The recruiting prowl continues with a look at the future of the FIU backfield. It will be a vastly different starting backfield when the Golden Panthers take the field in Alabama on Sept. 12.
From the start of spring practice until then FIU needs to figure out who starts, backs up or if they play the popular 2-back system. Of course, there could also be some freshmen in the playing time mix as well.
Before we look at the RBs, here is your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 32 days (Feb. 4, 2009).
The odds-on favorite to get the first carry of the 2009 season is Darriet Perry (above, left, thanks to Sam Lewis for photo) and with good reason after his performance late last season. The image of DP carrying 3 Hooters on his back (photo above) in the Don Shula Bowl is still fresh. Of course, so is the loss for some of you.
Daunte Owens, recovering from a foot injury, will challenge for playing time. In his brief playing time last season before getting hurt, DO showed flashes, especially against Sun Belt champ Troy. Could see a 1-2 punch of DP and DO or....DM
Would not shock to see Darian Mallery (right) get in on the fun in his freshman season. The Gulliver Prep standout rushed for 1,541 yards and 14 TDs this season in leading his team to the state championship game. DM has 4.3 speed and returned 3 kicks for touchdowns this season. Could envision him playing a variety of roles for the Golden Panthers ala Goodbye. Shawn Bright, TY's teammate at Miami Springs, could also see some action if he enters FIU.
If you look at the 3 RBs mentioned above, apparently your name has to begin with a D to run the football for FIU. Which makes Northwestern's Daquan Hargrett (left) a logical Golden Panther right?
DH is committed to West Virginia, but I would not be shocked if the "Northwestern FIU 3" (Gaitor, Dillard and Times) are in his ear about staying home to play college ball at FIU Stadium. Stay tuned on that one.
Getting DH to FIU would give the Golden Panthers the "Northwestern 4" and the "Booker T 4". That would be a hell of a pickup football game to watch, wouldn't it?
Also, (keeping the GPP's Gatorade Recruiting Theory (patent pending) in mind -- what's it going to be lemon-lime?, orange?, grape?, fruit punch?), don't be shocked, albeit a long shot, if the ATM that wants to open in Purdue and never does open there and opens at FIU. This is just scuttlebutt I'm hearing through the recruiting grapevine about Al-Terek McBurse (right). Same goes for some other FIU RB surprises that could happen down the road.
2009 guesstimations: DP is your starter, but could see FIU using multiple backs like most college and NFL teams do nowadays to lessen the wear and tear on one back. DP is built -- and in the 2 games we saw him in -- performs like a true No. 1 RB.
The other 2 or 3 "D" RBs (DO, DM, DH and maybe ATM) will get their share of carries. DM looked explosive while playing at Gulliver and is a flash running the football. DH is not as fast as DO and DM, but he knows how to run the ball like DP -- natural instincts.
Also, with all this talent at RB with power and speed, it would not surprise to see the Golden Panthers get more creative with their spread offense. Maybe the WildPanther, anyone? FIU needs to land at least 2 RBs in this signing class to give the team some depth.
The Miami Herald blog numbers for the entire 2008 year came in and the GPP was one of the top 4 blogs among the 48 MH blogs regarding traffic increase from the 2007 year to the 2008 year. We had 41.6% or 38,625 more readers in 2008 than we had in 2007. Indeed, "A Sleeping Giant". Thank you all.
Heard from MC the other day and he says to tell you good people, he will be doing his LIVE GPP Q & A Blog in February after signing day. As you may imagine, MC will be busy for the next 32 days. I will post with plenty of advance notice on when MC will be LIVE on the GPP. TT will visit the GPP later this month.
To your questions:
Joel: I was wondering if there were any developments concerning Miami's MLS bid that would have a pro team play at FIU Stadium. There should be an announcement sometime in January... anything coming out of FIU?
GPP: The MLS is expected to make an announcement later this month. FIU really has no say in the matter. It's the MLS's call and they would be missing the boat if they did not award an expansion team to Miami with FC Barcelona's backing. Memo to MLS: This isn't Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
blkpanther: Hey Pete, Is there any truth to Tiger Clark being fired?
GPP: TC is resigning is what I'm hearing. D-line was not up to par this season, especially with its pressure on the quarterback and there were several offside penalties that really hurt. Of course, you can't pin it all on TC. The players have to perform themselves, but ultimately it falls on the position coach. Even though, he probably still could, TC can't grab a pair of shoulder pads and line up against Troy. Also, TC is the only coaching change expected on the football staff this off-season.
GPP: FIU's off-season conditioning program begins this Monday, Jan. 5. Spring practice begins on Friday, March 6. And the Blue/Gold Spring Game is Friday, April 10 at 7 p.m. First practice of the 2009 season is August 7.
FIUBlueandGold: Does anyone think Mario would even start a conversation with the Marve family about coming to FIU ?
GPP: FIUB&G, This isn't your old FIU coaching staff, MC & his staff turn over every rock when it comes to recruiting. But for RM playing at USF in his hometown of Tampa would seem more likely.
Puma: Happy New Year Pete. What happened to Delmonico? I missed that news.
GPP: Puma, HNY to you too. RDM left to coach the Dutch National team. A coach like him that has been a head coach for most of his career, it was only a matter of time before he found a head coaching job. FAU missed out not hiring RDM.
Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete when is Souto coming back?
GPP: Late February, when Russell Hicks is also expected back. Tremayne Russell (Jan. 10 or 11) and J.C. Otero (a week after Jan. 11) are the next walking wounded to return for FIU.