Yesterday was the last day of summer and the beginning of the rest of the season for your Panthers. I know some of you were thinking about reaching for the hemlock or tying cinder blocks to your ankles and jumping into the Atlantic after Saturday's loss to Rutgers, but come back into the GPP put down the hemlock, take off the cinder blocks, relax on the couch and let's see if we can help you.
Before the season began many of you had FIU cruising through the Sun Belt, taking down Rutgers and Toledo for what you thought would amount to a 8 or 9-win season and start knocking on the Big East door.
Hey, it's great to have big expectations, but a little perspective here. FIU still has several holes to fill to call itself a complete team. You may have been tempted to think from last year's four-win improvement that another 4-win improvement was coming this season for a 9-3 record.
However, FIU still is not solid along the lines of scrimmage and is sorely lacking depth and this is where the Panthers are today at 0-2.
It's year 3 under MC and progress has been steadily made (see: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, linebackers, defensive backs and punter), but it hasn't quite reached the offensive and defensive lines just yet. Before the season and in camp, several people couldn't believe I was only predicting 6 wins for FIU and I said the reason for it was the uncertainty along the lines and a lack of depth throughout most of the team. Bama and Rutgers showed the FIU lines are a work in progress and the Tide also took advantage of the lack of FIU depth in the fourth quarter.
Now uncertainty doesn't mean that the lines can't get better. There is plenty of potential on both lines, but some of it hasn't fully developed in the weight room or the light bulb just hasn't come on yet.
So here's where we are: FIU did not have the size on the lines to match Alabama and Rutgers, yet thanks to its D, Carlos Munera and some moderate success in the passing game, the Panthers were able to be competitive. (Yes, while many think the Rutgers game was not competitive, it actually was thanks to the FIU D -- only 1 TD allowed -- and Munera).
Remember last season's first two games: Kansas 40, FIU 10 (30-10 Jayhawks at halftime) and Iowa 42, FIU 0 -- those were not competitive games from the start.
While Toledo is a much improved team from last year (this is not your father's Toledo that took a whuppin' from FIU last year), the home opener against the Rockets could give us a better idea of your Panthers this season.
However, FIU MUST NOT take Toledo lightly, because of its 35-16 win last year at the Glass Bowl. FIU
The Rockets bring a high-powered offense with a senior QB, a bruising running back, talented receivers and a 300-pound-plus O-line. Toledo can score and be scored on as the 52, 38 and 38 points they have given up in its 3 games show.
But again the FIU D-line must show it can get by those 300-pounders and get QB pressure which there has been very little of this season. Or open up the holes for the talented, fast linebackers to get in there and disrupt the Rockets offense.
And of course, the big one -- the FIU O-line needs to get its act together and give Paul McCall some time to throw and open some holes for the running game. Will there be changes along the O-line? We'll find out later in the week, but it would not surprise to see some new O-linemen getting playing time on Saturday.
Will have injury updates and Dudley LaPorte status updates for you later today.
WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 2 STANDINGS (Toledo/FIU scores due by 6:59 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)
Joel (15); FIU0406 (19); FIUrulez (20); FIUPantherFan (24); FIU Fanatic (26)
alt7787 (28), NYCFIUFan (28)
Fomenter (34); TheChampionUnderdog (37); Crazy Cane (40)
esteban688 (44), MIA/NY Josh (44)
Clawing Cancer (19), Gazi (19)
LonePanther (20); OC FIU PANTHER (21)
FIUJM (22), FIU LOVE (22), SunblazerPanther (22)
Baltimore Panther (23)
Golden Panther 90 (24), Quijote (24)
Carolina Golden Panther (25), gold (25)
CJ (29), Gooch7 (29)
theINTERNATIONAL (32), chrisfiu (32)
panther viscosity (34)
FIUcanesFan (36), Hay (36)
Tri-panther (45); Max (53); FIUer (56)
* If your name is not listed above then either you did not give a score for the Alabama game or did not give a score for the Rutgers game.
GPP 2-0 (16)