Back to our spring football tour to get you ready for when your Panthers hit the field again.
The opening of Spring Practice has been moved up to next Wednesday, March 4 at 3:15 p.m. at FIU Stadium. That first week the Panthers will also practice on Friday, March 6 at 3:15 and Saturday, March 7 at 10 a.m.
Right now the strength of the FIU offense are its wide receivers and that will only get stronger come August when ET, Wayne Times, Rockey Vann and 6-5 Jairus Williams arrive.
Goodbye (left, thanks Sam Lewis), Greg Ellingson and Junior Mertile established themselves as the top 3 WR last season. Beyond that trio it could be wide open for playing time in 2009. Although you would imagine ET and WT will see plenty of the field when they put on the blue and gold.
FIU uses a ton of receivers in its spread offense so it's always good for the Panthers to have depth. This spring will be crucial for several receivers trying to get more playing time.
Toward the latter part of the 2008 season, Jason Frierson (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez) came on and contributed. He figures to be, along with Jeremy Dickens (below left, AJH photo) and Marquis Rolle, the favorites to possibly get into the receiving rotation for the 2009 season. But they will have to catch the FIU coaches eyes this spring.
Frierson, a junior, has shown to have good hands during his first 2 seasons at FIU. Dickens, who the other receivers call the "Godfather" since he is the eldest of the group, has been bothered by injuries throughout his FIU career, but when healthy makes plays. Rolle is the WR we've been waiting to see break out and maybe this is the season the junior makes his mark. Rolle has had terrific springs at FIU now he's got to carry it into the regular season.
Over at tight end, starter Eric Kirchenberg returns, but look for Jonathan Faucher and Joey Harris to get plenty of work during the spring to see who emerges as the No. 2 TE and maybe even get a leg up on the starting job come 2010.
Faucher showed some athleticism last season in limited duty and coaches really like his potential. Harris redshirted last season, but has good size for a TE at 6-3 and 240+ lbs.
John Ellis is back for his senior season as a hybrid TE/fullback. Ellis showed he can get downfield last spring hauling in some deep passes.
We'll take a look at the O-line on the next post.
Nice start by the FIU baseball team taking 2 of 3 from a tough Jacksonville team over the weekend. What a difference starting pitching makes: new starters Scott Rembisz (left, SL photo) and Tom Ebert combined for 12 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 18 Ks.
Plus, solid starts by Tyler Townsend, Junior Arrojo and newcomers Tim Jobe, Raiko Alfonso, Mike Martinez and although he had shaky start to his college career look for Garrett Wittels to be a major contributor both with the bat and the glove.
The Panthers do have to be more careful on the field -- 10 errors over the weekend won't help you win too many games.
Here are the entries for our Win A GPP Baseball Blog:
FIUUuu (40-16, 392 runs); Baltimore Panther (37-19, Regionals, 409); Posterchild (37-19, Regionals, 449); Joel (36-20, Regionals, 410); Roman (36-20, Regionals, 385); Baseball Fan (35-21, Regionals, 420); Clawing Cancer (35-21, Regionals, 400); FIU_GPanther (35-21, Regionals, 408); Max (35-21, SBC finals, 401); FIUBlueandGold (34-22, Super Reg, 392); FIUcanesFan (34-22, Regionals, 409); FIUPantherFan (33-23, SBC semis, 370); OC Panther (33-23, Regionals, 425); 2006PA (32-24, SBC champs, 320); FIU Fanatic (31-25, SBC semis, 402); Yandro (30-26, SBC semis, 374); Gooch7 (29-27, SBC semis, 390); TheChampionUnderdog (26-30, no postseason, 385); Crazy Cane (25-31, Regionals, 350).
GPP Q & A
Jsuarez88: Pete, any word on AJ Grant or Dannehower? Will either play for FIU?
PP: Neither will play for FIU. Grant is not coming to FIU and Dannehower is no longer on the team.
KJHarris02: Hey Pete, how did the Walk on Football try outs go?
PP: There will be some walk-ons participating with the Panthers during spring ball, but they'd have to have a huge spring to stay with the team come August when fall practice starts. With Daunte Owens and Trenard Turner out for the spring, there will be some walk-on running backs working with Darriet Perry this spring.
PP: Chris De Armas might join the team in the fall, depends on how many more scholies FIU has available. Last I heard, the number of scholies left to give is still unclear. Quavon Taylor is taking some classes in a JUCO to become eligible and join FIU. Taylor would sit out this season and be ready to play for FIU in 2010.
Baltimore Panther: Pete enjoy your trip, and if you get bored you can always go cow tipping.
PP: Lakeland is not that boring, but just in case will keep an eye out for cows.