Five days until the next Golden Panthers game at ULL. We're halfway through our midseason look at FIU. Let's shift on over to defense, which for most of this season has been the Golden Panthers strength.
Been told by MH IT the posting comments system on the GPP has been fixed so go ahead and let the comments rip. On to the D.
The FIU D front seven has done a pretty good job thus far, but there is one major component missing from the D-line as well as the LBs: a consistent pass rush.
Yes, we have mentioned this before on the GPP this season, but too many times QBs are sitting back there making themselves a sandwich while waiting for a receiver to get open. Spoke to MC about this and he thinks the FIU pass rushers are getting closer each game, but also some of the pass rushers need another off-season in the weight room.
It's not a good sign when you have a defensive back along with a defensive lineman leading the team in sacks. DB Robert Mitchell and DE Quentin Newman (left) each have 2 sacks to lead the Golden Panthers.
Newman has been among the more pleasant surprises this season on the D-Line leading FIU with 7.5 tackles for loss. Jarvis Penerton, Daniel Chacreton and Armond Willis have also made some plays. Once veterans like Jonas Murrell and Reggie Jones, who hurt his foot last week in practice, get going we might see more of a push toward the QB.
We've seen that freshmen Jonathan Jackson (right) and Kambriel Willis have the moves, but have yet to gain the size to allow them to terrorize the QB. Fellow frosh James Jones has probably had the better season of the trio thus far. Jones seems to have more size right now. In limited duty, frosh walk-on Jonathan Nieves has had an impact. FIU has missed Cody Pellicer this season. A redshirt and a 3rd season in Rod Moore's offseason program will pay dividends for CP and FIU.
Talk of FIU LBs starts again with El Oso. Once again, EO is leading the Golden Panthers in tackles with 59. Along with safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon, EO may be the most punishing FIU tackler.
Little Canada has made plays for the second consecutive season, but thought we'd see more of him after his dominating performance at Arkansas State last season.
Two LBs I think are going to have solid careers at FIU before they are done are sophomore Jarvis Wilson (below, right) and freshman Franklin Brown, who also sees double duty in the secondary at times. JW is a machine on special teams and with a little more size can be a pass rushing force on D. FB is just a football player, if you know what I mean when I say that. He has a nose for the football and the ballcarrier.
Here's one name to keep in mind for spring ball: Winston Fraser. The D is missing him this season with a hand injury just like Pellicer. WF 1 of the Booker T. 4 at FIU will make a huge splash next season when he's healthy.
On the road to Lakeland on Tuesday morning for a state golf tournament I have to cover, but will wrap up our midseason look at your Golden Panthers in Lakeland with the secondary and special teams. Be back in Miami on Thursday for FIU's practice and to catch a flight to Lafayette on Friday morning.
From here on out, all 5 remaining games will be huge for FIU if it plans on making its 1st bowl game. Four of those five are home games (might as well consider Dolphin Stadium against Florida Atlantic a home game) What are your thoughts on the Golden Panthers last road game of the season on Saturday: