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MC Q&A Part 2

Mcr Back to your Q&A with FIU coach Mario Cristobal as we got plenty of questions to get to as we continue our countdown to the 2009 Panthers football season. Just 63 days until FIU opens camp (Aug. 10) and 96 days until the Panthers open the season (Sept. 12) at Alabama. Let's get back to your questions....

FI-UM Fan: Which players do you expect to be leaders this year on your defense?

MC: Scotty Bryant has done it before and we expect him to do it again. We expect Jeremiah and Anthony Gaitor and Ash Parker to step up. Guys like Armond Willis, Cody Pellicer to step up. Expect Aaron Davis and Winston Fraser, two young guys, I expect an impact from them. All these guys have a chance to make plays and be a leader. We got some freshmen coming in that we expect to come in and challenge. How much can they lead? We’re going to find out in camp. Chuck Grace we expect big things out of, closing out the year strong with an interception, having a great off-season and aJonas great spring campaign. It’s going to be interesting with some of the events at the end ofFore spring ball like George Palmer going out and playing corner and doing a great job. Here’s a guy that shows up here at 6 a.m. every morning and works out like a maniac. Another one that we expect big things from him and he has to prove it and he has committed himself to it is Jonas Murrell (far right). Jonas has already lost 30 pounds this off-season, He’s down under 320 working his way to 300 pounds. He was up to the 350-pound range. He’s been running and dieting. He lets me know constantly that he’s using the George Foreman grill instead of running over to McDonalds. I’m really proud of the way he has come along and the fact he’s taken ownership in his body. He knows it’s going to result in better performances. There is a guy that can be a legitimate force up front.

FIUPIKE: How much faster & stronger will this team be against Bama, versus last season against KU & Iowa?

MC: I think we will be stronger. I think Alabama is a stronger team than both Kansas and Iowa. I think it will be one of the more physical games that we play all year long. We’ve watched film on them already and they deserve what they did last year playing for the SEC Championship. Now our strength and Strong conditioning program in the second year you are starting to see the benefits, some of the results of being in Coach Rod Moore’s program where now bodies are thicker in the right places and leaner in the right places. Where your squat and power clean numbers are getting to legitimate Division I levels. Where guys can not only withstand the rigors of football, but deliver shots and make tackles, plays and fight through double teams like you expect them to. We expect to get in there and get nice and physical and mix it up with them and have a great showing by our guys.

CJ: What do you think is the biggest hurdle to winning the Sun Belt Conference?

MC: In 2 years of coaching in the Sun Belt what I have noticed is that the two teams that have won it, Troy and FAU, have been teams that have gotten better as the season went on. Troy suffered an injury at quarterback and still found a way to get better as the season went on. They made some adjustments and have some great players. Both teams showed constant improvement and I think that’s the biggest challenge. Being to able to get through a tough schedule with no bye weeks, going 11 weeks straight, being able to improve and overcome any injuries you may have. The key to every single game in the Sun Belt is about the people in our locker room and not necessarily the people in the other locker room.

TheChampionUnderdog: Any plans of using Wayne Times in a Wildcat type formation this year?Wtimes

MC: Without disclosing too much, let’s just say there are a lot of plans for Wayne Times. The combination of Wayne Times (right), Darian Mallary, DP, Junior Mertile, T.Y. Hilton. There are some players that have good skill sets that allow them to do a couple of things with the football in their hands and we’re going to get them on the football field. We expect big things from Dudley LaPorte to help us implement a phase of our offense that we haven’t shown yet at FIU in the two tight end sets with Eric Kirchenberg and Jonathan Faucher and John Ellis. We’re excited about the diversity that we can show this coming fall.

alt7787: How has the economy affected you and FIU Football? Do you think the economy is better?

MC: It affects everybody. We never ever sacrifice performance. We always make sure our players are well fed. That we travel comfortably. That we have academic support. We certainly are in need of funding and certainly encourage all those out there that are willing to support FIU football to come on out and do so. Especially now, when we are on the cusp of something great.

BaltimorePanther: How do you feel about the games against Rutgers and UF?

MC: Extremely excited about it. Our recruits were very drawn to that, to get on the big stage and playFire against those teams. I think both teams are physical and fast. Florida is particularly fast like world-class track fast. I expect a tough, physical game and I expect our guys coming out of that tunnel breathing fire and getting ready to rock and roll. We’re going to be extremely prepared and we’re going to go in there and fight for that game.





Should be a big day for Tyler Townsend tommorrow (Tuesday) when the MLB Draft opens up. Might also see Ryan Mollica, Tom Ebert and Scott Rembisz also get selected.

Pizza Face & OC Panther: Hey Pete can you get a list of all the recruits that are signed as well as players that are returning. So that we could have a better idea how the BB team is looking for next year

PP: From what Isiah has signed so far we have: Stephon Weaver, Marvin Roberts, Antoine Watson, Phil Gary and Kavon Lytch for this coming season. (Brandon Moore is for the 2010-11 season, Eric Frederick is a commit and has not signed yet).

Returning players expected back for next season: Cedric Essola, Nikola Gacesa, J.C. Otero, Tremayne Russell and Nick Taylor, although last I heard Taylor was not on scholie. He walked-on to the team. As for Freddy Asprilla, check the FIU lineup in Ohio State. So that's 9 scholies being used from the list above, so there could be another 2 or 3 slots.


You read at the beginning of this post some of the players MC expects to lead the D this season. Now we all know what players like Scotty Bryant, Jeremiah Weatherspoon, Ash Parker and Anthony Gaitor can do. So thinking about the other defensive players, in your opinion, which one of the following will have the biggest impact on the FIU D this season.


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I'm looking for Kambriel Willis to make a move toward stardom this year. Also, Reggie Jones should be teed up for a big senior season.

Can't wait for the fall!

hey Pete: How about an interview with the S&C coach?

Seriously??? That is MC's response to the UF game....Extremely excited...a tough, physical game and I expect our guys coming out of that tunnel breathing fire and getting ready to rock and roll. We’re going to be extremely prepared and we’re going to go in there and fight for that game.....

How about this...keep in mind I hate UF, but...UF will be tough and physical, FIU will roll over. You will be prepared to lose by 40..minimum. You will not be breathing fire and ready to rock and roll...you will be begging for mercy...get real..How delusional is this guy?

Josh, why the heck would a coach sit there and say that his team has no chance? Especially when he is addressing questions from fans and alumni.

You may hate UF, but you have no common sense whatsoever. Do I think FIU is gonna win that game, no. But I think Cristobal has a good idea of exactely how good Florida is.

Hey MIA/NY Josh...I need NOT remind you that when FIU played #2 USF not too long ago, we didn't roll over. We came out SPEWING fire and ready for the upset. We nearly won, but lost by one AT USF's house.

This year's team is much improved from the team that nearly pulled off the upset of the year. If FIU brings their A game, and UF underestimates us just like USF did, then anything, ANYTHING, is possible.

MIA/NY Josh...you are an idiot if you think any coach is going to say "Oh, we are totally going to get killed."



Forgive MIA/NY Josh he is used to getting answers like oh we are scared from his coach over at Miami. He is not used to positive stigma from a coach

MIA/NY Josh... really... where are your home boys CC and 24/7 to see this. come on man if you go play some1 in any sport the moment you admit defeat, defeat will surely admit you man. if im in any sport i will never go in thinkin i cant win.. because i will never win.

I think Joey Harris #86, defensive end, will make the biggest impact on d-line this year!! GO FIU!!!

I forgot 86 was playing DE this year. Ms. Harris what is your son's weight looking like right now?

Great answers by our leader...Thanks, Pete...

Now, on to hoops. Actually, I believe that Brandon Moore, even when sitting out as a transfer, will be allocated one scholarship so that he doesn't pay his way in school during that year. That makes it 6 new "signees"...and 7 if Frederick signs for this year...

Now, on the returning scholarship players we have Gacesa, Essola, Tremayne Russell, JC Otero, and possibly..and hopefully...Freddy Asprilla as well. Did Martavious Kee...the Temple transfer that was sitting out this year until after Fall Semester leave as well?..if not, you have another scholarship player returning. That would make anywhere from 4 to 5 (Asprilla) to 6 (Kee) scholarship players returning.

So, depending on whether Frederick actually signs and shows up to FIU, and whether Asprilla and Kee "come back" to FIU, would be the number of scholarship players. If all show up...no other signee can come in for next year's team as a scholarship player. Now, if one, or some of the aforementioned 3 don't come to FIU, of course, their space will be open for this...or future years' recruits..

I am excited about the Gator game. I hope we don't get our butts handed to us like UM did last year.

Josh's therapy hasn't been working...he's still disturbed about Miami's loss to Florida last season. I'm happy so long as we put up more than 3 points on the scoreboard! Great response by MC!! These guys will be fired up for a big showdown!!

Well if anyone should know about getting smacked around by UF, it will be MIA/NY Josh since the canes lost to UF 26-3 last year.


I was going to respond to NY SLOSH directly but by the time I scrolled to the bottom I saw all of you had already Dirty Sanchez'd him. All I have to add is common sense is the least common of all the senses...especially when it comes to scUM alums.

FIU is a different team this year. The chances of beating UF are there.
FAU lost to UF at the swamp in 07 (59-20).
The gators are fffaaasssttt and the swamp with 90K fans can be intimidating.
Go there and represent the Sunbelt with pride!

I am telling you, I am fire up for that game, I did half of my undergrad there and the other at FIU so I will be there bleeding orange, blue and gold, I am sorry that will bother some people here, my degree is from FIU but half of the credits come from UF.
I hope we can score 10 points, and that is a good possibility. If I am not mistaken that is home coming at UF and the week before the FSU game, the gators might come ready for a stroll around the swamp, but I know the panthers will come out ready to play.
The swamp is crazy and for all of us going it could be good to try to emulate that college football atmospher, I am not saying copying it, but use it as point of reference if we want our team to be division one powerhouse one day, also the fans have to act like it. Also the fans have to act and be a division one power house.

Congrats to Tyler Townsend getting drafted in the 3rd rd by the Baltimore Orioles. He was the #85 pick, best of luck in his professional baseball career.

Go FIU!!!

another golden panther coming to Baltimore, we got to start an alumnni chapter in charm city.

thanks for putting my question through pete!!!

i say we go after Tebow the whole game. just send blitz after blitz his way, even if that means we have 1 on 1's all over the field for Tebow to exploit. Knock him down a few times and have him respect the FIU defense.

We will not have the size to go head to head with the UF O-line, but I do think we have the quickness to get around them. If the LB corps can cover the A and B gaps solid preventing the draw play, then I like guys like Jon Jackson, James Jones, Rupert Bryan, K. Willis and Armond Willis rushing off the edges delivering pressure and hits all game long...

Our safeties will be tested against the Gators, but I really think Jeremiah Weatherspoon can be an elite player and hope that next season he can be an enforcer like Taylor Mays from USC. I'm sure the NFL scouts will be paying attention to him when we play BAMA, Rutgers and Florida.

Tom Ebert got drafted by the Boston Red Sox today in the 19th round (588 overall). Among the FIU recuits one was drafted but it wasn't Flores or Henry

"I expect a tough, physical game and I expect our guys coming out of that tunnel breathing fire and getting ready to rock and roll. We’re going to be extremely prepared and we’re going to go in there and fight for that game".

I absolutely LOVED that response. That's the kind of thing you want to hear from your coach.

& NYCFIUFan: "I hope we don't get our butts handed to us like UM did last year."

I don't know what games they broadcast up in New york... because 1 we didnt play Miami last season... and 2 we didnt get our butts kicked at the orange bowl last time we played them. I was there, they won the game in the second half. sorry buddy.

According to FIU Student Media's Sergio Bonilla, Tyler Townsend will '100% not be returning to FIU.' he has already informed coach Thomas.

Full story on FIUSM.com/sports

Good luck to Tyler!!

Jsuarez, NYCFIUFan was refering to UM getting their butts kicked by UF last year.

Which wasnt exactly a butt kicking it was 26-3 i think and a very young Miami team looked respectable against Florida, except that Miami's Offense couldnt get on track.

If FIU could have that kind of preformance it would be a very successful showing.

And BTW, I dont care who's fan you are how can you expect for the Headcoach of a team to say, "the gator game, on man we're f&*#ed, yeah, we're just going to roll over and lose by 40"

Cristobal's answer was avery good one, he said the kids would be playing hard and excited to play the game, not that they would win.

i'm with you alt7787, and #86 is just the one to do it!!! During this break from FIU, Joey has commented several times that he is ready to take on Tebow!! I will be there to watch on Nov. 21! GO FIU!

blkpanther, Joey is doing good. He is up to 256 lbs, and is working on building muscle right now. He has been working out and keeping in shape during this summer break. The team is due back to school for a team mtg on June 23, then they start workouts, and Summer B etc...he is looking forward to getting back....I can't wait till football season! GO FIU!


The Gators will win its obvious. Being a student at UF I would be lying if I said I was going to be pulling for an FIU upset. However, I would love to see a good game and at least a solid quarter of physical play from FIU if not an entire game... I remember the first FIU-UM game and how physical FIU played right up until the "battle royal." I think FIU is capable of putting a decent game together and if the O-line will give Paul some time in the pocket to make his reads and some solid passes I wouldnt be surprised if FIU earned a few points in "The Swamp"

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