Your Panthers 2009 season is underway. Well, not the regular season, but practice for the 2009 season began Monday morning in nice hot and humid conditions at FIU Stadium.
The first day of camp saw some of the new FIU offensive weapons take center stage, some pass D from some freshmen, the first injury of camp, roster news, a DB wearing socks on his hands and a White93 -- which could be this year's version of Blue25.
To start the morning, Goodbye (left, thanks Roy Viera photo) made a couple of catches across his body -- so what's new? From now on, if we have to tell you about Goodbye making great catches -- we'll just post on here simply: No. 4. And you'll know what I mean.
Marquis Rolle made a tough catch along the sideline on a deep pass as did Rocky Vann (right, thanks RV photo).
Not to say the DBs didn't make plays. Freshmen Terrance Taylor and Jonathan Cyprien had a couple of pass breakups and Anthony Gaitor was his usual all-conference self. So you know what I mean when I write: No. 7.
Speaking of No. 7, former FIU No. 7 and Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, Keyonvis Bouie (below, left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) watched practice along with former FIU DBs Greg Moss and Kevin Timothee. Good to see the former Panthers back at FIU Stadium.
New FIU President Mark Rosenberg also took in the first practice on Monday.
Tight end Jonathan Faucher made a leaping grab over the middle. JF might give some pointers to FIU radio play-by-play man Jeremy Marks-Peltz, who had a pass hit him on a bad spot -- his hands -- and dropped it.
Don't worry, not ragging on JMP -- he knows I was going to write this. Not sure if Spanish radio play-by-play man Jerry Del Castillo would have made the catch, but Spanish radio analyst Pepe Campos probably would have caught the Wayne Younger pass.
OK, enough of the radio football scouting report.
In the offensive backfield, receiver-turned-running back Kendall Berry had some nice runs and made some shifty moves to break free from the D. Freshman Darrian Mallary also brokethrough and had a nice run.
Chuck Grace had the first interception of 7-on-7s. CG has also now taken No. 21 as Mallary is wearing CG's old No. 26.
Like Grace, walk-on defensive back Antwoine Bell had sticky fingers too, but the kind that will get you a flag. Defensive backs coach Jeff Popovich got Bell to stop grabbing his receiver on pass coverage by having Bell put socks on his hands to make grabbing a lot harder.
Scott Bryant and walk-on defensive back George Palmer also made plays on pass D.
Then the Dudley LaPorte (right and below, left) Show started with DLP hooking up with Wesley Carroll on a 70-yd TD. DLP also caught long passes from Paul McCall and Wayne Younger that with DLP's size and speed would have likely gone for 6 on each one.
FWIW on Aug. 10, Rupert Bryan lined up at first team tackle for a few snaps.
The long-awaited debut of Cedric Mack happened Monday morning. CM is a big dude and once he gets in shape can really help the FIU O-Line.
Before we got the chance to start a White93 blog, we found out who was the big defensive lineman that jumped up in the air, intercepted a pass and ran it back for a TD. White93 = walk-on Andrew Mattox, who also happens to be a Class 6A All-State DL and the Volusia County Defensive Player of the Year.
Mattox is wearing Ricky Booker's No. 93. MC said after practice that RB is not part of the camp roster and did not give any further details.
Greg Ellingson missed practice as he waited to be cleared (NOT on academic issues) and is expected back at practice on Tuesday.
Edgard Theliar is having trouble getting cleared from his JUCO and won't play this season. MC says ET should arrive at FIU in January.
MC said James Jones (knee and shoulder surgery) should be ready to practice in 2 weeks. Kasey Smith (knee) is going to be out another 4 to 6 weeks.
The first injury of camp occurred when Franklin Brown tweaked his groin on Monday morning. Will know more about that Tuesday and will have more for you on Tuesday.
alt7787: Speaking of El Monstrou, how is he? Some say he has been a disappointment. 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?
PP: El Monstruo is recovered from his injury last season and from what I've read from those who cover the Ravens, his role is expected to be expanded this season. CW's job opening just got a little tougher when the Falcons signed free agent NFL veteran Robert Ferguson and holdout Roddy White is set to agree on a new deal. We'll see.
GOLD: Pete, Any word on the renovation of the arena?
PP: The plans for the renovation which should take 2 years will include a brand new artistic entrance to the Bank. The plan for the entrance will also include for you to go up a ramp to then go down to your seats, sort of like you do in an NBA arena. There is a new floor expected to be put in there along with new seating and courtside seats. Plus, the renovation of the FIU locker rooms for both the Panthers men and women's teams and possibly a players lounge. Other details are still in the works.
KJHarris02: hey Pete, you going to post any photos of the practices?
PP: There are about 20 photos posted at miamiherald.com on the FIU page. One photo has an incorrect caption: The No. 17 QB is Junior Delpe and not Dudley LaPorte. DLP will wear 17 on game days.