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Mario Cristobal Q&A Part 1

You good people have asked the questions and FIU football coach Mario Cristobal has answered. We got more thanMc 40 questions to get to. We'll divide the MC Q&A into several parts. If you don't see your question in this post, don't run yelling out of the room. The questions have been answered and we'll get to all of them. Here's the first set with MC's answers....

FIUFPL: Can we have details on plans to have the football team walk to the stadium followed by the band, and surrounded on either side by the fans/students/alumni?

 

MC: It’s a tradition that we want to establish. What we are looking at in the future -- and of course it depends on funding which of course the entire state of Florida depends on -- is to have a giant Panther statue out in front of the stadium where we can line up a Panther Walk lining both sides of that walkway with fans, family, friends, maniacal people that are all about the blue and gold and be able to walk right through there on the way to the locker room and prepare to take the field.

 

FIU Fanatic: What aspect/aspects of FIU in general, do you believe has/have been the best one(s), or most successful, in order to "sell" a recruit why he HAS to come to FIU?

 

MC: There are several. Like any business in the world: location, location, location. We all learned that in high school or in college. That’s number one. Number two when you set foot on campus it wows you, because FIU is an impressive place from top to bottom. From the classroom settings to the new facilities that are being built which are state-of-the-art and some of the finest in the entire country. To the people on campus from academic support people to professors and deans to the training staff and administrative staff. And of course the coaching staff. You have some dynamic people that love FIU and want to take it to the highest level and are completely committed to it. The energy that is felt when recruits get on campus has really opened some eyes. Recruits often times say, "Wow, I never knew" and they leave here with a great impression.

 

Fiustadium OC Panther: What’s the toughest place to play in the SBC?

MC: The toughest place to play in the Sun Belt is right here at FIU Stadium for all opponents that enter our stadium.

Nick F: Given the huge momentum that exists with the program, how will you be able to rein in the focus of the players, to play consistent all season?

MC: I think our players have a firm grasp of the process and respect the process. The process is not about the scoreboard and it’s not about the hype. It’s making sure we are the best possible football team that we can be while doing great in the classroom. That is on us as coaches. How do we do it? We coach hard. We coach extremely hard and very detailed fully pointing out no matter how great a player has done in a particular practice that he can always improve. I think that keeps us grounded.

Gold: When you accepted the position to become FIU's head coach, if someone would have told you on that day where your program would stand going into year three, would you have said that it would:
a) exceeding your expectations
b) meeting your expectations
c) not meeting your expectations

MC: We have exceeded our expectations. The facts were clear. The team was 0-12, on probation with limited scholarships and losing scholarships going forward with a very poor academic performance. Those are monster hurdles. Those are not easy. I think with the commitment of our players, the commitment of our athletic director and the staff all have done something about as impressive as it gets in terms of turnarounds and I think all it’s done is made us hungrier. It’s whet our appetite. It’s stoked our fire, because we know in the big picture it’s going to translate into championships.

JSuarez88: What kind of role do you think Larvez Mars (right) will have this season? Has he gained any Mars weight?

MC: He is as good as any freshman linebacker in the country. Extreme energy. I have watched him in practice for three years now out there. Let’s just say he and Anthony Gaitor (left, thanks AJH photo) are going to get along real well. They will make practice alive and they will make the offense step up, because they will Gaitor crank it up in practice. Also expect him to be very smart, to take the defense in and I expect him to come in and challenge for a starting position. At last I checked, Pooh Bear was about 220. He’s big enough. He’s a thick kid – upper and lower body, strong, physical, fast, explosive. Apopka is known for its weightlifting.

Apaw

 

You answer Gold's question above. Inheriting an 0-12 team and a program on probation, how has FIU done under MC since then....


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