So you feel good after adding those extra 10 pounds on to your barbell this morning in the gym. Good for you. The following is not meant to make you feel bad about your workout routine it's just some of the highlights of the FIU football team's off-season strength and conditioning program.
Your Panthers have been adding some weight on their barbells as well and that's making them and strength coach Rod Moore (thanks Sam Lewis photo) feel good too. With Coach Moore's program, the Panthers have made noticeable gains across the board that should translate onto the field when camp and the season rolls around.
Senior offensive lineman Andy Leavine (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) was the first Panther that RM talked about. RM said: "Andy's put in the extra work in two ways. He is pushing himself more than ever and he's taken a leadership role in the weight room with some of the other players."
RM is also proud of T.Y. Goodbye's gains. TY, who entered FIU as a freshman last season at 160 pounds, is up to 175 and the goal is to get him to 180. RM said they have a plan to get TY to 180 and maintain that weight throughout the season.
TY's clean went from 205 in 2008 to 250 pounds this summer. He went from bench pressing 225 (08') to 275 (09') and the fastest Panther picked up his squats from 275 pounds to now 405.
One guy that RM said will surprise this season is Little Canada Toronto Smith. LC is 100% fully recovered from his foot injury from last season and shown it in the weight room.
LC upped his bench press from 295 (08') to 365 this summer. And his squat jumped from 475 to 515 pounds. With the work, LC has gone from weighing 204 to 222 pounds. Might be time to change that first name to Ontario, because Toronto has gotten bigger.
RM says that "Anthony Gaitor is pound for pound the strongest kid on the team". Much like Goodbye, FIU would like to get Gaitor (left, thanks AJH photo) to 180 pounds and keep him there. He is at 175 now. Gaitor's numbers have gone up across the board: power clean (240 to 305), bench (245 to 315) and squats (405 to 475).
While being in his third season has definitely helped Gaitor and other FIU juniors, the Panthers probably benefitted a little from having several NFL players workout in the FIU gym. This summer Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons (below, right), Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Mario Henderson, Tennessee Titans linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Green Bay Packers defensive back Pat Lee have been regulars in the FIU weight room. Would not surprise if the list of NFLers in the FIU weight room increases in the future, especially once the team starts training in their state-of-the-art fieldhouse gym later this summer.
With a solid senior season, FIU safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon could follow former Panthers Antwan Barnes and Chandler Williams as the third FIU player drafted into the NFL. JW has also had a good summer bumping up his bench from 295 to 335 and squats from 385 to 425.
Ash Parker, who sustained a torn knee in last season's opener at Kansas, is just about 100%. RM says Ash's knee is "great" and his numbers in the gym attest to that: bench press (315 to 365) and in one of the ultimate tests for a knee, Ash increased his squats from 400 to 425.
Center Brad Serini has dropped some weight to be more mobile around the line of scrimmage. Brad went from weighing 300 pounds to 280 for this season. However, the weight on his gym work has increased. Brad's power clean went from 250 to 300; bench from 320 to 385 and squats from 440 to 500.
One player who both RM and MC were raving about was defensive lineman Jonas Murrell.
With MC repeatedly saying in his Q&A that the play of the FIU offensive and defensive lines will be critical to the success of this season, Jonas is leading the way.
Jonas upped his power clean from 275 to 325; bench from 355 to 400 and squats from 575 to 600 pounds.
Says RM: "Jonas has done such great work in the weight room and he's really taken to being educated about eating."
MC joked that he and the other FIU coaches text Jonas at around 10:30 every night with the message: "Put down that hamburger". He has. Jonas is tasting the unfried side of Kentucky Grilled Chicken.
DP (right, thanks AJH photo) has trimmed his body fat from 10% to 8% for this season and picked up his numbers in his sophomore season in the weight room. DP's bench went from 290 to 350 pounds and his tree trunk legs went from squatting 405 to 475 pounds. DP is currently at his playing weight of 204 pounds and that's where he is expected to stay.
Will have a look at the FIU freshmen's offseason workouts and also let you know who are the fastest Panthers with some of their 40 times in the next post as well as more thoughts from coach Moore.
The newest FIU basketball commit: point guard Phil Taylor is in town for an AAU basketball tournament at Fort Lauderdale Northeast High School. Spoke with PT and added his comments on to the previous post "Another Point Guard Headed To FIU" so you can check it out there.
SouthPaw: Pete, you snuck in a little nugget a few blogs back about a kid named Manny Juiz, a kicker who can kick with either leg, his longest being 72 yards with his left leg and 68 yards with his right. Are you trying to pull a Sid Finch on us here? Also, can you give us any update on Cedric Mack's eligibility for this upcoming season?
PP: Manny "Sidd Finch" Juiz will be happy to know you referred to him as a kid. Manny has been overseeing the construction of FIU Stadium and the fieldhouse for Odebrecht. Manny has never kicked field goals and is not from Czech Republic. He is as Cuban as Cuban coffee.
CMack is ready to go eligibility-wise, but he may not be in football shape. We're going to start taking a look at the Panthers roster in our "Countdown to Camp" coming soon on the GPP.