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.
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.
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.
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 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.
GPP Q & A
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.
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 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".