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Spring Tour: Defensive Backs; MC LIVE Q&A BLOG TUESDAY 11 AM

A final look at our spring football preview takes us to the defensive backfield -- which if the health is there,Jweather could be one of the strengths of the FIU defense.

Besides 5 solid pickups (Jonathan Cyprien, Derrick Jones, Cain Elliot, Terrance Taylor and Jarrell McGee) in the 2009 signing class, FIU returns All-Sun Belt defensive back Anthony Gaitor and safeties Jeremiah Weatherspoon (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) and Ash Parker.

FIU uses plenty of DBs playing against spread offenses in the Sun Belt and there should be plenty of competition for the other starting defensive back spot opposite Gaitor that Robert Mitchell occupied last season before graduating.

Fb The DBs in the running for that starting job: Franklin Brown (left, AJH photo), Kreg Brown, O'Darris D'Haiti, Brandon Ellison, Chuck Grace, Dez Johnson, Peter Riley and Emmanuel Souarin all get a head start on the incoming freshmen. Derrick Clark could be battling for playing time at safety and might be needed immediately if  Parker is not 100 percent recovered from his knee tear from last season at Kansas.

From what we saw last season, if I was a betting man -- besides the occasional Lotto ticket -- would have to say Franklin Brown and Grace would be the odds on favorites right now for that vacant starting DB spot. With Souarin being a sleeper candidate, because of his speed and athleticism. Of course, all this could change once they all hit the field.

Apaw  Reminder, you can ask your FIU football questions to head coach Mario Cristobal (right, thanks Mc Sam Lewis photo) on our LIVE Q&A GPP BLOG tommorrow (Tuesday, March 3) at 11 a.m. to 12 noon.


Apaw  ALL FIU SPRING PRACTICES ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: here's the schedule (all practices and spring game are at FIU Stadium)

Wed. 3/4 - 3:15 p.m.; Fri. 3/6 - 3:15; Sat. 3/7 - 10 a.m.; Sun. 3/8 - 10 a.m.; Tue. 3/10 - 3:15; Thurs. 3/12 - 3:15; Fri. 3/13 - 3:15; Tue. 3/24 - 3:15; Thurs. 3/26 - 3:15; Fri. 3/27 - 3:15; Sat. 3/28 - 3:15; Mon. 3/30 - 3:15; Tue. 3/31 - 3:15; Thurs. 4/2 - 3:15; Fri. 4/3 - Spring Game at 6 p.m.

Apaw Check out some solid FIU football and baseball video features at cbs4.com. Channel 4 is revving up their coverage of FIU. CBS4 producer/cameraman Luis Zabala created an FIU football workout Cbs feature where he filmed the Panthers during their off-season workouts. LZ also did a 5-minute video feature on the pre-game routine of FIU baseball the morning before their Sunday game against Jacksonville. Turtle is miked up for that video.

When you get to the cbs4 website, type in FIU football in the search box on the top right hand corner of the page. Do the same for FIU baseball.


Clawing Cancer: Pete, you going to cover the UL game for the Herald? Would be nice to get some updates or maybe a live blog or something. Just a thought. :)

PP: No, the MH is not sending me up to Cajun country. If the hoops team had a better record, I would have had a better case to ask to go cover. Would have had a live blog for sure during the game. Regardless, it's a busy Wednesday at FIU with opening of spring football, FIU baseball home vs. Central Florida and both hoops teams in SBC tourney play.

Open FIUBlueandGold: When is the first practice and is it open for the public to watch?

PP: 1st practice is Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. and they are all open. Will have daily blogs from practice, but the first blog will likely be posted on Thursday, because of football and baseball stories I need to write on Wednesday.

Coach D: I didn't see any mention on Artis Warthen Jr. a Sr.DE/LB returning defensive player, what's his status?

PP: Artis is back and he should be in the mix for playing time along the D-line.

Crazy Cane: WOW - While FIU was splitting games with crappy Brown University, UM was sweeping a Willie ranked University of Florida team on the road. Yeah, it sure looks like Turtle is getting FIU past UM in a hurry on the diamond.

PP: Guess we won't know about that until possibly a regional. FIU placed the call to UM again last fall to play and heard from a reliable source that Jim Morris went nuts when he heard it was FIU on the line. Guess, Willie Nelson had it right: "You were always on my mind".


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O'darris D'haiti #20 a Sr was a beast on special team. Also Dez johnson #29 a jr that seen a little time at DB also had a pick.

I think Derrick Clark will win the job before the season's end. I think Jarrell McGee can plug the hole at safety for Parker if injuries plague him again. Dez Johnson and Kreg Brown will probably see alot of action early.

Absolutely love the story about Jim Morris. He exemplifies UM these days--terrified of FIU.

SouthPaw - you read the story and see UM being terrified of FIU? I read it and wonder how stupid FIU is. Morris has told FIU several times he doesn't want to play them, probably b/c he doesn't want to waste his time with subpar talent, and yet Turtle and the rest of the program cannot get it through their heads and continue to call. Talk about "Always on my mind," why can't FIU baseball, and the athletic department as a whole, understand that they are not in UM's class and to stop trying to have UM help make them famous.

SouthPaw, honestly, what is the benefit for UM to play FIU in any of the major sports? Football, if UM beats FIU, everyone would be like big deal, Miami is an ACC bowl team and FIU is barely able to win games in the sorry SunBelt. But if FIU were to pull off a miracle and win, the entire sports nation would turn upside down and Miami would look foolish. You tell me, where is the incentive for Miami there? In baseball, Miami has a storied tradition of winning and getting to the post season, FIU, lets face it, is good in baseball bu the past few years has sucked. Now, FIU has gone out and hired a coach that Morris doesn't like - do you invite the people you hate over for dinner? NO, so why should Morris, who has the clearly superior team, do a favor for someone he hates. If FIU is good enough they will get to a regional and they will end up playing anyway. Let FIU earn games against UM. And as far as basketball, does FIU, in its current hoops state, really want to play UM and get embarrased.

If you ask me, UM is doing FIU a favor not playing them.

one question for you Mr. CrazyCane why are you so obsessed with FIU considering we are such a non-existing threat to your all MIGHTY U?


Scared yet?

southpaw i actually agree w/ CC in that right now it does not benefit UM to play FIU right now.. well except for basketball.. w/ the ACC the way it is always beating up on people it wouldnt hurt to have sergio to push around although that wont be the case for much longer. in football it will happen again.. their is to much natural settings for it not to happen again.. but lets face it the talent level in the state of florida is finally starting to level out w/ the rule of only 25 scholarships per year. giving the teams like USF,UCF, FIU, and FAU a chance to steal some from the big three .. but playing FIU really any of the other 4 teams in florida could only hinder UM slightly (lets face it it will never be the same where the big 3 get EVERYONE) AND EVENTUALLY FIU and the other schools will even out w/ the big three because there is to much talent in the state of florida for the other 4 schools not to get better. baseball.. if they meet they meet and they prob will once we start getting to regionals.. point is lets expand our horizons if the U doesnt want to play us thats their loss not ours

Hey Pete - or anyone else for that matter... I have class today from 11:00 to 12:15 but im hoping your or someone can relay my message for MC. thanks!

"First of all coach thank you for all that you have done so far for FIU Football and the university as a whole. Your tireless work ethic is one of much inspiration to myself and many of my friends.

Question #1: What, in your opinion, are the single most important strength and conditioning drills a football player must practice regularly in order to take their game to the next level?

Question #2: There are always taunts on here and on other teams boards that you may leave once your contract expires. I know that your commitment to FIU at this time is unwavering, however where do you envision yourself in 10 years from now?

Thanks for your time coach. I look forward to reading your answers after class."

Coach thanks for all your hard work you put in throughout the entire year and congrats on the positive steps you and your boys have taken last year and best of luck to you and the boy next year. my question is 3 fold i guess..

1st when it comes to the upcoming non-conference schedule, how pumped are you, your staff, and players about playing such a tough schedule that includes playing Bama, Rutgers, toledo, and for the first time i believe in school history the defending champs?

2nd: the game im most excited for is Playing the Gators so that way i can actually trash talk my cousin whos a gator alum. who do you think from our team will lay the first big hit on Tebow and what do you think can be done to contain that monster?

3rd: finally and i wont take much more of your time do you and your staff feel that you can get or are in works w/ i guess Panther Rage/ SGA to try to organize the student body to get excited for these OOC games and organizing road trips?

once again thank you and go Golden Panthers!

Thanks to both Coach Cristobal and Pete for doing this Q&A blog. Here are my questions for coach:

1. how many scholarships do we have left to fill out the 2009 recruiting class, and what positions are you targeting to fill with the remaining scholarships?

2. What do you think is the weakest part of the team this coming year? What area did you not address as well as you would have like to in this year's recruiting class?

3. what do you see as our biggest area of need in next year's recruiting class?

4. If UM offers you the head coaching job at the end of next season, do you take it? If you do, will you put FIU back on UM's schedule and take your beating like a man?

lol Southpaw really.. your goin to ask question 4... thats funny man




- I was at Penn State for his first game as head coach of FIU. How would he rate the talent level NOW versus the talent that lined up against Paterno in 2007.

- Who is the strongest guy on the team and the fastest guy, (including 2009 recruits..)

Coach Cristobal, Thank you for your leadership of FIU Football. We the fans are as pumped up as you about the direction of our football program. Keep up the great work, we're all behind the players and coaches!!!

I'll keep my questions simple.

You've done a great job recruiting South Florida, What has been the main recruiting tool to attract these kids to stay home and turn down programs in the ACC, SEC, Big East and the bigger conferences?

Secondly, with the loss of some Seniors on the defensive line. Who can we expect to fill those positions and help us where it matters most, the line of scrimmage?

Thank you for your time.


MC another question i just thought of .. how is our RB situation going into spring ball.. i know Perry will prob be taking first team reps cause Owens from what i have been reading is nursing injuries... who do we have on the Depth Chart in spring, who do you think can contribute, and who coming in fall can help out the depth at the RB position

who do you think is the guy on your squad that feels he has the most to prove? sorry for the alotment of questions but it sounds dead on here dont want ya to waist your time lol

hey pete where are you ? how am i suppose to get through work if no one is talking?

Coach Cristobal thanks for making FIU Football what it is today.

Where's the Coach ?

hey cj this isnt the link you have to click the link about this forum.

There's a seperate other blog CJ. Go to MC Live Q&A Blog.

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