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Defensive Line Awakening; The Bus Gets Rolling

Saturday morning's practice started with some rushing during team drills, but your Panthers defense didn't allow for much running room from the running backs -- with a few exceptions.

With no starting positions locked down on any part of the D-Line, the D came out flying, swarming. Armond Willis and Winston Fraser combined on a quick stop in the backfield. Deiondrick Roberts also had a tackle for loss. 

Andre Pound, showing no effects from the shoulder injury from last season, became a regular in theEllis offensive backfield too. As did Thatcher Starling, who recorded another tackle for loss.

MC's assessment of the D-Line after the first week of camp: "We’re starting to get more physical. We have miles to go, but we’re starting to see flashes of what we can be as a defensive line. Thatcher showed that today. There have been some flashes by Kambriel Willis. There have been some flashes by Andre Pound. I saw Justin West do a couple of things. You are starting to see some production from guys that have been dormant for a long time. What does that mean? It means that there is something in them that we need to get out as coaches, they need to get out of themselves as players and we’re going to keep pressing the issue.”

The FIU running game did have some moments Saturday. Darriet Perry broke off two good runs for first downs. And the offensive line made a nice opening for Jonathan Ramirez to gain nearly 15 yards.

However, the back that stood out Saturday was John Ellis (above, right, thanks Roy Viera photo) or as his teammates called him in the spring "The Bus" for the tough running and the ensuing trouble in bringing down the 250-pound back.

Saturday, JE pounded the inside and like in the spring, did not go down too easy. On one run, he bounced off a couple of defenders.

If JE can keep this up through the 2009 season, could you imagine what a backfield of DP, Darian Mallary and John Ellis could do for a team already with a talented, fast corps of receivers and a QB that has been sharp passing and is throwing with some more mustard on his passes. This FIU O has the Sunrise potential to make some scoreboards work overtime.

Ty Sunset No. 7 was his all-conference self, busting up a screen pass to JE. Peter Riley played some good pass D.

Freshman receiver Rocky Vann showed that he is not afraid to make a catch in traffic, but RV was immediately brought down and had to settle for 7 yards.

Some things just don't get old....On Saturday morning the sun rose in the east....on his first kickoff return Saturday morning, No. 4 went for 6....and despite the rain, the sun did set in the west on Saturday night.

Wayne Younger and Greg Ellingson connected on a nifty pass play.

After dropping what would have been a 50-yard TD from Paul McCall earlier in Saturday's practice, Junior Mertile went across his body to make a catch. Later on JM made a tough catch on the sideline for 20 yards from PMC.

LogoPANTHER PAWSE

Apaw El Monstruo was back in action after recovering from his injury. Antwan Barnes gotEm into some of the Baltimore Ravens first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. AB had two assists on tackles. Chandler Williams returned a couple kickoffs and punts for the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener against the Detroit Lions. CW had a 24-yard kickoff return and a 19-yard punt return. And for you Dolfans, former Miami and current Ravens backup QB John Beck broke his collarbone and is out for the season in Baltimore. Guess, who the Ravens signed to take Beck's spot: Cleo Lemon. Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron keeps working his magic in Baltimore.

Q&A

blaz23: Pete, I am trying to find out how are #13 and #90 doing? Both of those guys are from my hometown.

PP: Toronto Smith (No. 13) or Little Canada or Big Ontario has looked good coming off his foot injury. He's as fast as ever and is stronger. He should do big things this season at what is probably FIU's most talented position on defense. Deiondrick Roberts (No. 90) is in a battle with 10 to 12 other defensive linemen for playing time. DR had a good day today making some noise in the backfield. Like MC has said, there is plenty of playing time waiting to be earned on the D-Line.

KJHarris02: I like the Media Day video, but would of like to see more of the field house/weight room....Pete can we get more footage of the field house and weight room/locker rooms???

PP: I'll pass the message on to Justin Francis Ford Coppola.

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