In 10 days your Panthers board a plane for Tuscaloosa for the Sept. 12 opener at Alabama. While most of the college football teams prepare to open their seasons this weekend, FIU has an extra week to get ready for the Tide and their coach, who has a bubble named after him at the Dolphins training facility in Davie.
If the past two scrimmages (last Friday's team scrimmage No. 3 of camp and Thursday's special teams scrimmage) are any indication, the Panthers might have some running reinforcements behind Darriet Perry and once again, Goodbye is not the only kick returning threat for FIU. Those were some of the highlights, two days late, because yours truly had Marlins duty the last 2 days.
There weren't too many offensive fireworks in Friday's scrimmage, but running backs Trenard Turner (above left, thanks Roy Viera photo) and Kendall Berry (right, thanks RV photo) continued their solid running.
DP and Darian Mallary were held out of the scrimmage. No injuries, just a chance to see more of the other 3 backs. Turner had 5 carries for 22 yards and a touchdown. Berry ran 5 times for 25 yards and a TD.
The FIU defense was in control in the first 3 possessions with Cody Pellicer getting two sacks.
On the 4th series, Wayne Younger got the passing game going by hitting Elliott Dix for 29 yards and Greg Ellingson for 13 yards, but the play turned into a 28-yard gain after Chuck Grace hit GE with the crown of the helmet to tack on a 15-yd penalty to the D's 14-yd line. Two plays later, Berry ran in an 11-yd TD.
The O could not score again until MC placed the ball in the red zone to start a drive. In preceding series before the red zone work, the Willises (Whatchu' Talkin' Bout and Armond -- no relation) combined on a sack -- 1 of 5 sacks for the D. Kambriel (left, thanks RV photo) would get his second sack of the scrimmage later on.
Defensive back Emmanuel Souarin -- who is having a good camp while competing for that starting DB spot opposite Anthony Gaitor -- tackled Berry in the backfield for a 2-yard loss on a screen pass and Thatcher Starling tackled KB for a 3-yard loss on a run play.
The tackles for loss continued on the next series with Grace stopping a run play in the backfield. The D had 6 tackles for loss in the scrimmage. Among the other tackles for loss on the day were: Kreg Brown and Tourek Williams, Jarrell McGee, Pooh Bear Mars and Donnell Wilson and Joey Harris.
Dez Johnson, who if the season started today would start at DB oppo Gaitor, sacked third-string QB Chris Schirripa on his first play of the scrimmage.
In the first red zone series, Jarvis Wilson blew past the O-line and tackled Turner for a loss. Then Jonas Murrell (right, thanks RV photo) got into the backfield and batted down a pass. Turner scored his TD on the third play.
On the second to last series, Aaron Davis forced a fumble out of Daunte Owens's hands and Big Ontario Smith recovered.
Before Davis would finish the scrimmage with an INT, Donnell Wilson batted a pass down from Junior Delpe and then Harris batted the next pass away. The ball went up like a jump ball in the NBA and Davis caught it for the pick.
Special Teams scrimmage
Early on the ST scrimm, Ty Frierson looked like a returner from Madden with some of the moves he made on his first punt return.
Reggie Jones blocked a field goal and then it became the Junior Mertile (left, thanks RV photo) Show Part Deux.
JM returned a kickoff nearly 45 yards. The next time out, JM caught a punt and appeared to be trapped along the sideline, but he ran back 5 yards and waited for a block from Wayne Times and went 75 yards for a touchdown.
The coaching winning and losing streaks continued in the special teams scrimmage.
Mertile, who made 1st team special teams coach Alex Mirabal look like a genius after AM bypassed T.Y. Hilton for Mertile to return the final kickoff in the previous ST scrimmage, improved to 4-0 all-time in ST scrimmages.
Jeff Popovich, who coached the special teams reserves, dropped to 0-4 all-time.
You can check out the Miami Herald's Football Previews in this Thursday's paper (Sept. 3) or on-line on Thursday. The preview theme this year is movies and every team (FIU, Dolphins, Gators, Seminoles and Dade and Broward high schools) the MH covers has a movie associated with it. Your Panthers movie theme is "Transformers". You'll have to read why on Thursday and decide what is the best part of the "Transformers" article. For now, here on the right is the Hot-o-Bot that was the best part of the "Transformers" movie...............
Got a call from the good people at FIU today to tell me that the press release sent out last week about the t-shirts for "Blackout Game vs. Troy" was written incorrectly as far as....fans are encouraged to wear black to the game, but there will be no black t-shirts handed out at the Oct. 17 game vs. Troy.
PP: No, had help from the FIU Witches (left).
FIUFan: Could you call PG (I'm sure his number is in your speed-dial) and ask for a comment? As far as a the national pub, great! But I feel that was an unintended consequence of FIU's knee-jerk reaction to being put up against UNC. What's their plan going forward?
PP: PG has no comment, but there is a press conference on Tuesday afternoon with PG and IT to announce a decision on whether or not to play in the tournament. Check the MH on-line Tuesday after 1 p.m. for the news.
FIUFPL: Pete, Is FIU doing any official coordination with Sports Grill? If not, can you pass the info to FIU Athletics and seem if they can support the Sports Grill event by promoting it throughout the school?
PP: FIU has already gotten together with Sports Grill and they have agreed to host official FIU Watch Parties. Now it's up to you good people to show up there and make that place your FIU home for road games.
FIUPantherFan: Pete, What's going on with Yarimar Rosa? Why is she not playing?
PP: The defending Sun Belt champion FIU volleyball team is off to a nice start taking 2 out of 3 at the Kentucky tourney last weekend and without 3-time All-American Yarimar Rosa, who has a strained hip abductor. YR is hoping to make her season debut in this weekend's tourney at Kansas.
KJHarris02: Do you have any info on the starting defensive line?
PP: No decisions have been made yet. Speaking with D-Line coach Cary Godette, some of the players that have stood out thus far in camp have been Tourek Williams, Armond Willis, Thatcher Starling and Jonas Murrell.