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26 posts from December 2008

December 04, 2008

The First 2008 Season Honors For FIU

The unveiling of the 2008 All-Sun Belt Team that is voted on by SBC coaches and the media (yours truly included) is still another week away, but several Golden Panthers got All-Sun Belt honors from Phil Steele Publications on Thursday.

As if there was any doubt, T.Y. Goodbye dominated the PS's All-Sun Belt team earning 3 positions on the Rm first team: receiver, kick returner and punt returner.

Hilton is second in the nation with 2,074 all-purpose yards and has 10 touchdowns.

Also on the 1st team are offensive lineman Joe Alajajian, defensive back and FIU's leading tackler Robert Mitchell (left) and punter Carlos Munera (right).Cm

Defensive back Anthony Gaitor, FIU's interceptions leader, made second team.

Center Brad Serini, defensive end and FIU sack leader Quentin Newman and linebacker Scott Bryant made the third team.

Gppaw_4 Don't forget to vote on GE's nickname in the last blog. Also, will have the Western Kentucky/FIU preview and predicted score on here on Friday afternoon.

Perry28sl_081129_d3a6471_2  Gppaw_5 Check out a story on FIU running back Darriet Perry (left) by yours truly in Friday's Miami Herald. Thanks to Sam Lewis for the DP photo on the left, where he's carrying 2 Hooters with him.


Golden Panther Pawse 12/4


GppawMore than 80 percent of you have spoken and looks like we'll keep the Pawse on a post by itself. Thanks for voting in the previous poll.

Gppaw_2 "The Hilton Heave" won our poll question for the best name for the T.Y. to JuniorHh  Mertile winning TD pass vs. Arkansas State. I spoke to Greg Ellingson after practice on Wednesday and he does not have the nickname "Glue Hands" nor does anyone on the team call him that like someone said in a comment a couple of blogs ago. So I let him know some of the nicknames you good people have been kicking around and GE said to let you guys decide. So vote at the bottom of the Pawse.

Gppaw_3 LIVE GPP BLOG for the season finale against Western Kentucky begins at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday live from FIU Stadium.

To your questions:

Ultimate FIU Fan: Any more injuries for SR's team in the last minutes? We have two early SBC games against Ark St (away) on Dec 18th and S. Alabama (home) on Dec 20th. Pete how those two teams predicted to do this year? Why does so much attention go to the UM player who is ACC Rookie of the year or something like that, yet no attention, except for your mention in the Herald about TY Hilton possibly being NCAA Freshman of the year?

GPP: Freddy Asprilla is week to week with an Achilles' injury. Harley Fuller had a tooth knocked out vs. Florida Memorial, but should be back in for Buffalo.

South Alabama should be good again after going 26-7 last season. Would say vs. Arkansas State, FIU could get a win, but with the injured state of team right now not sure where and against who FIU would win.

Unfortunately, until FIU gets that signature win or goes bowling, the attention will not be there from the national media.

FIU_Blitz: Do you think is safe that we have Hilton playing both sports? Shouldn't he commit to one of them instead to prevent an injury?

GPP: I'm not so sure Goodbye is going to be playing hoops. He's a freshman. There is a lot on his plate for his first year of college and with the bad karma right now around FIU hoops, he would probably get hurt just stepping on the court.

JM: Can we get an update on how recruiting is going? any recruits gonna make a big impact next year like T.Y. did this year?

GPP: JM, will have a breakdown of FIU recruiting later this month.

FIU Fan For Life: Pete, in your best GUESTIMATION, will PG go after a top assistant at a legit program (NOT UM! No history in hoops!) or will he go the FAU route and take a known coach with PAST glory and maybe a checkered past to bring in a name?

GPP: Judging by PG's track record of hiring coaches, my guesstimation is that his priority will be someone who can recruit and not just nationally and internationally, but locally as well. Don't see PG getting a retread like they did in Boca Raton, unless that person is a heck of a recruiter.

fiu4ever: Are they going to continue with the stadium construction during this offseason? Do you know what the plans are?

GPP: Yes, as we speak the fieldhouse is going up. The outside walls of the FH have just about been put up and most of the plumbing is in. The concrete for the entire floor of the FH has also been laid down already. There is no off-season for FIU Stadium construction. There's a chance the building of the north side of the stadium could be sped up if Miami MLS happens.

December 03, 2008

Safe Season Finale

Mm_2 Looks like the Golden Panthers will have both their starting safeties back for the season finale against Western Kentucky on Saturday at FIU Stadium.

Marshall McDuffie, left, (shoulder) practiced without a problem and without an orange non-contact jersey on Tuesday. Jeremiah Weatherspoon, right, (hamstring) also practiced some, but not the Jw_2 entire workout.

MC said MM would start on Saturday and JW "looks like he's ready to go."

Don't bother with the hindsight and the safeties, unless you have a DeLorean. The 2008 Shula Bowl is over, let's all move on. Time to finish 5-7.

Here is MC's take on the mood of the team regarding the FAU loss and Tuesday's practice:

Mc "We're angry. We're upset. We want to play football again. We would have liked to have played again and again right after the FAU game. We had things right in our grasp and we let it get away. It's a pain that I think is going to pay dividends in the long run with some of these young cats growing up and remembering the sounds of FAU celebrating in their locker room [FIU and FAU's locker rooms at Dolphin Stadium are about 15 feet apart]. They will remember that pain walking off the field  when that Shula Trophy could have come over to our side for the first time in a long time. It will pay off in the long run and right now it's a good pain that we feel and we'll be able to use it on Saturday against a dangerous Western Kentucky that should have beat FAU."

Golden Panther Pawse 12/3


Apaw Before we get to the Q & As, wanted to get your thoughts on the Pawse and vote at the bottom of this post. Do you good people prefer to have the Pawse like in this post or would you rather have the Q&As inside each post in the comments section. Please vote at the end of this Pawse. Thank you.

Apaw_2 Don't worry GPP Nation, after this Saturday, FIU football is not going away from the GPP for the off-season. We'll have MC on here, have your GPP FIU football awards show and, yes, blkpanther, a recruiting roundup of what the Golden Panthers need and what they are targeting.

OCfiuPanther: Can Hicks get a redshirt?

GPP: No, Russell Hicks (right) already used his redshirt year when he transferred from Pepperdine to FIU. He is Rh expected back around mid-February to early March and that's with rehab so he could play in the last few games of the regular season and in the Sun Belt Tournament.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: Any news on recruiting. I know things like that are keep close to the vest but I need something to look forward to. At least from what you know, do we look like we'll have a good class. No names are needed. Just general thoughts.

GPP: As expected, FIU is rounding up a handful of O-linemen. Also, expect more speed from this signing class. Got a kicker/punter supposedly headed this way. But like I've written many times before, you can't be certain of any of these recruits until they sign on the dotted line in February. Case in point, Josh Robinson who just committed to UCF after talking about FIU.

FIUJM: Why not run 4 QB sneaks right behind the O-Line to get that TD? Do coaches not have confidence in line to get 1 yard in 4 attempts?

GPP: From MC: "FAU lined up in that formation with nobody in the box and if we execute the play it is a touchdown. It's a walk into the end zone. At the goal line, FAU showed tremendous flaws in that particular formation and we wanted to take advantage of it, but it didn't work out."

blkpanther: How long after the season is done will the team get handed to Rod Moore to go into the weight room?

GPP: The Golden Panthers get their strength levels tested right after the season to see how much strength each player maintained throughout the 2008 season. On January 4, the day before classes start, there is a team meeting and at 6 a.m. on January 5 as MC said Monday: "We are off and running with the beginning of the winter conditioning program."

Max: Pete, what are the chances that the team comes out flat against WKU? After such an emotional loss, will the team come out with any reason to play next week?

GPP: I think they learned their lesson from the Louisiana-Monroe game about not coming out flat. Seeing the Golden Panthers outside the Dolphin Stadium locker room after the Shula Bowl, I could tell you they took the FAU loss pretty hard. Got a feeling Western Kentucky is going to feel the effects of the FIU loss to FAU. FIU does not want to go into the off-season with a L, but rather on a high note like last year's feel-good win vs. North Texas to close out the Orange Bowl.

gpantera: We're in pain. This FAU defeat was a major, nutcracking, bone crushing loss. Tell things are going to be OK Pete. Give us the silver lining. We need a dose of positive reinforcement because at least i am teetering on the edge between sanity and insanity.

Gpant GPP: Easy there, gpantera, come down from that ledge. Here, have this glass of red on me. From 1-23 the last 2 years to 5-7 in 2008, yes, I just wrote that. FIU will beat Western Kentucky and match the program-record of 5 wins in a season set by the 2002 and 2005 Golden Panthers. Signing Day is just 2 months away and spring practice begins in 90-something days. When I get an official date to the start of spring ball, I'll start an Official GPP Countdown to Spring Practice.

Puma: Hey Pete, since I'm officially out of the running for the Win a GPP Blog with Saturday's loss, am I eligible to receive any lovely parting gifts should I come up with the lowest point differential? What does baseball season look like for the Golden Panthers? Finally, no matter what happens on Saturday, this season has been better than expected. How many starting seniors are we losing?

GPP: Puma, lots of questions. Here are some answers: We don't have any official prize for lowest point differential, but how about a Golden Dazzlers screensaver for all as my Christmas gift to all GPP Nation. Dazzlers_2 Click the photo on the right and save as a screensaver. Plus, with your 7-4 record and low point total you still have a shot to win the 2008 FIU Football Media Guide.

FIU Baseball has a chance to make an FIU football-like turnaround with a ton of new players on the team. We'll have Turtle on the GPP soon to talk baseball.

FIU football will lose 18 seniors after Saturday's game.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, I heard that FIU has a verbal commitment from a kid FASTER than TY, No. #1 is it true? No. #2 is it possible to be faster than TY?

Lamb GPP: The kid you're thinking about, Northwestern High's Corvin Lamb, a junior, who has not committed to FIU just yet. His nickname at NW is "Lamborghini" (kind of appropriate with his last name and speed) -- yeah, he's fast and he's a good friend of Gaitor's. I don't think CL and T.Y. have raced yet, but should he come to FIU, I would like to be there when they do timing day at FIU. Here's a Golden Panther Lamborghini on the left.

FIU Fan For Life: It's truly incredible that one team (men's hoops) can have this bad of fortune in injuries! Is it the players conditioning? Do they stretch properly? Does SR get budgeted for a trainer or does all the cash go to PG's coaching hires? How can this happen?

GPP: Can't be the players conditioning and stretching, because the team's trainer is Mick Smith, who worked for the Orlando Magic and Portland Trailblazers during his 25 years as a trainer. It just seems to be a run of bad luck. I'm thinking I might break a couple of fingers next time I cover FIU hoops and not be able to blog anymore. Galindo and Otero were hurt in The ATM (U.S. Century Bank Arena/FIU Arena). Souto was hurt driving to the hoop when he fractured his thumb and Hicks was hurt in UCLA's Pauley Pavilion while practicing last Friday in Los Angeles.

SouthPaw: What's the status of McDuffie and Weatherspoon against WKU?Mc_2

GPP: Both are probable as of today.

NYCFIUFan: Was Mario on that UM team that lost to Penn State in 2007?

GPP: MC (right, of Joe Paterno) was coaching the FIU team that lost to Penn State in 2007. As far as the army fatigues team that lost to Penn State, no, MC was a sophomore playing in Columbus High at the time.

December 01, 2008

Shula Bowl Afterthoughts....Greed Is Still Good

Vino_2 Hopefully, you good people took Sunday to have a couple of adult beverages, took a walk in the park, spoke to a shrink, downed some antacid or spent a couple of hours pumping iron in the gym.

Yes, it was probably the toughest loss in the 6-year-going-to-be-7-year history of FIU football. The heck with the 7 OT North Texas loss in 2006, this Shula Bowl was for a chance at a bowl game for FIU. Clawing Cancer, yes, we need to revise that FIU loss list.

Hey, today is Dec. 1. Happy December and 24 days until Christmas....Last year on Dec. 1, FIU was 0-11. A 4-7 record is an improvement.

But I know, I know, I know after the first 9 games of the season, all you good people learned you were Gg_2 related to Gordon Gekko (right). Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I wanted to go bowling too and in Hawaii.

Although the Shula Bowl was lost, all was not lost for your Golden Panthers:

Apaw_5 If you were at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, then you saw what might be the best offense in the Sun Belt next season and this offense was wearing white with blue and gold. And NOT red, white and blue.

FIU has a No. 1 QB and his name is no longer Paul Younger or Wayne McCall. FIU's starting QB is Paul McCall (400 yards, 4 TDs). FIU discovered a No. 1 RB in Darriet Perry (left) (115 yds, 2 TDs) -- Did you see the 13-yard run where he was dragging 3 FAU tacklers on his back to pick up Dp an extra 6 yards?

FIU has 2 No. 1 receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Greg Ellingson (237 yards combined and 4 TDs). Besides outrunning everyone on the field, Goodbye also showed he can break tackles on his 34-yd catch and run TD. The other FIU WRs also contributed: Jason Frierson, who is developing the last few games. Junior Mertile, who I would like to see him break one just to see how fast he is. The O-line did a nice job too, opening holes for DP and allowing just 1 sack against an experienced FAU D.

If these are the kinds of recruits MC is bringing in, then the future is quite bright for FIU. Remember, there are a bunch of defensive freshmen that are either still developing physically or redshirting this season. Add another 25 signees in February and this team's talent keeps growing.

Apaw_6 During camp we thought Blue25's impact would come as a WR, but did we ever think he would have the impact he's had on STs. Blue25 blocked a punt and has been a ST maven with his open field tackling on punt returns. He did both vs. FAU. O' Darris D' Haiti also blocked a punt on Saturday -- his 2nd of the season after getting one at North Texas.

Apaw_8 And while NO loss is a good loss (If you ain't first, you're last) and I'm sure I'll hear it from you good Rb people who don't want to hear this: But FIU will learn from this game. I'm NOT calling this a good loss, because there is no such thing. But whenever they're faced with this situation to close a game down the road -- and your Golden Panthers will be in this situation again, because this program is headed in the right direction -- FIU will know what to do and if it forgets, just say "Shula Bowl 2008" or "3-Minute Debacle" and that's all the motivation the Golden Panthers will need.

Of course, there were aspects of Saturday's game that FIU needs to work on:

Apaw_7I wrote on the GPP last week that FIU needed to get constant pressure and sacks on Rusty Smith in order to get him off his game. The Golden Panthers did not do that. Thanks to the Owls WRs dropsies, RS did not get going until the 4th qtr when all of the sudden FAU WRs learned how to catch the ball. The Owls had the same issue last week against Arkansas State where they dropped 12 passes.Arnold_2

What I noticed from Saturday's game was that FIU was always a second or two late to crushing RS. This was because of 2 things: strength and speed. FIU is not quick enough or strong enough yet to blow by or through other O-lines. I counted at least 4 times in the 4th qtr when an FIU defender was closing in on RS, but just did not get there on time. Another year of experience and growth in Rod Moore's offseason workout program and the Golden Panthers will get there.

Apaw_10 Read most of your comments on the FIU D in this past game and I don't care what D scheme you want to use, you're not going to stop Smith, the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Year and best QB, without your starting safeties and without consistent pressure and sacks. Through no fault of the Cc_2 players playing safety Saturday, FIU had 2 guys playing safety that are NOT safeties, but rather cornerbacks. RS is no dummy. He figured that out quickly. FAU couldn't take advantage earlier, because the Owls WRs couldn't catch a cold for the first 3 qtrs. You could make an argument that this is where the previous FIU coaching staff's recruiting prowess was on display. Right now, FIU has no depth and that was exposed in this game.

Apaw_11 Not a fan of using that shotgun on third and short or at the 1-yard line like on Sat. in the drive that resulted in a FG to give FIU a 16-14 lead before halftime. DP was averaging 5 yards a carry at that point in the game....FAU could not stop him (still love that 13-yd run with 3 FAU guys on DP's back)....Make FAU stop him from 1-yard out.

Apaw_12 I'm with all of you on that there is no excuse to miss PATs. Kickers have one duty -- to kick. Will say that Dustin Rivest has improved greatly from last season. For the record, only 1 of the 2 PATs was missed in Sat.'s game. The first one. On the second PAT the snap was mishandled so the kick never got off. Still, missing PATs has no excuse, but there was more Jets_2 to Saturday's loss than just the extra point. FIU's O,D and ST all made enough mistakes to help out FAU.Hh_2

This Saturday we're going to see how FIU handles adversity after this disheartening loss. Will the Golden Panthers curl up in the fetal position and become the J-E-T-S (Just End The Season) or do the Golden Panthers come out roaring, score 50 points and become Kings of the Hilltoppers and this time close the deal with a W into the offseason?

Golden Panther Pawse 12/1


Apaw_4 Congrats to the FIU volleyball ladies for reaching the NCAA Tournament. FIU opens Vb against Colorado State in Gainesville and then gets the Florida/FAMU winner.

Apaw Throw some salt over SR's left shoulder, get him some Lucky Charms or get him a rabbit's foot, because got word a little while ago that center Russell Hicks will miss 8-10 weeks with a slightly fractured foot that occurred in last Friday's practice in Los Angeles before the UCLA game.

Apaw_2 Will have Shula Bowl thoughts right after this Pawse and your WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard is updated below the Q&A. Scores for FIU/Western Kentucky have to be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

Apaw_3 LIVE GPP BLOG for the season finale vs. WK begins around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday from FIU Stadium where I've never had a problem with the wireless. Unlike last week's debacle at DS.

pantera rosada: Can we settle Greg Ellingson's nickname as "Velcro" (right)??Velcro

GPP: Will have to put that and other suggestions up for a vote, because GE is surely developing into one of FIU's top receivers. GE had his first 100-yard game on Saturday with 138 yards. I'm kind of partial to Spid GE's nickname being "Spiderman" because of his web-like hands and the way he went over the ULM defender to make that TD catch. cobracommandr has volunteered the nickname "Stick-Um" (below, right being used by Lester Hayes). Let's get some more GE nickname candidates and we'll put a Stick poll together.

SouthPaw: Hey Pete, just want to make sure you don't confuse me with the loser that posted the false rumor about T.Y. I posted "we're going to win this one" after FAU tied the game at 36. Obviously, I'm not a college football expert with that prediction!

GPP: I never once thought it was you, SouthPaw. Remember, I get everyone's e-mails when they post and this poster was new to the GPP. And considering the good contacts I have with the FIU football program, this poster never had a chance with his TALL TALE.

FIUJM: What's the deal with kickoff/punt returns? I know MC let Hilton do kickoff returns at end of the game but what about punt returns?

GPP: Goodbye (hammy) was not 100 percent going into the FAU game so the coaching staff was being cautious with him.

NYCFIUFan: Do you expect or have you heard of any voluntary turnover in the coaching staff this upcoming year?

GPP: No changes expected. Last year, OC James Coley was kind of expected to go to Florida State after they named his close friend, Jimbo Fisher the HC in-waiting when Bobby Bowden steps down.

Pm_2 Baltimorepanther: How many records were broken or established yesterday by FIU?

GPP: Goodbye became the single-season receiving yardage leader passing Cory McKinney's 890 yards of 2002. Paul McCall (left) became the 1st FIU QB to throw for 400 yards in a game. Darriet Perry became the first FIU freshman running back to run for 100 or more yards. T.Y.'s 3 TDs left him 2 TDs shy of the FIU season record of 12 set by former RB Rashod Smith in 2004.

Quijote: Can you comment on FIUDad's input?

GPP: FIU is no longer bowl eligible with Saturday's loss. You need at least 6 wins and the most FIU (4-7) can get is 5. Here you go Quijote.................Pb_3 

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 11 games): Down to 5 people for the GPP Blog and up to 12 people could possibly win the media guide.

9-2: Baltimorepanther (237); Gold (245).

8-3: outofthecage88 (228); Ultimate FIU Fan (245); FIUChris (268); FIU Fanatic (268).

7-4: Puma (212); Fomenter (230); Clawing Cancer (231); FIU Voice (234); NYCFIUFan (252); fiufan751 (255); MIA/NY Josh (311).

6-5: FIU 0406 (249); FIUJM (254); TheChampionUnderdog (267); SouthPaw (290).

5-6: Max (262); gpantera (310).

GPP: 8-3, 225


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