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Back to the Golden Panthers offense.
Through the first 7 games of the season, the talk or sign-off and with good reason has been T.Y. Goodbye (below, left). I can't recall a freshmen making a bigger first impression in FIU's 6-year history. El Monstruo may come close, but he played most of his snaps on special teams his first season at FIU.
T.Y. -- who gets good natured ribbing chants of "Goodbye, Goodbye" from his teammates whenever they see him being interviewed -- has done it all in the first half of the season. The only concern thus far is he needs more size to make it through the rigors of D-I football.
It may be a close call as to who has better hands: T.Y. or Greg Ellingson (left, lifting T.Y.)? GE has really come on thus far and made some terrific catches. Although not as fast as T.Y. (then again who is?), GE has become a dependable receiver for PM.
Freshman Junior Mertile (below, right) may not have the yards, but he's tied with T.Y. for the team lead in catches (17) and has the breakaway speed to take one all the way.
Along with GE, tight end Eric Kirchenberg might be one of the most improved players on O. EK has shown some good hands this season and run some nice routes. He's also been a steady blocker in the run game and on punt ST.
The play of the O-line thus far has been inconsistent. To be fair, there have been injuries and not having Mount Mack also hurts.
While there have been games such as Toledo, North Texas and Middle Tennessee when PM has been kept clean and the run game has gotten some openings, but then you also have last week's showing against Troy where the Trojans D-line overmatched the FIU O-line.
Yes, the Golden Panthers need to get more beef upfront and another season with all the regulars healthy will only help. Plus, you can bet MC is bringing in reinforcements through recruiting.
But for FIU to challenge for the Sun Belt title this season and/or try and land an SBC tie-in bowl invite, the O-line will need to have more Toledo/NT/MT showings.
We'll move on over to the defensive front 7 on the next post.
We all know the obvious answer to FIU's offensive MVP in the first half of the season, but here's a more intriguing question up for debate and vote and why not since it's an election year: