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Mid-Season Review

We've reached the halfway point of the season and yes, the 2009 FIU football season has not gone as many had envisioned back in August.

Your Panthers are 1-5 and have not played like expected thus far. Yours truly had FIU at 3-3 (with losses to Alabama, Rutgers and Troy) at this point in the season when the preseason predictions were published here on the GPP back in August. So it's 2 games behind the pace. Could the deficit be made up in the final 6 games of the season? Sure, but FIU has to improve in some areas.

In our part of the worldwide web let's take a look at the team and hand out Panther Paws on how they have done so far. You can play at home, at work, in the car or wherever you may be logged on.

Aaapaw The Paws rating scale is 1 to 5 with 5 paws being the best.


Pmc Despite an inconsistent offensive line and sometimes holding on to the ball too long, Paul McCall (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is having a pretty damn good season and is on pace to own every single-season FIU passing record. Also, PMC leads the Sun Belt in TD passes (11) and is 26th in the nation in passing yards per game. As of today, PMC is 128 for 227 for 1,461 yards with 11 TDs and 5 INTs. At that pace, PMC would break FIU single-season records for completions, passing yards, touchdown passes andAaapawAaapaw AaapawAaapaw fewest interceptions thrown. 


We've seen the potential against Toledo and Western Kentucky where Darriet Perry, Daunte Owens and Darian Mallary all ran well. However, the running game has been missing in the other four games. How much does it have to do with run blocking and how does it have to do with the actual running game? You'd have to sit down and watch film to actually tell, but from the naked eye it seems toAaapaw Aaapaw be a little bit of both.


The loss of Junior Mertile has hurt, but T.Y. Hilton, Greg Ellingson and Ty Frierson (right, thanks AJH photo) have been as good asFriersonty advertised, especially Frierson who has really come on with the extra playing time. As we saw by the moves on his 51-yard kickoff return against Troy, Wayne Times needs to get the ball a whole lot more in the second half of the season. He can be this year's version of T.Y. Some receivers that can contribute in the second half that have shown flashes in the first six games are: Marquis Rolle, Jacob YoungerAaapaw Aaapaw Aaapaw Aaapaw and Ariel Martinez.


Getting Dudley LaPorte for only 1 game and a half certainly puts a big dent in FIU's offensive plans. The one-handed TD catch against ULM is still fresh in my mind. DLP should get a redshirt for his broken foot and be ready to contribute next season. Once Colt Anderson gets more comfortable at his new position, he will be very good. CA is athletic, has good hands and has shown that he is not afraid to go over the middle. CA is averaging 14 yards a catch. Jonathan Faucher and Joey Harris could help with good second halves of theAaapaw Aaapaw season. If DLP would have been available more, the TEs would get another paw.


With an entire starting line of upperclassmen, more was expected to start the season. Alabama, Rutgers and Troy won the battle of the trenches with the FIU O-line. The O-line did play well against Toledo, ULM and WKU. Still not consistent enough with the run game and again it could be a combination of both the blocking and the RBs production. Maybe mixing and matching the linemen until a cohesive unit develops is the answer. Freshman Dave Istanich has held his own. Need to find out how effective Cedric Mack can beAaapaw Aaapaw by playing longer stretches -- if his conditioning allows.


Lack of a pass rush and inability to shed blockers have hurt. The D-Line may not be big enough yet to take on some of the O-lines FIU has faced this season. In just about every game this season, opposing QBs have sat in the pocket all day to find receivers. There have been some bright spots. Freshman Tourek Williams is second on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss. Armond Willis is third with 4.0 TOL. Thatcher Starling has also had a few good games. However, FIU needs much more from this unit to have a betterAaapaw Lilcanada second half.


You can't say enough of the jobs Scott Bryant and Toronto Smith (left, thanks AJH photo) have done -- Nos. 1 and 2 in tackles on the team. Little Canada leads the team with 8 TOL. Winston Fraser has been effective with 27 tackles (5th on the team) and 3 TOLs. However, this unit was supposed to be the strength of the D and like the rest of the D has had its share of missed tackles. We might see more of the heralded freshmen such asAaapaw Aaapaw Pooh Bear Mars, Kenny Dillard and Markeith Russell in the final six games.


After Anthony Gaitor, the jury is still out here. Gaitor has played well again for the third consecutive season with 2 INTs and 4 pass breakups. Losing Ash Parker again for the season is a big blow. Chuck Grace has done a decent job filling in and leads the team with 6 pass breakups. FIU needs to establish another solid starting corner opposite Gaitor. With all the secondary injuries (Dez Johnson out for the season, KregAaapaw Aaapaw Brown - ankle) might be time for Jarrell McGee and the freshmen to step up.


If Carlos Munera (right, thanks Roy Viera photo) is not named All-Sun Belt first team punter then there should be an investigation. Consistently, this season CM has set up the FIU D with the opposing O in not-so-good field position. If CM's keeps up his season, he could get a chance to punt on Sundays. Hell of a special teams weaponMuneracarlos here.

Dustin Rivest has gotten better as the season has progressed and has shown a much stronger leg than last season. We have not gotten to the point of -- as sorely missed former FIU Spanish radio broadcaster Jerry of the Castle used to say about former FIU kicker Adam Moss's kicks: "Por el medio de la calle Flagler" -- but DR has been pretty automatic of late and kicking with a lot of confidence.

Kick returners Goodbye, Frierson and Times have had a solid start returning kicks. No. 4 took it to the house on what is now the No. 1 team in the nation. Frierson has been steady and had a good gameAaapawAaapaw Aaapaw AaapawAaapaw against Troy. Times showed what he could do against the Trojans.

* Send in your mid-season review of the Panthers and let's see how we compare.


Aaapaw Thursday is your chance to preview the upcoming FIU basketball season with the Alumni Panther Preview with new coach Isiah Thomas at 7:30 p.m. at U.S. Century Bank Arena. You can meet some of the newest Panthers and IT as well. It's a similar event to the football preview back in August with MC. The event is free and open to the public.


UltimateFIUFan: What is the status of Anthony Gaitor & Greg Ellison? Will TY be 100% for ASU?

PP: Will have updated injury report after Tuesday's practice, which is where I'm finishing this blog up from.

mia/ny josh: Pete, since you obviously have the capabilities to show who is and who isnt...please confirm for the masses that I am not Crazy Cane

PP: mia/ny josh and Crazy Cane are two different people. Just a couple of fans of the school from across town that also are fans of FIU.

Aaapaw Will have FIU/Arkansas State LIVE BLOG for you from Jonesboro, Ark. at 6:45 p.m. Miami time on Saturday.

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 6 STANDINGS (FIU/Arkansas State scores due by 6:59 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)


Fomenter (93)


FIU0406 (81), FIU PantherFan (102), NYCFIUFan (115), CrazyCane (142), MIA/NY Josh (147)


Puma (87), quijote (88), FIU Fanatic (98),BaltimorePanther (102), TheChampionUnderdog (112), FIUcanesFan (119)


Joel (93), CJ (98), theINTERNATIONAL (113)


LonePanther (79), Clawing Cancer (90), Golden Panther 90 (97), SouthPaw (119) 


Tri-Panther (130), Max (132), FIUer (176)

GPP: 5-1, (77)


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4 Paws for QBs? That's way too nice. McCall is not capable of touch passing which kills us in the red zone. And after McCall we have Younger. Let's just say he's no McCall.

QB = 2.5 Paws

Running backs have underperformed but this is strictly due to the O line.

RB = 3 Paws

Defensive Coordinator = 1 Paws.
How did our Defense get so bad?

Everything else I agree with.

CandyCane is a much a fan of FIU, as I am a fan of Swine Flu.

I would chime in but my therapist suggests not to post during attacks of deep depression.

If FIU does not win 5 games this year, it was nice knowing ya...

PMC has been one of the very few bright spots on our team. He's done the best he can with the crap that has been dealt to him.

It's sad that we've wasted a great year from our starting QB.

The defensive coordinator deserves -3 paws and needs to be fired on the spot if the D gives up another 100 yard rusher.

Ok Crazy, so I guess you're clear on the mia/ny Josh issue...

Congrats to Fomenter who appears to be the only accurate FIU hater thus far. But don't pat yourself on the back too much, the season's not over yet.

I don't agree with 4 paws for McCall, either. It should be 5. I'd go even higher if I could.

I don't know if some of the other FIU fans who've been around for a while would agree with me here... or if Pete would, either... but I can only recall one other year where I've seen FIU's QB take a regular pounding like McCall has this year, and it was Jamie Burke in the inaugural year. And, to be honest, I think that year physically ruined Burke. He was never the same after that shoulder injury against FAU. I think he only played in one other game, and that was when he tore his ACL against Indiana State in the 2003 season opener... but that's besides the point. Back to McCall.

It's amazing that he's doing as well as he is with the pass pressure he's faced all season long. He's getting his ass kicked on a weekly basis because the O-Line can't protect him. He's got no damn running game, so everyone knows he's going to be throwing the ball. FIU's also played behind a lot, so everyone knows he's going to be throwing the ball then, too. And, despite all that, he's still on his feet AND he's performing at a high level.

For you doubters and haters, read this part again:

128-227, 1,461 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs.

Are you SERIOUSLY going to tell us this kid deserves 2.5 paws, FIU FPL? Those numbers are, frankly, a hell of a lot better than you would expect from a QB who's playing on a 1-5 team. For what it's worth, I agree with you that his touch (and his accuracy) needs work, but considering the situation he's in, I give him a pass there. It's hard to do both those things with the kind of beating he's getting week in and week out. It's a wonder to me he hasn't made more mistakes or hasn't gotten more shell-shocked and defensive. If he keeps this up, I can see this kid getting a serious look from someone in the CFL or NFL... maybe even getting drafted in a late round or something like that.

I can only imagine what he'd be doing with an O-Line that wasn't doing its best turnstile impersonation AND a defense that didn't give up a zillion yards and points. He'd probably have more TD's and yards, and definitely less picks.

I always suspected it, but I have no doubt in my mind now... MC picked the wrong kid to be under center in the 07 season. This job should've been McCall's from day one instead of wasting time with a WY who can't even throw a decent ball. Maybe this season - hell, maybe the 08 and 07 seasons, too - would've gone a lot better had that been the case. We'll never know, but it sure makes me wonder.

As for the rest of Pete's rankings... O-Line should get 1 paw. D-Line should get none. I agree with the rest, especially on Munera. That kid's got a future in pro football somewhere.

My 2.5 Paws for QB is based on the all the position players (not just PMC). That's why I mentioned Younger because he factors in at the QB position too. 4 Paws is reserved for a group like the receivers where virtually everyone is a stud.

As for PMC by himself, I would give him a 3.5. I don't think he is a 5 Paw QB. I guess its a matter of whether you feel his bad throws are a sign of a bad o-line providing no protection or a sign of his limitations (or maybe a bit of both.) The last game against Troy he was missing receivers left and right. Personally, he's not a 5 in my book.

However, he is a hell of a player and a leader and when you have receivers like we do, you don't need a 5 QB. (YOU DO NEED AN O-LINE THOUGH)

Munera has been MVP this season.

Pete, you're being generous with O-Line and D-Line. O-Line deserves 0 paws, and D-Line is negative -1 Paws. These units have been a disaster. Even LB's I can't agree with, maybe just 1 paw...they are missing too many tackles when they have a chance to make a play.

McCall is a decent QB, he is best we have that can wear a uniform this year and play. My problem with McCall is inconsistency. That interception he threw against Troy in beginning of 3rd quarter was the play of the game. I don't even know what he was thinking, Frierson was all open. I will give him 2.5 Paws. Even when he has had time to make throws he's made mistakes. Just my opinion!!! Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what Wesley Carroll can do next year.

Pete, what about the coaching thus far? I'd like to read your comments in the next post.

Coaching = 1 paw, and that's just so they have 1 paw to smack each other in the back of the head!

The entire defense should get 0 paws, as they are the 120th ranked defense in the nation. A group of cardboard cutouts could tackle better than some of these clowns.

Pete, you say in your article that you had FIU at 3-3 ("Yours truly had FIU at 3-3 with losses to Alabama, Rutgers and Troy") but yet your picks have you 5-1 with FIU having a 1-5 record - explain? Are you a journalist or a BS'er?

"...when the preseason predictions were published here on the GPP back in August."

He thought we would be 3-3. However as the season has gone on, he has adjusted his prediction on a game by game basis.

Was it really that hard to just finish reading the sentence? Idiot.

Jdoezer, I'm pretty sure Pete has been adjusting his picks week by week. So when he's seen us lose worse than expected every week, he's adjusted some of his wins to loses in his predicts. I believe Pete only makes his official gameday predictions on Fridays, and doesn't stick to his preseason predictions.

Does anyone know if Sports Grill showing game this weekend? Or if it's even on TV?

I also had FIU at 3-3 at these point but I guess my Pre-Season thoughts were way off. But with some changes I truely think we cn finish a desapointing season at 5-7.

As for the Coaching Staff I think they get 3Paws, Why?
Caoching is more then just calling plays. How about the Recruiting, Conditining, Play Calling, Adjustments at Half Time (not good for us), etc..


You said "The last game against Troy he was missing receivers left and right. Personally, he's not a 5 in my book." about McCall..

can anyone think of a time in the game aganist troy when McCall wasn't hit in a series?

The O-Line can get a .5 Paw in my book. I'm suprised McCall is able to get up after some of the hits he takes.

Goals should be:
1) Finish the Season at 5-7
2) Pick up a good recruiting class
3) Finish the 2010 season at 7-5 (Bowl)
4) Win your first Bowl game by 2011 (stadium will be completed by then)

There is no reason why MC should not be able to reach ALL this goals. Big pressure for him and his staff to have a great season next year (that would be ALL his players)..


McCall has turned into a better QB than I expected. He's done a great job with what he's been given, which hasn't been much lately. Poor guy was sacked at least 3 times in the 3rd quarter against Troy, and countless others throughout the game. About the only time he didn't get hit was when he was on the sidelines resting and WY came in.

Each game he gets hit countless times back there and yet he's managed to put up record-breaking numbers this season. I think many of us have overlooked, and underestimated, the job PMC has done in the first half of the season. I agree that he's been inconsistent at times, but that's mainly due to our disappointing O-line not buying him the enough time to find an open receiver. It's either get rid of the ball, or lose yards on the sack, which led to the interception against Troy (also agree that the interception was a defining moment in the game). Pete, four paws sounds like a fair assessment at QB, this guy is a warrior!

RB's, DL and OL each get one paw; that's only so they have something to slap each other around with. WAKE UP!!

PMC is the toughest guy playing for FIU.


Don't get me wrong, he has turned out better than I expected. Quarterbacks are going to get hit often especially if they play in mid-major conference. He has done a good job so far, but he has made crucial mistakes. Perfect example that I will tell you he had time to and didn't get knocked down was right before the half. After an unsportsmanlike penalty against Troy we got the ball at the 6-7 yard line. 1st down he missed receiver in the slot. 2nd down was horrible running play called. And on 3rd down he overthrew receiver in the back of the endzone. We had to settle for 3 points. We needed a touchdown!!! I'm sure many recall that possession.

One more thing, reason he was out of the game was because he made a tough tackle after he threw that interception. Aaron Davis returned the ball on kickoff to Troy's 45 yard line and he was completely off on that play to Frierson and he had to make a tackle, if not it would have been a return for TD.

I'll always root for McCall, but mistakes can't be ignored.


Incase anyone interested in showing up. Seems like good event.


The defensive and offensive lines have been a disaster. I cannot really fault the RB's for not getting it done because by the time they get their hands on the ball the opposing team's defense is already in our backfield.

As for McCall he has, for the most part, done the best he can with the total lack of protection he has been given. The one thing I will fault Paul on is that he has a tendency to pick a receiver at the line of scrimage and follow him instead of surveying the field. Keep in mind it is hard to survey the field when you are about to be sacked, but on several occasions this has been a glaring weakness of his.

I agree with some here that Galiano needs to go. Simply put we cannot get any worse statistically on defense so it isn't worth keeping him around. He has three years and the team has now been ranked below 100 twice on defense under him.

I would lower the Offensive Line to just 1 paw, since even when not sacked, PMC has bee hit NUMEROUS times over and over again in each game. McCall, I agree, has been a warrior out there, showing tons of leadership.


3 of 5 PAWS
This slightly above average rating is more a reflection on our "QUARTERBACKS" instead of quarterback. If it was an individual analysis on PMC, I'd give him four paws. He's been consistently pressured, but his stats on the year are actually pretty good.... his completion rate is around 65%, his TD to TO ratio is 2:1. He has shown moments of precision when he has time, but that's hardly been the case and therefore has been subject to numerous sacks. While I don't think he's NFL material, he's surely been battle tested... While SunBelt D-Lines aren't SEC size, they are still pretty large and PMC has played the vast majority of his collegiate career without injury...he's a tough guy. Because of this, and the fact that he has done well most of the time when given time, he may have a shot in the NFL or CFL, albeit a stretch at that. In contrast, Younger is more like Jacorry Harris.... great scrambler, but often makes poor decisions. Jacorry has the luxury of a menacing offensive line, but even with all that protection he's thrown MANY ducks and has had many many picks. Younger scrambles, but his arm isn't as accurate as PMC. I'm very excited to see what Wesley Carroll brings to the table next year.


2 of 5 PAWS
Its difficult making a judgement call when your line doesn't open any holes up for you, but I don't think our RBs have made the most of their slim chances like PMC has. Plus, they go down easily....

Wayne Younger and Jacory Harris shouldn't even be in the same sentence. Ugh...Wayne Younger...winless as a quarterback...0-10...

Correction, he was 0-11.

I'm starting to sound like the PA announcer

Actually PMC's completion percentage is more like 56% but is other numbers are great especially considering the OL play.

Dont think WY should ever be compared to Jacory Harris, especially based on scrambling. Jacory is a pocket passer, which is a good thing cause if he ever became a scrambler he would be killed. The kid is 6'5'' and about 190 soaking wet.

WY is complete garbage even if he is used simply in the wildcat. He should never see the field as a QB.

Look at this video of Jernigan's TD...the attempted tackles are what really bothers me.


What happened to Gaitor on that play? They made jernigan look like Randy Moss.

quijote - Are you serious - Younger is like Jacory Harris? Just when I thought the delusion could not get any worse

Yea i agree. The only thing that Wayne Younger and Jacory Harris share is the fact that they're both black. Im a huge UM hater, but Harris is something. That kid has amazing accuracy.

I feel bad though. I think Wayne Younger may be the most hated athlete to ever play at FIU. That 1-10, 9td-21INT season really gave him a bad rap. haha. lol.

The D-Coordinator's garbage...suey!

does anyone know if they will be televising the game at sports grill? don't want to go for nothing.

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