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Camp Preview: Defensive Backs & Top 5 Position Battles To Watch

No more previews after this one. From here on out the action on the FIU Stadium field will give you an idea as to who will play where and how much playing time those players will see. Beginning with Monday's first practice at 9 a.m. at FIU Stadium.

The Panthers defensive backs could give the linebackers a run for their money as to which unit is theAgaitor strength of the FIU D. However, the uncertainty at the corner position opposite Anthony Gaitor (right) gives us pause in ranking this unit with the LBs.

As we all know, AG has established himself as one of the top defensive backs not only in the Sun Belt, but nationally as well with his inclusion into the top DB Award watch list.

AG set the FIU record with 5 picks last season, but it might be tough for that number to go up with opposing QBs aware of No. 7 and might not throw as often his way.

The other starting corner position is up for grabs. Who wants it?

Well, here are your candidates (in no particular order): Dez Johnson (left), Jarrell McGee, Derrick Jones, O' Darris D' Haiti, George Palmer, Emmanuel Souarin and Peter Riley.

Dez In the current depth chart, Johnson is listed as the starter, and this is NOT a knock on Dez, but how much does a depth chart for a position that is up for grabs really mean on Aug. 9 with the season opener on Sept. 12?  Johnson, a senior, has the experience.

McGee (JUCO All-American) and Jones (All-County) could be considered favorites for the job coming in with their accolades, but they still have to prove it on the field in Division I football.

OD has been steady while at FIU. Palmer had a solid spring prompting MC to say: "He's a workaholic, a good athlete, real tough. He has a natural feel for playing the game."

Souarin redshirted last season, but was also an All-County selection at Norland and a pretty good athlete playing QB, RB, WR and DB in high school. Riley had a good summer in workouts and is a senior.

Of course, all these guys if they don't start, could also figure into playing time backing up Jw this corner spot and/or backing up Gaitor.

At safety, there is experience and there is hurt. Jeremiah Weatherspoon (right) and Ash Parker are veterans back there that can also drill you. 

Chuck Grace came on at the end of last season and could challenge for serious playing time. 

FIU has some solid depth at safety with Terrance Taylor, Jonathan Cyprien, Derrick Clark, Kreg Brown, Cain Elliott, and walk-ons Antwoine Bell (Miami High) and Solomon Smith (a former QB at Miramar Everglades High).

*Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez for FIU photos

Top 5 Position Battles to Watch in Camp

1) Defensive Line -- Four dependable and productive players have to emerge to help FIU have a successful season in 2009. If you don't get much pressure on the opposing QB and don't open it up for your talented LBs to make plays then the Panthers D will be on the field for long stretches of time and that's not good when you have what could be a potent offense waiting on the sidelines. Jonas Murrell (left) will Jonas be a key cog on the D-Line.

2) Backup Running Back -- Darriet Perry can carry a load, but you don't want to put the entire running game on the sophomore's shoulders. A solid No. 2 back has to emerge this month in camp. About the No. 2 back right now, MC says: "Daunte Owens has flashed, but aside from that there isn't a proven back. There is some excitement about what we can be, but there is a lot to prove."

As far the depth chart at No. 2, MC says: "That's why all those names [backup RBs] are on magnets [on the metallic depth board in the fieldhouse] so we can switch them every day. We're going to create situations for those guys to make plays. We're going to create situations where they are running behind the first and second team lines to make the playing field competing for that job as level as possible."

3) Defensive Back Spot Opposite Gaitor -- You got the info above on this post. If FIU struggles to create a pass rush this DB spot will be tested quite often.

4) Linebackers -- You figure Scott Bryant has one spot nailed down, but stranger things have happenedFrier so don't go figuring just yet. FIU has 9 very talented LBs and if these guys can get some space from the D-Line, we could be seeing 3 mini-Monstruos out there disrupting opposing offenses. Yes, I know El Monstruo played a lot of D-Line, but he was and is an LB at heart.

5) Slot Receiver -- No. 4 is on one side, but with the talent in the FIU receiving corps, La Pierna could go double slot. And why not, look at these guys to cover: Ty Frierson (right), Wayne Times, Rocky Vann and Larry McCoy. It's OK if opponents want to focus on double covering Goodbye, Paul McCall has got plenty of other options.


Apaw Will have your daily camp updates here beginning after Monday's 9 a.m. practice.

SouthPaw: Pete, your review of the DL didn't mention Ricky Booker. Is he still on the team?

PP: Yes, he is.

Apaw So who starts opposite Gaitor?


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First! GO FIU ...Wish i could be there monday.

Thanks for the updates Pete.

Speaking of El Monstrou, how is he? Some say he has been a disappointment. Obviously his stats over the last 2 seasons arent glamorous, but ive watched him play and he does contribute, even if the stats say otherwise. plus from what ive heard the coaching staff has been trying to expand his role.

Also, hows Chandler Williams? Harry Douglas is out for the season in ATL so maybe that gives Chandler a shot to make the team as a low end receiver?

thanks pete!

I've received conflicting reports on when open practice starts tomorrow? 9am, 9.30, 10.30am...what's the deal anyone know? I know Pete wrote 9am in this blog, but he didn't specify if that's when practice opens or if that's when the "open" part of practice takes place.


Any word on the renovation of the arena?

Thanks for info Pete. I also wish I could make it to practice. I expect ES to win cornerback position.


hey Pete, you going to post any photos of the practices?????

any word from practice? theres nothing better to do at work than read blog (... hope the boss dont read that lol)

Does anyone know if there will be any videos of the practices that we can view online??? or anyone there taking photos and posting them online....wishin i could be there to watch my boy #86 Joey Harris!!!! GO FIU!!

I showed up around 10:40, but was still able to catch some 7-on-7's... Laporte is going to be a BEAST... made some very nice plays! I'm just glad football season is almost here!!!

Pete post up some pictures !!!

Last year we missed many opportunities to score in the red zone. With these new additions we should improve and finish with some points on the board. I can just picture La Porte lowering his shoulder and flattening a defender.

Keep talking Joel!!1 LOL. Just want more and more info on FIU Football....

I'm with you FIUFanatic. lol I'll make it on Saturday, but can't wait to read what happen at today's practice.


As for the comment posted earlier about Roary:

This is the only time that I think FIU athletics is a Joke. Our mascot is wearing a T-Shirt this year? I hope NOT! I also have a VERY hard time seeing Roary never show any energy or never move away from where the cheerleaders are standing. What the heck happen to:
1) Leading the Team out of the tunnel with a Big FIU Flag

2)Getting the crowed pumped up between quaters in the middle of the field

3) Going into the stands and giving out a couple High Fives

4) Just show more SPIRIT! You are a Mascot not a statue..

Well I didn't get to see much haha Paul and Carroll looked pretty good at QB. Wayne was looking pretty agile. Mario was pretty fired up as usual, you could hear him screaming all over the stadium and you could just about tell where he was on the field at all times. The running backs looked pretty good, I need to start matching names to numbers. And it just seemed to be a pretty good practice from what I saw! GO FIU!!!

im assuming just helmets today being first day of camp.. normally what 2 days of helmets, 2 of shells the rest w/ full pads?

keep the information coming from anyone who can go to the practices....also would like to see some photos or videos...

whats the point of photos? People keep asking for photos. photos do absolutely nothing.

alt your a loser. Go home.

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