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On To Conference Play

From reading some of the comments about Saturday's loss, hopefully by now you've gotten it all out of your system. Whether you did it by hitting the gym, hitting your favorite adult beverage, hitting both, hitting


something or just by yelling into your computer on here....you good people have every right to be upset about Saturday's performance by your Panthers. As MC said afterward: "About the only thing we did well was play hard".

Once again, the FIU offense got off to a slow start for the third consecutive game and thus putting pressure on the D to contain the opposing offense -- in which Toledo has a pretty good one. Only problem with that scenario was that the FIU D we saw in the first 2 games against No. 3 Alabama and Rutgers wasn't the same one that played Toledo.

Unlike games against Bama and Rutgers, the D missed too many tackles with plenty of guys trying to deliver the big hit instead of just wrapping up the Rocket and bringing him down. Once again, there was a lack of a pass rush, which does not bode well against any O, especially one as potent as Toledo. And there were plenty of w-i-d-e open Toledo receivers, which could be attributed to poor coverage and/or the lack of pass rush.

Offensively, there were just too many mistakes: fumbles, dropped passes, inaccurate passes and lack of execution in the red zone -- need 6 down there and not 3. FIU seemed to be able to run the ball better


than pass against the Rockets. Kudos to the O-line and Darriet Perry and Darian Mallary, who scored his first college TD (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo). The Panthers need to run in order to keep Ds honest with the spread passing offense.

So now it's on to Sun Belt Conference play with FIU's SBC opener at Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday and a chance to start turning the season around. Although with the improved Sun Belt, every game from here on out will be a battle.

Some of you may have read the first part of the preceding paragraph and said "yeah, right", but here's the thought from Saturday's loss: most of what FIU did wrong is correctable. It's not like Toledo and the rest of


the schedule are the 1972 Dolphins (left). Well, the Gators look like the 2008 Gators.

Now it's a matter of whether or not the players and coaches can regroup and fix what went wrong against Toledo.

Yes, Toledo has a good team, but yet with all the poor play by FIU, it still lost by only 10. Yes, I know it was a 17-point deficit until the late TD.

However, if you were to tell me team X:  missed tackles, didn't have any pass rush, had leaky pass coverage, fumbled twice deep in team Y's territory, dropped passes, misfired on passes and squandered red zone chances and you ask me to predict a score on the outcome of team X's game, then I would probably say something like: 52-10.

Although this Panthers team is far from being a finished product there is enough talent to clean things up and get back on track this season.

Surely there will be plenty of tackle technique drills in practice this week. There might be a change in pass rush scheme (my 2 cents is a lack of size is prohibiting FIU from getting to the QB, because the speed is there) and there may be a shake up in playing time on D.

On the O, they will probably go back to the basics in practice learning to wrap up the ball when running with it and following the ball into their hands when its thrown at you, and PMC will focus on being sharper with his passes. When it comes to the red zone we may see next time different personnel or different plays called, because the Panthers have to take advantage of t-minus 20 yards when they are in that situation.

There is no doubt the FIU you saw on Saturday was nowhere near the team you saw most of last season and there is no excuse for that type of performance. Last week, I wrote that we could get a better idea of your Panthers this season after the Toledo game. Not sure we accomplished that since FIU had too many self-inflicted mistakes.

Maybe, we'll have a better idea after the game against a tough Warhawks team on the road. I would like to see FIU play a complete game in all 3 facets of the game (win or lose) to have a better idea. We've seen a half of offense in all 3 games. We've seen the D in just 2 games and the special teams have been hot and cold.

Most of you were already crowning this team as Sun Belt champions before the season began probably


based on last year's improvement, but this team is still a work in progress and how that progress continues this season will be determined by how your Panthers bounce back from Saturday's performance.




Congratulations to Yarimar Rosa, (thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) who in her first week back from a hand injury won the Sun Belt Volleyball Player of the Week award today. 

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 3 STANDINGS (FIU/ULM scores due by 3:29 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)


FIUrulez (27); Fomenter (45); Crazy Cane (62); MIA/NY Josh (71)


FIU0406 (32); FIUPantherFan (44)

FIU Fanatic (46), Joel (46)

alt7787 (50); TheChampionUnderdog (51); NYCFIUFan (52); esteban688 (65)


Puma (26); LonePanther (38)

Golden Panther 90 (39), Quijote (39)

Baltimore Panther (43), Clawing Cancer (43), Gooch7 (43)

CarolinaGoldenPanther (44); CJ (46); Sunblazer Panther (47); SouthPaw (48); OC FIU Panther (49); FIU LOVE (53); theINTERNATIONAL (57); FIUcanesFan (63), gold (63); Hay (67)


Max (66); Tri-Panther (70); FIUer (78)

GPP: 2-1 (32)


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