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Spring Defense....So Far

Been tough to get a good read on the FIU D this spring, especially the pass rush since so many linemen are missing, because of injury. But here's what we've seen since spring ball began.Wfras

Along the D-line, Thatcher Starling got off to a good start with a few sacks early on, but tweaked his knee and is being brought along slowly. Hopefully come fall camp: Jonathan Jackson, James Jones, Reggie Jones, Jonas Murrell, Andre Pound and Starling are all 100 percent and get a good month of practice in before making the trip to Alabama.

Where the most QB pressure and playmaking has come from has been the LBs with Aaron Davis and Winston Fraser (right) leading the charge.

Both Davis and Fraser have not look like second year players, although officially Davis is a sophomore and Fraser is a redshirt freshman. Welcome back Wendy Napoleon has been terrific after missing 2 years due to injury. El Oso and Jarvis Wilson have also had solid springs. Wilson, who played really well on special teams last season, is getting more comfortable at LB.

So has Franklin Brown who went between the secondary and LB last season. So far this spring, FB has been at LB and that's where he's likely to stay.

Esouar The secondary seems to be where the most improvement has occurred this spring.

Chuck Grace and Emmanuel Souarin (left) have made plays and so have seniors like Dez Johnson, Brandon Ellison and Peter Riley. Of course, so have Anthony Gaitor and Jeremiah Weatherspoon.

FIU resumes spring practice on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. at FIU Stadium and let's see who comes back from spring break and gets their name on the GPP practice report.

Other practices this week are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All practices are open to you and are at 3:15, including Saturday, because of the FIU Coaches Clinic going on Sat. morning.

LogoPANTHER PAWSE

Apaw  Good sweep by the Panthers baseball team this weekend, although that D needs to tighten up if FIU has plans to play deep into May and June. Tough 4-game stretch this week with a much improved Bethune Cookman pitching staff and then the Ragin' Cajuns rolling into town.

Louisiana has been the perennial Sun Belt power for some time now and we should get a better idea of Upstad how far FIU has come this season with the 3-game weekend series at the stadium starting on Friday night at 7 p.m. BTW, the painting of University Park Stadium begins Tuesday says Newport Construction head honcho and FIU mayor Nelson Bradford. And the colors in the previous sentence will be the colors of the stadium and no more Thundercats logo on the front wall. 

GPP Q&A

Gold: Pete, So I dont think I ever read your prediction for the upcoming season. Thoughts? BTW, will be in Rutgers for our huge upset!

PP: Right now on March 23, I'm looking at a 6-6 season and bowling is a possibility. Could change that come August, depending how the freshmen and the returning injured Panthers look. For the record, last season I had FIU at 4-8 and they did me one better and finished 5-7. See you in New Jersey.

Em alt7787: Pete, is the walk-on RB wearing El Monstruo's number? 

PP: No, Jonathan Ramirez is wearing 26. Last year, walk-on kicker David Skahn wore 42, but he's not back and no one is wearing 42.

Liza, Enrique, Jill, Miguel, Alex: I appreciate you giving the GPP page hits and keeping us among the most read blogs on the MH site, but Mr. or Miss, decide on 1 screen name.

Anytime anyone posts a comment on the GPP, you reveal enough information to the blog tracking program to know that you are the same person with multiple screen names and what exact part of the Bc world up to the street address, you are posting a comment from.

To answer your question about Miami FC playing at FIU Stadium. Speaking to people very close to the situation, been told that FIU would love to have Miami FC play soccer at FIU, but Miami FC does not have enough money for the rent payment at FIU Stadium so FIU would rather rent out the stadium to other parties that have the $$ to play there.

CJ & blkpanther: id prefer more FIU Cowgirls to FIU Cowbells.

Cowgirls PP

: Here you go guys and while we're at it let's bring back the FIU Witches (in purple & pink tops) too, since they've been away Chrm for a while.



Apaw

Believe it or not, we're one-third of the way through the FIU baseball season and your Panthers stand at 15-4 and 4-2 in third place in the Sun Belt with an early season huge 3-game series on deck vs. Louisiana this Friday and Western Kentucky on Friday, April 3.

The thoughts here are FIU has gotten tremendous starting pitching and we've seen some good fundamentals, especially at the plate where most hitters are using the whole field and not pulling everything. Also have to be encouraged by the spike in stolen bases by FIU. The Panthers need to settle on their middle relief to get the ball to closer Jorge Marban and need to be more consistent with the fielding.

So what are your thoughts thus far on Turtle's boys in season 2.....

 

Comments

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Only thing that worries me is our D-Line. When we play the bigger schools they may take advantage of us upfront.

Let's get some people to go to baseball games this weekend. Team is exciting.

GO FIU!!!

D-line...particularly in the middle..there seems to be a lot of questions there...hopefully, the returning players with playing experience...such as Jonas Murrell and Reggie Jones, can lead by example and provide extra benefits and show the younger, but talented players, how it's done in IA.

Go FIU!!! Bring it!!

FIUJM - the only thing that worries you in the D-Line? What if TY gets hurt, we have no other true playmaker on O - unless we have another breakout freshman. Also, if TY is hurt, or even slowed a step, our QB is in real trouble. This team has a lot more holes than just D-Line my friend. Though we are steadily improving and the coaching staff is doing a tremendous job, we are a long way off from statments like, "Only thing that worries me is our D-Line."

I can see CrazyPanther's point, but we are deep with talented players especially at the WR positions for someone to step up if T.Y. goes downs. As long as this years recruits enter in the summer I see Edgar Theliar having a Big Year opposite T.Y. or Greg.

I don't think that the WR is an issue at all. On the Offensive side of the ball the holes I see are at OL, RB & QB.

A lot of PM fans/Brothers may be high on him but I still am not. I think he needs to raise his completions % and stop holding on to the ball and taking Sacks. But, for him to do this the line has to play better.

We will just have to wait until the season starts.

Sorry I didn't clarify it...I meant on defense. In my opinion, we're solid and have depth at other position on defense(LB's and DB's). D-Line is just young but very talented.

I completely agree with blkpanther; we're loaded with WR's. I think we'd be in trouble if McCall got hurt. I can only see him getting better in Coach Legg's system.

GO FIU!!!

Again, FIUJM - "loaded with WR's"???? Other than TY, nobody is proven enough to say that we are "loaded with WR's" We may think they are good, but in the broad aspect of things - only really TY has done anything and he did it as a freshman. Now that teams can gameplan for him, lets see if he can do it again. I hope so, but I am not so sure with our lack of OL and running game. I am fearful; that this team is going to actually take a step back this year and that TY is not going to be the player he was last year because of the aforementioned game planning by our opponants.

I do agree the D is pretty solid.

Colt still has trouble with tight spirals and the RPMs ?? No chance he is the back-up.

Younger looks better from what I have seen thus far on his throws and has started against Penn State and Arkansas without a legit O-line. Under Legg, Wayne is the 2nd team guy. With a running game (Perry) and his quick feet and improved mechanics, Wayne should be a legit backup and tough to contain.


Hopefully, Paul stays healthy and this offense explodes this season with the addition of more firepower !!!

Teams can do all the gameplanning they want. Spectacular players with natural abilities are not consistently stopped just on gameplanning. You can throw a 4 yd slant to that kid and he can go the distance. Injury is a concern but outside of that I doubt anyone other than himself will stop TY next year.

I agree we a set at the WR position WITHOUT TY. Mertile, Theliar, Ellingson, Wayne Times. We are more than comfortable at this position. Having TY active is a great advantage. But we do have solid Receiving. FIUer is right talent cannot be contained! The D line looked good in one on ones and even better on 7 - 7 today. One thing I noticed is Jack Griffin wasnt kicking too hard. The return guys were yelling at him to get the ball down field.

Exactly FIURage...don't forget Frierson and Marquis Rolle. Rolle was supposed to be Cristobal's best recruit in 2006(MC's first year). Rolle has the tools to be a #1 receiver. Even Cristobal said in live blog on GPP that this position will be most competitive. Basically, all these guys are going to be competing to start alongside TY.

Talking about TY, he will be unstoppable next year. He has bulked up and is going to give Defensive Coordinators nightmares next year.

One more thing, wild card at WR position may be Jonathan Ramirez. He's playing RB at the moment but I believe he can also play that position.

Looking forward to seeing all the talent in spring game on April 3rd.

GO FIU!!!

Well, TY can, perhaps have a "letdown" season, particularly coming on the heels of a Freshman All American-type of season....however, don't kid yourself into the game planning stuff. Towards the second half of the season, every team knew of TY Goodbye, and game planned accordingly. I'm sure ASU, ULM, FAU, and WKU did their homework and tried to keep Hilton from having big games in their game plans.

Here's what he did in the last 4 games of the season, granted against SBC competition, but he was partially injured in those games:

Arkansas St.(Game 9): 6 receptions for 199 yards..2 punt returns for 53 yds, and of course his game winning TD pass to Mertile....Hilton's Heave...

ULM (Game 10): 8 receptions for 93 yds and 1 TD. 3 kickoff returns for 55 yds.

FAU (Game 11): 4 receptions for 99 yards with 2 TD's. 1 rushing TD. 3 kickoff returns for 33 yards.

WKU (Game 12): 2 receptions, 44 yds. 2 rushes for 11 yds. and 1 TD.

I don't think game planning slowed him down much in the last games of the season, when everybody knew the offense of FIU went through T.Y.

Also, I think Ellingson is another proven commodity. He had 34 receptions for 574 yards as a Sophomore, with 3 TD's. Mertile, as a true freshman, had 26 receptions...plus we have a JUCO All American WR in Theliar coming in to play WR as well. Frierson came on very strong towards the last 2-3 games, and...Times could also be a special receiver.

Theliar should be expected to come in and contribute right away.... but i think Times is going to be the real wild card on offense. He seems to have that natural elusiveness that TY has with the ball, making defenders look silly.

Let Miami FC play. Make a deal with MFC. MFC should play at the new Football/Soccer stadium.

"If Miami FC can pay, Miami FC can play"

Go and start printing the T-shirts now...

USL, what are Miami FC's ticket sales for the last three years and their average attendance? If both numbers fall far below the 7,000 seat mark at Tropical Park, then it stands to reason that a considerably larger venue would not benefit the team.

I didn't know we were running a charity? I agree with c-UM, though, shouldn't it be C-um? LOL. Their avg. attendance was ~1,800, they could play on our soccer field if they want to play at FIU so much. Oh, and try to stick to one screen name this time, you've been embarrased enough.

This is not a war agaist FIU. We have a pro soccer team that should play at stadium that was built for soccer in mind. It can only help the sport in South Florida.

Did anyone see Jay Leno's FIU joke last week? Awful!

I still love FIU though, FU Jay Leno.

it wasnt so much of a shot AT fiu but rather a shot at the economy stating that even graduates from a University cant get more than a valet job in this economy. dont be so sensitive

FIU FOOTBALL watch out for DUDLEY LAPORTE!!!!!!!!!
he has been seen around campus. 4 star TE

If Miami FC isn't going to pay good money for the rent why would FIU want them there? Just so that there can be a bunch of wack lines all over the field when football team plays?

When is their season? I'm assuming it overlaps with football season.

FIU PAnther Fan:

"you-are-corrrectttt!" (in chris farleys voice)

ya Pete hearing a buzz that Laporte may be joining the 09 class ? any word?

Garcia you will never get MLS at the sorry stadium with AF.

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