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More Beef Coming To O-Line & FIU/ASU Review

Delsoin Looks like FIU will add more beef on the offensive line with the verbal commit of Sheridan Hills offensive lineman David Delsoin, (left) who stands 6-6 and weighs 280 pounds.

Of course, the Panthers could use that beef this season and not just on the offensive line as has been seen for most of 2009.

Outside of Armond Willis, the D-line and for that matter the entire D struggled again Saturday, but mostly in the second half and that needs to change if FIU is going to win any of the final 5 games this season. 

In the first half, we saw some defensive adjustments from the FIU D that were not there the previous week against Troy.

The Panthers moved around a bit more and brought more pressure -- and looking at the box scores of FIU's first 6 games -- FIU played its best defensive half of football on Saturday since the season opener at Alabama.

FIU gave up 86 rushing yards against the Crimson Tide in the first half -- a season low until Saturday. The Red Wolves had 76 rushing yards at halftime and 58 of those yards were on their opening drive. In the other five ASU possessions in the first half, the Red Wolves had just 18 rushing yards.

However, what is alarming was how ASU just went straight down the field on FIU to start the third quarter and easily scored a TD to make it 14-0.

While FIU gave up two plays of 15 yards or more in the first half, the Panthers gave up 8 plays of 15 yards or more in the second half. On that opening drive of the 2nd half, ASU had a 21-yard run and a 20-yard run.Od

ASU rushed for 200 yards in the second half to give them 276 for the game.

Whether that means adjusting to the opponent's adjustments coming out of the locker room or switching personnel along the front seven, the Panthers need to fix this because 3 of FIU's top 5 tacklers from Saturday's game were defensive backs (Jeremiah Weatherspoon, O' Darris D' Haiti (right) and Jonathan Cyprien). Nothing against the secondary, but the old football adage is that you don't really want your secondary being your leading tacklers. That usually means the opposing O is getting through 7 of your 11 defenders.

The offense was not at its best either on Saturday.

We saw a re-shuffled offensive line against ASU with freshman Rupert Bryan getting his first career start, freshman Dave Istanich at left guard along with Cedric Mack getting the most snaps he has had in a game this season.

The run blocking didn't really take and that goes both ways with the O-Line and the running backs. On a couple of plays I saw the RBs running into their own blockers.

Outside of games against Toledo and Western Kentucky, the Panthers haven't really had much success running the ball this season and yet, FIU averaged 34 points per game in the last 4 games. Go figure.

FIU also had a tough time converting 3rd down going just 1 of 7 on 3rd down conversions in the first half (4 of 15 for the game). Some of that had to do with pre-snap penalties making the down and distance longer to convert.

Six of the 10 FIU penalties were pre-snap -- with 5 coming from the offense. That has to be cleaned up too.

I like the idea of starting to change up the playing time, especially with the younger players. Let's see what they got right now. Bryan, Istanich and C-Mack throw them in the fire and let's see what they can do.  

And if other players are not producing then let some others get in the game, regardless of whether they are Hh freshmen, sophomores or whatever.

Look, FIU is not going to run the table and finish 6-6, especially with the No. 1 team in the nation still on the sked. If that happens I will walk back from Gainesville to Miami and my brother will drive the rental car home.

However, if the Panthers play like they are capable of and like they have shown in flashes this season then they still can win each of the 4 Sun Belt games left starting with Louisiana this Saturday.

The FIU defense -- from the first 3 quarters at Alabama, that showed up at Rutgers and played the first half against Arkansas State -- needs to be at the same stadium on the same Saturday as the FIU offense that averaged 34 points per game in the previous 4 games before ASU. Get those two specific units together and you might match last season's 5-7 mark, which right now would be the most palatable ending to this season.


Aaapaw Late breakfast with the GPP on Halloween Saturday....GPP LIVE BLOG of LouisianaBk vs. FIU begins around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning from FIU Stadium. Kickoff is at 12 noon and I will be able to blog with you until the final play, because of the deadline friendly game time this week.

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 7 STANDINGS (Louisiana/FIU scores due by 11:59 a.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)


Fomenter (107)


FIU0406 (115), NYCFIUFan (136), FIU PantherFan (151), CrazyCane (161), MIA/NY Josh (179)


BaltimorePanther (135), FIUcanesFan (150)


quijote (106), Joel (120), FIU Fanatic (122), CJ (141), theINTERNATIONAL (147), TheChampionUnderdog (148)


LonePanther (119)


Golden Panther 90 (122), Clawing Cancer (136), SouthPaw (146)


Tri-Panther (173),  FIUer (237)

GPP: 6-1, (112)


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more beeeeef.....

Pete.... you're crazy brotha! There is no way FIU is going to win the remainder of our conference schedule. Honestly, I see us winning just one more game this season and that's at home against North Texas. FAU is going to steamroll us, as is Middle Tennessee.

Pete we'd love to get your perspective on what coaching changes need to happen.

Injuries and lack of experience are the two biggest issues of the season- all of the playmakers are fresh, soph, and juniors. I like the addition of Delsoin! Keep bringing in the big boys and this team (when healthy) has the skilled guys to make some noise!!! Keep the faith and Let's Go!!!

We need more guys like Delsoin. We need linemen. We need guys that can put pressure on an opposing offense and open up lanes for our RB's and give our QB time to read the field. Hopefully we get four or five more guys like Delsoin.

As far as the defense goes, we need a coaching a change. If we are effective one half and become ineffective in another half then it is a product of being unable to adjust to the other team's adjustments. That is simply being out coached.

Mario needs another year to bring in some new guys, play with a healthy team, and further develop his players. However, if after next season improvements are not made, one must question if he is the man to lead this team.

Not likely FAU will roll anyone.

Hey quijote, nobodies going to steam-roll us. Sure the defense has played like a sieve but nobodies blown us out.

We've got UL-L this weekend. Time to get back on track.

p.s. Hey Pete, when is the Herald going to start picking up on the outstanding success of the Volleyball team? I'm mean 21-2 'aint to shabby.

FIUFan, come on those final scores are very very deceiving. A significant amount of points have been scored during junk time or fourth quarter.

FAU is playing as good as anyone in the belt. How the hell does that happen?! Is Howard that much better than Mario?!

Howard is probably a better game-day coach than Mario given his decades of head-coaching experience (he's probably forgotten more than MC knows..lol).

I agree, many of the points have been scored after the game had been decided. However, nobodies putting up 60-10 scores on us as has happened in the past. So I think we have a good chance against the remainder of our schedule (except UF), esp. the one's at home.

FAU is in a better position becuase they started with a college coach who knew how the college game is played vs. "STROCK" (a career backup). Mario inherited a mess and doing what he can to right the ship. The reality is that this season is a disappointment. lack of preparation and discipline has hurt us. also, no big play ability the entire year. Our current team is not the team that played Alabama. That team was fying to the ball and making plays. Even in the loss, you could see the difference from a year ago. At this point, lets all hope for the best. the 2010 is just around the corner

I realize Volleyball will never be football but the Herald should put out a good "detailed" article on the FIU Volleyball team. I thought being ranked among the TOP 20 in the nation is pretty damn good.. I also hope they dont place it on Page 18D next to the car comercial.

As for Football:
Im hoping this weekend will be a turn around game. I cant believe that we are hoping for a 5-7 season. I originally had the team at 7-5. I just hope that MC can pick up some good players in both sides of the line. Kids that understand that you can not move before the ball is snapped.

Pete any info on Recruits for this year??

Go FIU!!

Yes, Howard and his staff are that damn good. FIU needs to bribe Howard's entire staff to make their way just a tad bit more south.

Sorry to hear you guys are going through such a tough time. It begs the question though, for the players who are considering transferring, what exactly did they expect? I know Mario has to do his best used car salesman approach, but common sense has to ring through after the high of the pitch wears off. Just seems as if these players aren't as committed to the program as they should be.

Regarding Mario's coaching skills, or lack thereof, anyone on here who would ask the rational UM fans and researched him knew that his area of "expertise" the offensive line, severely under performed under his tutelage (And he only had one year coaching them. His experience prior to that was Tight Ends coach IIRC. Normally the spot for the least experienced, least qualified coach). Granted, what he had to work with weren't top notch talent wise, but they still underperformed.

Pete would have been well served hiring someone with a lot more experience. I understand Miami's issues with Chuck Amato, but from what everything I was hearing he was calling FIU for a shot at the job. I think he would have been a better choice and could have brought in a better, well rounded staff.

I'm tempted to pick you guys to win, not sure just yet.

Yeah, I don't see us beating ULL, FAU, Middle. and UF. I try to be optimistic, but I think some of these guys have already thrown in the towel for this season. I do think we will beat North Texas, though, as they have been our punching bag in recent seasons (no matter how much we suck).

Final record: 2-10

I really liked Chuck Amato. He didnt do that bad at NC State. He certainly showed he could get it done though. Lets not forget that Mike Shula was also considered a head coach candidate. So was Rob Chudzinski. All these guys had one thing in common. they all had success at the D1 and NFL level, even if in the case of Chud it was moderate success.

From day one i knew why Pete Garcia hired Mario. It was an old boys network im gonna hire him cause he is my cuban home boy hire. Other more qualified coaches were passed up and some weren't even interviewed. It happens all the time though. Thats why there are like 6 black head coaches in D1 football.

Nevertheless Mario is our coach and to be honest our problems arent all his fault. We cant expect him to clean up a mess 6 years in the making in 3 years. He needs time. Although I will say that he needs to recognize that some of his coaches need to be replaced. Someone brought it up that he seems to be stubborn and is taking the im going to play Wayne Younger even though is he terrible route.

Yeah, but whose a better recruiter than MC? Once he figures this game out (or gets some experienced help), watch-out.

p.s. MORE Volleyball coverage please.

Pete, I haven't heard much from Kambriel Willis this season, is he injured or just not performing? How about Pooh Bear Mars? Is TY 100% for Sat? If yes, can we expect him on kick-off & punt returns? Status of Paul McCall? HE DESERVES A CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF VALOR FOR WHAT HE HAS GONE THROUGH! He is the polar-opposite of Dolphin’s Ted Ginn. PM has a pair, while Ginn lost his pair @ OSU!



Your post certainly gave me food for thoughts, but I have a different view.

While I agree that Chuck Amato does have the pedigree and coach Cristobal lacks the experience, I feel that Cristobal is an excellent recruiter. With that in mind I have always thought that a team is better off with great athletes than with a great scheme (see Steve Spurrier). Cristobal is already bringing in good talent

Although the circumstances are not quite the same I would like to use the University of Miami as an example. Coach Shannon is a great recruiter, but by all appearances an average coach. This year he bought in a top notch assistant and with the athletes he already has, the pieces are in place for this team to make a run at the NC next year. My point is coach Cristobal is 1 or 2 assistant from taking this team to the next level whatever that may be.

Either way only time will tell.

In college, it is absolutely more important to be a better recruiter than a better coach.

For years, many of the top football programs in Florida were said to dominate not because they were better football players but because they were faster, stronger and more athletic than anything the other states could produces.

And if you have a coach that can recruit in FL, then you better keep him.
It's the D-COACH that needs to go. He is the one that is responsible for that aspect of the game, and MARIO needs to hold him accountable.

I don't know about being a better recruiter than coach. I would prefer a great coach surrounded by good recruiters. Randy Shannon just lost a game he had no business losing. USC does that once a year. Ohio State gets destroyed by superior coaching. For my money, give me a better coach. FIU will always have a shot at better recruits than the rest of the SBC just due to location. Getting a better coach, both X&O's wise and organization wise would give you a better advantage.

I have to agree with Fomenter. Considering how we have all blasted Galiano and the overall coaching, saying that it's more important being a better recruiter than coach doesn't make much sense. Our problem this season has been coaching not lack of talent. If anything, we have underachieved given the talent Mario has brought in.

You guys don't listen to Pete Garcia. What has he said time and time again the most important thing for a coach to possess is? Recruiting ability. If you can recruit the right kids to come to your school (and FIU is NOT a difficult sell), AND recruit the right coaches to work for you, you will be in a position to win every week.

The problem we have, as I see it, is two-fold:

1. a good portion of the top talent this staff has recruited hasn't stuck at FIU (thus, not the right kids, regardless of talent level), and
2. we don't have the right assistant coaches in place (i.e., Galiano). You can't hire an inexperienced head coach and then go and hire an inexperienced coaching staff underneath. We upgraded our offensive coordinator a few years back and now its time to do the same for the defensive coordinator.

I believe Mario was a very good hire, but he needs more experienced assistants to pass along the knowledge that you can only get by coaching at this level for a long period of time.

First Quijote, el diablo sabe mas por viejo que por diablo, that is why Howard and FAU are doing better than us.
About recruiting over coaching, in reality, we don't have top notch talent, our talent is better than what DS used to bring, but we don't have any blue chippers. Our staff recruiters are not filling the holes that need to be filled, instead they are going for the best available player and we are overloaded at some positions and some guys are not getting enough playing time and are possible thinking about transfering to other schools where they can play in regular basis and maybe get a shot at the NFL.
About recruiting some schools and players are good at recruiting, but some coaches are not, I agree what someone said about Shannon, but in order to be succesful the coach must have a system and stick to that system and bring the personel to fit that system, at the end of the day the system will make the team win. Look at Saban, Urban, Joe Pa, Stubbs, Howard and others, they pretty much try to recruite similar players all the time, sometimes they get that one special player that can carrie the team on his back and becomes the face of the program, but at the end the succes is with the system.
Saban has the same amount of time at Bama that MC has at FIU, and look he has that team on the top 5 for the second year in a row, I know Bama can recruite just by the tradition, name, etc. but that program was doing bad before he got there, and his recruites are the same age, experience than our, I know they are maybe better recruites, but Saban has a succesful system, he won at LSU and is winning now, and I bet if he comes to FIU he will put us in the top 25, but we have coaches who are learning to run a team, still figuring out things on the job and that is why we are where we are, and to be honest it might take them a lot longer to learn that what we want.
Just think about you have been the Delivery guy at the restaurant and you have seen the food been prepare but because your job was to be out of the restaurant delivering food then you really don't know how to put all the ingredients together, then all of the sudden you are promoter to restaurant manager and chef, and your assitant chefs were dishwasher and table cleaners. you have to learn to order food, accounting, to prepare the food, to hire delivery drivers, dishwashers, kitchen help, waiting staff, licensing, etc, etc. Believe me anyone will go bankrupt and destroy the business before learning to run a restaurant.
Our coaching staff is very green, and they needed more help from an older mentor, I think what some schools are doing might work when the old coach has a protege that is grooming to take over the program. But also you have to climb up the latter, Most or all the succesful coaches were succesful coordinators before they were head coaches. PG promoted some drill sargents and liutenants into generals.

Now that I'm done reading your manifesto, I agree with every point you made.

For those that would prefer recruiting over coaching...just look at Saban, Meyer, and Brian Kelly in Cincy. They, the previous two primarily, are known as great recruiters, but they went to programs easy to recruit. BCS, SEC, etc. They just worked their ways through mid majors and proved they could coach until they got an opportunity at bigger jobs. Always better to have a better coach v. a better recruiter, in my opinion. At some point, you can scheme around talent. Bill Belichick has proven this on the highest level.

You guys are right - this blog is so exciting and well viewed when I am not posting.

Point made.

Actually Belichick proved that talent matters more than coaching. The loss of the quarterback was the catalyst in that team going from superbowl favorite to missing the playoffs.
Meyer for all his scheming did not sniff a national championship until he got the talent. Brian Kelly can out-coach second rate USF and co. all he wants but when he gets to the Orange Bowl the opposing talent will take him to the woodshed.

On the contrary with Belichick. Look at his starting rosters when he first started winning rings. What killed him last year was not the lack of a QB. Cassell put up GREAT numbers. It was the defense was too old and they had glaring holes there, depth wise as well. He won a ring with Antone Smith at RB for christ's sake. Really average team that bought into a concept of ball control and mistake free football.

Look at how Gus Malzahn's improved Auburn's team.

USF is second rate of course, and sometimes talent is too much to overcome, but in your position you should prefer the coaching over talent. You're never going to pull 4 and 5 stars on a consistent manner. You're talent level isn't going to jump to top 25, but your coaching can if you get a solid X&Os guy. Sure, you'll have losses to the better teams like Rutgers, UF, and Bama, but maybe you don't drop games to the majority of your SBC competition. Mario has never proven to be anything but a recruiter, so you can pretty much always expect to get outschemed.

It's hard to argue against Belichick extracting the maximum out of mediocre players, but he is more of an anomaly. Let's take USF for example, I am familiar with the program (the second rate comment was out of frustration, I am also a Bull) and can tell you that the scheme is what carried us to the Big East but now the lack of talent impedes the progress. Selvie for example was a high school center with 1 other offer from a FCS school. Leavitt and his staff coached him up. They use a pretty good scheme but up until this year's crop had mediocre recruiting classes and it shows.

FIU is a long term project, we are not building for a NC but for the SBC currently. we do not need 4 and 5 star athletes. 3 stars and a couple 4 here and there will do. Troy is the best example. there is nothing special about their coaches however they step on the field every conference game and they have the best athletes.

You guys are right - this blog is so exciting and well viewed when I am not posting.

Point made.

Posted by: CrazyCane | October 28, 2009 at 04:16 PM

Really?? that's one of the best threads we've had in a long time, but since you are bored let me entertain you. UM is scared of FIU, FIU is fourth tier, we are delusional, FIU is [fill in the blanks], blahblahblah. Did I miss any of your great and insightful points?

USF is second rate of course, and sometimes talent is too much to overcome, but in your position you should prefer the coaching over talent. You're never going to pull 4 and 5 stars on a consistent manner. You're talent level isn't going to jump to top 25...

Posted by: Fomenter | October 28, 2009 at 04:53 PM

That was a moronic post. While you're daydreaming about how things used to be and passing them off as reality, there's a train bearing down on you that you don't even see. USF has already surpassed UM's football program. FIU will do the same by the time you 'Canes fans graduate from high school.

I don't know if I would say that USF is second rated, maybe in between first and second, but they are not championship material, not even in their own conference.
Now lets face it we are currently a third or fourth rate team, we are last, LAST on defense and ranked in the bottom 10. I know we all want our FIU to be number one, but first we have to be number one in the beld and be a second rate team, before we can play against better competition in a better conference or to make noise to make a bowl, I hope I am alive then so I can be there cheering for FIU like I do know, but we are what we are, and the this year the sleeping giant hit the snooz bottom and it is back to sleep.
I hope we win on Saturday, I venture to say that we are evenly match with ULL, but lets see how we do where it count on Saturday.

If you want to win championships you would usually need both, of course. However, I think first and foremost you need talent and recruiting. Many canes fans really hate and think their former head coach Larry Coker wasn't any good...yet he won a national championship his first year with the players recruited by Butch Davis, but once the talent dried up with his lack of recruiting skills, the canes program headed south, until now.

Current USC coach Pete Carroll has had an amazing record in college football (over.800 until 2008), presumably due in great part to higher level of talent he's been able to attract. However, his record as an NFL (where talent disparities among the 30 or so teams are not as evident as in CFB's 120 teams in FBS) head coach was barely over .500 at 33-31.

Now, it is even more evident in basketball, where a good number of coaches with sub .500 record in the NBA, are excellent recruiters in college hoops, have developed winning traditions, and are considered some of the best college basketball coaches today...mostly because they can garner better talent than their peers.

You cling to your fleeting inkling of class Southpaw. USF is second rate. They aren't a top program and as far as passing UM, I doubt it but we'll be able to tell since their former AD signed on to play them for the next 5 years.

Coker winning had a bit more to do with who he had around him. His players were well coached, he was a good OC. Not great, from what I remember seeing from him, but pretty good. Their OC when he was coach was pretty good, took off to the NFL, and then you saw a parade of OCs go through there, a bunch of them with NFL experience. Their DC was Randy Shannon who was a top DC while in the game.

Pete Carroll coaching is a bit different. Look at all the good coordinators he had around him. In the NFL coaching is much more difficult, but any run of the mill or subpar NFL coach can coach circles around their college counterparts 90% of the time. It's like JV and Varsity.

But Randy Shannon was his same DC when he started to fail miserably and when they didn't have such great years...the difference? For the most part, was/is talent. Even Randy Shannon, who is now reaping the rewards of two great recruiting years this season, had two average...or below average years (for UM standards) when his talent base was low, or just too young.

A great part of the difference is that when you go to coach at college, recruiting makes such a big difference, since you can (at that level) attract a collection of some of the best players around just with you name and/or hard work in recruiting aspects. Not necessarily so in pro sports, where most of the talent is acquired via draft, and free agency moves, where $$$ is more important than playing for "x' program or "Y" coach.

Basketball, in my opinion, exemplifies how important is to be surrounded by superior talent in order to be significantly successful. In NBA, where talent is more evenly widespread and/or harder to acquire an advantage, these coaches' records are nothing to write about. These same coaches in college, with their obvious recruiting advantages, have been mostly ultra-successful, and the most important element is advantage in attracting the best talent.

Great news, Rivals has y'all at 111 out of 120 div 1 schools. Not last place!

I think Randy Shannon is a poor example. His side of the ball, outside of 2004 IIRC, was stellar. What killed Miami was the fact that they hadn't recruited QBs, RBs, or WRs. I think their punter (the black one) was their 5th string WR to start the season. I'm not saying recruiting doesn't make a difference, but when you get out-coached your talent isn't going to make up for the deficiency. Look at Alabama and Utah, and Alabama has a good coach. Just look at Boise St. Sure, if Boise State played a schedule that wasn't Charmin soft, they would have 3-4 losses every year, but for one big game a year their coach is a very, very good schemer.

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