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28 posts from November 2009

November 30, 2009

Don Shula Bowl Week

The season finale is just about here for your Panthers with the Don Shula Bowl on Saturday from FIU Stadium against Florida Atlantic or as they are affectionately known -- the Boca Raton Hooters.

Shula Bowl VIII week kicks off on Monday night with the Coaches Dinner from the Panther Club at FIUShulatrophy Stadium. Will be heading out there later to check up with MC and Howard and have a blog post about it on Tuesday.

As you know, the Hooters have held the Shula Bowl Trophy (right, FIU's helmet is on the back of the trophy, which Howard refers to as the "dunce side" because it faces the wall at FAU) for 6 of the 7 years the game has existed. However, the only FIU win in the series came at FIU Stadium -- the last time the game was played there in 2005 where FIU tied an NCAA record with 4 interceptions returned for TDs.

In 2007, FIU was the home team for the Shula Bowl in the Orange Bowl, but lost that one.

Before we get to all the Shula Bowl stuff, wanted to pass along to you some highlights of the Scout Bowl that your Panthers reserves played in last Thursday on Thanksgiving morning.

Your Panthers were off from practice the past 3 days and had a chance to heal up from injuries before returning to the practice field on Monday.

SCOUT BOWL

The last day of practice last week had the scout team offense playing against the scout team defense. The scout D won the bowl 17-0.

Now, since FIU is low on depth, there were some players that are expected to see significant playing time next season participate in the Scout Bowl. So don't be surprised when you read some of the following names.

To start the Scout Bowl, FIU's two No. 1 draft picks for next season: quarterback Wesley Carroll and running back Jeremiah Harden did not play, even though the regular offensive players were chanting to the coaching staff to put WC and JH in the game. But no, FIU needs those two healthy when it opens the season in 2010 against an undetermined Sun Belt team at home or on the road. (Won't know the 2010 conference sked until the SBC office releases it in the early 2010 summer).

Williamsjairus MC gave the Scout Bowl -- a bowl-like feel by pumping in crowd noise and a band [yes, I know about the band] through the jumbotron speakers -- during the practice last Thursday.

Freshman Chris Schirripa started at QB for the scout team O. On the first series, Andre Pound and Josh Forney batted down passes.

Freshman receiver Jairus Williams (left, thanks Roy Viera photo), who had some dropsies in camp back in August, made a nice catch over the middle and paid the price on a hit by freshman safety Terrance Taylor. JW to his credit did hang on to the ball. At 6-5, JW can be a big contributor next season.

On the next series, to no surprise Pooh Bear (right) burst through the o-line and made a tackle for loss.

The first score of the game came when linebacker Chris Edwards forced a fumble on Schirripa and junior defensive back Jose Cheseborough, a transfer from Edward Waters, scooped it up and returned it 81 yardsMarsmug for a TD.

Freshman Carlos Gonzalez then took over at QB and was intercepted by freshman defensive back Antwoine Bell.

Freshman Junior Delpe was next up at QB and he connected with tight end Joey Harris for 21 yards. Or as him teammates were yelling out "Joey the Bear" Harris.

The O would not move any further than Harris's reception. Junior transfer linebacker Antoine Graham (South Dade High/Kansas JUCO) got a sack and defensive lineman Kasey Smith had a tackle for loss to end the drive.

Freshman safety Cain Elliott made a nice open field tackle of Schirripa on a scramble.

Jairus Williams after stopping on a deep pass that could have been for long yardage and resulted in an Cheese incompletion, came back strong with another catch over the middle.

The Cheeseman was at again. Cheseborough scored his 2nd and the Scout Bowl's 2nd TD when he recovered another fumble and ran it back 42 yards for a TD to make it 14-0.

The last highlight of the day came when Graham, Smith and Pooh Bear combined for a sack to end it.

LogoPANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw Congratulations to the FIU volleyball team (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) for, as expected, reaching the NCAA Tournament. The FIU ladies take on UM in Thursday's 1st round from Gainesville and then would play the winner of Florida/College of Charleston on Friday. Won't be able to cover those matches, because of football duties, but when the lady Panthers take on defending national champion Penn State in the Sweet 16 on Dec. 11 then I should beFiuvolley there in Gainesville and hell, even have a LIVE BLOG for you.

Aaapaw Will have a LIVE BLOG of Shula Bowl VIII on Saturday from FIU Stadium at 6:45 p.m., but will have to leave you in the fourth quarter, because of a very unfriendly kickoff/deadline time of 7 p.m. -- plus it is a TV game (CSS/Sun Belt Network) so that will make the game even longer.

Q&A

Clawing Cancer: 1) Is FIU planning on/doing anything special for Rich's retirement? I don't know about you guys, but I've seen long-time SID's at other schools get things named after them (usually press boxes and such). Any chance we see something similar for Rich? I think he deserves it, frankly. I'm not talking about a stadium or court, folks, for the record... personally, I'd name the press box at the football stadium after him. God knows, he's spent enough time in them.

2) I've heard that Akron and FIU have scheduled a home-and-home series in football. From what I understand, FIU goes to Akron in 2011 and the return trip for the Zips is TBD. Do you know anything about this, good sir?

PP: Should be something doing at the Shula Bowl either before the game or at halftime. Nothing concrete on naming of press box, but like I wrote in the second to last post, once it is complete, FIU should name the press box on the north side of the stadium and every other press area at FIU after Rich. The Miami Herald will have a story on Rich later this week.

FIU and Akron had a series scheduled under former AD Rick Mello, but that is off the books now. FIU's future non-conference schedules look like this: 2010 - Rutgers, Texas A&M, Pitt, Maryland; 2011 - UCF, Louisville, Duke and OPEN DATE; 2012 - Duke, Louisville, UCF and OPEN DATE; 2013 - Texas A&M, UCF, Louisville and OPEN DATE; 2014 - UCF, Louisville, Pitt and OPEN DATE.

blkpanther: Pete any news on Milk or any other additions to the 2010 class?

PP: Nothing as of this post. I think FIU is keeping one spot open for later on. Maybe, C.J. Leslie?

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, Panther Pass has become very ordinary! Not covering MAJORITY of the men's hoops road games. What gives?!

PP: You can get the majority of men's hoops road games through the opponent's webcast. Like tonight's game at Bowling Green is available on video through BG's website for like $4.95.

November 28, 2009

No. 3-ranked Hoopster in U.S. Eyeing FIU

Rakeem Although, you good people know my sentiments on recruiting and all the attention given to [insert name here of superstar high school player] thinking about 35 different schools before making a decision, the following is unprecedented territory for FIU basketball.

Rakeem Christmas, the No. 3 player in the nation for 2011, has whittled down his choices of college basketball programs to 5 and your Panthers are among the choices.

Granted, X-mas is still another whole year away from becoming a college hoopster, FIU has never been thisclose to landing this type of player -- except maybe in baseball where the No. 4 player in the nation -- Manny Machado is expected to sign with FIU this year, but might never field a ground ball for Turtle, because of the Major League Draft. Still, quite an accomplishment for both Isiah and Turtle.

Here is the latest story by Evan Daniels of scout.com about FIU's possible Christmas gift:

After listening to pitches from a number of college programs, Rakeem Christmas has sliced his list to five schools.


In early August, Rakeem Christmas, of Bryn Athyn (Pa.) Academy of New Church, cut his list of schools to eight. Now the No. 3 prospect in the 2011 class has narrowed his list further.

“Since our last announcement, certain schools have made a valiant effort regarding Rakeem’s recruitment. Stronger bonds have been established with a few programs and their staff. Our current list reflects that.” Amira Hamid, Christmas' aunt and legal guardian, said.

“Once we know it’s right for Rakeem and once he feels 100% confident about the situation, everyone else will know. This process has been lengthy but we are in no rush to meet a timeline. We’re pleased with the current schools we are considering and looking forward to watching them play this season.”

Christmas’ new list consists four schools – Florida, Georgetown, Oklahoma and Texas --- that were among his list of eight that he released in August. He’s also added a new school – Florida International – to the mix.

“I’m happy to work with a smaller group of schools going into the season,” Christmas said. “I’ve been so busy with maintaining my grades and practicing with the team, that I think this will help me focus with having to deal with less pressure during the season.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound post prospect hasn’t visited any of the five schools on his list. According to Hamid, they’ll likely look to take some trips following his junior season.

We might do something, but definitely not before the school year is over,” she told Scout.com.

After a big showing on the AAU circuit during the spring and summer with Team Final, Christmas opted to make a change and switched from Northeast Catholic to Academy of New Church. Thus far it’s been a smooth change.

“My transition at ANC has been great. I’m enjoying my classmates, teachers, and teammates,” Christmas added. “Coach Givens has been great with the workouts. I’m just ready for the season to start.”

The Academy of the New Church opens their season on December 4th against Atlantic Christian

November 24, 2009

A True "Golden" Panther

It's a bye week for FIU football. FIU hoops does not play again until the weekend and the FIU volleyball ladies are back on the court Saturday against Florida A&M. On Sunday, the volleyball team learns when and where it would play its first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament -- likely at either Florida State or at FIU.

So with a short break in FIU sports, I wanted to use this post to salute FIU media relations maven RichKelch Kelch, who after 31 years at the helm of FIU media relations, worked his last FIU home game on Monday night as the Panthers hoopsters played Murray State.

Rich started as a student-intern in early 1978 and was hired by FIU in July 1978 and has not stopped since making life a lot easier for the media.

Whether it was getting a player or coach on the phone at the last minute, printing out a football media guide when no media guides were going to be printed or handing out hot dogs at halftime, Rich was a tireless and outstanding asset for those who cover or covered FIU.

And even when he was understaffed at games and he was handing out food or doing stuff that many media relations heads should not be doing, Rich always did it with a smile. I would always say to him, "Rich, you shouldn't be doing that, get someone else to hand out the in-game box scores." His response was: "Pete, I'm getting my exercise in."

Rich has won 6 CoSIDA awards -- which is sort of the media relations version of the Heisman Trophy -- during his 31 years. It should have been a whole lot more, but FIU is not in a BCS conference and Rich's 40-yard dash time was a 6.3, which is 2 whole seconds slower than T.Y. Hilton -- so that probably worked against Rich's favor.

Rich also won FIU's Co-Employee of the Year in 1998. Just one question for those in charge of handing out that award at FIU........Where the hell are Rich's other Employee of the Year awards? 31 years and just one EOY award. C'mon!!

FIU should name all the press boxes at all FIU playing venues: the Rich Kelch Press Box and at the Bank name it Rich Kelch Press Row.

Like a lot of athletes, Rich will tell you it's not about the awards. But unlike a lot of athletes, Rich means what he says.

Many of you good people might not know Rich, because he works behind the scenes at the FIU games and does not diagram plays, throw a curveball or set a volleyball, but if you see him at FIU football's final home game on Dec. 5 at the Don Shula Bowl at FIU Stadium, then stand up and give Rich an ovation or a pat on the back, because he certainly deserves that and much more. 

Last year, FIU came out with its very popular "I Am FIU" campaign, but the university should re-work it for Rich,, because "FIU is Rich Kelch".

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw You good people got a 2-for-1 deal blog-wise yesterday and I was not able to get your pulse on the new FIU/Pitt football series. Tell us what you think and cast your vote below in the poll.

Q&A

FIU010: Pete, Please explain to me a few things.
1. Why is it that when I look to the sidelines at the FIU-UF game in Gainesville, I see our impressive coaching staff wearing the colors of the following schools (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Army, Central Florida, Cinci, Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Louisville, Missouri...) You get my point *BLACK* It is embarrassing that our coaching staff wears black and not Blue or Gold. Who makes these wardrobe decisions?
2. What was up with the play calling on two fourth and short attempts. An option...on the short side of the field...against one of the is not the fastest defense in the country!!!???
A Daunte Owens run up the gut with a defensive line that engulfs our sunbelt caliber O-line!!??
3. Lastly, Who does Antoine Walker think he is...I'm sorry wrong Antoine, I meant Antoine Watson. Does he realize that he maybe shouldn't shoot everytime he touches the ball? He is not 3-point sharp shooter like Antoine Walker haha but tried to be. .235 FG% & .200 3P% is unacceptable!.

PP: First of all, good job stomping on the floor at the Bank and leading the cheers at the basketball game on Monday night. Somebody had to get the wine & cheese crowd going. As for your questions:

1) The coaching staff makes wardrobe decisions. I'm sure if FIU was 8-3 instead of 3-8, then you'd be thinking black is the new blue & gold in fashion talk.

2) Not sure about that will ask after practice this week.

3) This basketball team has more issues than Watson's shooting. Without any height or depth this season, it could be a long season. It certainly does not help when you have to rely on the 3-pointer so much offensively, because when the team goes cold so does the opportunity for a W.

PANTERA NATION: Pete I don't know what do u think? Maybe we can have a little survey on this...With changing the nickname to PANTERAS, we wont have to change the logo plus we get to distinguish ourselves from all the other Panthers around.

PP: I don't like the PANTERAS nickname, but it's Thanksgiving and I'm thankful for your readership so I will put a poll question below the Pitt poll question to see what the rest of GPP Nation thinks.

Concerned B-Ball Fan: Pete this hiring is looking more and more like media hype for IT and FIU then it does about building the program. I was not expecting us to be this bad. Were you?

PP: Let's see no height, no depth, IT hired on Signing Day when all of the best recruits were already signed somewhere else and not much inherited talent, yeah, I was and am expecting a bad season from FIU hoops. IT has a 5-year deal. If it is a Marsh-like FIU team 3 or 4 years from now, then you may be right. But FIU was not going to compete for the Sun Belt this season.

Were you the same guy who told me in Gainesville that FIU should be embarrassed losing to Florida? Might be time for a reality check for you.

Aaapaw With 1 game left in the season, Fomenter has clinched the Win A GPP Blog extravaganza. There are 6 contestants left competing for the 2009 Sun Belt Football Media Guide. 

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 11 STANDINGS (Florida Atlantic/FIU scores due by Dec. 5 at 6:59 p.m. Eastern GPP Time)

11-0

Fomenter (155)

9-2

FIU0406 (177), NYCFIUFan (201)

8-3

CJ (194), BaltimorePanther (201), theINTERNATIONAL (210), Joel (213)

7-4

TheChampionUnderdog (194), FIU Fanatic (199), CrazyCane (259) 

5-6

SouthPaw (238)

4-7

FIUer (408)

GPP: 9-2, (171)


November 23, 2009

FIU vs. Murray State LIVE BLOG

Helmetlogo It's the final game of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer tournament that FIU is hosting.Msu

And the final home game for FIU until Dec. 31 when South Alabama visits the Bank for a 12 noon game on New Years' Eve. That's 28 days on the road for your Panthers, if you're scoring at home.

Tonight, against the Racers, FIU faces probably the best team in this tournament. If the Panthers are not ready for this one, then it could get out of hand early. Follow along and let's see what happens.

Panthers vs. Panthers

FIU and Pittsburgh have agreed to a home-and-home series in football beginning next season at HeinzFiuhelmet Field.

Pitt comes to FIU for the return game in 2014 at FIU Stadium.

This is the first of several home-and-home series with BCS schools that FIU is workingPitt on.

So the start of FIU's schedule next season is expected to be: Sept. 4 vs. a Sun Belt team (the opener has still not been decided whether it will be home or away).

Sept. 11 - home vs. Rutgers; then at Texas A&M; at Pitt; at Maryland and then 7 Sun Belt games, which the conference will not announce the schedule until later. The bye weeks for next season have not been set yet, because the schedule has not been set.

Will get to your questions and have the updated Win a GPP Blog leaderboard later.

Will be back on here for the LIVE HOOPS BLOG of FIU/Murray State at 6:45 p.m. tonight from the Bank.

November 22, 2009

James Madison vs. FIU Hoops LIVE BLOG

November 21, 2009

Game 11: FIU vs. Florida LIVE BLOG

GAINESVILLE -- Welcome to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium or as it is more commonly known The Swamp. A spectacular November day weather-wise. Sunny, cool afternoon as your Panthers get ready to take on the defending national champions in about 15 minutes.

This will be the second defending national champion FIU will have played in less than 2 weeks as the FIU hoops played at North Carolina on Nov. 9.

No pre-game injury news to pass along. Every Panther that is expected to play today is here and ready to go.

Will be with you until the end of today's game thanks to the deadline friendly kickoff time. Before we get rolling, here are your friendly blog reminders:

****So that the question is not asked 500 times during the LIVE BLOG, here are your viewing & listening options for today's game: 

Blog BLOG: Right here.

Tv VIDEO: ESPN Pay-per-view

Radio RADIO: 790 AM -- the part-time home of FIU Football; 95.3 WRGP

A few reminders for all GPP LIVE BLOGS:

1) The size of the LIVE BLOG window is at its maximum, but the way the blog program works by making the window larger it takes away the scroll button. However, you can still view previous comments by using your arrow keys.

2) There are only 25 spots to be an unmoderated commentator which allows you to post comments without my approval.

If you are 1 of the first 25 to log-on AND I think you will contribute some worthwhile comments then I will go ahead and approve you as an unmoderated commentator.

3) After the 25 spots are taken up, I then have to approve each comment from each reader. So if your comment takes a minute or so to show up it's because I'm busy either writing down the previous play for my game notes, working on the FIU/UF notebook for Sunday's paper or posting on the blog at the moment. At that time, I am not able to publish what you posted, but I will eventually get to it.

Let's go blogging....

FIU/Florida Preview: Driving Home, Not Walking

OCALA -- On Friday, FIU was 2 for 2 with wins in volleyball and basketball. The FIU volleyball ladies reached the Sun Belt Conference Championship match against Middle Tennessee at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The FIU men's basketball team defeated North Carolina Central 83-73 and play again on Sunday against James Madison at 6 p.m. at the Bank. So now it's time for your Panthers football team to make it a 3 for 3 Walk weekend by defeating the defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Florida Gators.

At the same time an FIU win over UF would make me walk home from Gainesville to Miami as I have said I would do if one of the greatest upsets in college football history happens at the Swamp on Saturday afternoon. My brother, a UF grad, is ready to drive home the rental car.

Met some new friends here in Ocala at a local restaurant and bar, who immediately jumped to conclusions about Miami when they learned yours truly was from there. One of the ladies said "so do you all carry guns down there because everybody is always shooting at everybody". Not necessarily, darlin'.

Similar to our Nashville friends from a couple of weeks ago, our new friends here in Ocala have also been watching too many Miami Vice re-runs or CSI: Miami. Their perceptions are somewhat skewed.

What is not skewed is the outlook for Saturday's game between FIU and Florida. One team is building for the future, is not big enough right now, is battered injury-wise and still needs to recruit a hell of a whole lot of talent to get to where they want to get -- which is a championship level program.....but enough about the Gators.

OK, just kidding. I was talking about FIU in the previous paragraph. If the Panthers can muster the type of Ellingson effort they put out against Alabama [like Greg Ellingson for 6, photo right] in the season opener way back more than 2 months ago, then Saturday's game could be more interesting than many, including Las Vegas think (FIU is a 45-point underdog).

I think the big thing for FIU on Saturday is to somehow get its running game going with the combo of Kendall Berry, Daunte Owens, Darian Mallary and Wayne Younger. If the Panthers can run the ball somewhat, then they have a chance to shorten the game and who knows maybe breakoff a run here and there.

If FIU is forced by UF to throw too much and result in several 3-and-outs on offense then watch out, because it could be a long day in the Swamp.

Defensively, it's pick your poison for the Panthers. I'd say stop the UF run and make Tim Tebow beat you with the weak link receivers -- as Joe Goodman put it -- that the Gators have. Similar to the game plan last week with Riley Dodge of North Texas, except that the Gators are the NFL team from Texas -- the Dallas Cowboys (when the Cowboys are good) compared to the Mean Green.

Jackie The strength of the UF offense is the run. FIU should try and neutralize that or even take it away.

Of course, for all this to happen FIU has to play a perfect game -- one they have not played before at any point this season. It's a tall order for the Panthers and I don't think they have enough to be ready for what awaits them on Saturday.

Speaking of perfect or close to it, Jackie (left) tells us the weather in Gainesville has a chance to be close to perfect on Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. Jackie is calling for 74 degrees with mostly cloudy skies, but 0% percent chance of rain for kickoff with relative humidity in the 60's. 

Still, with the pleasant forecast from the pleasant Jackie, there's just too much stacked against FIU for the Panthers to pull off what would be one of the greatest upsets in the history of college football.

I'm driving the rental back home with my bro in the passenger's seat.

If for some reason, I'm proven wrong then just shout at me down the Turnpike toward Miami.

GPP says: Florida 56, FIU 10

Aaapaw GPP LIVE BLOG of the FIU/Florida game begins at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday and I'll be with you until the end of the game thanks to the deadline friendly kickoff time.

Aaapaw GPP LIVE BLOG of the FIU/James Madison hoops game on Sunday from the Bank begins at 5:45 p.m.


 

November 20, 2009

Panthers In The Swamp

OCALA -- Will have your FIU/Florida game preview, prediction and Jackie's gameday forecast later tonight.

 

Been told the FIU ladies just swept New Orleans to get into the Sun Belt Volleyball Championship matchVolley on Saturday afternoon. Win, win, win, win.......it just gets boring with these ladies. That's 23 straight wins for the FIU ladies, if you're scoring at home.

 

The conference move talk on here is already out of hand, but could you imagine if one of the other FIU big 4 sports teams went off on a 23-game win streak? We'd have to shut down the GPP.

 

BTW, been told by the MH higher-ups that the FIU Volleyball story I wrote will be the main sports story in next Wednesday's, Nov. 25 newspaper. Looks for this photo of coach Tomic, Yarimar Rosa, Olga Vergun and Natalia Valentin (right) on the front cover of next Wednesday's MH sports section.

 

Back to the current post at hand, thanks to a little more rental car trouble (rentals & yours truly = oil & water), you good people get another 2-for-1 blog deal and 3 blogs in less than 24 hours with our LIVE GAME BLOG from the Swamp on Saturday beginning at 12:15 p.m.

 

Check back on here later tonight for the second FIU/UF blog.

 

Jo For now, here is Miami Herald Gators beat writer Joe Goodman and his thoughts on Saturday's matchup:

 

 

1) How can FIU score on the No. 1 ranked Gators defense?

 

JOE: Better hope T.Y. is healthy. The Gators haven't shut out an opponent this season, so FIU will probably score. How much? That probably depends on Hilton. He's a legitimate talent and might be able to get behind the Gators' overly aggressive defense once or twice. Of course, that all depends on FIU quarterback Paul McCall and how much time he's given in the pocket.

 

 

2) Do you think the Gators and especially Tim Tebow will use this game to pad their stats?Tebow

 

JOE: If the game is close in the second half, then Tebow will be in the game. If it's a blowout by the second half, backup quarterback John Brantley will be in the game. That's usually how Meyer has done it in blowouts. I don't think UF has enough quality receivers to help Tebow pad his stats. UF's receivers drop touchdown passes when they're open, which isn't that often. If the Gators build a 35-point lead after halftime, then Tebow probably won't be in the game. If he is, then they're trying to pad his stats. I wrote today in the Miami Herald (click the blue) Tebow needs solid showing vs. FIU about how FIU's defense has the chance to seriously damage Tebow's Heisman campaign.

 

 

3) How have teams that have had success stopping the Gators offense this season done so?

   

JOE: Force turnovers and get tough in the red zone. Arkansas had a chance to upset UF after the Gators lost four fumbles. If FIU can create points off of turnovers, it would certainly help the Golden Panthers' chances. Florida's offense is pressing right now. If FIU can keep the game close, the Gators' fans might Uffans have a collective mental breakdown inside The Swamp. The Gators have been under a lot of pressure this season because media and fans have expected blowouts and that hasn't happened.

 

   

4) Being ranked No. 1, I would imagine there are not too many, if any weak links on the Gators. If there is, where would FIU have the best shot of attacking UF?

 

JOE: The Gators' weak links are their receivers. Good thing for UF, they have some of the best running backs in the country. If FIU's defense can play man coverage, load up the box and respect the chance of an option, then they'll have a chance. Tebow has been sacked 22 times this season, so the Gators' offensive line is vulnerable. A true freshman is starting at left tackle.

 

5) Your game prediction and final score?

  

JOE: Gators don't cover the spread but still win convincingly. Gators 42, Golden Panthers 10

 

Hoops Gets Smaller; 2-QB System

Gacesa In case, you missed it in my game story in Wednesday's MH, FIU hoops has lost its 2 tallest players to injury.

6-9 forward Nikola Gacesa (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is done for the season with an ACL tear he sustained at Monmouth. 6-9 forward Cedric Essola had hernia surgery and is not expected back until the earliest January. The injury bug moves from FIU Stadium to the Bank.

J.C. Otero, a 6-7 small forward, did a nice job filling in at the 5 last night with 16 points and 14 rebounds. But eventually, the lack of size will catch up with the Panthers this season.

With the exception of the Golden Dazzlers, it wasn't pretty last night for FIU against NAIA FloridaGdazz Memorial from Miami Gardens.

Ragged play all around from a team that is showing it has not played together before. Don't get me wrong, there were moments such as the alley-oop from Antoine Watson to Marvin Roberts. When was the last time we saw an alley-oop by an FIU team? Yes, this is a more athletic team, but the playing chemistry is still off.

Stephon Weaver and Otero combined on a nice play in the paint. For being 5-10, Phil Gary (below, left) is a proud, card-carrying member of Company Jones, driving fearlessly to the hoop against bigger bodies. And Roberts had that dunk off a rebound in the middle of the paint -- again when was the last time we saw that kind of play from a Panthers team?

However, the disjointed play needs to be cleaned up come conference time. Expect this season to be similar to MC's and TT's first years as FIU coaches. Not expecting FIU to compete for the Sun Belt this season, but a better season than has happened in a while at the Bank would be a start.

Gary Speaking of the Bank, very nice renovation job of the arena. The Panthers hoopsters home finally had the feel of a real arena last night with all the changes.

Plenty of signs everywhere telling you where your seats were, where the concessions, bathrooms and where the courtside seat holders suites were located. And having fans come down from the second level to their seats also is an improvement. The place also benefitted from an entire new paint job and new court markings as well. Next up some time this season will be a jumbotron scoreboard and work on the new FIU hoopsters locker rooms, which should be ready for next season.

TWO-QB FIU & WESLEY TEBOW

Pmc As for Saturday's game against the Gators and for the Boca Raton Hooters gameWy on Dec. 5, MC said today that he "thinks so" that both Paul McCall (left, thanks AJH photo) and Wayne Younger (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) will play. The two-QB system worked at times for FIU last Saturday against North Texas. Tell us below, what you think about the idea for the Panthers final two games of the season.

Future FIU quarterback Wesley Tebow, er, Wesley Carroll has been playing the role of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow this week in practice running the scout team offense.

Appropriate enough for a former All-SEC Freshman QB to be playing the role of an All-SEC QB.

Obviously, WC does not have the size or credentials of Tebow, but WC has looked pretty good running theCarrollwes scout team. WC is a very mobile QB, has a good arm and throws well on the run.

If the FIU offensive line can improve next season, then WC could have a pretty good first year as FIU's QB.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw LIVE BLOG coverage of the FIU/Florida game will begin at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. It is a very deadline friendly kickoff time so I will be able to stick with you until the end of the game.

Aaapaw Will have the next LIVE FIU HOOPS BLOG for Sunday's game which is a 6 p.m. start against James Madison. LIVE BLOG starts at 5:45 p.m. No LIVE BLOG for Friday's hoops game vs. NC Central since I will be in Gainesville on that night.

Aaapaw Due to space constraints in Thursday's MH, the FIU Volleyball story will likely run in Friday's MH paper. Here's a preview of the story....

   The patrons in a downtown Nashville restaurant were in for some unexpected entertainment from the FIU volleyball team on a Saturday night earlier this month. The Golden Panthers -- who had just wrapped up their second consecutive Sun Belt regular season title by defeating defending conference champion Middle Tennessee an hour earlier – were ready for a late night dinner.....

Check out the rest on Friday.

 

Online Surveys & Market Research

November 18, 2009

Hoops Gets Smaller; 2-QB System

Gacesa In case, you missed it in my game story in Wednesday's MH, FIU hoops has lost its 2 tallest players to injury.

6-9 forward Nikola Gacesa (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is done for the season with an ACL tear he sustained at Monmouth. 6-9 forward Cedric Essola had hernia surgery and is not expected back until the earliest January. The injury bug moves from FIU Stadium to the Bank.

J.C. Otero, a 6-7 small forward, did a nice job filling in at the 5 last night with 16 points and 14 rebounds. But eventually, the lack of size will catch up with the Panthers this season.

With the exception of the Golden Dazzlers, it wasn't pretty last night for FIU against NAIA FloridaGdazz Memorial from Miami Gardens.

Ragged play all around from a team that is showing it has not played together before. Don't get me wrong, there were moments such as the alley-oop from Antoine Watson to Marvin Roberts. When was the last time we saw an alley-oop by an FIU team? Yes, this is a more athletic team, but the playing chemistry is still off.

Stephon Weaver and Otero combined on a nice play in the paint. For being 5-10, Phil Gary (below, left) is a proud, card-carrying member of Company Jones, driving fearlessly to the hoop against bigger bodies. And Roberts had that dunk off a rebound in the middle of the paint -- again when was the last time we saw that kind of play from a Panthers team?

However, the disjointed play needs to be cleaned up come conference time. Expect this season to be similar to MC's and TT's first years as FIU coaches. Not expecting FIU to compete for the Sun Belt this season, but a better season than has happened in a while at the Bank would be a start.

Gary Speaking of the Bank, very nice renovation job of the arena. The Panthers hoopsters home finally had the feel of a real arena last night with all the changes.

Plenty of signs everywhere telling you where your seats were, where the concessions, bathrooms and where the courtside seat holders suites were located. And having fans come down from the second level to their seats also is an improvement. The place also benefitted from an entire new paint job and new court markings as well. Next up some time this season will be a jumbotron scoreboard and work on the new FIU hoopsters locker rooms, which should be ready for next season.

TWO-QB FIU & WESLEY TEBOW

Pmc As for Saturday's game against the Gators and for the Boca Raton Hooters gameWy on Dec. 5, MC said today that he "thinks so" that both Paul McCall (left, thanks AJH photo) and Wayne Younger (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) will play. The two-QB system worked at times for FIU last Saturday against North Texas. Tell us below, what you think about the idea for the Panthers final two games of the season.

Future FIU quarterback Wesley Tebow, er, Wesley Carroll has been playing the role of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow this week in practice running the scout team offense.

Appropriate enough for a former All-SEC Freshman QB to be playing the role of an All-SEC QB.

Obviously, WC does not have the size or credentials of Tebow, but WC has looked pretty good running theCarrollwes scout team. WC is a very mobile QB, has a good arm and throws well on the run.

If the FIU offensive line can improve next season, then WC could have a pretty good first year as FIU's QB.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw LIVE BLOG coverage of the FIU/Florida game will begin at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. It is a very deadline friendly kickoff time so I will be able to stick with you until the end of the game.

Aaapaw Will have the next LIVE FIU HOOPS BLOG for Sunday's game which is a 6 p.m. start against James Madison. LIVE BLOG starts at 5:45 p.m. No LIVE BLOG for Friday's hoops game vs. NC Central since I will be in Gainesville on that night.

Aaapaw Due to space constraints in Thursday's MH, the FIU Volleyball story will likely run in Friday's MH paper. Here's a preview of the story....

   The patrons in a downtown Nashville restaurant were in for some unexpected entertainment from the FIU volleyball team on a Saturday night earlier this month. The Golden Panthers -- who had just wrapped up their second consecutive Sun Belt regular season title by defeating defending conference champion Middle Tennessee an hour earlier – were ready for a late night dinner.....

Check out the rest on Friday.

 

Online Surveys & Market Research

November 17, 2009

Florida Memorial vs. FIU Hoops LIVE BLOG

Helmetlogo It's the home opener for your Panthers basketball team after a rough start on theFmu road. A battle of the cats tonight from FIU's U.S. Century Bank Arena.

The Florida Memorial Lions (right) drove down the Palmetto Expressway to FIU's first home game under first-year coach Isiah Thomas.

We're about 15 minutes before tip-off and keep in mind the same notes for the LIVE hoops BLOG that we have for all the football LIVE BLOGS:

****So that the question is not asked 500 times during the LIVE BLOG, here are your viewing & listening options for today's game: 

Blog BLOG: Right here.

Tv VIDEO: Panther Pass at fiusports.com

Radio RADIO: None.

A few reminders for all GPP LIVE BLOGS:

1) The size of the LIVE BLOG window is at its maximum, but the way the blog program works by making the window larger it takes away the scroll button. However, you can still view previous comments by using your arrow keys.

2) There are only 25 spots to be an unmoderated commentator which allows you to post comments without my approval.

If you are 1 of the first 25 to log-on AND I think you will contribute some worthwhile comments then I will go ahead and approve you as an unmoderated commentator.

3) After the 25 spots are taken up, I then have to approve each comment from each reader. So if your comment takes a minute or so to show up it's because I'm busy, but I will eventually get to it.

Let's go blogging....

November 16, 2009

WildPanther, Wild D & Special Teams

So who do your Panthers think they are with this WildPanther thing -- the Dolphins?Wildberry

Pretty effective rushing game on Saturday against the Mean Green. FIU rushed for a Dolphin-like 173 yards -- the second highest total this season after the 206 rushing yards they put up against Western Kentucky.

Kendall Berry (right) is made for the WildPanther. KB is a former high school running quarterback. Or as he put it, "I like going back to my roots". And did you notice what Daunte Owens can do when he gets a little blocking?

Although, it was not the WildPanther, backup quarterback Wayne Younger (below, left, thanks Sam Lewis photo) showed he has got some moves in the open field.

If you haven't seen Younger since Saturday, he has dropped a ton of weight after all those "people" got off his back. No, he ain't Peyton Manning, but who is? Will you now cut WY some slack? MC and Bill Legg played him in the right situations Saturday.

Some creativity on offense with the use of both PMC and WY. Might be a peek at the 2010 offense with the 2 Ws -- Wesley and Wayne. Who knows, because if the FIU O-line is sub-par next season, the Wy Panthers might need more creativity when they have the ball.

Obviously, the offense had to score the 21-unanswered points against NT, but it was the FIU D and special teams that set everything up.

Tip the hat to DB Peter Riley (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who started it all with a pick 6. Then Jonathan Faucher with the blocked punt and Trenard Turner with the recovery. Anthony Gaitor and Jonathan Cyprien finished it with a forced fumble and recovery.

The FIU D which has been hurt pretty bad with the run this season held NT to just 61 yards rushing in the 2nd half.

Big plays along the D-line to Andrew Mattox (below, left, thanks AJH photo), who is only a walk-on in name. We're seeing the reasons heRiley was the Osceola Defensive Player of the Year last season at Spruce Creek.

Aaron Davis with another big game (13 tackles) and Jarvis Wilson with 9 stops. Tyler Clawson had another big game. Now, FIU needs to take all this up to Gainesville.

Mattox FIU has been listening to you good people as Saturday's gameday experience showed. Led by UltimateFIUFan, you people have been clamoring for "Zombie Nation" piped into the stadium and FIU responded Saturday.

There was even the quiet sign on the jumbotron when FIU had the ball. I know a bunch of you are not fans of the "Ole, ole, ole" chant, but when it's done in unison by the largest home crowd of the season after an FIU TD or good play -- it's not that bad and unique in college football to FIU.

Nice crowd at Saturday's game after I called it a Marlins crowd in the first quarter. The 11K plus stayed until the end -- then again your Panthers gave them a reason to stay. And yes, 11K is good for FIU considering there is no winning tradition or consistent fan base.

This is an abbreviated post today, because I've been assigned to a hockey marathon all day today covering the hockey Panthers.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw Don't forget LIVE GPP BLOG tommorrow night (Tuesday) of FIU's hoops home opener against Florida Memorial. Will be on-line around 7:45 p.m. for the 8 p.m. tip-off. Like the 7 p.m. football kickoffs, might have to leave you a little early to write game story for Wednesday's paper.

Aaapaw You can check out a story on FIU's best team -- the lady Panthers volleyball team -- in Thursday'sVolley Miami Herald as the ladies play their first Sun Belt Tournament match on Thursday morning. About the only way a Sun Belt team can stop these ladies is to wrap a net around them like in the photo on the right. 

Q&A

FIURE: Pete, Is there any news on if the Big East is really looking at FIU.

PP: Not right now, need the big 3 FIU sports to start winning some Sun Belt titles before any of that happens. Yes, we'll call the FIU volleyball ladies as one of the big 4 FIU sports. They certainly deserve it.

pikedanny: Pete, Not sure if anyone has asked this already, so here goes. Any word on who we might schedule in place of UCF for next year?

PP: Word is it will be another home-and-home series with another Big East team (not South Florida, they want nothing to do with FIU after the Rutgers football deal. The Bulls cancelled the baseball series with FIU this season after the football deal.) The UCF series is still a 4-game home-and-home, but it will now start in Be 2011. The first game of the new home-and-home with the unidentified Big East team (possibly the fighting Wannstaches of Pitt) will be on the road so FIU has 5 home and 7 away games next season. In 2011, is the first season FIU has 6 home and 6 away games.

FIUFPL: Pete, can you find out if there will be an FIU hosted tailgate.

PP: Yes, it will be at the O'Connell Center (UF hoops arena) at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Aaapaw Unless, one of the greatest upsets in college football history happens this coming Saturday, Fomenter should clinch 1st place in the WIN A GPP BLOG sweepstakes. 2nd place is still up for grabs.

Congrats to TheChampionUnderdog and OC FIU Panther, who with their predictions both nailed the exact score of FIU's 35-28 win. Even though OC dropped out after not giving a score for the MT game.

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 10 STANDINGS (FIU/Florida scores due by 12:29 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)

10-0

Fomenter (142)

8-2

FIU0406 (168), NYCFIUFan (188)

7-3

CJ (173), BaltimorePanther (187), theINTERNATIONAL (189), Joel (191), CrazyCane (197)

6-4

TheChampionUnderdog (184), FIU Fanatic (192)

4-6

SouthPaw (207), FIUer (345)

GPP: 8-2, (158)

 

November 14, 2009

Game 10: North Texas vs. FIU LIVE BLOG

Good evening from the friendly confines of FIU Stadium and its open air press box. These are the kinds ofFiuhelmet Miami nights made for open air press boxes as Jackie forecasted yesterday. It's a balmy, cool evening here in the home of your Panthers as they get ready to take on the North Texas Mean Green.

Quarterback Paul McCall and middle linebacker Toronto Smith are back in the lineup forUnt FIU after missing last week's game against Middle Tennessee.

Of course, any FIU game this season would not be complete without some pre-game injury news. Running back Darriet Perry has a broken right wrist sustained last week against the Blue Raiders and is done for the season. Good thing Kendall Berry has emerged. Somebody go get a rabbit's foot, throw salt over the left shoulder or get a priest to perform an exorcism on the Panthers injuries for the rest of this season and beyond.

Still, the game must go on and so shall we. Before we kick it off, your friendly GPP blog reminders:

****So that the question is not asked 500 times during the LIVE BLOG, here are your viewing & listening options for today's game: 

Blog BLOG: Right here.

Tv VIDEO: Panther Pass at fiusports.com

Radio RADIO: 1080 AM -- the part-time home of FIU Football; 95.3 WRGP

A few reminders for all GPP LIVE BLOGS:

1) The size of the LIVE BLOG window is at its maximum, but the way the blog program works by making the window larger it takes away the scroll button. However, you can still view previous comments by using your arrow keys.

2) There are only 25 spots to be an unmoderated commentator which allows you to post comments without my approval.

If you are 1 of the first 25 to log-on AND I think you will contribute some worthwhile comments then I will go ahead and approve you as an unmoderated commentator.

3) After the 25 spots are taken up, I then have to approve each comment from each reader. So if your comment takes a minute or so to show up it's because I'm busy either writing down the previous play for my game notes, working on the NT/FIU notebook for Sunday's paper or posting on the blog at the moment. At that time, I am not able to publish what you posted, but I will eventually get to it.

Let's go blogging....

North Texas/FIU Preview: Green Means Go

Green Logo As you know if you have followed the Panthers in 2009, this season will not be one for the highlight DVDs. You all know the issues this season and no need to go in depth about them (O-line, D-line, run D, injuries to half the starters, lack of quality depth, etc.). FIU has to get better at several things before the 2010 season.

There are three games left this season and FIU is currently 2-7. Two of the final 3 games are winnable and if the Panthers are victorious, then they'll finish 4-8 -- one game short of last season. And admit it, at one point this season you were wondering when would win No. 1 happen.

Still, 4-8 is no reason to throw a parade down 8 Street, but at this point you take what you can get. Hell, after a 1-5 start to finish 3-3 with the situations FIU has encountered this season, could build some mo for 2010.

Saturday night at FIU Stadium, North Texas visits FIU for the first of the two winnable games left on the schedule -- the other is against Florida...................................................................................Atlantic.

The Panthers have had memorable games against the Mean Green the last two seasons besides that FIUPmmc has won both by a combined score of 80-29. The last couple of games against the North Texas Mean Green have meant "go" for FIU. Go for the FIU O, D and special teams as O'Darris D'Haiti's blocked punt last season will attest.

In 2007, FIU gave the grand old Orange Bowl its proper send-off or as FIU at the Movies will remind you: "Resurrecting the Champ"

That year, the OB's other tenant couldn't close the deal or score a point. However, in the final college football game in the OB, FIU defeated NT 38-19 led by Audric Adger's 4 sacks and a helmet sticker from ESPN for his work. It was also MC's first win as a head coach (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo).

Last season, the nation was introduced to T.Y. Hilton (left, thanks AJH photo) on the ESPN regional broadcast of FIU's 42-10 win over NT.

This season, the Mean Green is meaner and not so greener as you may have noticed in the previous post with NT's beat writer Brett Vito.

Hilton Seen a few NT games this season and their M.O. is running the ball. The FIU D's Achilles is stopping the run. So you have the irresistible force against the movable object.

However, if the Panthers D can rise up like they did against Louisiana in their last home game, then we could be looking at a 3rd straight blowout win vs. NT. FIU has to make NT QB Riley Dodge beat them with deep passes and neutralize RB Lance Dunbar. Also getting Big Ontario Smith back from injury to play with "El Hombre" Aaron Davis, "El Oso" Scott Bryant and "El Talon" Tyler Clawson should help the run D.

On offense, even with a 95% percent Paul McCall, the Panthers can make things happen. Just dump off some passes to T.Y., Wayne Times, Ty Frierson and Greg Ellingson and watch them do their thing. No need to hit the 80-yard bomba. FIU has enough playmakers to catch a 5-yard pass and go another 75Berry yards.

With a less than 100% McCall, FIU needs another big game out of Kendall Berry (right, thanks AJH photo), who is the 6-foot, 200 pound running back the Panthers have been looking for and are recruiting for next season and beyond.

I like FIU in this game, but I'm not so sure it will be a cakewalk, because this season nothing has been that way for the Panthers -- it took a half of football to put away a very bad Western Kentucky team.

Should be a very pleasant Miami evening as Jackie (left) tells us. Jackie is calling for 72 degrees and a clear, starry Saturday night at FIU Stadium. Jackie also like the stars on the FIU offense to have a big game after having sub-par outings the past 3 weeks.

At the beginning of the week, I was going to call for a Dustin Rivest game-winning field goal with 2 seconds Jackie_Guerrido_4 left and a 38-35 FIU win.

But the GPP is with Jackie on this one -- when is that not the case? I think FIU wins without the last second heart palpitations -- and for the record, the palpitations were not for Dustin's kicking, because he has been pretty automatic this season. The palpitations are because of the weather -- 72 degrees is cold.


GPP says: FIU 38, North Texas 24

Aaapaw Don't forget the GPP LIVE BLOG of North Texas/FIU begins at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday right here. It's one of those unfriendly deadline kickoff times so there's a good chance I may have to leave after the 3rd quarter, but the blog will remain open.

November 13, 2009

A Leaner, Meaner Green?

A little late this week with the view from the opposing side due to the FIU basketball hoopla, but better late Hulk than never.

Following this post will be the GPP's North Texas/FIU game preview and prediction and of course, Jackie's forecast.

Is the North Texas Mean Green - a leaner, meaner, not so greener version than that which FIU has beaten the past two years by a combined score of 80-29. Let's get an idea.

Here is North Texas beat writer Brett Vito's thoughts on the NT/FIU matchup:

1) How is this UNT team different from the one FIU has handled the previous two seasons?

BV: UNT depends on its running game a lot more than it did the last time these two teams met. Lance Dunbar has emerged as UNT's best player and the Mean Green has one of the more experienced offensive lines in the Sun Belt. Riley Dodge is also a much better running quarterback than Giovanni Vizza.

UNT is still struggling defensively. Not much has changed there.

2) Should the focus of the FIU D be Riley Dodge and Lance Dunbar?

BV: Louisiana-Monroe was able to blow UNT out by keeping Dunbar and UNT's running game contained. Dunbar had just 40 yards, while Dodge had 10. The approach teams are taking against UNT now is to stack eight guys in the box, blitz and make the Mean Green beat you by throwing the ball down the field. That's what Louisiana-Monroe and Troy did.

Riley Dodge does not have the strongest arm and struggles to throw the ball down the field. ULM picked off three passes when UNT tried to throw the ball deep.

3) Is the 2-7 record considered an improvement for the Mean Green or more of the same from last season?

BV: UNT has won two games and had a bunch of other near misses. This team could have won games against Ohio, Florida Atlantic and Louisiana-Lafayette. Considering UNT was blown out in nearly every game last season, it's safe to say this team is better.

4) How does the FIU offense go about attacking the UNT D?

BV: UNT has really struggled lately against good quarterbacks. LaGregory Sapp hung 187 yards and two touchdowns on UNT last week. Troy's Levi Brown threw for 469 yards against the Mean Green.

UNT also has a tough time when people run right at its defensive ends, especially now that middle linebacker Tobe Nwigwe is out and can't take away the cutback lanes.

If I was Mario Cristobal, I would let Paul McCall try to exploit UNT's defensive secondary, especially in one-on-one matchups. I would also try to get FIU's best athletes the ball in space on the edge of UNT's defense.

5) Your game prediction and score?

BV: UNT has to win this game. If it doesn't, it could be looking at a 2-10 season. I picked UNT to go 3-9 this year. I think this is UNT's third win. Give me UNT 31, FIU 24



 

Isiah Signs Point Guard

Phil Taylor, the No. 37-ranked guard in the nation, just signed with FIU and will lead the Panthers offenseTaylor2 in the 2010 season.

Taylor, who wears Isiah Thomas's former No. 11, is currently playing at Wheeler High in Georgia.

Will have more on this and your North Texas/FIU preview and prediction later today.

November 12, 2009

New FIU Hoopster; Welcome Back 12 & 13

Power forward Eric Frederick signed with FIU a few hours ago to give the Panthers four new hoopstersFrederick for their 2009-2010 signing class.

Frederick (right) is 6-7, 230-pounds and played at Highland-Illinois (JUCO) last season. He joins Dominique Ferguson, Richaud Pack and DeJuan Wright as the newest FIU hoopsters.

Guard Phil Taylor is expected to sign on Friday which would still leave FIU with 1 or 2 more scholies to hand out if Pack receives an academic scholarship -- which he should for his Paul McCall-like GPA of 8.9 or whatever outstanding GPA it is.

WELCOME BACK 12 & 13

Pmc Speaking of No. 12, McCall (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) has had a very encouraging week of practice and has been making every throw, even the deep passes with no problems in practice this week. Maybe it's the mohawk PMC is sporting that has helped heal his arm.

The senior is expected to start on Saturday against North Texas. However, MC has said that he might use both PMC and Wayne Younger on Saturday.

Linebacker Toronto Smith (right, thanks AJH photo) is a quick healer. Just two weeks after having knee surgery, Big Ontario Smith has been back on the practice field this week. MC said TS is ready to play Saturday. Whether Smith or Aaron Davis starts remains to be seen, but from AD's performances the last 2 weeks, it's a good bet AD will see plentyLilcanada of action too against the Mean Green.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw It's another 2-for-1 LIVE BLOG for you in the next 5 days. Drop by for the North Texas/FIU LIVE BLOG at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday night. Then check in for the Florida Memorial/FIU Hoops LIVE BLOG for the Panthers home opener next Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7:45 p.m. from the Bank.

Q&A

Max: Pete, Say it isn't so about Younger? At this point, if McCall is hurt, why not give one of the Schrippa (Sp?) some starts?

PP: McCall is ready to play. He has looked pretty good in practice this week. The coaching staff doesn't think Schirripa is ready.

TXgoldenpanther: Pete, didn't PG comment on a big upcoming surprise around the time of the coaches vs cancer debacle. Could it be related to today’s signing day?

PP: He did but it has not happened yet. And it may not be for the early signing period, but for April.

UltimateFIUFan: Is TY's basketball career over? Wasn't that one of the reasons he came to FIU?

PP: T.Y. is not playing hoops, especially now with a knee injury. Goodbye's future is on Sundays and not three or four days a week in an arena.

Volley Gooch7: Pete will we host the first and second round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament? I know we put in a bid, but what will determine if we get it?

PP: First of all congratulations to the FIU ladies (left, thanks Richard Lewis photo) for their 20th consecutive win on Wednesday. Only Penn State (90), Northern Iowa (22) and Lipscomb (21) have a current longer winning streak in the nation right now. The lady Panthers (28-2, 16-0 in Sun Belt) also saw Yarimar Rosa (right, thanks AJH photo) record her 2,000th career kill on Wednesday. Here's a thought: No. 3's jersey will likely hang from the rafters or on the wall in the Bank at some point in the near future.

Was talking to coach Tomic today about hosting a bid when I went to talk to the volleyball players for a story I'mRosa writing on them for next week's paper. She said that with FIU already hosting two major international volleyball tournaments in the past year that it should help. But the deciding factor could be how many teams the NCAA will make travel down to Miami when Florida State -- better ranking and more central location than Miami -- might be a better fit to host. We'll know for sure around selection Sunday which is Nov. 29.

Aaapaw Will be back on here Friday with the Taylor signing and your North Texas/FIU preview and prediction, plus Jackie's forecast that we didn't have the pleasure of hearing from in Chapel Hill, because of the damn roof over the Dean Dome.


 

November 11, 2009

No. 10 Forward in the Nation is a Panther

Ferguson Four-star forward Dominque Ferguson (left) just signed on the FIU dotted line a few minutes ago.

Ferguson, 6-9, 210-pounds, is ranked the No. 10 forward in the nation out of Hargrave Military Academy.

Will get Ferguson on the GPP later to talk about his signing.

Shooting guard Richaud Pack (below, right) also just signed.

Pack is 6-5, 180 pounds and out of Seaholm High in Michigan. He averaged 17.6 points per game last season.

Pack also carries a 4.5 GPA and has plans for medical school after basketball.Pack

Forward DeJuan Wright (below, left) was the first Panther hoopster to sign today.

Wright, a 6-4 small forward from Ferris State, averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals last season. This season Wright is playing at Gillette College in Wyoming.

Coming out of high school in Detroit, Wright was the No. 7-ranked player in Wright Michigan.

As more of the newest Panthers sign today, we'll keep updating this post for you.

November 09, 2009

FIU vs. North Carolina LIVE BLOG

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Welcome to the Dean Dome and start of 2009-10 FIU basketball season.Logo

Your Panthers are getting ready to take on the defending national champion Tar Heels in less than 20 minutes in FIU coach Isiah Thomas's debut.

Sorry, no weather forecast from Jackie for this one since we are indoors.Unc

****So that the question is not asked 500 times during the LIVE BLOG, here are your viewing & listening options for today's game: 

Blog BLOG: Right here.

Tv TV: ESPNU

Radio RADIO: Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 215


A few reminders for all GPP LIVE BLOGS:

1) The size of the LIVE BLOG window is at its maximum, but the way the blog program works by making the window larger it takes away the scroll button. However, you can still view previous comments by using your arrow keys.

2) There are only 25 spots to be an unmoderated commentator which allows you to post comments without my approval.

If you are 1 of the first 25 to log-on AND I think you will contribute some worthwhile comments then I will go ahead and approve you as unmoderated commentator.

3) After the 25 spots are taken up, I then have to approve each comment from each reader. So if your comment takes a minute or so to show up it's because I'm busy at the moment. I will eventually get to it.

Let's go blogging....


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