when he got some openings. Greg Ellingson also showed his sure hands.

Wayne Younger did give FIU a spark with his legs when he came in the 4th qtr, but unlike several of youReams  good people, I'm NOT giving up on Paul McCall, because we all saw what he could do last season with some pass protection.

This will be an especially crucial week for the O to get it together, because Toledo hung 54 points on No. 24 Fresno State last week and FIU's D can't be saving the day all the time.


Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post had the day off yesterday, but from what's been going on it sounds like Manny needed the day off. Glad to read most of you good people have put Mannygate under the bridge. MN apologized and let's all move on.

Here is the Win A GPP Blog leaderboard after week 3: (FIU/Toledo scores must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday)

3-0 (pts. differential): FIU LOVE (46), ridgepanther (46); Fomenter (47); FIUBlue82 (48); NYCFIUFan (49); outofthecage88 (50); FIU 0406 (51); FIUVoice (55); fiufan751 (56); Puma (57), TheU24/7 (57); The OC Panther (58); FIUrulez (59), TheChampionUnderdog (59); FIUChris (60); FIU Fanatic (61), Gold (61), inspubadj (61); FIUPantherFan (62); lol62 (64); esteban688 (66), Quijote (66); Gazi (67); alt7787 (69), MIA/NY Josh (69); CJ (70); Baltimorepanther (71); CrazyCane (81); Ultimate FIU Fan (82).

2-1: Clawing Cancer (49); FIUJM (63); TNGoldenPanther (87); FIUBlueandGold (90).

1-2: Max (85); gpantera (95); FIUfantastic (96); SouthPaw (112).

GPP: 3-0, 65.

**If your GPP name and score is not listed, then either you did not post a score for the Iowa or USF game or posted after last Saturday's 4:59 GPP time deadline.

On to the questions....

alt7787: Do you still stand by your Marlins not making the playoffs prediction?

GPP: I know you asked this last Friday before the Phillies took care of the Marlins, but I still stood by the Marlins Fish not making the playoffs. Need more consistent offense and a better bullpen for them to contend any year. Too many Marlins that either strikeout or homer, need some guys that hit above .300 in that lineup.

Clawing Cancer: Pete... did FIU relent at all from their "you gotta buy season tix to get the USF game" line?

GPP: No, they did not, but individual tickets are on sale for the rest of the home games. Yes, I too heard Roman loud and clear on the ESPN broadcast.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: Pete-Can you find out if there was something wrong with the sound system, it was very low. They need to raise the volume. Do you feel like I do that this game was winnable, if not for those personal fouls? Your thoughts on Toledo, what do they bring to the table and how do we compare?

GPP: I'll look into it. One thing about the speakers and music: Message to whoever plays the stadium Shhh music, you CANNOT play it when FIU is on offense. Several of the Golden Panthers offensive players mentioned to me after the game that they had trouble hearing the signals and snap count from PM and WY, because the music was playing. This is FIU Stadium. Give the Golden Panthers some home field advantage on offense. Zip it!

The USF game was very winnable with a little O, forget about the personal fouls with the way the FIU D was playing. Toledo brings a very potent O to the table and if FIU does not score it could be a long night in Ohio. If the Golden Panthers can show some life on O and score some TDs, the Toledo game is a winnable game.

gpantera: PETE, is there any way for us in cyberspace to get a hold of that video, post it on our Facebooks, favortie blogs, etc. and effectively share FIU with the world?

GPP: Will let you know about the status of the FIU video. Thanks, for the shameless plug. Nothing wrong with a little P.R.

FIUJM: Pete, question for you...Alonzo Phillips. He is 3rd fastest player on the team, is he even suiting up for games?

GPP: AP made a great tackle on punt coverage against USF when he flew and tripped up the returner at the 15. He had a pass thrown his way, but dropped it.

Stad SouthPaw: Pete, can you give us an update on the latest constructiion plans for FIU Stadium over the next few years? What is slated for completion next year and for the year after that?

GPP: The fieldhouse/team meeting rooms/6 extra club suites/patio area is expected to be done by next April. The north side is in the process of being designed. Construction on the north should start in 2010 and should be done by 2011. The upper deck will largely depend on how quickly FIU starts winning on a consistent basis. The tentative timetable for the stadium to be done with 45,000 capacity is 2015.

Miri & Quijote: Pete, my friend just said that Miami FC wants to move to the FIU stadium. I saw them at the game, so I was wondering if something was brewing. When do you think the move will happen?

GPP: Miami FC is likely headed to FIU next season, at least that's what the soccer club said last week during their final week playing at Tropical Park. The MH had a couple of soccer articles last week mentioning the move. FIU has been negotiating with them for a while now. If that's the case for the Fc first couple of FIU football home games in 2009 we may see the end zones just plain green and with no PANTHERS lettering, because of soccer.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, just found out that our men's Basketball team will play UCLA during Thanksgiving. I'm already booking my flight to LA to support our men's basketball team!!

GPP: Yes, I believe a few blogs ago I posted the hi-lites of the men's hoops OOC sked this season: at UCLA, at Georgetown and at Washington along with other OOC games such as the final game between FIU and UM. Have a turkey drumstick for me in L.A.

**Almost 70 percent of you said you were looking forward to watching an FIU game at the new FIU Stadium the most in our last poll question. Now chime in on your inaugural game day experience at the new on-campus home of your Golden Panthers:

September 18, 2008

T-Minus 42 Hours

We're down to 42 hours before your new home to FIU football opens its gates. That, 42, is a pretty good number around FIU -- El Monstruo (right) returning an INT against FAMU in the Orange Bowl. Ab_3

Sure wouldn't hurt the Golden Panthers to have an EM-type of performance from their defense on Saturday. But we'll get to that down below on this post.

Here are some updates on the new FIU Stadium: The jumbotron is completely up and running. Each Golden Panther's photo and name was being shown on the board.

The new FIU logo at mid-field and the end zones have been painted and are ready for football. They have installed tarps with FIU logos covering the 4 tunnels leading out to the field, which includes the tunnel where the Golden Panthers will sprint out of.

The FIU tailgating, which will occupy the entire north road of the stadium is supposed to get underway at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday....but if you're a great college football fan, you will arrive at FIU around 11 a.m. or noon.

Gates to the stadium will open to the public at 3 p.m.

Was told that there likely will not be any Panther Walk this season, because the team is using the Tram_2 newly-built visitors clubhouse at the FIU baseball stadium and they'll be shuttling to the stadium on Disney World-like trams. Next season, when the team dresses in the FIU fieldhouse there will definitely be a Panther Walk.

Oh, yeah, they are playing a game on Saturday with No. 12 South Florida helping FIU inaugurate the new stadium.

We outlined several keys to the game in the Monday blog earlier this week and just can't see FIU doing all of them.

Yes, the Golden Panthers are going to be riding an emotional high with a new home and a national TV audience, but once da Bulls get something going it will turn into a football game between a No. 12 team and a team in the 2nd year of building.

Just can't see FIU's O-line stopping George Selvie and the creatures USF has at LB. On the other side, USF QB Matt Grothe can run like a running back and is a cagey passer with some physical receivers. You good people and the expected SRO crowd at The new Cage will help in the early going, but unless FIU plays the game of its life it won't be close at the end. FIU likely won't win this game on Saturday, but getting that new on-campus stadium opened is a huge win for FIU on Saturday and beyond.

GPP thinks: South Florida 52, FIU 10


Like a fine bottle of red wine, the GPP fancies itself as a classy blog. I'm going to have the Panther Claw take a more active role in some comments. You guys want to insult each other go right ahead, waste your energy on a name/someone you only know through cyberspace.Opus

But when the PC goes through the comments if it reads any vulgar, racial or threatening comments they will be deleted. And please don't impersonate other bloggers, I got all your e-mail addresses so I know when the post is a Gppaw fake and it will be clawed out.

We have fans of other college teams (UF, FAU, USF, FSU and UM) visit the GPP quite often. Apparently, FIU is on the minds of many who do not root for the Golden Panthers or maybe it's just that the GPP is a damn good blog. Whatever the reason, everyone is welcome on here as long as they keep it clean.

Although, I do sometimes wonder about all the attention FIU receives from other teams' fans when FIU has not gotten off the athletic ground yet. Anyways, appreciate all the readership from everyone and thanks for making the GPP a Top 10 blog among the 40 blogs at the MH. Could you imagine, when FIU starts winning how this blog is going to soar up the MH rankings since we live in the Bandwagon Capital of the World??

On to your questions....

FIUfantastic: I think it's a great move putting Troy in the game. He hasnt gotten a chance to play in a college game and I am sure he will be pumped up to play his first college game against the number 12 Td_2 team in the nation.

GPP: Troy Dannehower (right) was working at LB with the scout team defense. He may eventually get some PT on D and STs, but right now he's only had 3 practices on D. TD said he could see the move being permanent. FIU is 4 QBs deep and could have Cedric McCloud next season to make it 5. TD did tell me something interesting after his INT for a TD. He said from playing QB all these years, he knew the FIU QB on that play was looking blitz and was going to throw to his hot read and that's how he stepped in front of the RB and picked off the pass for the score. TD has got football savvy.

ridgepanther: pete, with TD at LB who are the QB's now?

GPP: Paul McCall, Wayne Younger, Colt Anderson, Darold Hughes.

FIUBlueandGold: Does Jamie Burke (13, below left) have any eligibilty remaining ?? Guy got like 2 medical red shirts I think. He might have been the best QB recruit we've ever had.

Burke GPP: JB probably would have been the best QB in FIU history, but both his knees were torn throughout his FIU career and the left one he tore twice. He was an accurate passer, had a strong arm and was able to dissect any defense. He's already graduated and I heard he got married.

True story about JB, former coach Don Strock was not going to allow anyone to wear No. 13, because he wanted to honor Dan Marino. The No. 19 (Johnny Unitas) and 39 (Larry Csonka) were also off-limits. But Marino seeing JB's talent told DS to give JB No. 13.

NYCFIUFan: Pete I read from your article that FIU has 6,000 season ticket holders, is that above or below expectations?

GPP: That is way above expectations considering FIU was coming off a 1-11 season. The expectations of where this program is headed and the new stadium are what shot up the season ticket numbers.

Pantera Dorada: Any news on ticket sales at the stadium?

GPP: Last I heard when I was at the stadium today, there will be no individual game day sales for Saturday's game. There will be, however, individual ticket sales for the other 4 home games. BTW, as Ultimate FIU Fan pointed out, great reply by PG on the radio today when a radio host took him to task about tickets for Saturday's game.

FIUJM: Pete, how's it going with naming rights to FIU Stadium?

GPP: FIU is talking to several folks, but has not completed any deals yet. It could be another year before there is "insert corporate USA name" here on FIU Stadium.

sunblazer69: PP, is Raul "Ala de Pollo" Puga the same guy that has been featured on ESPN Deportes as Wings the #1 tailgater in the world ?. He's tailgated during the World Cup, Super Bowls, Boxing events in Vegas and was interviewed last month in Beijing by NBC. Where is his tailgate party? Are we invited?

Puga GPP: That's the Puga that you are talking about. Heard he will be tailgating in the south side parking lot. Just show up to the tailgate, I'm sure he's got plenty of wings for all. Puga is an FIU grad of the school of hospitality and he bought like 10 season tickets to FIU football. I tried his world famous BBQ mojo chicken wings at a food festival in the Grove and they were outstanding.

seiscervezas: Hey Herald writer what is it with this Sotolongo guy selling bricks. Isn't he working for your paper. Kind of silly to promote your own guys.

GPP: Jose Sotolongo works for FIU so the MH is not promoting "our own guys". He used to work for the MH, but left after they got rid of the meat empanadas at the cafeteria. Well, that's one reason. I got nothing to do with the selection of photos in today's FIU Stadium story in the paper, but overall the MH editors did a great job with today's layout of FIU Stadium in the sports section. Speaking of promoting, the GPP will take this time to promote the Golden Dazzlers.Newdazz

outofthecage88: Pete, I was reading the UM blog (yes, sorry, I read all the blogs) and was wondering why Manny Navarro is covering the FIU game this weekend? Are we getting more coverage now from the paper? Is he going to stop covering Miami?

GPP: The MH is coming out in full force for Saturday's game: yours truly will cover the game, Manny and another writer (don't know who yet) will write sidebar stories, there will be a columnist out there too (don't know who) and David Quinones will be shooting video throughout the game of everything -- not just the action on the field -- and doing video interviews for the Herald's website.

I'm sure FIU Nation is looking forward to an FIU win the most on Saturday, but for this poll question's sake let's see what else has got you psyched for Saturday:

September 16, 2008

The Defense Of Troy

Who_2 For a while during Tuesday's practice we almost had another Blue25 moment.

There was a new FIU linebacker wearing White8, but there was no Jerrell Lamb to be found anywhere on the new FIU Stadium field.

Or for that matter anyone listed as White8 on the FIU roster. Then of course, you guessed it, White8 intercepts two passes and returns them both for touchdowns.

Before the first interception, one of the FIU quarterbacks told White8 that he would never come close to his pass. Then sure enough White8 steps in front of an FIU receiver and goes Pick 6 (in Webster's Football Dictionary, Pick 6 is returning an interception for a touchdown).

When White8 sprinted into the end zone, one of the FIU coaches yelled "Way to go, Troy!"

Ah-Ha, White8 is freshman quarterback Troy Dannehower, who has moved to linebacker for the remainder of this Td season. MC said he's not sure yet if the move for TD, who at 6-1, 220 has a linebacker-build, is just for this season and then return to O next season or if he will stay at LB.

Not a bad idea to see what TD can do on the other side of the ball since he was going to redshirt anyway this season at QB.

**After practice Tuesday, MC said Cedric Mack would begin practice with the team on Wednesday. CM likely will not play against South Florida. As for the rest of the O-line, Brad Serini, who had a boot on after the Iowa game, practiced without any issues. As did Mario Caraballo, who missed the first 2 games with a foot problem.

**NEW UPDATE: The FIU Stadium story and layout will now run in THURSDAY's Miami Herald and NOT Friday. Apparently, there is more space available in THURSDAY's paper instead of Friday. New day, same low, low price of 35 cents, plus tax comes out to a total of 38 cents.    

**The Jumbotron will be completely up and tested on Thursday. Right now, the top part of the board, which contains the speakers and the FIU logo, is missing and should go up either Wednesday or Thursday. You can see three-fourths of the board up if you drive by the stadium.

**Spoke to ESPN today and the worldwide leader said they will shoot the game from 4 different angles. Camera There will be 2 cameras above the club suites at each 35-yard line. Another camera from the above the west end zone and a field level camera at the east end zone.


Been told the FIU Golden Dazzlers are invited to the largest, most exciting FIU tailgate party before Saturday's game at the tailgating tent featuring College Football's Tailgater Extraordinaire: Raul "La Ala De Pollo" Puga, an award-winning grill master that has won national Tailgating Awards and has been featured on ESPN Deportes as well as food Newdazz_2 channels. Puga also had a booth at the FIU South Beach Food and Wine Festival.

**Interesting and lively discussion about the FIU quarterbacks on the last post by GPP readers. But right now with the O's struggles, don't think it matters who is under center. If the QBs get some time to throw, the WRs hold on to the ball and the RBs are given room to run, then I think we have a valid question as to which QB gives FIU a better shot at winning. But right now, like someone mentioned on a previous blog, not even Brett Favre nor Dan Marino (like Clawing Cancer pointed out & great movie usher analogy), nor Peyton Manning or John Elway could lift FIU to a win with an out of sync O. One thing I do have to say to those already Qbs_2 calling for the hook on Paul McCall, give the guy a fair shot to see what he does against Sun Belt teams. FIU is not yet in the class of these first 3 opponents.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: Pete, can you find out what time they expect the players to do the ceremonial walk to the stadium? Pete - please tell me you survived this round of job cuts at the Herald.

GPP: When I go to FIU on Wednesday, I'll find out about the Panther Walk and have an answer for you on here. Regarding the MH, I'll know more about the latest cuts on either Wednesday or Thursday.

CJ: Hey what's the word on alphonso bryant. the transfer from USF.. is he playing.. we need some big wr's

GPP: AB is a transfer from UCF and he is a defensive back and that's where FIU has him at. He probably will redshirt this season since he came in late.

FIU Love: Did I give my score for this week?

GPP: No.

Since the theme of last post revolved around your thoughts on the QB position....

September 15, 2008

If It Happens, This Is How

Cannot bring myself to agree with several GPP readers that think their Golden Panthers will take down No. 12 South Florida on Saturday. Just haven't seen much from FIU this season to convince me so.

If say, for example, the 2006 FIU D with El Monstruo (near, right), Keke Bouie (far, right) and the Killer B's were patrolling one side of the ball Kbees for FIU, then I could see an upset of No. 12, even with an FIU offense still trying to Ab find itself. After all, it was only 21-20, USF over FIU in 2006. I'll wait until later in the week to post a predicted score on Saturday's game.

Since most see USF leaving Miami still undefeated after Saturday...why don't we indulge the visions of a few FIU faithful. Those who see the Golden Panthers christening their new on-campus stadium with the biggest W in the history of the program and in college football this season. Which in turn will lead to FIU grabbing the front page of the Miami Herald for 7 consecutive days and dominating all the national highlight shows.

If an upset were to happen Saturday, this is how it would have to go down for FIU:

1) Time: It's What's For Dinner...The FIU offense would have to chew the clock with time-consuming drives that result in TDs and not FGs. You know the kinds of drives we're talking about where FIU goes 75 yards in 8 minutes and punches it in for 6. Keeping the high-powered Bulls offense on the sideline is a must.

Rh_2 2) Rush Hour...FIU will need at least 150 to 180 yards rushing from someone or a few players combined, this will help with the ball control that is needed.

3) Bakery is Closed...As is the case with every game, and especially this one against No. 12, turnovers cannot be baked by the FIU O.

4) There Must Only Be 1 El Monstruo...And his name should always be Antwan Barnes. The FIU O-line besides opening holes for the run, has to contain USF and future NFL DE George Selvie. This is Tampa's monstruo.

5) Can You Hear Me Now?...FIU QBs and WRs need to make connections. There have been several miscommunications on routes in the first two games where QB throws to one spot and WR is at another.

6) Hey, Lester Hayes, Can We Borrow Some Stick-um...WRs need to hold on to the football. There have Hayes been an alarming number of drops in the first two games. The passing game doesn't have to be the second coming of "The Greatest Show on Turf" of the Kurt Warner Rams in the late 90's, early 2000s, but FIU has to be efficient throwing the ball, move the chains.

Now that we've outlined some keys for the FIU O, here's what the Golden Panthers D needs to do to shock the college football world: 1) The Quarterback Must Go Down and He Must Go Down Hard...If you've seen Raiders owner Al Davis in the old NFL Films, then you're familiar with the phrase above. FIU has to be physical with USF QB Matt Grothe, like Kansas was in the first half of the KU/USF game last Friday. MG is not a big guy (generously listed at 6-0 on USF roster) and if FIU can hit him several times, you could have one gunshy QB and by putting pressure on MG it would disrupt the rhythm of the dangerous Bulls O.

2) Make Olivia Newton-John Proud...FIU corners have to be physical with the physical USF receivers -- a couple of whom could be catching balls on Sundays soon.

Dazzlers_2 3) The Only Killer Legs FIU Needs To See Are On The Golden Dazzlers...Grothe can kill a D with his legs, so the Golden Panthers need someone to have an eye on the USF QB, in case he decides to take off. He'll keep a drive going with those pesky 7, 8-yard scrambles.

4) Wrap Yourself A Gift...Any chance of stopping the USF O and giving yourself a chance at a win begins with wrapping-up on tackling. Saw some missed tackles in the first 2 games that helped KU and Iowa continue drives. Giving a team like USF some extra yards after it looks like you've stopped them can be demoralizing.

5) The Special Teams Secret is Hidden...Beware of the hidden yardage. This is for special teams. In a game like this where you're the colossal underdog, you can't be giving away hidden yardage on ST. Such as the opener against KU, when FIU had KU pinned at the 5-yard line after a kickoff, but the Golden Panthers were called for offsides and had to re-kick leaving KU to start the drive at the its 35-yard line.

6) Don't Be Scottie Pippen...If FIU has a FG shot, that FG has to be made. When Pip punting the Golden Panthers can't have shanks off the side of the foot that leave USF with outstanding field position. The Bulls, like MJ's Chicago-version, don't need FIU to be Scottie Pippen to help USF and MJ score.

Yes, I know the list above is long and detailed, but if knocking off a Top 25 team were so easy everybody would be doing it. Good luck, FIU.


UPDATE on FIU Stadium spread in the Miami Herald: The story, photos and layout will now run in FRIDAY's paper and NOT thursday. So cobble 35 or 50 cents for FRIDAY.

**Reminder, the deadline for USF/FIU scores for the 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest is this Saturday, Sept. 20 at 4:59 p.m. GPP time.

alt7787: You should set up a Meet and Greet tent at the game next week. Get the herald to lend you one of their subscription tents so you could have a meet and greet with everyone.

GPP: alt7787, I'll be walking around the stadium before the game and the open-air press box this season is on the SE corner of the stadium so stop by and say hello. They tell me I'm a friendly person.

GreekPanther: Pete, is it true that there will be a sizable amount of undercover cops at the FIU-USF tailgate looking for underage drinkers?

GPP: Not sure Greek, but it is the opener and I'm sure FIU would like everything to go off well, including Beer a W. Tell you what, if FIU wins this game....the first round is on me at whatever watering hole is around campus.

CJ: Pete do you mind checking to see if i posted a score for this game?

GPP: You didn't, but on your last post you did.

FIUBlueandGold: Can anyone provide an update on the situation with our Offensive line ? What's up with the Mack Truck ?

GPP: After last Thursday's open practice, MC said he expects Mack back for USF, but we shall see. Center Brad Serini took off the boot and practiced last Thursday and will play against USF. FIU was off today, so I'll have an update on the OL after Tuesday's practice. Check here and/or the MH FIU page.

**Here's your chance to tell GPP Nation what you think is the key to Saturday's game....

September 12, 2008

Measuring Stick

Great to meet several of our loyal GPP readers last night at the open house of the new FIU Stadium. Thought that the stadium looked great now that they opened the doors and turned on all the lights. Send in your thoughts on the new home of the Golden Panthers and vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.

Coins The Miami Herald is expected to run a spread on FIU Stadium sometime late next week, probably Thursday, with photos, plus a fans' guide to the stadium and a couple of stories, so look between your couch cushions for 35 or 50 cents, depending on where you live and get a copy of Thursday's paper.

I'm expecting to have some future football sked news for you good people soon, but for now we got a matchup of 2 of FIU's opponents this season when Kansas plays South Florida tonight on ESPN2. Could turn out to be a good measuring stick for the Golden Panthers to see where they are when the Jayhawks go against the Bulls. Yes, I know you can't measure what common opponents do against each other, but maybe we get an idea of USF in tonight's game.Ku

KU is not as physical a team as Iowa is and the Jayhawks do not have the speed ofUsf_2 the Bulls. For that matter, the thought here is Iowa is probably more physical than USF as well. With the exception of a couple of drives, FIU hung with KU. Known for being well-prepared, I think KU hangs and maybe even beats USF tonight? However, would not be shocked if Iowa turns out to be the best of FIU's 4 non-conference opponents this season.


alt7787: I know this is kind of an irrelevant question, but do you still think the Marlins can make the playoffs?

GPP: The Marlins are done. The free-swinging home run or strikeout lineup of the Marlins was eventually going to go into a slump and they did all of August. Plus, their bullpen has been so inconsistent all season and no disrespect to Kevin Gregg, but he's more of a 7th or 8th inning reliever than a closer.

FIUfantastic: Hey Pete, on the main FIU page for the herald (before clicking into GPP) can you make the Football schedule appear before the Basketball schedule?

GPP: Will let the MH on-line guy know.

**Let's take a pause on the Pawse here for an e-mail regarding your Golden Panthers that you may enjoy. Late last night I was CC'd this e-mail that a top MH person sent to the editors at the MH:

Hey, guys,

Starting today, FIU should always be the second item on the college football rail. From now on, the Fiuonly order should be UM, FIU, UF and FSU.

Also, FIU should always be refered to as FIU in all references, including onheds from now on.

Thank you for your attention


Back to the Pawse....

Quijote: Is it just me or is the turf a bit squishy? When are the videotrons going up? Will they be up in time for USF?

GPP: The fieldturf is supposed to be squishy, because there are several layers of padding underneath (pebbles, ground up tires, sand, etc.) There is also a new drainage system on the field so that there Jumbo_3 won't be any bubbles like that infamous Halloween game against Jacksonville when the game was played in the middle of a Cat 1 hurricane and Rashod Smith ran for like 200 yards that night. The Jumbotron is expected to be up on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

TheU24/7: What booze are you referring to? As far as I know, alcohol will be banned from the stadium. Have you heard otherwise?

GPP: Like FIUBlueandGold (BTW, FBG, great post) pointed out alcohol will be available in the Stadium Club only, which is for club seats and club suites holders. Of course, there will be BYOB in the tailgating area.

gpantera: Pete, Can we have two blogs? One for the adult Panther fan who come on this blog for solid FIU info and interesting FIU-related conversation and another for the children on this blog who use words like "stupid" and "retarded" to make their points?

GPP: There is only one GPP, but I took out the Panther Claw on several of the comments on the last Pencil_2 blog. It's been a while since the Claw had to come out, so let's try to keep the name calling to the playground. This is a classy blog. There are other on-line sites where people can have pencil fights, argue over whose mother made the better peanut butter and jelly sandwich and shoot spitballs through straws at each other.

September 10, 2008

Coming Soon To A Stadium Near You

One last on-line sneak preview at your new FIU Stadium before you head on out to the crown jewel Cs_2 tommorrow for the open house.

Took a tour yesterday with some Miami Herald people and other media outlets that were there for "media tours" of the stadium. Let's walk on and let's thank FIU multi-media man John Angel for the following pics....

Before we enter the Stadium Club, here is the FIU Brick Plaza where all your bricks have been laid down. In the photo on the left you can see Jose Sotolongo (with glasses and white paper), a former National Spelling Bee Champion, spellchecking all the bricks to make sure yur naime iz Dsc03799 speled riite. For a better view, like we've done in all our tours, you can enlarge all of the following photos, even Sotolongo's if you wish.

Here on the right is what a typical FIU brick looks like.Dsc03826_2

Let's mosey on in to the Stadium Club to see how it has progressed since our last visit.

The following are 4 different photos of the inside of the Stadium Club. It hasn't Dsc03824 Dsc03794 been fully decorated yet, but it will be in 9 days.

Dsc03793_2 Dsc03792_2 Going on up to the club level here are a couple of shots on the right of a club suite with some furniture and a plasma on the wall.Dsc03809 Dsc03817

The visiting locker room has nowhere near the comforts of the FIU fieldhouse and locker room as you can tell by the following photo on the left.

Dsc03804 FIU's opponents will have a just a hook and a shelf per player for their stuff.

Before we head on out and take a look at the painted field turf and the jumbotron poles, here's a photo on the right of the wall of the FIU fieldhouse from below the southwest corner of the stadium -- which is the tunnel through which the Golden Panthers will enter the field from.Dsc03818

On to the field, here are some shots from the club level of the newly-numbered field. The white paint will be brighter come game day and here's another nugget for you: besides the new FIU logo with the Golden Panther at midfield, the end zones will be painted with "Panthers" and Dsc03810 not have the white diagonal stripes Dsc03814 that were originally planned.

And below here on the right is a shot of the poles that will hold the jumbotron video scoreboard. For FIUJM, was told yesterday that the jumbotron will go up next Wednesday, Sept. 17. ESPN will be at FIU Stadium Dsc03811 later this week and early next week surveying the stadium for the best camera angles. ESPN contacted yours truly to talk about how they will televise the FIU/USF game and I'll see if we can get one of the ESPN producers on the GPP next week along with some photos of where the Worldwide Leader will place their cameras and the angles they will use.

Let's jump on down to the field level to give you pics of how close the sidelines and end zones are to the stands now that the field has Dsc03822 been painted. Take a look here on the left and see how close the FIU sideline is in relation to the south stands.

On the right, you can see how close the back of the west end zone is in relation to the asphalt which is about 5 feet from the west stands.Dsc03823

My work is done. Now, you head out to FIU Stadium tommorrow and come on back here and tell FIU Nation what you think of your new home.


fiufan751: I believe it was TT who said "in order to be one of the best, you have to play the best." While I agree with this statement for baseball (and most sports that don't require physical contact), I believe MC's football schedule is going to be his undoing...Your thoughts?

GPP: MC is still playing the Strock/Mello schedule until 2010 when MC/PG take over the scheduling. I agree with you that playing 3 big boys right out of the gate is not good, but those are the cards the new coaching staff was dealt from the old. From what I'm hearing, FIU will still play the big boys in the future, but the games will be spaced out through the season so that they do not have a murderers row gauntlet to start a season like this year. In the last DS/RM sked next season, FIU opens the season at Alabama and then is home to Louisiana-Monroe. The game at USF is mid-to-late Sept. and the Gators game is in late November so at least there is some leeway there in schedule space. In 2010, when MC takes over the sked, the only OOC games set as of now are at Maryland in 2010 and a home-and-home with Akron in 2011 and 2012. FIU still needs to sked Top 25 teams for 2 reasons: $$$$ and those are the games the recruits want to play. With no disrespect to the Sun Belt, kids are not going to come to FIU to play Arkansas State or North Texas.Ab_3

Quijote: We almost sneaked a win last year at USF, so why is everyone making these blowout predictions? They hardly escaped UCF last weekend. I know, UCF is a better team than FIU, but still...Your thoughts?

GPP: The FIU/USF game was in 2006 (21-20, USF) when FIU was coming in to Tampa with the No. 1 defense in college football in tackles for loss led by El Monstruo (photo on the right is vs. USF in 2006). FIU does not have the second coming of EM just yet, but Kambriel Willis and Jonathan Jackson have a shot to become that. Right now, UCF beats FIU so don't be surprised by the blowout predictions going on for USF/FIU, regardless of what UCF did vs. USF last week.

FIUFan: There they go again: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/story/679840.html Another poke in the eye. PP, by now you must sense an agenda over there. Can you please explain it to us?

GPP: I spoke with the MH's on-line editor today and told him that FIU is going by FIU alone and not Florida International. Hopefully, they have already started circulating all the FIU football media guides that were delivered to MH earlier this week. Some folks at the MH are getting the message, others need Dk1_3 help. Sometimes I feel like FIU's Dark Knight over at the MH battling all the wrongs toward FIU. At least, I got help from Commisioner Maidique, I mean, Pres. Maidique, who called to complain about the coverage of the FIU/Iowa game.

UltimateFIUFan: Any word on ticket sales? Season-tickets? USF game sold out yet? Is the Athletic Department looking into possibly having the Joe Rose morning show do the show one morning from the sky-box of the new stadium. Possibly the Friday before USF?

GPP: Been told there are less than 900 tickets left for the USF game. Don't know JR's show schedule, although MC has been on JR's show. MC has also been on Sid Rosenberg's show as well as the Dos Amigos show and with Larry Milian (1 of the 2 amigos) an FIU grad and MC fan, I would have to believe Larry will be doing a show from FIU.

**The GPP rolls on reaching another one of the great states in our nation. Someone in Aberdeen, Mississippi logged on to the GPP and voted that QB Play is his biggest concern so far this season with the Golden Panthers. Kind of ironic, considering Brett Favre is from Mi -- double S -- i -- double S -- i -- double P -- i. So is Faith Hill (right).Fh_2

Get your scorecards out and let's update the GPP Worldwide Readership: The GPP is read in 33 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

13 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

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

Whether you go to FIU Stadium tommorrow or whenever you get there, here's a stadium question:

September 08, 2008

TV, Tents And Time To Forget

Usf_3 Fiuhelmet_3 Espnu The first game at the new FIU Stadium will be seen throughout the nation on ESPNU. The worldwide leader announced today that the FIU/South Florida game and new stadium opener will be televised by ESPNU at 5 p.m. on Sept. 20.

The network asked to move the game time from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. and FIU happily obliged and yours truly thanks ESPN for the deadline-friendly start time. It will be the first-ever nationally-televised FIU home game in the 6-year history of the program.

We're about 70 hours before you can walk in to the new FIU Stadium, with the open house/practice on Thursday. Yours truly and some MH staff are taking a tour of the stadium tommorrow (I haven't been there enough) and we'll try to get some preview photos on here for you good people before you go on your own on Thursday night.

And for those FIU fans wanting new team merchandise, FIU will have a merchandise tent set up on the south side of the stadium by the Stadium Club on Thursday. So hit the ATM.Atmdog_2

Here's an e-mail I got today from FIU regarding Golden Panthers football merchandise and an answer to Miri's question regarding the banners around campus:

Hi Pete,

Wanted to respond to your inquiries:

1. We are in the final stages of our negotiations for our brand new online store that will carry the latest Adidas FIU authentic gear with our new logo, as well as more economical options by other brands. We will also have a merchandise tent at the open practice this thursday and at every home game. It will be located on the south side of the stadium, by the stadium club for thursday.

2. Our marketing department is working diligently in order to phase in our new logo in every aspect of campus life as well as externally. They are aware of the banners and other logos on campus and will continue to update them throughout the season in order to have a united marketing front.

As for Saturday's game, well if you haven't already, it's time to forget about that game. The facts are Iowa is a bigger, stronger, more physical, more experienced team.

Shed Let's not mince words. Iowa took FIU out behind the woodshed and gave the Golden Panthers a good, old-fashioned butt whooping.

The thought here is since Iowa was a bigger, more physical team they gave FIU more trouble than Kansas. KU does not play that smashmouth style that Iowa does. I think Iowa beats Kansas if they play this season in a bowl game.

Did you see Iowa 235-pound RB Shonn Greene (right) carrying FIU defenders on his back on a couple of runs. That man will be carrying the ball on Sundays for somebody in a few years.Sg

The Golden Panthers need to get healthy in a hurry on the o-line, because right now its a turnstile there. FIU expects to get back Mario Caraballo for USF and hopefully by then Cedric Mack will be completely cleared by the NCAA. Andy Leavine (foot) may not be back until Troy, Oct. 18 or ULL, Nov. 1. You can't do much on offense without a line. FYI, MC and O-line coach Greg Laffere did not fly home with the team from Iowa. Both coaches stayed in the Midwest and went recruiting Sunday and Monday for O-linemen.

Forget for a second about these out-of-conference games, FIU is not ready to measure itself against these teams and it could get worse against USF, because not only are the Bulls a physical, big team, but they also have the Florida speed on their roster. That one could be in the 50-60 point range, if the Golden Panthers don't figure out a way to contain USF athletic QB Matt Grothe and his speedy, physical receivers or for that matter, All-American DE George Selvie -- a Tampa monster with speed and size.

To measure FIU this season, you have to see how the Golden Panthers do against the Sun Belt. Remember, MC and co. did not exactly inherit a Top 25 team. An argument could be made that this is really year 2 of the FIU football program. Yes, FIU had some good players before (El Monstruo, Turnbull, CW, Bouie, Bostic, Rashod Smith), but the previous staff did not build depth or recruit enough talent (that's one reason they're no longer at FIU) like Howard has up the Turnpike in Boca Raton to maintain a steady program like the Howards have.


Win A GPP Blog Leaderboard (Week 2)

2-0 (pts. differential): U24/7 (12); ridgepanther (17); FIUBlue82 (18), nycfiufan (18); outofthecage88 (19); fiufan751 (21); FIU 0406 (22); FIUrulez (25), fomenter (25); FIUPantherFan (26), Puma (26); FIULOVE (28); esteban688 (29); Gold (30), lol62 (30), mia/ny josh (30); BaltimorePanther (32), Crazycane (32); TheChampionUnderdog (33); FIUChris (34); FIU Fanatic (36), Gazi (36), TheOCPanther (36); Clawing Cancer (37), inspubadj (37); Quijote (40); alt7787 (43), FIU Voice (43); FIUJM (45); CJ (48); UltimateFIUFan (53).

1-1: panther viscosity (60); TNGoldenPanther (61); Max (67); FIUBlueandGold (69).

0-2: gpantera (76); SouthPaw (78); FIUfantastic (82); E-Man (83).

GPP 2-0 (29).

**If your screen name is not listed above, then you did not place a score for the Iowa game on the GPP.

**You can get a first look at the 2009 FIU baseball team when they play an exhibition game against Team Ontario on Monday, Oct. 27 at University Park Stadium. Time is still to be determined.

**The FIU Baseball Alumni game is Saturday, Oct. 11 at 12 noon, about 7 hours before FIU/Middle Tennessee kickoff at the new stadium.

**FIU hoops completed its OOC schedule by scheduling a game at Washington, in addition to UCLA and Georgetown.

Let's get your thoughts on the issues of the 1st 2 games....

September 05, 2008

Is This Heaven?....No, It's Iowa

Should FIU knock off its first Big Ten foe in Iowa on Saturday, the Golden Panthers may be asking the question in the title of this post. However, don't see it happening, so the Hawkeyes will be greeting the Golden Panthers at midfield after the game and saying "It's Iowa".

So why will this game not have the feel good ending of the famous phrase's movie: "Field of Dreams"?Joejax

You only need to look in the corn fields of Iowa. No, not for the ghost of Joe Jackson and other dead baseball players. It's in the corn-fed beef.

The Hawkeyes have great size on both the offensive and defensive lines -- thanks to the corn-fed beef, I'm sure these boys eat 4 and 5 times a day. FIU has gotten bigger, but do not have the size of the Hawkeyes, yet. Plus, Iowa's offense plays that tough, physical ball control game -- reminiscent of the old Bill Parcells/New York Giants Super Bowl teams.

Tunanyg Before you pound your keyboard, not saying here that Iowa is the Giants of the late 80's and early 90's, but their offensive style is similar and that could be bad news for FIU, especially if the Golden Panthers O cannot sustain drives and score TDs.

Kansas, with its spread offense last week, didn't really hit FIU in the mouth, because most of the Jayhawks game was predicated on spreading the FIU defense. This week, Iowa is saying "we're going to run the ball right at you until you stop it. Then we'll play-action you."

With RB Shonn Greene, a 235-pound bruiser, it will be a task for FIU to stop the Iowa ground game. Not only that, the Hawkeyes have a couple of 230-pound fullbacks to lead the way for Greene.

Does have FIU have a chance? Of course, the Golden Panthers always have a chance. This is not WWE or TNA wrestling. No offense to the Flying Plantain Brothers.Beautpeopl_4

As always, FIU cannot turn the ball over and will need to control the ball as much or more than Iowa and put some touchdowns on the board. The Golden Panthers cannot run just 55 plays and have the ball for just 22 minutes like they did last week. If that happens, you might end up turning your DirecTv channel 618 (Thanks, Max) to another channel by the 3rd quarter.

Iowa is not the class of the Big Ten, but FIU is still growing. FIU wins this one and they'll get some ESPN coverage just like the FIU volleyball ladies did on ESPNU.

The thought here is attention from the worldwide leader will have to wait. GPP says: Iowa 34, FIU 13


**Reminder: Deadline for FIU/Iowa scores for the Win A GPP Blog contest is Saturday at 11:59 a.m. GPP time. If you need a refresher on contest rules or what GPP time means then check the post entitled: "Who's Getting On The Bus?"

Mount Mack is plenty big at 6-4, 320, but you good people think he was the biggest missing piece for FIU in the season opening-loss to Kansas. More than 70% of you want to see Cedric in Iowa. Kambriel Cm Willis got more than 22%. Got another question down below.

Miri: I have noticed that FIU hasn't put up the new logo around campus. The old banners from last year are still up. Have you heard anything about when they plan to remove those and put up new ones?

GPP: I put in an e-mail to the FIU people responsible for all that. When I get an answer, I'll have it here for you.

Max: Will you be at the stadium Pete? It would be cool to say hello. What's the ruling on cameras at the open practice. Will it be okay to take pictures?

GPP: Yes, I will. Stop by, say hello and allow me to put some faces to some GPP readers on this blog. It's an open house tour of the stadium and since it's open FIU won't show any plays in practice, so bring your cameras, take tons of pictures of the stadium and feel free to post them on the GPP.

FIUrulez: Pete, I know you don't write the headlines but today's headline for your article was: "Florida International University tight end Moses Hinton granted extra season by NCAA". I thought they are to Fiumedia only be referred to as FIU?

GPP: Yes, you are correct. FIU is FIU. However, not everyone at the Herald has gotten that message and I try to spread the word around the office whenever I do see the 3-word reference to FIU. Maybe the box of FIU media guides (one of those is 2nd prize in the GPP contest), that FIU media relations maven Rich Kelch sent to the MH this week will help the cause.

inspubadj: Any information on the new men's basketball coaches?

GPP: SR filled out his staff with the hiring of Dwight Evans. Not the Dwight Evans De of the Boston Red Sox, but rather Dwight Evans from Central Florida. Got a chance to meet DE yesterday in the FIU football office and learned his specialty is coaching the big men and is known for recruiting in Florida. DE has coached 20 years and has been at Missouri, South Alabama and UCF.

FIUFan: Can you please tell me why the FIU Volleyball win over ACC Champion and #19 Clemson (to win the Big Orange Bash) is buried in the Local Round-up beneath a Barry Women's victory over UMass-Lowell?

GPP: You can blame me if you'd like, since I should have made sure (by calling downtown) that the win over No. 19 Clemson got proper play in the paper. Until FIU starts winning on a consistent basis, the people in the MH are not going to take notice and give FIU its proper due. As the FIU beat writer, I should have called and suggested they give the FIU ladies a headline, at least. Sorry to the FIU ladies and the Golden Panthers fans.

**Someone down in Willemstad (the capital), Netherlands Antilles is a fan of Kambriel Willis, because in our last blog that person voted No. 55 as the player FIU missed most in the season opener.

Let's crank up the GPP Worldwide Readership scorecard: The GPP is read in 32 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

13 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

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

**Checking out most of your predictions and my own, not too many think FIU beats Iowa on Saturday. So if the Golden Panthers were to spring the upset, what has to happen:

September 02, 2008

Moses Is Back; FIU Stadium Open House

Moses_2 It's official, tight end Moses Hinton was granted an extra year of eligibility Hinton by the NCAA on Tuesday and will be back on the field for the Golden Panthers against South Florida on Sept. 20. The tradeoff with getting an extra year is that Moses has to "part" (sorry, couldn't resist) with the first 2 games of this season. So he will have to sit out the Iowa game this Saturday.

After Tuesday's practice, MC said DE Kambriel Willis and OL Cedric Mack should be back this Saturday for the Golden Panthers, who will need both players against the big, beefy Hawkeyes, who might be the best test all season for the FIU O and D lines. Freshman LB Aaron Davis also is expected to make his Golden Panther debut on Saturday. We'll have more on the first meeting between FIU and Iowa later this week.

Mark your calendars for your first chance to see the new FIU Stadium next Thursday, Sept. 11 with an Fiustad_3 open team scrimmage at 7 p.m. Stadium tours begin at 5:30 p.m. and parking and admission is free. Here is the link with all the information on the fiusports.com website: Stadium Open House

Also, got an e-mail from FIU's athletic department and there will be a watch party for the FIU/Iowa game. I'll have details on when and where on here tommorrow.


So far, according to our last poll, more than 80% of you agree that FIU has improved after the first game of the 2008 season. That is the largest amount of people to agree in a GPP poll question of the 32 polls we have created since getting this little poll gadget on the GPP.

FIU0406: On the herald link for FIU: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/colleges/FIU/ it also shows our old logo. Pete, could you look into this?

GPP: The new FIU logo has been put up on the Miami Herald's FIU home page.

FIUfantastic: Please fix the Photo Gallery from the Kansas game...it shows a picture of Paul McCall and says: Florida International quarterback Troy Dannehower throws the ball.

GPP: Done. Paul McCall is now Paul McCall and no longer Troy Dannehower throwing the football against Pm Kansas.

FIUJM: What was the deal with Marquis Rolle? Seemed like he and PM were not on the same page. Is FIU store selling new jerseys yet?

GPP: Asked MC about that today after practice and after watching the game film, MC says on one pass MR ran the wrong route and on the other PM threw to the wrong spot. In Tuesday's practice during 7-on-7's, the two players looked in sync so hopefully that translates to Saturday. The FIU on-line store is expected to be up and running with new jerseys by the end of October was what I was told last time I asked about that.

FIU Fanatic: Pete, not that it is so important, but I predicted the Kansas game at: KU 44 FIU 10 .....and for some reason, you left me out of your "predictors".

GPP: Of course, it's important. Sorry about missing your score. The Win A GPP Blog leaderboard has been updated on the previous blog with your FIU/KU score.

alt7787: One of my sources within the athletics department has informed me that there is a possibility that FIU will put some tickets on sale for our season home opener due to an oversupply.

GPP: I'll look into it.

Ultimate FIU Fan: 1) What time is the game? 2) Big Ten network is showing the game, is their any viewing party?

GPP: Game time against Iowa is 12 noon. Will have details on the FIU/Iowa watch party on the GPP tommorrow (Wednesday).

Quijote: What I do like is that these opponents like Iowa and Temple may be similar to the SunBelt's best.

GPP: FIU plays Iowa and Toledo, not Temple this year. And yes, all these OOC games are a great way for FIU to prepare for SBC play.

SouthPaw: What's going on with the offensive line?

GPP: Mack is back this Saturday. Leavine is likely out this week with a foot injury. Caraballo (foot) is expected back for the USF game.

Many of you had concerns about missing players in the Kansas game. Tell us who FIU missed the most against Kansas and needs the most against Iowa....

September 01, 2008

Better But Need More Water

Plenty of you GPP readers might have a future in Las Vegas, judging from your predicted scores in Week Lv 1 of the 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest. The standings are posted at the end of this blog and Iowa scores are due before 12:00 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

As for last Saturday, in the season opener against No. 13 Kansas, we saw an improved, quicker, more physical FIU team, but a team that still needs work, especially on offense.

Glass Being a glass-is-half-full blog, we'll start with the positive. The Golden Panthers defense had KU flustered in the first few drives. Whenever, FIU blitzed KU QB Todd Reesing had no answer. On some plays, he looked surprised that he had Golden Panthers in his face. But then KU got the short passing game going to negate the FIU rush.

Despite, not having much time to throw and no running game to speak of Paul McCall (below, right) looked in control. When he did get some time to throw late in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd quarter, you saw that he was comfortable running the new O. Heck, PM even ran the ball well -- the question mark in his game. PM had two scrambles for 24 yards and eluded tacklers in the runs. If not for 3 sacks, PM is FIU's leading rusher on Saturday. But that's not what you want from your QB.Pm

The other bits of FIU sunshine on Saturday were: Freshman T.Y. Hilton (left), who last signing day told MC that he would take back his first punt for a TD. Sure enough, T.Y. got 6 on his first college return. We had mentioned here throughout camp, that if T.Y. got an opening, nobody would catch him. KU saw the back of No. 4's Ty jersey.

The kicking game came through Saturday. Dustin Rivest nailed a career-long 43-yd FG. Punter Carlos Munera showed a strong leg.

As for that missing water in our glass, FIU is not going to win too manyWat_2  games, if it's O starts with four 3-and-outs in its first 5 possessions. The O needs to do a better job of sustaining drives and give the defense a breather. KU lead the time of possession 37:49 to 22:11. FIU was only 2 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. Yes, FIU's conditioning is much better thanks to Rod  Moore, but no matter how much you condition, you're not going to last playing on D for almost 40 minutes a game.

Several of you have been quick to point to the O-line and yes, they do need work, but it was the entire O that faltered vs. KU. The RBs didn't always hit the right holes. PM sometimes didn't make the right reads and other times when PM did find open receivers, the WRs dropped passes that would have been long gains and on one pass a TD early in the game to possibly take a 7-0 lead.

Hic Maybe, it was just the typical hiccups associated with running a new O for the first time in a real game. Regardless, from being there and judging by the reactions of the largest crowd ever at a KU football game in the 119-year history of KU, it sure didn't feel like a 30-point game. The FIU D held the second highest scoring O in the nation last year to 10 points in the second half and those 10 were the result of turnovers that pinned the D deep in their territory.

Penn State hung 59 on FIU in last year's opener and Kansas hung 55 on FIU last year with 615 yards of offense. In Saturday's game, KU had less than 300 yards before the final drive of the game. Yes, some are going to just read the score and say same old FIU, but if you saw this game, then you saw some improvement. An improvement that for FIU's sake continues throughout this season.


Here are your Week 1 standings in our Win a GPP Blog

Your point differential is in parenthesis:

1-0: outofthecage88 (2); FIULOVE (3), FIUrulez (3), inspubadj (3); FIU Fanatic (4); esteban688 (5), fiufan751 (5), FIUPantherFan (5), ThaChampionUnderdog (5); nycfiufan (6); FIU 0406 (7), Hay (7), ridgepanther (7), U24/7 (7); FIUBlue82 (8), fomenter (8), Gazi (8), Puma (8), The OCPanther (8); BaltimorePanther (9), Clawing Cancer (9), Gold (9), mia/ny josh (9); FIUChris (12), panther viscosity (12), Quijote (12), TN Golden Panther (12); CJ (13), FIUJM (13); FIU Voice (14); lol62 (15), Pantera Dorada (15); alt7787 (16), Max (16); fiu ex dad (18), Ultimate FIU Fan (18); Crazycane (19); FIUBlueandGold (20); Devastator (23), greenlizard69 (23); sammy da bull (47).

0-1: 2006PA (31); gpantera (33), SouthPaw (33); FIUfantastic (37), ScUMsanitizer (37); E-Man (38).

GPP 1-0 (8).

**Congratulations to the FIU volleyball ladies, who knocked off No. 19 Clemson on Saturday and captured the Clemson Big Orange Bash Tournament by sweeping the Tigers, Syracuse and Charleston Southern. Two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa (right) was named tournament MVP.Yr

On to the questions....

FIU 0406:  I was watching ESPN today and I noted two things, they were still referring to us as Florida International and they were still showing the old logo. Also, this is something I mentioned some time ago, but its worth mentioning again. On the herald link for FIU:

it also shows our old logo. Pete, could you look into this.

GPP: ESPN and all the other national media outlets got a letter and media guides from FIU regarding the new reference to the school. It might take a big win against a BCS team for those people to take notice. Before writing this blog, I e-mailed the MH's on-line person about the old FIU logo on the MH's FIU page so let's see what happens this week.

FIUfantastic: Please fix the Photo Gallery from the Kansas game...it shows a picture of Paul McCall and says: Florida International quarterback Troy Dannehower throws the ball

GPP: E-mailed on-line about that too.

Radio gpantera: I wish the freakin' radio guys would refer to us as FIU only as instructed by our athletic department.

GPP: The "freakin' radio guys" read this blog, so tune in next Saturday for the Iowa game to see if they go by FIU and not Florida International when referring to the Golden Panthers.

SouthPaw: Can you update us on why Cedric Mack didn't play? Some of the names that I'm expecting to see make big contributions this year that I would have thought would have been on the two-deep are:
Cedrick Mack (biggest loss of the game for FIU), Mario Caraballo, Javon Hill, Travis Felder, Devin Parrish, Kambriel Willis, Reggie Jones. And others who I think should be seeing significant playing time this year that look like they didn't play are: Mannie Wellington, Matt Garris, Winston Fraser, Aaron Davis, Daunte Owens, Alfonso Bryant, Derrick Clark, Marcelus Manear, Jason Frierson. Some of the guys that started and saw extended action were not guys who have contributed a whole lot in the past (Tyler Clawson, Quentin Newman, Artis Warthen, Dan Chacreton). I was glad to see the coaches put McCall back in there after sitting him down for a series.

GPP: Both Mack and Willis were having certification issues they were taking care of last week. Jackson Def played and beat KU linemen a couple of times, but KU QB had already gotten the pass off. James Jones (67, right chasing Reesing) was impressive in his first game. Caraballo, Wellington, Garris and Fraser are all hurt. Hill hasn't practiced all summer and looks like he's done. Felder (academics). Parrish, R. Jones, A. Davis, Owens, A. Bryant, D. Clark, Manear and Frierson all did not play vs. KU.

Clawson, Newman, Warthen and Chacreton all had good camps and earned their playing time according to coaches.

As far as PM being removed. It was NOT because of his play. The plan was for WY to play 2 series in the second quarter, regardless of what the game situation was at the time. PM never got benched.

FIUChris: How serious is Ash's injury? He's one of our best playmakers in the defensive backfield.

GPP: X-rays were negative, but won't know more until practice on Tuesday.

****Picked up a few more readers around the world in our last blog. Thanks to the handy-dandy map tracker of GPP readers: Portland, Oregon and Managua, Nicaragua (love the gallo pinto) -- where Gallo_2 someone down there thinks FIU will be 6-6 or better this season -- have joined the GPP expanding our worldwide readership:

Our GPP Worldwide Readership scorecard reads: 32 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, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

12 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

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

Thanks to all for participating in our last couple of polls where the majority of you liked the closeness of the seats to the new FIU Stadium field the best, and where most of you are thinking 5-7 or 4-8 for FIU this season. Here's the latest question....

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