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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?


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Pete, what happen to my record? I'm in the running @ 8-3! As the song by Simple Minds says, "Don't you forget about me...”

I CAN'T believe SR's luck! I'm sure it means nothing to PG about the injuries. SR loses; SR is fired. Very unfortunate. I knew something was up while I watched the FIU / UCLA game in cable that Hicks was not playing much. Sat was very rough; first the Shula Bowl then get home and watch FIU get whacked by UCLA, plus now Hicks is out. Unbelievable!

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? Let us know.


It's truly incredible that one team (men's hoops) can have this bad of fortune in injuries! Pete, 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? Truly frustrating!!!

We also have to remember that Ash Parker, who started over Marshall McDuffie early on in the year, is out for the season with an injury and will be redshirted this year. So technically we were 3 deep at one of the safety positions. Also, A.J. Grant, our top safety recruit from last year was greyshirted. Pete, what's the status of McDuffie and Weatherspoon against WKU?

To offer up a few more nicknames for Greg Ellingson: Sticky Fingers or Good Hands.

Hey Pete, all the football players call Ellingson by the following nickname:

Greg "Glue Hands" Ellingson

This offense is going to be scary good next year and the defense should be top notch as well. Incredible what a good recruiter can do to a team that went 0-23 the last two years. Maybe, just maybe (I'm sippin the Kool Aid now), we might be able to hang with those big boys on our schedule next year and shock the nation.

I'll be there because i'm a masochist. Ok, that was hateful. I'll be there because I love our G-Panthers and i'd like to see them win.

Nice to see you didn't off yourself, gpantera. It's just a football game, man. Way more important things in life to worry about. ;)

About Hicks... oh, my, GOD. This is insane. I can't remember one FIU team getting devastated like this with injuries. Ever.

Since desperate times call for desperate measures, and since this is Miami, there's only one thing left to do. Go into Hialeah, find a "santero" and tell him to de-jinx everything in sight. And I mean EVERYTHING. The shoes. The uniforms. The coaches' suits. The arena (I'd do that one twice... especially with that floor.). The team bus. Trainer's rooms. Even the coaches and players themselves.

Hell, at this point, I'd even get ol' Babalu to do his thing during halftime of the next home game. It'd be a hell of a mess to clean up, and I'm pretty sure the NCAA would frown on chicken blood being spilled on the court. But there's probably no rule against it, either.

Hey, it's just a thought. :)

Guys, lets stop giving SR excuses. I know some of the players are hurt, but there's more to it than injuries. Is there any reason AG and Ndiaye don't seat on the bench?. They are either the most selfish guys on the universe or they are suspended. How come SR hasn't addressed that situation. He's always taking about "Team Unity" and during the games these two guys never seat with the team, as Soto and Otero do.

For 5 years I've been listening to the same excuses "We are battling through injuries, but next year will be better because we have so and so recruit who's a monster".

Let's not kid ourselves, this is a horrible team and time will tell.

It is Tuesday morning and I still have not gotten over the loss on Saturday.

Pete 2 things:

1) FIU 35 WKU 10

2) Was Mario on that UM team that lost to Penn State in 2007? If so, can you ask him two things: What hurt more, that loss or the loss he suffered on Saturday and How did he get over that loss versus Penn State if ever?

Thanks, GO FIU!!

NYCFIUFan - Mario was never in the Penn State game he was too young.

FIU 35
WKU - 17

FIU 21
WKU 17

FIU 10
WKU 24

Yes, we are going to lose. There is no way FIU is coming out strong after the emotional, bowl eliminating loss, last weekend. They have nothing to play for.

On Sat. our Panthers close strong, specially instaed of being deflated, they come out pissed-off! Score:

FIU - 31
WKU - 13

Pete, any more injuries for SR's team in the last minutes?


Pete, or anybody:

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?

FIU 38, WKU 10

im just about over the game... except one thing kills me.. 3 mins left.. you ahve a 2 TD lead... you have a RB that the opposition has NO i say again NO answer for... y are you throwing the ball so close to your endzone!!!!!!!!!!!!... i think the game was lost right there!!!!!... i know Legg wants to run his Offense.. and you cant change your offense up 2 much.. but i think he needs to develop a package for like 3 and 1's.. and 2 td leads w/ 3 mins left lol where its "run, run and RUN some more!"

i finally almost over the game and am just think that one thing is still bothering me... 3 mins. left 2 td lead... Y ARE YOU THROWING THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Legg, i know you want to run your offense... but in those sittuations... as well as 3rd and 1's.. YOU GET IN A POWER FORMATION AND RUN THE BALL!!!!

sorry for the double post.. my computer did something funky and it looked like i didnt post it.. pete could you take care of it.. maybe get rid of the second one?

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?

I would imagine PG is licking his chops now that Hicks is down and PG sees that yet another men's hoops season is seemingly doomed. Pete, in you 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? How about former UCLA coach Lavin, who after UCLA has never coached again? Your thoughts.

Wow FFFL, that's cold! I know that this season with all these injuries looks bleak, but at least give SR and the FIU team a chance in the conference. AG, Otero and Souto will be back. At this point will take ANY OOC win, starting w / FMU Wed and U. of Buffalo on Sat. Have some hope dude!

I'll tell one thing, SBC shouldn't be taken for granted. Just ask Coach Pitino and his #3 Louisville Cardinals who lost to Western Kentucky @ Louisville! 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? Those two early games are pivotal because we'll still be without our starters. If we can split those games then all MAY not be lost for conference. Have hope!


Well to have a chance to win the blog contest, I have to pick W.K. to win, although I know the opposite will occur, but hey, what's there to lose.


WKU - 30
FIU - 29


FIU - 35
WKU - 23

UFF I forgot you're Rouco buddy booster! Love the optimism, wish I could share it, because I do LOVE the program, however two words for you WEST GEORGIA! We can't beat a Div-II school and you want to compete in a Div-I mid-major conference with schools like Western Kentucky who can beat top programs occasionally?

UFF we've heard all this before. "Next year we'll be good because I'll have my players", "Next year we'll be good because I got a kid from Kansas to transfer", "Next year we'll be good because my INJURED players will be back", "Next year...blah,blah,blah", ENOUGH! I truly hope I wouldn't be writing these negative opinions, because like you UFF I want SR and the men's program to do well. Every year except this one I gave Rouco the benefit of the doubt, NOT ANY MORE!

I do believe PG could care less about any of his coaches HE DID NOT HIRE and that bothers me because the moment he plug his “NEW” and “IMPROVED” hoops coach next year, watch that Arena floor be upgraded, you'll hear our broadcast on the radio, the team lockers will be upgraded because it will be Pete's hire. That just a fact. As a matter of fact GPP nation & Pete, I am of the opinion that if SR magically turned it around and WON the SBC (pinch me, I'm dreaming again!) Pete would still FIRE him. That would truly piss me off, however seeing how PG operates, I wouldn't be shocked.

Good Luck men's hoops, I'm still rooting for you; I'm just ranting!


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

My hope is that they get a little more attention from the media next year. I know that wins will help out.

it still hurts....


I can't even imagine what the players are feeling like. At this point, I see the W. Kentucky being a loss. Hard to come out with passion after that.

Even though officially we had major improvement...inside my heart I feel we underachieved.

See yall at the game...

Man, some of you people are just looney tunes.

I dunno what you Rouco haters expect the man to do at this point. He's lost 4/5ths of his starting lineup for at least half the season, if not more. Add in N'Diaye being out for the year and that's 5 major injuries.

On a 12-man roster, that's not a severe rash of injuries. That's absolutely cataclysmic. It's nearly half the freakin' roster. I can't recall another FIU team getting devastated like this, especially early in the year. Even schools like UNC and Duke would have a very hard time surviving injuries to their starters like what FIU's gone through. And, Lord knows, we have enough trouble competing with a full starting 5.

Going off the FIU roster page (which isn't always the most accurate), Rouco now has 11 healthy guys. Since he can only give 12 scholarships, and practically all the hurt players had one (not sure about Bada, but I would imagine the others did), that means SR's got, at most, 8 healthy scholarship players on his roster right now. It's probably 7. And, by the way, one of those "healthy" players is TY Hilton, who will be behind the 8-ball thanks to football season. Oh, and he currently has injury issues of his own.

I understand why people think SR sucks... and the results haven't been the best, no doubt... but Bob freakin' Knight couldn't win with an injury rash like this. The expectations need to be tempered. Severely. There is damn near NOTHING Rouco can do right now, except to try to make this team overachieve like a demon, stay within contention until the big guns come back, and hope it all gels by March and the conference tourney. That's all FIU can do.

And, FFFL, you honestly believe PG is trying to sabotage Rouco? You really think PG's "holding" back on arena improvements until SR gets canned? Dude, get off the drugs. That has to be some of the most idiotic writing I've ever seen on here. FIU is in the midst of a major budget crisis and is also doing major upgrades to the football stadium. Where the (bleeping) hell is this "arena upgrade" money being hidden? Oh, pretty please, do tell.

Even if PG doesn't like SR and is waiting for the contract to expire to can him, that would NOT be a reason to NOT upgrade your facilities in the meantime, if you can actually do it. If anything, doing upgrades would probably put more pressure on Rouco to succeed right away, thus giving PG more leverage to fire him if SR can't deliver.

Your writing just goes to show that, for some people, facts should never get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Ok...still not able to stomach that loss on Sat. night, but life goes on...

I sat in my seat for at least 30 minutes and stared at our sideline and saw the shock on several players/coaches faces as they walked toward the locker room. As a fan, I was shell-shocked at the outcome. On a personal note, November has been a rough month business wise, so this added insult to injury.

This needs to burn in REAL DEEP. Please hang a picture of the FAU team celebrating and the final score somewhere in the fieldhouse or weight room for all players and coaches to see until we can close teams out on a consistent basis.

At the beginning of the year, I posted that we had the talent to win 5 - 7 games this season. The sad reality is that we could of actually won 8 games (USF, ULM, FAU, and WKU???) I based this on the fact that we would have an upgrade at the safety position (Weatherspoon and McDuffie) and an accomplished Offensive coordinator.

As I analyze the roster, already looking to next year - I firmly believe that FIU will be a contender for the SBC title in 2009 and playing in a bowl game. It will be interesting to see if Mario can bring in a couple of JUCO kids to play immediately and shore up the defensive line and/or linebacker spot.

Watch out for the Booker T Boyz (Willis,Jackson, Brown & Fraser) to make a statement next season and reak havoc on defense.

I'll be saving my bottle of blue label for next years bowl invite. See everyone Sat. for WKU.


Great write-up FIUBlueandGold!!! I know players won't forget this loss to FAU.

FIU 34

WKU 21


FFFL, you say you are rooting for the men's hoops team, however you post vile in your entire rant! I'm definitely a friend and booster of the men's team, however I've been that before SR and will continue after his era. I supported nearly ALL FIU teams financially even when I haven't seen eye-to-eye with the coaches or AD (i.e. Bob Wetlich (Men's coach who took us to the dance in '95, was NOT WARM & FUZZY) and Ted Aceto (Most obnoxious bi-pedal on earth!)). The reason being is that the coach or AD SHOULD NEVER BE BIGGER THAN THE PROGRAM. Sometimes coaches do become bigger than the program and often times that leads to too much power for a coach.

SR hasn't met his goals for the program. He'd be the first to tell you that, however to think that ANY program could over come losing 4/5 of they’re starting line-up and be successful is insane!

Just sit back, maybe put some incense on around you, throw down a couple of cold-one and wait for SBC CONFERENCE PLAY!


Well UFF and Clawing Cancer (btw, was up with your name? I don't get it.) since you two have all the answers, how MANY MORE seasons do we give Rouco? Do we renew his contract for, what, three more years of 20 losses? You guys tell me. Because you both always mention how great he recruits and how wonderful these players are, etc. where are these players that have graduated? He's been at FIU for FIVE seasons. How many players are playing ANYWHERE professionally? I can name Ivan Almonte, whom I think plays in Europe. He truly was a warrior and I give SR credit for having him wear blue & gold for two years, but who else?

I repeat, I DO SUPPORT men's hoops and I will come on this blog and post an apology to Coach Rouco if Rouco does something special and takes us to the Dance, however when Div-II teams are beating you at your home arena; I'm sorry guys I don't see the same light at the end of the tunnel you both see. I hope that light does come through the team’s improved play!

FFFL just TRY to enjoy the FIU hoops season & Happy Holidays! Hope to see you at the games. I'll be there!

BTW GPP Nation, W. Kentucky has done it again! They beat #3 Louisville a couple of days ago, NOW they just defeated SEC Georgia @ W. Kentucky. GO SBC OOC victories!


Great comments FFLF. I'm with you 100%. SR has been nothing but a mediocre coach at best. For 5 years FIU has won around 35% of their games. I work for the school system and has been around BB for over 2 decades. SR has NOT recruited a player from Dade County in all his years. Look at his roster. The starting PG at NC State is from Krop so is Colon at KS. Pace's Shipman is at UF, Zachery Peacock from Norland is at Georgia Tech. UM (As much as we hate them, has 3 studs from Dade County, Collins, Ashbury and Rios. UM Assistant George Fernandez is eating SR's lunch locally). The 2 walk ons from Columbus this year were found by George De Cespedes. If you guys don't believe call the HS in the area and ask if any of their players has been recruited by FIU. SR spends his time outside the city looking at these "Can't miss prospects" that when they enroll at FIU, all of a sudden they dissapear.

UFF I respect your position, but unless we the alumni demand something better nothing will happen. Are you willing to stay this course and keep SR or are we ready to move on.

Clawing Cancer, the only one on drugs seems to be you. How can you mention SR in the same sentence along Bobby Knight?. Then you said "the results haven't been the best", please, the results have been HORRENDOUS. FIU has finish last every year SR has been here.

I see all these emotions, Pro/Con, as something very positive for the state of FIU BB since we all want to win.


I totally agree with you, but I know that some fans dont agree with bringing in JC players, but we need an almost immediate impact at certain positions. Especially, the D-Line and linebackers, I would like to see how Winston Frasier improves the backers, because what we lack is Speed accompanied by SIZE especially in the middle. A 220lb middle linebacker will not work against bigger teams[which is almost every team we play against]. On the D-Line we need to be Bigger in the middle to stuff the run. But, FIUBlueandGold dont forget about James Jones looking for BIG things from him and Jonathan Jackson. I expect the JJ2 to be around 250 coming off the edge next season. We are loaded at DBs just for them to develop.

Not to mention the O-line.[So i won't] We need to bring in some JC players that has the size can play now. I duuno y some knock JC players many have BIG time talent, but just did not have the grades to get into 4 year schools.

Lastly, I know a few of you gonna hop at this but I think we need to get in a solid QB in this class. If we get Nico Flores, I would say this would definitely be a Strong Class, but I heard he leaning towards another school. Pete, Can you do a Recruiting Rundown maybe after the season is done. I know that it aint mean anything until the season is done, but we need something to occupy our time.

[going back to sleep]

"Pete, Can you do a Recruiting Rundown maybe after the season is done. ****I know that it aint mean anything until the season is done"

EDIT: I know that it ain't mean anything until the SIGNING DAY.

FIU 34, WKU 17

FIU can and should win on Saturday. Students and fans alike need to get out there for this one and rock the Cage! Spread the word! The last two losses were painful, but that should just make them want to go out with a positive bang even more! Saturday is conference championship day (SEC, ACC, etc). FIU needs to treat this like a championship game. Play with a vengeance and give us even more to look forward to next season! Go Golden Panthers!

Yeah...a lot of people on this board are negative...I say FIU blows out WKU. The game will be over by halftime. Final Score:

35-10 FIU

We finish 5-7 and go on to have the Sun Belt's best or second best recruiting class for the second year in a row. If Korvic Neat commits to FIU (and I think he will), look out for us to have the deadliest wide reciever combo in the conference, not to mention a brain of a quarterback in McCall playing catch with them. Also, Cristobal is recruiting some big guys for the O-line. Long shot if he commits to FIU, but one of them is being recruited by Georgia.

As they do in Chicago and in any ACORN org., vote often whether vertical or horizontal. Just RE-voted for TY Hilton on CBS Sportsline poll. Only TY Hilton and the player from Baylor had an INCREASING stock rating according to the website. Most others had their stock DROP. Please take a moment and RE-vote. Link is below.



FIU 38

WKU 10

AlexFAU, good to see that you fau fans are still playing with your dolls. Looks like were going to have one hell of a shula bowl next year. we will be gunning at you.

FIU 35 WKU 14

Just put in another vote for T.Y., thanks for the heads up UFF!

Yeah TheChampionUnderdog, I am licking my chops for that game vs. the Hooters next year at the Little Big House.

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