Got some highlights from the last couple of days of spring practice since your Panthers returned from spring break, but first a couple of notes for you:
Say goodbye to the "thundercats" logo and the old colors at University Park Stadium (photo, right). Thanks to FIU mayor and stadium painting artist Nelson Bradford and Newport Construction, the stadium looks like new. Go to a game this weekend to see it. The new FIU logo will be on the front of the stadium soon.
Due to the Youth Fair, parking will be limited at Tamiami Park for fans attending the FIU Football Spring Game on Friday, April 3rd. FIU Athletics and Stadium Management encourage fans to park on campus upon arrival. Fans are encouraged to park in lot 7, the CSC lot or in the Panther Parking Garage. Game time is 6:00pm and FIU Stadium will open its doors at 4:30pm.. Fans must enter through gate 8 and 10 for admission and will be directed to the south side for seating.
You know who is really developing into a solid receiver and put on some serious weight from last season is Junior Mertile (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo). Standing on the sideline, like I normally do for practices, you get a good appreciation for JM's hands and his speed.
Aaron Davis keeps tearing it up, getting into the backfield to make tackles and getting a couple more sacks the last few days.
Senior WR Reggie Thompson made a couple of juggling catches in traffic and broke one of them for a long gain.
Anthony Gaitor made a slick interception during 7-on-7s. So what's new there?
GE was also part of another nifty play where he caught with his fingertips a beautiful touch pass from WC. Another example of the sound fundamentals WC has with the way he just placed the pass out of the DB's reach where only GE could catch it.
Riley also got a tricky INT in traffic during team drills. In an area, where someone is going to get popped, because there were 4 players involved in the play, PR went in there and snatched the ball.
John Ellis, who Paul McCall calls "the secret weapon", knows how to play football. JE made a one-handed catch with his left hand over the middle and managed to pick up another 8 to 10 yards on the play. This dude is a load to bring down and would not surprise to see him get some more touches this season.
El Oso (left, AJH photo) read the QB's eyes on a play, picked off the pass and outran the offense for a touchdown while MC signaled TD with his arms up in the air. On the way back to the defensive huddle, El Oso got a high-5 from the FIU coach.
Jonathan Faucher should also have a big season. He made a couple more nice catches the past two days.
FIU-Fiji-Drew: What are the statuses of the current FIU alums playing at the professional level? (Carlos Arroyo, Raja Bell, Antwan Barnes, Mike Lowell, etc.)
PP: Arroyo is playing professionally in Israel. Bell got traded earlier this season from the Phoenix Suns to the Charlotte Bobcats. Barnes is recovering from an injury and is expected to be ready for Ravens training camp in July. Lowell is playing 3B for the Red Sox.
FIU Beijinger: Hey Pete, You forgot Beijing, China on your readership scorecard! Go Panthers!
PP: Not anymore. We got you down. Thanks for your readership.
The GPP is now read in: 44 STATES: ALA, ARI, ARK, CA, COL, CT, DEL, FLA, GA, HI, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MISSOURI, MON, NEB, NEV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, UTAH, VA, VER, WASH, WEST VA., WISC.
30 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.
1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.