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26 posts from December 2008

December 31, 2008

Looking Like A Golden Panther

Wc After taking some time to think about the situation between his old school and FIU, it now looks like former All-SEC freshman quarterback Wesley Carroll is ready to become a Golden Panther.

Carroll, who played at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in high school and was a freshman quarterback for Mississippi State, was released from his Miss. State scholarship 3 weeks ago, but took some time to think about where he'd like to play the final 2 years of his college career.

FIU starts the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 5 and Carroll along with new defensive end Thatcher Starling are expected to be at FIU and ready for the first day of class and off-season conditioning.

By NCAA transfer rules, Carroll will have to sit out the 2009 season and then be eligible to play in FIU Stadium for the 2010 season.

How's that for a main course, starvin' gpantera

Happy New Year, GPP Nation.

Vote for your FIU New Year's Resolution below.


FIUPantherFan: What about Gacesa, did he just sit out because of the back to back games?

GPP: Gacesa had the stomach flu against Fordham that's why he sat out, but he should be back for the next game on Saturday at Troy.

alt7787: Would you happen to know if El Monstruo will be able to play this Sunday? Ab 

GPP: The official NFL injury report comes out later today. When I spoke to EM's cousin in Baltimore last week he said EM would do everything he can to play in the playoffs. When I have an update I'll post it on here.


So far a very close call in our last poll question regarding the improving health of FIU hoops starters. 39.5% of you good people have voted that FIU will be eliminated in the 1st round of the Sun Belt hoops tournament and 37.2% of you have voted that FIU reaches the Sun Belt semis. Keep voting, poll is still open.

We've reached another state in this great country of ours with the last question. An ambitious reader in Charleston, West Virginia voted that FIU hoops would win the Sun Belt and reach the Big Dance.

Here's the Big Scorecard: 



23 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

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

What would be your New Year's Resolution for FIU sports:

December 29, 2008

1 Back, 4 Still On The Mend

The FIU hoops team got some good news today with the return of starting forward Alex Galindo about 2Ag  weeks earlier than expected.

That makes 1 of 5 injured starters back for the Golden Panthers.

AG had an immediate impact scoring 15 of FIU's first 23 points in the game against Fordham. In the second half, the Rams paid more attention to AG limiting him to 4 points, but the Golden Panthers built a 20-point lead.

However, the 20-point lead with 1:29 left in the game became an 8-point lead with 17 seconds left after the Golden Panthers emptied their bench. Fordham scored 12 unanswered points to make it 63-55 before running out of time in their comeback attempt.

Afterward, AG said he felt good and SR said he could have 3 of his 5 starters back by mid-January.

Guard Tremayne Russell (broken hand) is the next player expected back around Jan. 10 or 11. Then forward J.C. Otero (knee) one week after that.

SR said center Russell Hicks (foot) and point guard Josue Soto (thumb) could be back in mid-February.

And that was not Hicks in the game today, the player wearing Hicks's No. 32 jersey with Hicks's last name stitched on the back of the jersey was walk-on Manuel Nunez.

We'll get back on the football recruiting prowl on the next post.


Quijote: Hey Pete, your writing makes the reader assume we have no chance against UF or Alabama! What's that about?!

GPP: Quijote, I'll be the first to tell you I hope the Golden Panthers prove me wrong, but I just don't see them going into "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach's" house or The Swamp next Rt season and beating either team. Sorry, I call them, like I see them.

Golden Panther 90: Pete- Any word on what Turtle is going to do with the coaching spot vacated by Delmonico? Is he going to coach this year with one less coach?

GPP: We will ask him when he visits the GPP in January. I'm sure he's out there looking for a replacement as we write this. TT doesn't sit on his hands.

gpantera: Pete, Christmas is over. We're starvin' for football recruiting and baseball info. Give us nibble. Signed, Starvin' in Pembroke Pines.

GPP: gpantera/a.k.a. Starvin'....The GPP restaurant is open. We're here for you. We'll start you out this Italy post with a hoops appetizer (yeah I know, like you previously said, it might give you indigestion), but we'll go on to the main course of football on the next post.

Been a little on the busy side of late covering the week leading up to the Orange Bowl game between Virginia Tech & Cincinnati -- a game no one cares about down here and that's a snooze-fest...z-z-z-z-z. And also writing about hockey Panthers, but not forgetting about the GPP.

Apaw Wow, pretty close race in our last poll question about FIU's starting QB in 2010. Poll is still open, but so far 38.5% of you good people say it will be Colt Anderson. 26% percent say Wesley Carroll (still nothing new on him) and 24% expect Nico Flores to be lined up taking a shotgun snap against Texas A&M.

And with our last question we also gained another state of GPP readership. A Wesley Carroll fan in North Salt Lake, Utah believes WC will be wearing blue and gold in 2010 and starting for FIU against the Aggies. Here's the scorecard and another GPP Poll question below.



23 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

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

So with 3 of the 5 FIU hoops starters coming back by mid-January, what are your thoughts on the Golden Panthers basketball team.

December 26, 2008

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Quarterbacks

Pm The Golden Panthers don't need a quarterback for next season, but in 2010 it will be interesting to see who is starting the season at Texas A&M under center -- or in FIU's case -- in the shotgun spread.

Paul McCall enters the 2009 season entrenched as your starter, but between Wayne Younger, Colt Anderson and this season's batch of recruits the Golden Panthers will need to start planning for the future giving next year's backup some reps so he doesn't face the Aggies cold.

Before we look at the QBs, here is your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 40 days (Feb. 4, 2009).


Next season should be the time when a true No. 2 QB emerges for the Golden Panthers, especially with all the QBs now having 2 years in the spread offense. WY (left), who will be a junior next season, likely will get first dibs on backing up PM. However, CA (right) -- who will be a redshirt sophomore next season -- showed Wy plenty of potential in practice last season. CA's arm strength has gotten better. He Ca moves around well and at 6-4 has good size for a QB. Let's see if he can take that next step next season. Darold Hughes has had his moments running the scout team O and burning the 1st team D at times, but he'll have to be more consistent to get in the QB mix.

On the recruiting trail, there are some intriguing prospects -- and of course, nothing is official until NSD.

Still nothing new regarding Wesley Carroll (left in blue and gold colors -- don't get started with gold helmets, SP). You would have Wc_2 to imagine if WC does become a Golden Panther that he would be thrown right into the starting job competition for 2010 after he takes a redshirt in 2009. But my good friends, remember the GPP's Gatorade analogy when it comes to this situation and all recruit situations.

North Miami Beach's Nico Flores (right) would be a tremendous signing if MC were to land Nnf   him. The 6-2 QB is being recruited by the world, but is visiting FIU on Jan. 16.

Mccloud_2 Cedric McCloud (left) from Jacksonville Raines at 6-0 is not as tall or as fast as NF (5.0 to 4.7 40-yd), but does have a strong arm and some bulk at 200 pounds. CM is someone that could develop into a pretty good spread QB.

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the QBs FIU brings back: Paul McCall, Wayne Younger, Colt Anderson, Darold Hughes.

Fiuhelmet_3 Here are the QBs FIU loses: None.

Carnac 2009 guesstimations: Do NOT see MC going the route of his counterpart across town and playing the backup QB in the second quarter or whatever. However, the Golden Panthers backup next season should see action against Alabama and Florida and possibly when FIU is comfortably ahead in other games.

This whole backup/next FIU QB after PM thing next season could depend on what QBs the Golden Panthers sign in February. If WC joins the Golden Panthers, then WY and CA may have their work cut out for them in 2010. Wouldn't surprise to see WY on the field as a receiver eventually, because he's a hell of an athlete. CA has got all the tools of a Division I QB, maybe competition from an All-SEC freshman QB helps CA flourish.

From what I've heard and read, the guess here is CM would need at least 1 or 2 seasons before Hh_2 challenging for starting role. NF could challenge for starting QB role from Day 1.

Regardless, of who emerges as PM's successor, they just have to remember one thing: Get TY the damn ball !

Coming up next: Running backs


  Gppaw_3 Spoke to El Monstruo's cousin up in Baltimore and he said EM is doing better after his season-ending injury. Left EM a message to call me back and when he does I'll post an update on here.

Gppaw_4 In our last poll question, you Santa Clausers would like to bring the players in the trenches to FIU as an Xmas gift. 45.7% of you said FIU is getting O-linemen for Xmas; 27.1% said give FIU D-linemen and 20% said give FIU a Manning-esque QB.

pikedanny: While I am loving the Christmas spirit shown by Mr. Pelegrin... I must say this blog entry was pretty redundant. No news not even some insight... I think you could've come up with something better. No?

GPP: It's Christmas time. Let's have a little fun with an FIU Christmas blog. We're in cyberspace where there is endless space to write and no time constraints. In fact, one of our 2 poll questions at the end of the Pawse is in regard to the 2 X-mas blogs on the GPP. Plenty of newsier blogs up ahead. Thanks for Sc En_2 your readership.

gpantera: Thanks for your support. Let pikedanny, yourself and me all get a shot of egg nog and toast the GPP and the holiday season.

alt7787: pete, i was so happy to see TY on the Miami Heralds All Florida Team. Before I opened the paper this morning I was hoping that he wasnt snubbed in favor of some underachieving receiver from UCG. but I was soooo delighted to see him on the first team. I also noticed your name was part of the team that chose the players. honestly, did you have to do a lot of lobbying for TY or was he a pretty unanimous selection?

GPP: Among the other writers that voted for the Herald's All-Florida college team, TY was a no-brainer as was Anthony Gaitor (left). The FIU second teamers (Scott Bryant and Robert Mitchell) needed some lobbying. Here's my 1st team ballot: OFFENSE -- QB - Tebow, UF; RB - A. Smith, FSU; WR - Harvin, UF; Ag WR - Hilton, FIU; WR - Murphy, UF; TE - Grant, FAU; OT - Rizzo, FAU; OT - Trautwein, UF; C - Serini, FIU; G - Pouncey, UF; G - Hudson, FSU; K - Gano, FSU. DEFENSE -- DE - Selvie, USF; DT - J. Jackson, FAU; DT - Troup, UCF; DE - Brown, FSU; LB - Spikes, UF; LB - Joseph, FAU; LB - Spence, UM; DB - Gaitor, FIU; S - Black, UF; S - Mitchell, FIU; DB - Burnett, UCF; P - Henry, UF; RS - Hilton, FIU.

FIU Fanatic: Any link to that "All Florida" Team? Guess, it's not yet online?

GPP: Already told the MH on-line people that the team needs to be on the MH page. So let's see when they get it on there.

Here are 2 poll questions. The first deals with FIU QBs, the second is your opinion on the GPP's 2 Christmas blogs. Here is the link for last year's in case you forgot: 2007 FIU Christmas Carol

December 24, 2008

12 Days of FIU Christmas

Twelve_2 Last December, we gave you 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at FIU. Well, here's another Christmas ballad that you can gather around the fireplace and sing at home to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas....

The 12 Days of FIU ChristmasHh_2

On the 1st Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Rf Sab On the 2nd Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 2 FIU Olympians (Ronald Forbes & Sheri-Ann Brooks) and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 3 Yari Rosa All-American Honors, 2 FIU Olympians and A Yrr_2 Yrr_3 Yrr_4 Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 4th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 4 Missing Hoops Starters Back in January, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 5th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Fiustadium_3 On the 6th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 6 Home Football Games in Future Skeds (sometimes 7), 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 7th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 7 All-Sun Belt Football Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 8th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Logo Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 9th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 10th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 10 Miami MLS Players Plus a Goalie, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Ty Campus Stadium.

On the 11th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 11 TY Goodbye Touchdowns, 10 Miami MLS Players, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 12th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 12 Months of Golden Dazzlers, 11 TY Goodbye Dazz Touchdowns, 10 Miami MLS Players, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Merry Christmas to All the GPPers!

(Thanks to Sam Lewis & FIU for the pics)

December 23, 2008

Big Starling To FIU

That Add another defensive lineman to the FIU recruiting tally, Thatcher Starling from Hutchinson (Kan.) JUCO said he wants to be a Golden Panther.

Starling is not a major household appliance, as cabin001 thought, but he is built like one at 6-4,Tts_3  250. TS will enter FIU as a junior and after getting in the FIU weight room this summer don't be surprised to see him starting next fall when the Golden Panthers open in Alabama. Could envision Jonathan Jackson and/or Kambriel Willis bringing the speed from one side and Starling (right in blue) bringing the muscle from the other side of the D. Or he could bulk up enough to become a D-Tackle, which is a position FIU needs to fill.


Apaw In the early voting results from our last poll regarding FIU's 2008 Defensive MVP, you good people have DB Anthony Gaitor leading by a wide margin (70%) thus far. Keep voting, poll remains open.

Apaw_2 Although today is Festivus, and a Happy Festivus to all, we got an FIU Christmas shopping question Fest at the end of this Pawse. Speaking of Christmas, the GPP's gift to you will be posted at some point on Wednesday, Christmas Eve.

To your questions:

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, any chance Robert Mitchell gets drafted? Any senior have any hopes for this year's draft? Will MC have a FIU / NFL day for scouts? I'll be there for the Dec 27th game for my prize. Any players coming back from injury list for that game?

GPP: RM has a shot to get drafted late, if not, he would likely get a free agent shot with some team.  Other than RM, don't think any other FIU senior gets drafted. Yes, MC has a FIU/NFL Day.

As far as FIU hoops injuries, no player is expected back on the 27th, but Alex Galindo is supposedly close to returning in January. Will have your 2nd place prize from our WIN A GPP BLOG contest on the 27th.

FIUJM: Thanks on the 2 FIU hoops articles.

Tt fiufan751: Are you getting positive vibes from Coach Thomas?

GPP: Yes, I am. FIU baseball can have a similar turnaround like the Golden Panthers football team. Turtle Thomas (left) signed several pitchers and has 4 left-handers, which he did not have any last season. And regarding those who jumped on TT for last season, remember MC went 1-11 in his first season. It takes some adjustments from the players when there is a change in head coaches. Plus, what the former head coach thought of as talent, may not be what the new head coach thinks of as talent. FIU football and baseball previously had 2 head coaches that recruiting was NOT their strength. FIU football and baseball now has 2 head coaches that recruiting IS their strength. TT must be doing something right when this year's recruiting class is ranked No. 15 in the U.S.A. Only the Gators were ranked higher among Florida baseball schools. TT will be on the GPP in January to talk FIU baseball.

CJ: UM DB Demarcus Van Dyke's little brother David Van Dyke is being recruited by both UM and FIU Dvd according to Rivals with only FIU offering.. what's your all take on that?

GPP: Not sure about the recruiting situation in Coral Gables, but FIU could always use 4.4 speed and 6-0 at DB. Plus, a 3.4 GPA doesn't hurt either. Like I wrote in the DB recruiting blog, FIU will always need as many DBs as possible facing spread offenses about 6 to 7 times a season. DVD's speed is just 0.1 slower than Goodbye.

Apaw_3 In our last poll question about FIU's Defensive MVP, we reached another part of the world. The GPP is now read in Zagreb, Croatia. A GPP reader there voted for Anthony Gaitor as FIU's D MVP. Here's the updated scorecard:



23 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

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

Apaw_4 Time to go last-minute shopping for the Golden Panthers:

December 22, 2008

FIU Recruiting Prowl: DBs and Kickers

Arguably, the strength of the FIU D this past season was the defensive backfield led by All-Sun Belt DB Ag_2 Anthony Gaitor. And that was with the secondary having several heralded recruits getting fitted for redshirts and the Golden Panthers missing starting safeties for most of the season. Still, overall the FIU D kept the Golden Panthers in most games this season. You can vote for FIU's Defensive MVP at the end of this post after the Pawse.

Going against plenty of spread offenses in the Sun Belt, the Golden Panthers can never have enough DBs and will always be looking for secondary personnel. So it comes as no surprise we see FIU targeting, that we know of, 6 recruits that can play in the secondary.

Before we break down the secondary, here is your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 44 days (Feb. 4, 2009).


FIU had some pretty good cover corners last season in Gaitor and in should-have-Rmbeen All-Sun Belt in Robert Mitchell (left), who even did a good job when pressed into safety duty in the final 2 games of the season. Franklin Brown, Chuck Grace and Dez Johnson made some plays as well. Jeremiah Weatherspoon and Marshall McDuffie played well too -- they were truly missed against Florida Atlantic. Losing Ash Parker after the season opener at Kansas left a huge void.

Among the defensive backs/safeties, the Golden Panthers are targeting: Miami Springs's Derrick Jones (5-9, 180), who could produce the same magic on D that another Miami Springs product produced on O this past season for FIU. DB Jerome Swinton also is on FIU's radar. JS is small and but fast. He comes from Milford Prep in New York that gave FIU Marcelus Manear and Devin Parrish.Ce_3

The other 4 known recruits are all listed as safeties, but that can always change after they step into FIU Stadium. North Miami Beach's Jonathan Cyprien (6-0, 185), Winter Springs's Cain Elliott, right (6-1, 210), First Coast's Jameel Franklin (6-1, 190) and former Rutgers commit and Archbishop Carroll's Terrance Taylor (6-0, 173).

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the DBs/Safeties FIU brings back: Franklin Brown, Kreg Brown, Derrick Clark, Brandon Ellison, Anthony Gaitor, Chuck Grace, Dez Johnson, Marcelus Manear, Ash Parker, Devin Parrish, Peter Riley, Emmanuel Souarin, Jeremiah Weatherspoon.   

Fiuhelmet_3 Here are the DBs/Safeties FIU loses: O'Darris D'Haiti, Marshall McDuffie, Robert Mitchell.   

2009 guesstimations: FIU is not losing much depth here, but does lose 2 key cogs in MM and Carnac RM, plus a special teams asset in ODH. Like mentioned above, the Golden Panthers will keep tinkering with the secondary, as they should, to find the right personnel to match up against the spread-heavy Sun Belt. Can't have any more games like this season where the Owls and the Cajuns picked apart the Golden Panthers secondary.

Jones has the athletic ability to come right in and contribute. Also notice that FIU is not going after any DBs under 6-ft tall. Cain looks like a beast if he's already entering college as a 210-pound safety. And signing Taylor would be huge after he told MC's former boss at Rutgers that New Jersey was not for him.

Good to see FIU is looking at size at safety to take over after Weatherspoon graduates after next season. Getting back Parker to team with JW gives FIU a solid 1-2 at S next season while the freshmen get acclimated. Also look for Grace, Clark and Souarin to contribute next season.


Jg Naples kicker Jack Griffin could be enrolled at FIU in January and be ready for spring practice in March. JG dealt with a little bit of a sore back last fall, but is 100 percent healthy now. He will compete for the FIU kicking job as soon as he arrives on campus.

Kicker Dustin Rivest improved from 2007, however, he would have to be more consistent this coming season to stave off JG who is ranked the No. 13 kicker in the nation.

Punter Carlos Munera is still awaiting word from the NCAA if he will be granted a redshirt after undergoing an appendectomy while he was in JUCO in California. CM, All-Sun Belt punter, is a senior, but could get one more year if the NCAA allows it.

Should CM not get the extra season, don't be surprised to see JG handle both K and punting duties. The kid is that good. Chris Cook was hitting some punts in practice late in the season, but he wasn't so sure if he can come back when I asked him.

Coming up next: Quarterbacks and Running backs


  FIU Fan For Life: Pete is Yari a junior? I would definitely attend more games if that squad stays intact! Congrats again.

GPP: Yes, she is and most of the team returns next season. So get your tickets.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, I will not be able to attend tonight's men's hoops game vs. USA. Can you hold my prize (Footballl Media Guide) for next home game?

GPP: Will have it for you at the next men's home game on Dec. 27.

pikedanny: Pete, Are we going to see TY play basketball this season? He's in the Media Guide and listed on the roster on FIUSports.com. What's the deal with him?

Br_3 Bg GPP: I don't think TY will play hoops. He's got a lot going on in his freshman year. And with the curses hovering over The Bank Arena, it probably is not a good idea for TY to be on that hardwood.

FIUFan: Any chance Robert Marve will transfer to FIU?

GPP: There might be a better chance of winning the lotto and this is not a shot at FIU, but I think he would want to get as far away from Miami as possible. Heard LSU and UF might be interested.

Tico Gutierrez: Any truth to the rumor that former St Thomas Aquinas QB Wesley Carroll will be transferring to the FIU?

GPP: WC was released from his Miss. State scholarship and appeared headed to FIU, but now he's still thinking about it last I heard. He is technically a college free agent right now.

SouthPaw: Pete. In one of your follow on blogs, can you mention how many scholarships FIU has to offer this year? Also, can you give any updates that you have on former FIU committs from the past two years: Bryan Mann, Shaquan Hicks, Jermaine Malcolm, Jecorey Quarterman, and Tarvis Pullins?

GPP: SP, FIU football and baseball had all their scholies re-stored and can offer the full allotment. MC has 25 scholies to hand out this February. FIU hoops still has to surrender 1 more scholie before they are at full strength. Will look into the former commits and let you know.

December 18, 2008

Number 3 For Number 3

Three seasons at FIU, 3 All-American honors for Yarimar Rosa. Yr

Rosa, who led FIU to a Sun Belt championship and a program record  28 wins this past season, was named an All-American for the third time in her career on Thursday.

The nation's kills leader and kills per set leader also won the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award 5 times this season and has a conference-record 10 such awards in her career.

Earlier this season, YR broke the FIU kills match record (26) and career kills record (1,723).

December 17, 2008

FIU Recruiting Prowl: The Defensive Front 7

The start of our recruiting look at your Golden Panthers begins with an area FIU lacked last season and that was the pass rush.

Before proceeding with the first blog in the Recruiting Prowl series, we must state the GPP disclaimer (the Jc GPP lawyers -- NO not CrazyCane, U24/7 or MIA/NY Josh -- recommended to place the disclaimer here): None of the recruits mentioned on the GPP have signed any letters of intent yet. Please take any verbalGator  committments at your own risk. Taking verbal committments from 18-year-olds, who may have trouble choosing which flavor of Gatorade to drink, too seriously may be hazardous to your health.

OK, glad we got that out of the way. Let's move on.

As of today, here's your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 49 days (Feb. 4, 2009).


Throughout most of last season, the Golden Panthers played some solid D, but if you recall in blog posts over the 2008 season, the one part of the D we kept harping on was the lack of a pass rush. Part of that had to do with many of the FIU freshmen D-linemen not being big enough. The speed was there, but not the size.

Craw The Golden Panthers have assembled some pretty good talent and depth at D-Line in the 2 seasons since MC took over. Thus you don't see an emphasis on this position this off-season, but the Golden Panthers are still targeting it. Big JUCO DT Mark Crawford at 6-1, 305 and a 4.6, 40 is supposedly down to FIU and Kentucky, even though he has offers from all over the country. He is one of those JUCO guys that can sign as early as today and be at FIU in January.

Depending on what the plans are TE/DL Tourek Williams of Norland could also work here. You remember the last 2 Norland defenders FIU had turned out pretty well in El Monstruo and Alexander Bostic III. Of course, there are other D-Linemen recruits that have not been made known yet.

Fiuhelmet_4 Here are the D-Linemen FIU brings back: Ricky Booker, Curtis Bryant, Jonathan Jackson, James Jones, Reggie Jones, Jonas Murrell, Jonathan Nieves, Cody Pellicer, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, Artis Warthen, Kambriel Willis, Donnell Wilson.

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the D-Linemen FIU loses: Jonathan Betancourt, Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman, Jarvis Penerton, Armond Willis.

Carnac_2 2009 guesstimations: Getting a seasoned JUCOer like Crawford or other JUCOers that Twb may head toward FIU can only speed up the development of the FIU D-line. With a second season in the weight room look for Jackson (right, aqua shirt) Pellicer and Willis (right, suit) to get some size. RJones was pretty impressive in the one game he played at NT before getting hurt. Some guys who stood out on the scout D last season while redshirting were Pound and Smith. Still way too early to tell when JJones would come back from his knee injury. Interesting to see if Booker and CBryant can take that next step.


The FIU LBs have some talent coming back, but could use more depth, plus some size.Kdil   Northwestern's Kenneth Dillard (right, blue jersey) will certainly push for immediate playing time. KD is fast, but at 190 might need to hit the weight room. Apopka LB Larvez Mars would be a great addition as well. For Mars services, FIU is up against teams from every BCS conference.

Fiuhelmet_5 Here are the LBs FIU brings back: Scott Bryant, Tyler Clawson, Aaron Davis, Winston Fraser, Toronto Smith, Mannie Wellington, Jarvis Wilson and we'll include Franklin Brown, who plays both LB and DB.

Fiuhelmet_7 Here are the LBs FIU loses: Matt Garris (retire), Ryan Martinez. Up in the air is Michael Dominguez, who was suspended for the 2008 season finale.

Carnac_3 2009 guesstimations: Don't be surprised to see Dillard become a starter if he has the Win same impact that fellow NW Bull - Anthony Gaitor had his freshman season. Having seen KD in a couple of games this season, can tell you he is the real deal. If Mars were to become a Panther, then you could see 2 frosh starters with El Oso next season. El Oso and Clawson will provide experience to FIU's young backers. The LB that I'm very eager to see line up is Fraser, who redshirted his frosh season with a hand injury. He could be the next dominant LB at FIU following in El Monstruo's steps. Davis, Wilson and Brown are playmakers and Little Canada already has the speed as Arkansas State found out the last 2 seasons, now with another season in the weight room maybe LC becomes Big Canada.

Coming next: Defensive backs and Kickers


Gppaw_2 The Hilton Heave has gotten nearly 50 percent of the vote in our last poll question about your favorite moment of the 2008 FIU season.

That got my vote. Besides the way the play developed, what I also liked was the crowd reaction. When Goodbye first got the handoff from PM, a collective cheer came from the crowd. When Goodbye fumbled the ball, you heard a collective o-o-o-o-h-h-h and when Goodbye threw the Heave and everyone saw Junior standing alone at the 5 yard line, you good people at FIU Stadium went nuts.

FIU75: Pete, is it true the Howard Schnellenberg from FAU will be coaching the rest of the nation against Texas during the ALL STAR game on the 31st?

GPP: Yes it is. Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings will be coaching Texas.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Good luck to SR and the men's hoops in conference opener @ Arkansas State Thursday. Pete do we have a chance w/o our starters?

GPP: UFF, very unlikely, because ASU is much improved under former LSU coach Brady. On the bright side, you can pick up your WIN A GPP BLOG 2nd prize (2008 FIU football media guide) on Saturday at the FIU hoops game. Drop by the press table and I'll have it for you.

December 15, 2008

Your 2008 FIU Football Moment

We'll start focusing in on your Golden Panthers recruiting story lines after this blog post. Here's a Wc_2 Wesley Carroll (right) update to tie FIUGPanther and you good people over until then. Spoke to friends in Mississippi, who spoke to WC last Friday and WC said he is not sure where he will play now in 2009.

Mississippi State officially released WC from his scholarship last Tuesday. And according to sources in Miss., new Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen is recruiting 2 to 3 QBs that would come in and challenge last year's starter Tyson Lee and redshirt freshman Chris Reif. Both sources and myself have gotten nowhere with WC's high school coach, George Smith. All parties getting no answers from GS or in my case -- smart answers. As the Recruiting World Turns continues....

Now to the point of this post, to find out what was your favorite moment from the 2008 FIU football season. Below are the nominees and you can vote at the end of the post. (Thanks to Sam Lewis and Alex J. Hernandez for FIU pics)

Tyku Aug. 30 - Hello, Goodbye (left): A highly-touted freshman by the name of T.Y. Hilton makes good on his signing day promise to MC: "Take it to the house, the first time I touch the ball". Hilton, who would later this season be dubbed "Goodbye!" by TheChampionUnderdog and GPP Nation, takes a punt return 74 yards for a touchdown leaving the Jayhawks in the dust.

Sept. 20 - Home Sweet Home: The Golden Panthers open the doors to Fiustadium their new Cage -- the new FIU Stadium (right). The Golden Panthers fall to South Florida 17-9, but the only on-campus stadium south of Orlando is open for business.

Sept. 27 - Holy Toledo!: No need to wait until December this time for the 1st win of the season. Behind a solid running game and a suffocating D that allows 3 points after the 1st quarter, FIU knocks off its first non-conference foe as a Division I team. Final score: FIU 35, Toledo 16.

Oct. 4 - North Texas, Paul McCall is Your Daddy: While T.Y. Hilton notches another 2 TDs -- one of them a dazzling catch-and-run that breaks 3 NT tackles, FIU quarterback Paul McCall (left) throws 4 TDs to tie Pmm the program record of Jamie Burke. That gives PM 7 TD passes vs. the Mean Green in the last 2 games.

Oct. 11 - Your Welcome, AOL: FIU gets its first win in the new FIU Stadium by handling Middle Tennessee 31-21. Besides the sharp FIU intro video of the Panther jumping buildings and landing on the MT helmet set to "Thunderstruck", Hilton's (right) new touchdown sound effect, the AOL sign-off, makes its debut: "Goodbye".

Nov. 8 - The Hilton Heave: A field goal festival for Dustin Rivest, whoTymt  sets the FIU single-game record with 5 FGs, to keep the Golden Panthers in the game against Arkansas State. But the late-game drama belongs to two FIU freshmen. Goodbye fumbles an end around, but stays with it and throws against his body a 38-yd TD pass that Junior Mertile "was waiting forever for the Money Ball to come down". FIU 22, ASU 21.

Nov. 29 - An Offensive Afternoon: No, I don't mean to send you good people back to your shrink's couch. Yes, it was an offensive ending losing 2 14-pt. 4th quarter leads to the Hooters, but the title of this game refers to the FIU O putting up 50 points in a 57-50 OT loss. Freshman RB Darriet Perry (left) shows that he can carry the load literally and figuratively, taking 3 FAUers for a 13-yd ride en route to 115 yds and 2 TDs. PM becomes 1st FIU QB to throw for 400 yds. Goodbye scores 3 TDs and GE puts up 138 yds receiving. The promise of a potent FIU Dp O is unveiled.

Dec. 6 - The Beginning of the Turnaround: After a slow-starting 1st half, FIU turns it on in the 2nd half for a 27-3 season finale win over Western Kentucky. FIU matches the program-high of 5 wins in the season and rides a surge of good vibes into the off-season and recruiting.

Vote for your favorite 2008 moment below the Pawse.


  Clawing Cancer: Senor Pelegrin... the following's from Manny Navarro's UM blog:

"From what FIU beat writer Pete Pelegrin tells me, UM is looking for a four-game deal in hoops, with three games at UM and one at FIU. That's doesn't sound like a stretch, considering UM has hosted 10 of the team's 12 meetings. But FIU athletic director Pete Garcia is looking for a basic home-and-home series with the Canes." Is that true?

GPP: Yes, except it is a 2 for 1 that UM is looking for and FIU only wants to play 1 for 1 and if they do 2 for 1s then UM has to pay FIU, which it does not want to do. Really, no big deal, FIU has to worry about getting healthy and winning some games when the "cavalry" as SR calls them, comes back in January.

Since Ultimate FIU Fan asked: FIU hoops injury updates from SR today: Tremayne Russell (hand), Alex Bc Galindo (ankle) and J.C. Otero (knee) all should be back by the 1st week of January. Josue Soto (thumb) is expected back the 2nd week of Jan. Russell Hicks (foot) by the "last few games of the season". True story, I almost went on injured reserve covering FIU hoops at the UM arena. Stepped on a chair to shake hands with Max and Miri, who were on the second level above the press area, and my ankle twisted, but not enough to sideline me. Maybe the FIU hoops injury curse extends to off the court as well.

Pantera Dorada & esteban688: PD, good meeting you at the Dazzlers Calendar signing. . .Regarding A.J. Grant, he may or may not make it academically at FIU and the AFL is an option, but he has not signed with any AFL team and the league is in $$$$ trouble, so who knows.

gpantera: Pete Pelegrin, You're MIA. Haz algo para la patria. We're dying for football info. Heck, any FIU sports info will do at this point.

GPP: gpantera and la patria, was a little busy today doing a Marlon Bright story for Tuesday's paper....hope this best of FIU football 2008 helps for now and we'll get into a recruiting breakdown next to fill the FIU football withdrawal. MC will also be on here LIVE doing a Q & A with you good people. He's kind of busy right now doing this recruiting thing, but he called me the other day to assure you good people that he will do a LIVE blog on the GPP. Will post when we have a set day and time.

Apaw We've reached north of the border, ay! in our GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP. A GPP reader in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada believes that FIU & UM have better opponents to play than Sbrew each other. More 80 percent of you think it's a shame the crosstown series is over. Maybe the GPP scorecard will cheer you up:



22 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

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

Time to vote on your moment:

December 12, 2008

FIU: No Starters vs. UM

Fa Quick update from Coral Gables, the last FIU starter available for tonight's game -- Tremayne Russell -- will not play and is out definitely with a broken hand.

FIU will be playing tonight's game with their reserves and four non-scholarship players. If this doesn't get any better for FIU hoops, then.....FIU baseball season begins Feb. 20 vs. Jacksonville.

Hey, the UM hoops team uses FIU football's introductory song: Just heard AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and I was expecting to see the Panther jumping buildings and landing on a UM helmet and then see MC and the boys coming running out of the tunnel.

FIU hoops could use some of football's big bodies tonight.

Will The Last FIUer or UMer To Leave, Please Turn Out The Lights

Fiuhoop The last game of the Miami crosstown series ends tonight between FIU and UM with the final hoops game between the schools. It will be the last time the Golden Panthers and Hurricanes meet in any of the 3 major sports. (Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez and Sam Lewis for pics)

If you recall, UM did not renew the football series after the 2007 season and after FIU baseball defeated UM in Coral Gables earlier this year, Hurricanes coach Jim Morris said no mas to the Turtle.

Tonight's game should not be close with FIU missing 4 of its 5 starters and UM Ttjm loaded with talent this year. It's a shame the series ends tonight, because with the way FIU is developing its athletic program, the series has the chance in the future of becoming the UCLA/USC of the east coast.

Yeah, yeah I know UM has everything to lose and nothing to gain if they keep playing FIU, but so what, if you're good enough that shouldn't be a problem and you shouldn't lose, right? Eventually, if FIU keeps recruiting like they have been the last couple of years and keeps developing talent, the playing field will level.

Fiufoot Yeah, I know some that read the previous statement don't want to hear it or may say that's crazy talk. But until the new athletic administration arrived at FIU, the Golden Panthers athletic program and teams never had any real direction or any emphasis on recruiting. However, with the university dedicating more resources to FIU athletics, the new on-campus stadium and with the new athletic administration and coaches all that is about to change in the very near future.

Tell us what you think of the end of the crosstown series and vote in our poll below the Pawse.


Congratulations to the FIU Golden Dazzlers and cheerleaders on their new swimsuit calendar and on having the most popular story on the Miami Herald website on Thursday. If you want to check out the story and some pics click FIU's Finest ....Here on the right is the cover photo of the 2009 calendar.Dazzcover

You can buy the calendar for $10 at fiugoldendazzlers.com or at fiucheerleading.com.

Apaw Good to meet another of our GPP readers -- pantera dorada -- at the Dazzlers Calendar Launch Party on Thursday.

To your questions:

Jsuarez88: Pete! please keep us updated with recruiting news...We are all curious about what's going on with Neat, Mallory, Flores, Gilliam, McBurse, Van Dyke, Akins & others? and also on the JUCO's:
The-Liar, Gatlin, McGee, Green & others? & one last thing, people are comparing Elliot Cain to a young Sean Taylor??? that sounds like a dream come true, is there any truth to that?

GPP: Will start the FIU recruiting roundup next week. For now here are some tidbits to tie you over. Neat is still an FIU commit, but Ole Miss is coming on strong. Mallory is committed to FIU and you can watch him play in the state championship game vs. Bolles on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on Sun Sports. From what I'm hearing, FIU has a real good chance to get Flores, despite the W. Michigan flirtations. Van Dyke looks like he'll make it BTW 5. Akins is still deciding. Theliar is going to USF, McGee is going to UM. As far as Cain compared to ST, not sure how much you can read in to those comparisons, especially when the kid hasn't played a down in college. He does have good size for a safety.

alt7787: Pete I dont know if you can quell my fears, but tell me this wont happen next year. actually a better question would be, why did an extremely talented FIU team (maybe the most talented to date) go 0-12? Im really looking forward to seeing McCall, Hilton and Perry next year as well as Gaitor and others on defense, but im concerned that next year might be a repeat of 2006. Am i just being stupid?

GPP: Easy there, alt7787, we haven't even reached signing day or the 1st spring practice. That disastrous 2006 season started from the top on down. To start, there was no discipline with the old FIU coaching regime and that translated into how the team practiced every day and prepared for games -- which most of 2006 FIU was not prepared going into its games. While FIU did have a solid D that season coming off a season in which they led the nation in tackles for loss, the FIU O had no imagination or reason with their play calling. Plus, there were no game-changers like a T.Y. or hopefully Neat. We (media) were calling what plays FIU was going to run from the press box before they ran them in most games that season. Yes, there was some bad luck in 2006, but you also make your own luck by being prepared.

esteban688: Pete i heard from good source that AJ Grant has chosen to play in the AFL??

GPP: Will look into that, but the AFL is having money troubles right now and they may cutback on teams next season that are having trouble staying in the black.

FIUFanatic: Pete, Would you please find out what are the implications for next year's recruiting class with the scholarships reductions due to the APR and infractions?

GPP: Fanatic, both FIU football and baseball already had all their scholarships restored. So there is no impact on recruiting. FIU men's hoops does have to give up one more scholie and then all of FIU teams will be back to full strength -- scholie-wise.

December 10, 2008

Golden Dazzlers Calendar

Dazz The FIU Golden Dazzlers will have their swimsuit calendar launch party tommorrow (Thursday) at 8 p.m. at the Stadium Club at FIU Stadium.

The event is free and open to the public. The lovely ladies, who have been called "the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders of the NCAA", will be signing the calendars, which cost $10 and would make a great Christmas gift.

We will have a Golden Dazzler join us on the GPP to talk about the calendars. :)

Golden Panther Pawse 12/10


Nothing new today to update on the WC transfer to FIU. But the wheels could be spinning -- literally and figuratively. About 20 minutes ago, I called his high school coach, the venerable George Smith, who has won more than 300 games and several state titles over at St. Thomas Aquinas and asked him what he knew about WC getting his release from Miss. State and going to FIU.

Drivenite Car Smith said: "I know the sky at night is dark. I know a car driving goes down the road Abc and I know A, B, C, D, E, F, G."

As far as U24/7's question on WC's eligibility: A college athlete can use his redshirt year at any point during his four-year college career. So when WC transfers, he has to sit out (NCAA rules) and that would be his redshirt year. Thus leaving him 2 years to play at FIU beginning as a redshirt junior in 2010. pikedanny had good examples with Russell Hicks and Alex Galindo.

ridgepanther: PP, can we expect quite a bit of turnover from this staff? they had two year contracts that expire, so I would think just by resume and connections Cassano, Galiano, Legg, Clark, may leave?

GPP: I don't think there will be quite a bit of turnover from this staff. I think this staff has done a solid job with what they inherited and with the recruits they are bringing in. Of course, if another school with more money or a better position comes calling for FIU assistants like Florida State did last year for James Coley, then it will be up to FIU to match or up to how comfortable/happy the FIU assistant is here. Legg's deal is not up. His first season was this season that just passed.

gpantera: Pete, I thought you wrote that an All-SEC Freshman QB two years ago and All-State quarterback for Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High during his prep career was enrolling at FIU. Stop playing with me Pete. I'm still emotionally unstable, recoving from the ULM and FAU games. If this is a joke, it's not funny!

Op GPP: gpantera, no joke, get a hold of your emotions and take a deep breath. Don't turn the TV to Oprah, we got you covered here at GPP Nation. As someone that's not a fan of following the zany whims of college recruits that can't make up their mind between lemon-lime or orange Gatorade, I would not write about a possible transfer unless the info I'm getting is legit and my friends from M-i-double-S-i-double-S-i-double-P-i are good sources. I think having WC's high school coach not denying it and telling me that he "knows the sky at night is dark and a car driving goes down the road" are good signs. At least we know, that the sky at night is dark and if you drive your car, you go down the road.

blkpanther: Pete, whats the word on James Jones? He gonna be ready for next Season.

GPP: JJ tore his knee in the season finale. Right now, only the man upstairs know if JJ will be ready for 2009. It all depends how bad the tear is and how quickly he heals.

Gppaw_2 Another worldwide reader joined the GPP on our last poll question. A reader in Lebanon thinks it was a great turnaround season for FIU football. What the latest scorecard you ask?



21 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

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

GppawIt may not be pretty for the Golden Panthers, but your last chance to see FIU vs. UM basketball is this Friday in Coral Gables and the FIU athletic department is giving away 200 tickets to FIU Tix_2 students.


This will be the last time these two schools play in hoops. UM is not renewing the series.


To obtain tickets, students must visit the FIU ticket office located in the southeast corner of the U.S. Century Bank Arena at FIU. Students must present a valid FIU student ID to register for a free ticket and bus ride to the game.


All students attending the game must take the bus, which will depart from the U.S. Century Bank Arena at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. All students must check in by 5 p.m.


Tickets are limited to one per student and only 200 are available.

For more information call 305-FIU-GAME

December 09, 2008

2007 All-SEC Freshman QB To FIU

Speaking with friends in Mississippi, it looks like Mississippi State QB Wesley Carroll is going to transfer to FIU after being granted his release on Wc Tuesday from the Bulldogs.

Carroll was an All-SEC Freshman QB two years ago and was an All-State quarterback for Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High during his prep career. When WC arrives at FIU in January, he will have to redshirt next season, because of the transfer and will be a redshirt junior in 2010.

In his freshman season, WC earned the starting job at MSU and played in all 13 games for the Bulldogs throwing for 1,392 yards with 9 TDs and 7 INTs.

WC lost his starting job this season after just 4 games throwing for 560 yards with 3 TDs and 7 INTs. The folks in Mississippi say WC did not get a fair shake at the QB job this season after just 4 games. MSU was 1-3 after 4 and WC threw for 528 yards with 3 TDs and 6 INTs after those 4 games.

Mollica On Preseason Player Watch List

Mollica A little FIU baseball break from football. FIU baseball's Opening Day vs. Jacksonville at FIU is 72 days away. The Golden Panthers picked up their first preseason honor.


Second baseman Ryan Mollica was named to the Preseason 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List.


Last season Mollica hit .413 with 23 doubles, 5 HR, 49 RBI and had a .483 on-base percentage. He also led the Sun Belt with a .504 average against conference opponents. Mollica tied Joe Hughes' single-season school record for doubles, set in 1980. 


Gppaw Golden Panther 90: Rod Delmonico is no longer part of the FIU coaching staff. He was hired as the head coach of the Dutch National team last week.

T.Y. & Gaitor All-Sun Belt....MC Gets Hosed

Tyhilton The official All-Sun Belt team was released this morning and T.Y. Hilton (left, thanks to Sam Lewis for all FIU pics) and DB Anthony Gaitor (right) were 1st team selections. Goodbye received multiple honors as the Sun Belt's Freshman of the Year, 1st team kick returner and 1st team all-purpose. Goodbye also was named as 2nd team WR.Ag_2

MC, however, did not win the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. Instead, Troy's Larry Blakeney, who always has his Trojans atop the SBC took the award. Sure thought going from 1-11 to 5-7 would merit a coach of the year honor, but guess not.

Other Golden Panthers honored on the All-Sun Belt teams were: C Brad Serini (left), DE Quentin Bs Newman and P Carlos Munera on the 2nd team; LB Scott Bryant (right) and QB Paul McCall were honorable mention.

Here's the All-Sun Belt 1st team: Player of the Year: Tyrell Fenroy (ULL, Sr., RB #32); Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Sb Desormeaux (ULL, Sr., QB, #6); Defensive Player of the Year: Alex Carrington (ASU, Jr., DE, #98); Newcomer of the Year: Levi Brown (Troy, Jr., QB, #12); Freshman of the Year: T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., WR/KR/PR, #4); Coach of the Year: Larry Blakeney (Troy).

First Team All-Conference Offense: Michael Desormeaux (ULL, Sr., QB, #6); Reggie Arnold (ASU, Jr., RB, #2); Tyrell Fenroy (ULL, Sr., RB #32); Casey Fitzgerald (North Texas, Sr., WR, #87); Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, So., WR, #3); Zeek Zacharie (ULM, Sr., TE, #15); Matt Mandich (ASU, Sr., OL, #63); Brad Bustle (ULL, Jr., OL #75); Chris Fisher (ULL, Jr., OL #79); Chris Jamison (Troy, Sr., OT, #65); Dion Small (Troy, Sr., OT, #74).

First Team All-Conference Defense: Alex Carrington (ASU, Jr., DE, #98); Jervonte Jackson (FAU, R-Sr, DL, #92); Brandon Lang (Troy, Jr., DE, #91); Cameron Sheffield (Troy, Jr., DE, #90); Frantz Joseph (FAU, R-Sr., LB, #56); Cardia Jackson (ULM, Jr., LB, #51); Boris Lee (Troy, Jr., LB, #2); Corey Small (FAU, R-Sr., DB, #26); Anthony Gaitor (FIU, SO., DB, #7); Terence Moore (Troy, Sr., DB, #20); Sherrod Martin (Troy, Sr., DB, #6).

First Team All-Conference Specialists: Josh Arauco (ASU, Jr., K, #89); Truman Spencer (North Texas, Sr., P, #25); T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., Return Specialist, #4); T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., All Purpose, #4)

December 08, 2008

Already Rolling Toward The Tide

Turns out you good people of GPP Nation aren't the only ones already thinking Alabama and the 2009 FIU Rolltide Football season. Your Golden Panthers are ready for 2009. More on that in a second.

Congratulations to our WIN A GPP Blog and 2008 FIU Football Media Guide winners: Baltimore Panther (1st place) start writing your own GPP Blog and e-mail it to me with photo requests as well. Ultimate FIU Fan stop by the press table during the next FIU hoops game on Dec. 20 at the FIU Arena to claim your 2008 FIU Football Media Guide. Full results of our blog contest are at the end of the post.

Tywk After Saturday's win over Western Kentucky (thanks to Sam Lewis for the FIU pics), your Golden Panthers were already talking about the Crimson Tide in the locker room. Guess, FIU didn't want the season to end either. Winning will do that. Click here for FIU Ready For Next Season

Heck, even a trip to Detroit on Christmas Eve would have been welcomed. That's where the team, FIU let get away with two 14-point 4th quarter leads is going. Florida Atlantic will play Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26. Detroit (right) never looked like such a paradise.Det

But anyways, it was a very successful season for FIU after a ton of media predicted a 1 to maybe even 2-win season for the Golden Panthers. For the record, yours truly had FIU at 4-8 back in August.

To say the future is bright for FIU football is an understatement. It's sunblazing -- to borrow the former FIU mascot. If this season is an example of what the Golden Panthers and the new FIU football coaching staff can do in just 2 years after NCAA sanctions, average recruiting and a lack of discipline program-wide, then what will FIU football look like in 4 years? Multiple Sun Belt titles, anyone?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there are still plenty of holes to fill with recruiting on this team and will cover those in an upcoming blog.

This season we saw the emergence of a freshman superstar "Goodbye", stability at quarterback, a dangerous receiving corps, a glimpse of the everydown running back FIU has been searching for 7 years Grace_2 now. We also saw an offensive line get better as the season wore on.

We also saw sparks from a young opportunistic defense that finished 22nd in the nation in tackles for loss and that was with most of the defensive speed still needing to pack on some pounds or redshirted. We also saw some of that defensive freshman talent like Chuck Grace (left), Franklin Brown, Jonathan Jackson, Kambriel Willis and James Jones, who unfortunately tore a knee on Saturday.

And as you may have read in my Monday FIU story above, the FIU coaching staff is already knocking on doors recruiting one day after the season ended.

We'll have a more in-depth review of the season later this week and we'll also have our GPP Football Awards Show.

It might have gotten lost in the Panther Pawse, so I'll post on HERE the poll to choose a nickname for Greg Ellingson. The sophomore receiver became PM's go-to-guy along with Goodbye this season. Please click the HERE above and give GE your vote. Also vote on the 2008 FIU football season below the WIN A GPP Blog leaderboard. Thanks.

Here's the final leaderboard:

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) FINAL Leaderboard:

10-2: Baltimore Panther (259) [GPP BLOG WINNER]

9-3: Ultimate FIU Fan (259) [2008 FIU Football Media Guide WINNER]; FIUChris (290); FIU Fanatic (299).

8-4: Puma (244); FIU Voice (252); Clawing Cancer (257); NYCFIUFan (267), outofthecage88 (267); fiufan751 (276); MIA/NY Josh (323).

7-5: Fomenter (259); FIUJM (279); FIU 0406 (283); TheChampionUnderdog (286); SouthPaw (311).

6-6: Max (282); gpantera (332). 

GPP: 9-3, (251).

Golden Panther Pawse 12/8


Spoke to MC earlier tonight about 20 minutes before he was going to enter a recruit's houseMc  (Does the FIU head coach take a break? Also, all 8 FIU assistant coaches are currently on the road recruiting as well) and told him you good people were already having FIU football withdrawal. So MC said: "We can do a live blog. Let's get people cranked up!". As soon as I got a day and time set for a LIVE Q&A with MC, I will post it on here Comp with plenty of advance notice.

Clawing Cancer: Pete, anyone else on the men's basketball team get hurt? It's been a week or so since the last injury... I'm guessing someone else should be out 8-10 weeks by now.

GPP: No new injuries. In fact, Freddy Asprilla, who had been battling an Achilles injury, came back for the Buffalo game last Saturday. Maybe this will be a trend, FIU getting players back from injury instead of losing them.

blkpanther: Pete, I saw that 13 senors are leaving, but i don't see Jonas Murell's name in there is he coming back? Secondly, i heard a reporter say in the post game interview that the authentic FIU jerseys were on sale for 2 bills, that's true? Is Ricky Booker injured, in the dog house or just not performed?

GPP: According to MC, Jonas has one more year of eligibility. Yes, I heard the authentic jerseys are going for 2 Franklins. Earlier this season, MC said Booker was not playing as well as other D-linemen so he fell in the depth chart and worked with the scout defense for most of the season, but Booker did play in the season finale vs. Western Kentucky.

esteban688: Pete: Is it true, Jonas Murrell was not amoung the seniors in the group and i was under the impression that TE Eric Kirchenberg (left) was a senior too. Whats up with that?? Secondly... was told that LB Ek Michael Dominguez quit the team or turned in his gear (same thing in my book). He was in the stands with the students. What happened that he couldn't even play one more game to finnish the season.

GPP: I wondered about JM and EK too, but MC told me they both have one season of eligibility left. As far as MD, heard he was suspended for the WK game and his status on the team is up in the air.

gpantera: Pete, What's the story with Mike Dominguez? That guy is a warrior.

GPP: Read above answer to esteban688.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: Pete do you know the schedule for next year?

GPP: Open at Alabama, then home vs. Louisiana-Monroe, then at South Florida, then home vs. Toledo and Nov. 21 at Florida, Nov. 28 home vs. Florida Atlantic. The other 6 Sun Belt games take place Ns between the Toledo game and the UF game. The dates have not been set for the 6 other SBC games yet.

FIU Fan For Life: Pete, I know you stated in your live game blog that the microphone was not working properly at half-time during Dr. Maidique's speech, however Pete I was there, something was definitely wrong with the President's speaking ability.

GPP: Nobody call Oliver Stone (below, left) or any doctors. I spoke with President Maidique as soon as he made his way back up to the club suites after his halftime speech. I wanted to get a quote from him in the Sunday paper. I asked him about the halftime speech and he said he was waiting for a 5-second delay from the time he spoke into the microphone until his words played over the stadium speakers and that's why he Os sounded like he did. PG did not wait for the 5-second delay and that's why his speech came out just fine. MM is doing just fine.

NYCFIUFan: How many SunBelt teams are going bowling?

GPP: Troy to New Orleans and FAU to Motor City Bowl.

CJ: hey pete watching that panther pass post game interview.. the camera guy forgot to turn off the camera lol love hearing everyone shooting the breeze.

GPP: Yeah, that was yours truly with some FIU people shooting the breeze.

Baltimore Panther: Pete I noticed on ESPN that the only two sunbelt teams going bowling are Troy and FAU, why was LU and ASU dissed like that?

GPP: Louisiana, Arkansas State and FAU all split their games vs. each other this season, so it when Ff_2 came down to it, I think FAU having Howard and being defending Sun Belt champs played a factor in getting the at-large bowl bid. Because I think all 3 teams would probably bring the same amount of fans to Detroit.

Joel: Will the school be offering bus rides for the games at USF and UF? And how about the Alabama game? Will the school provide any sort of transportation for that game?

GPP: A little too early to tell, but there may be something for the 2 games in Florida, not so sure about the Alabama game.

December 06, 2008

FIU/Western Kentucky LIVE GAME BLOG

Fiuhelmet Season finale, GPP Nation, as your Golden Panthers take on the soon-to-be-Sun Belt member, Hilltoppers at FIU Stadium on another pleasant December Miami evening.

Wk_2 FIU looks to snap a mini and costly 2-game losing skid tonight and finish the 2008 season on a high note. If we've learned anything from this season it's that this program is headed in the right direction as evidenced by their nice turnaround from 1-23 the last 2 years.

Quijote, stuck at work and wondering his internet options: 1) Here on the GPP for the LIVE BLOG or 2) Panther Pass is televising the game on-line.

If you're in FIU's home, stop by and say hello at the open-air press box on the east side of the stadium by the 5-yard line. If you're out of town, then follow along on here as we have reliable FIU wireless this week and not the wacky wireless of Dolphin Stadium....Let's kick this thing off....

December 05, 2008

Finish On Top Of The Hill

Fiuhelmet A simple six-letter word that if followed would have had your Golden Panthers going bowling somewhere Sunday night -- that's when all the bowl matchups are announced.

Alas, while the bowl hopes were dashed last week, FIU gets one more chance to f-i-n-i-s-h. Didn't Aretha Franklin write a song about that? No, I know she didn't.Af

Anyways, finishing  with a W would be a nice way to end the 2008 season for FIU. The Golden Panthers host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who will become Sun Belt Conference members next season.

WK is in its 90th season of football, but this may be one of its more forgettable seasons with a 2-9 record. The Toppers have lost 7 straight games and all 4 of their Sun Belt games this season, however in those SBC games WK's losing margin has been by an average of 9 points.

So FIU better not stroll into FIU Stadium thinking it has a scrimmage on its hands with the London Silly Fg Nannies or this could be another kick in the gut and this one will last until and probably after the season opener at Alabama next season.

My gut feeling is the Golden Panthers have learned the painful lessons of underestimating (ULM) and not finishing a game (FAU) and will come out with a lot of emotion and will execute in this game.

Speaking to a writer that covers WK the other day, he says if FIU makes WK pass then the Golden Panthers D should suffocate the Toppers, because WK's strength is its option running game.

Now FIU must stop the option-run game which it has not always been able to. Getting Marshall McDuffie and Jeremiah Weatherspoon back will help the pass and run D.

The FIU O should be OK after hanging 50 last week. Goodbye needs just 31 yards to become the 1st FIU player ever with 1,000 yards receiving. Goodbye gets that record in the 1st quarter and we'll hear the AOL sign-off at least twice on Saturday night -- which you know what that means.

GPP thinks: FIU 37, Western Kentucky 19

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