There is certainly more speed on the FIU D this season, but a couple of the veteran defenders were the first ones to deliver the hits on Thursday.
Linebackers Scott Bryant and Toronto Smith stuffed a running play during team drills. Armond Willis and redshirt freshman Andre Pound followed it with a sack.
Before the defense could beat their chests, Little Big D -- freshman Darian Mallary (right, thanks Roy Viera photo) weaved through the defense for a 77-yard run until being knocked out of bounds inside the D's 10-yard line. The quickness that DM has shown running inside and outside in the first week of camp has been impressive. And on Thursday, when there was tackle football being practiced, no one got a hand on DM until 77 yards later.
The defense got back on track with Tyler Clawson intercepting walk-on Chris Schirripa.
Freshman Tourek Williams, whom MC has described before as "an absolute beast" showed why bursting through the O-line to make a stop in the backfield on a running play. It was one of several tackles for loss for the FIU D on Thursday. The D showed the quickness similar to what the Killer B's FIU D had when they finished No. 1 in the nation in tackles for loss in 2005.
The D had 2 INTs (Clawson and Markeith Russell) on Thursday but could have had a lot more and some of them would have been Pick 6s. Chuck Grace had a clear path to the end zone on one pass, but could not corral the INT. Same with Kenny Dillard. Jeremiah Weatherspoon couldn't secure an INT in the middle of the field.
Marquis Rolle continued his good work, catching a high and outside fastball from Paul McCall. Turtle might want to see if PMC would like to come out of the bullpen next spring. Rolle also caught and held on to a pass after a big hit from Dez Johnson.
Aaron Davis was active in the offensive backfield making stops on a couple of runs.
In case anyone was wondering, there is absolutely nothing wrong with punter Carlos Munera's leg (left, thanks Roy Viera photo). CM booted 50 and 60-yard punts today during special teams work.
Along the D-Line, Jarvis Wilson had a sack and Thatcher Starling blasted through the O-Line and batted down a pass.
Freshman Jairus Williams (right, thanks Roy Viera photo), who had his ups and downs catching the ball earlier this week, is getting better and better with each passing practice. JW ran a nice route and stretched out to catch a PMC pass for 25 yards near the end of practice.
The Panthers will go to full gear on Friday after practicing with only shoulder pads on Thursday. You are down to 3 chances to see your Panthers until Aug. 22's scrimmage. Friday's practice is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday is a two-a-day at 8 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Spoke to Justin Francis Ford Coppola today and told him the natives are getting restless about the videos from media day and of the fieldhouse tour. He says he should have both videos on-line at some point on Friday. Unfortunately, JFFC has plenty of other videos to do besides FIU. He's going around high school football in Dade and Broward and over to Coral Gables and filming those teams as well.
LonePanther: Pete, What or who has impressed you the most during the practices you've been seeing?
PP: In the first four days, the young receivers have shown that they have the abilities to follow in No. 4's footsteps. Junior Mertile has also looked good. He is going to have a big year. If Darian Mallary gets any kind of opening, he will be FIU's No. 2 back. On defense, Winston Fraser (left) and Aaron Davis are going to have an impact this season. Toronto Smith is 100 percent healthy and he's shown it. Markeith Russell and Kenny Dillard have that 305 football instinct. Kambriel Willis is the same size as El Monstruo, just not the same height, but KW will be very good.
FIUFloridaPower&Light: Pete can you get some interviews with the Freshmen to see what they think of College Football, FIU so far?
PP: Sure. Will get those on here.