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24 posts from January 2010

January 31, 2010

Golden Dazzlers on Super Bowl TV

The lovely Golden Dazzlers will be on national TV this Thursday morning when they perform on the CBS Daz Early Show (locally on Channel 4) as part of the week's Super BowlEarly_show_logo_jun08 festivities.

The show begins at 7 a.m., but I don't have an exact time when the Dazzlers will be on. So tape it, if you can't see FIU's finest live.

The ladies will be performing from the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. There is a possibility that the Dazzlers could also be part of the Super Bowl halftime show. When I know more info, will pass it on to you.

Aaapaw In case you missed it, I posted earlier tonight the latest recruiting prowl preview on the running backs. It is below this post. On that post, you can vote on who you think will win the starting running back job for the Panthers this season. 

Aaapaw The College Football All-Star Challenge is tommorrow [Monday] at 1 p.m. at FIU Stadium. Admission is free. Expected to participate are: quarterbacks Tony Pike (Cincinnati), Dan Lefevour (Central Michigan), Javon Snead (Ole Miss), wide receivers Jordan Shipley (Texas), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati), Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), kickers Brett Swensen (Michigan State), Hunter Lawrence (Texas) and Josh Shene (Ole Miss) and a few other players. The Challenge will air on ESPN this Friday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m.

I was going to go to the All-Star Challenge, but I will be busy with the Miami Heat and Willis Wright on Monday. No, Willis is not taking over for injured Heat forward Michael Beasley, those are just two different things I'll be working on Monday.

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Running Backs

We're down to our final 2 recruiting previews with a look at the running backs here and then we'll finish it up on the next post with the receivers/tight ends and kickers.

Berry To have any kind of an effective spread offense, you need a consistent and productive running game. If not, defenses will tee off on your quarterback.

The Panthers running game was a work in progress last season, but with a highly-regarded recruit headed to FIU, a highly-regarded transfer already at FIU and the return of some key rushers the run game should improve in 2010.

T-minus 60 hours until NSD: your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 3 DAYS


There were some bright spots among the FIU rushers last season, but certainly not enough of them. The development of former receiver-turned running back Kendall Berry (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) was a pleasant surprise, especially when he ran the WildPanther.

Daunte Owens also had his moments and provided some speed. Darriet Perry was slowed by a broken wrist and did not have the chance to show what he could do over the course of a full season. Darian Mallary did not get enough touches to show off his 4.4 speed.

Of course, most times a running game is only as good as its offensive line and we went over that in the O-line post.

While Owens does not return, because he graduated, the other three backs along with Trenard Turner areHarden back for 2010, but they will all certainly be pushed for carries.

Syracuse transfer Jeremiah Harden looked every bit the part of a No. 1 feature back last season while working with the scout team offense. And from seeing in person several of Harden's (right) high school games for national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, I can tell you that JH has all the tools to be that No. 1 back for FIU.

FIU commit Kedrick Rhodes will no doubt have a say in the running back competition come fall camp. Rhodes, who also had offers from several BCS schools also has the package of speed and shiftiness that Harden possesses.

Harden, Berry, Perry, Mallary and Turner will get a head start on impressing for the RB job in spring practice. But keep an eye on Rhodes in August, because from what other media and coaches are saying the kid is legit.

Fiuhelmet BACK IN 2010: Kendall Berry, Darian Mallary, Darriet Perry, Trenard Turner

Fiuhelmet GONE IN 2010: Daunte Owens

3cents $.03 for 2010: If the success of the offensive line is the most important component to FIU's offensive success in 2010, then the running game is a close No. 2. FIU needs much better production on the ground to not only have opponents from teeing off on Wesley Carroll, but to control the ball and keep the FIU D fresh on the sidelines. Going into camp, Harden might be the favorite for the top RB job.


January 30, 2010

FIU vs. Florida Atlantic LIVE HOOPS BLOG

BOCA RATON -- Here from Hootervile in the Mouth of the Rat for FIU/Florida Atlantic basketball. If theHelmetlogo football series is the Don Shula Bowl, should the basketball series be named the Pat Riley Classic?

A much improved Hooters hoops team this season and they are 11-point favorites by LasFau Vegas in this game. FIU scored 96 points in its last game. That might be tough to get to in this one. Let's see....

January 29, 2010

Q&A w/ new OC Scott Satterfield

Driving down 9 hours from South Carolina on Friday morning to get to Miami by Friday night for someSatterfield recruits visits, new FIU offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield kept his eyes on the road, but also took some time to talk with the GPP.

GPP: What did you know about FIU before the Panthers and your former team Toledo played twice in the last two seasons?

SS: I had been down there a couple of years before for a high school football clinic at FIU Stadium before the first phase of the stadium was completed. The stadium was about halfway done to what it is now and I thought this is going to be a neat setting for college football with the way the stadium was going to be done.

What I knew of FIU is that it was a new program and it was in transition to building something special. It's basically a brand new program and we have a lot of lofty goals at FIU.

GPP: I know your focus personally when facing FIU the past two years was on how to attack the FIU defense. But what was the main concern for the Rockets when they played FIU or how did you guys game plan for FIU?

Ty SS: The one kid everybody on Toledo talked about was T.Y. Hilton (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo). The defense was worried all week on how do we stop him. You know in last year's game we punted 3 times with our quarterback on the field on 4th down, because we did not want to get T.Y. on the field for any kind of punt return.

GPP: Have you been able to sit down and watch film on FIU's offense from last season and what are some of your thoughts on the unit you are taking over?

SS: I haven't had much time to evaluate the offense with recruiting going on, but I have heard there are certainly a couple of good quarterbacks in Wesley Carroll and Wayne Younger. The running backs also have some talent and there are a lot of skilled wide receivers. I know a lot of starters were lost on the offensive line, but there are some really good young linemen already there. There are a couple of good tight ends with Dudley LaPorte (right) leading the way. There's only so much you can evaluate from film. When I get to see them in practice is when I really get to see what we have at FIU.

GPP: Reading your bio, you were basically the offensive coordinator at Appalachian State and ToledoDlp right? And what is your offensive philosophy?

SS: At App State, I called the plays and coached the quarterbacks. So yes, I was basically the offensive coordinator. At Toledo, I was the co-offensive coordinator with O-line coach Matt Campbell.

What we want to do at FIU is similar to what we tried to do at App State and Toledo which is spread the field with a lot of multiple formations, lots of multiple. We want to utilize the best players at FIU. The best 11 players and if we have 13 or 14 best offensive players then we'll use 13 or 14 players. We'll go 5-wide some and use several different personnel groups. No huddle, we'll use a lot of different tempos with our offense. We want to run the football a little bit more. The running game is not at where it needs to be.

GPP: Do you envision this being a very different offense from what we've seen at FIU in years past?

SS: It won't be wholesale different from the previous offense. But when you have somebody new calling plays they will have their own ideas on what to call. The way we get the ball to our best players will be a little bit different.

GPP: When did you and coach Cristobal first start talking about you possibly coming over to FIU?

SS: We talked a lot at the Orlando coaches convention a few weeks ago. We got the ball rolling from that point forward. I'm really excited to be coming down to south Florida and FIU. Coach Cristobal and his staff are building something special and they are going about it the right way. There are a lot of great athletes down here. The spread offense is meant for this area. Players down in south Florida are meant for playing this kind of offense.

GPP: What kind of an advantage is it for the offensive coordinator to not only be the quarterbacks coach, but to have also played quarterback? (SS played QB at Appalachian State from 1993-95 and was 1st team All-Southern Conference after leading his team to a 12-1 record in 1995)

SS: It's a huge advantage when you get a guy calling the plays who also coaches the quarterbacks. I want our quarterbacks thinking exactly what I'm thinking. I think if you are calling plays from another position it's a little harder for the quarterbacks. I can tell you from firsthand experience having played quarterback, that that's what I would want as a quarterback: to have the offensive coordinator be also the quarterbacks coach.

GPP: What's the biggest difference between the players you recruited in the midwest when you were at App State and Toledo and the Florida players that you're recruiting at FIU?

SS: Kids down here are playing like sandlot football -- they run around and they know how to make people miss. They play year round down here and the competition is pretty strong. In other states you have to go 20 to 30 miles before finding those type of kids. Ohio high school football is really good. The players up there can run and you'll find a fast player like the type you find in Florida, but the difference is there are 3 or 4 of those types of players in every Florida high school.

Apaw Thanks to SS for joining us on the Prowl. You good people can meet SS on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at FIU's National Signing Day party at 6 p.m. at the FIU Stadium Club where MC will introduce the 2010 Signing class and his 2 new coordinators: SS and Geoff "Get Your Chili Hot" Collins.


Apaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG from FAU Arena tommorrow (Saturday) for the FIU/Hooters hoops game. Looking to be on-line at 6:56 p.m. for the 7 p.m. tip-off.Lb

Although, I have been told by FAU beat writer Ted Hutton that the game will likely start at 7:30 p.m. because the FIU/FAU women's game is at 5 p.m. before and there will be a 30 min. break between games. Regardless, look for the LIVE BLOG to begin at 6:56 p.m.


kjharris02: Hey Pete, do u know when the Spring Blue/Gold game is?

PP: Don't have a set date on it, but expect the spring game to be the first or second Friday in April. Spring practice is expected to begin the week before FIU's spring break which begins March 15. So the 1st spring practice is looking like March 8. Will update on spring ball dates when I have them.


January 28, 2010

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Quarterbacks

Looks like this season there will be plenty of depth for FIU at the most important position on the football field.

With an expected starter in place, at least three other quarterbacks will be vying for the backup job. TheWc competition begins in the spring and could go until the final week of fall camp.

We're into the final week of the 2010 recruiting season, your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 6 DAYS


After a year of learning the offense while sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Mississippi State, Wesley Carroll (right, not a bad a number for a QB to wear) is expected to take the starting quarterback reins vacated by Paul McCall, whose eligibility is up. Can't say PMC graduated, because he's still in grad school working on going to Mars.

Of course, now WC and the rest of the FIU offensive players will have to learn some adjustments to the spread offense from last season with the change in offensive coordinators from Bill Legg to Scott Satterfield. Will have an interview with SS on here soon.

The Panthers offense will remain a spread, but like whenever any new coach or coordinator takes over there will be new terminology and new plays to study up on. With 8 months to grasp SS's new offense, the Panthers should be ready come the 2010 season opener on Sept. 4 vs. a to-be-determined Sun Belt Wy team at either FIU Stadium or at a Sun Belt stadium outside of Miami.

From what we saw of WC last season during scout team work, the Panthers offense should be in good hands this coming season. WC is mobile, accurate and athletic playing QB. One thing about WC that was consistent in practice all throughout last season was his ability to throw on the run. With the spread, that's a very nice quality to have in a QB.

Wayne Younger (left), the only senior among the QBs, begins the spring as the No. 2 QB and is still the most athletic of FIU's QBs as we saw in the game-winning QB draw against North Texas last season. The thought here is that you won't see as much QB rotation as with PMC last season, but expect WY to get snaps this season. Of course, this is just a thought. I'm not OCing the FIU O.

MC is a big fan of competition so therefore Chris Schirripa should get his shot at the No. 2 job in the springMed and in the fall. Schirripa can also run and showed a more accurate arm at the end of last season during practice.

FIU commit Jake Medlock (right, No. 5) has all the tools you look for in recruiting a QB. Size, arm strength, accuracy and mobility. However, how quickly Medlock grasps the college game will determine if he's in the running for a backup job or he redshirts.

Fiuhelmet BACK IN 2010: Wesley Carroll, Junior Delpe, Chris Schirripa, Wayne Younger

Fiuhelmet GONE IN 2010: Paul McCall

3cents $.03 for 2010: The former All-SEC Freshman quarterback is in shotgun for the Panthers this season. But like stated in the offensive line recruiting preview in the post before, if Wesley Carroll does not have protection and time to throw then he'll look like Wesley Snipes back there. FIU's biggest concern heading into spring practice and into the 2010 season is how well the O-line develops. Younger is too good an athlete not to have him in a game for a few plays. If Schirripa continues his development, he could push WY for No. 2.

Next up on the Recruiting Prowl: Running backs


Apaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG from Hooterville on Saturday at 6:54 p.m. for the FIU/Florida Atlantic game. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Apaw In the previous post, I erred and listed OL Mario Caraballo as a returning senior. Caraballo was a senior last season and has graduated. So the only returning seniors on the FIU O-line are: Brad Serini and Cedric Mack.


FIU Fanatic: I note that both, OL Stanley St. Jean (or is it Jean?), and DL Mark Grant, are not in your updated list. Do you have info they are not committed to FIU anymore?...did FIU stop contacting them?Also...and I know this might be a tall order...but, could you maybe get Willis Wright to do an interview with you? 

PP: Mac Brown, Tray Schley and Stanley St. Jean are no longer being recruited by FIU. Mark Grant might get a grayshirt, but is not expected to make it this coming season.

Willis Wright interview is in the works.

Gooch7: Pete: Once NSD comes and goes can you please see where our recruiting class ranks among the Sunbelt?

PP: Sure I'll post the rankings on here. But take them with a grain of salt as FIU's neighbors to the north can attest. The Hooters have never had a highly-ranked class, but had won back to back bowl games until this past season. Remember, nobody wanted Rusty Smith coming out of high school and he turned out to be a pretty good college QB.

cj: hey pete whats the story w/ tauren austin's recruiting.. i know we got medlock as a Oral commit but i know we are also lookin at TA as well.. any thoughts?

PP: Austin is visiting Cincinnati this weekend. From what I've heard, it will come down to the Bearcats and FIU, although Cincy already has 2 other QBs commited. The third option being Western Kentucky. Even though the Hilltoppers have a QB commit, I'm not sure he is as good as Austin. So it might end up being FIU and WKU for Austin's services. This time of year (recruiting season)....who really knows? Not even the kids themselves know.


January 26, 2010

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Offensive Line

Serini There are some skill players ready to join the FIU offense this spring and in the fall that could make the Panthers fun to watch when they have the ball.

With a deeper corps of running backs, a former All-SEC freshman quarterback and a slew of speedy, athletic receivers and tight ends, it seems FIU should be scoring plenty of points.

However, that will largely depend on the play of the offensive line. Let's take a closer look at the big bodies whose blocking will determine how successful the Panthers are with the ball.

We're a shade more than a week away from NSD: your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 8 DAYS


For the fourth consecutive season, center Brad Serini (above. left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) will anchor the line. Besides Serini, there is only one other senior on the line: Cedric Mack.

So in other words, FIU is going to need the underclassmen to develop quickly and have an impact on theSitanich line. It will be interesting to see what effect the change in O-line coaches has on the unit as Alex Mirabal takes over coaching line duties.

Sophomores Dave Istanich (right) and Rupert Bryan should have the inside track to starting jobs when spring practice starts the week before spring break. Both DI and RB held their own last season when they earned playing time after some initial struggles by the line.

Among the other returning linemen, Chris Cawthon is someone to keep an eye on. Before Cawthon went down with a knee injury at North Texas in 2008, he was playing really well. Last season, he spent it on the scout team working his way back. Sophomore Kenny White is a linemen that coaches have praised and could get into the mix this season.

As of this post, the 2 FIU O-line commits have the size to contribute immediately, whether their technique is at the college level is something we'll find out come August when fall camp begins.

David Delsoin (6-6, 280 pounds) and Ceedrick Davis (6-3, 300) are two very nice additions to the Panthers line and there could be 1 or 2 more O-line commits before NSD. Stay tuned.

Fiuhelmet BACK IN 2010: Stephen Bailey, Rupert Bryan, Chris Cawthon, Dave Istanich, Cedric Mack, Giancarlo Revilla, Brad Serini, Austin Tottle, Kevin Van Kirk, Kenny White, James Wiggins, Derrick Wimberly.

Fiuhelmet GONE IN 2010: Saf Ahmad, Joe Alajajian, Mario Caraballo, Andy Leavine, Ula Matavao.

3cents $.03 for 2010: Make no bones about it, FIU's offensive success in 2010 and every year starts with the offensive line. For all the potential that the Panthers offense has, it will not amount to much if Wesley Carroll does not have time to throw and the FIU backs don't have to holes to run through. Just like the FIU offensive skill players, there is plenty of potential and talent on the O-line, but the Panthers offensive front has to put it together. Do not be surprised if Delsoin or Davis grab playing time or a starting job in 2010.

Aaapaw Tell us in our poll question below the Pawse: of the O-linemen that did not see regular playing time last season, which one sees regular playing time this season.

Next up on the Recruiting Prowl: Quarterbacks


With the additions of new commits WR Glenn Coleman and DE Bryan Robinson in the last couple of days, the FIU 2010 Oral Commitment list looks like this now:

P Josh Brisk: 6-0/185

WR Glenn Coleman: 6-2/200

OL Ceedrick Davis: 6-3/300

OL David Delsoin: 6-6/275

DL Isame Facime: 6-4/255

S Justin Halley: 6-2/181

RB Jeremiah Harden 5-9/195

LB Greg Hickman: 6-1/255

DL Wade Isaac: 6-2/245

DL Jeremy Jermin: 6-3/285

DL Jericho Lee: 5-11/265

DB Richard Leonard: 5-8/160

DB Khambrel McGee: 5-9/165
QB Jake Medlock: 6-3/220

DB Sam Miller: 5-10/175

RB Kedrick Rhodes: 5-10/185

DL Bryan Robinson, 6-4/220

LB Caleb Vincent: 6-2/225

DL Jordan White: 6-3/320

S Randy Williams: 6-1/195

WR Mitch Wozniak: 6-4/190

Aaapaw Next LIVE HOOPS BLOG is this Saturday at 6:54 p.m. from Hooterville, as FIU takes on a much improved Florida Atlantic Hooters team. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.


January 24, 2010

2 More Line Commits

Add a couple of more commits to the FIU offensive and defensive line on Sunday.Cdavis

Jacksonville Forrest High offensive lineman Ceedrick Davis (right) and his 6-3, 300 pounds committed to FIU joining David Delsoin's 6-6, 275-pound frame on the Panthers O-line this coming season.

On the defensive side, defensive end Jeremy Jermin (6-2, 250 pounds) from Nassau JUCO (N.Y.) also committed giving FIU 5 D-line commits to go with: Isame Facine, Wade Isaac, Jericho Lee, and Jordan White.

Deionmcgee You can check out more on the latest FIU commits and the FIU recruiting story in Monday's Miami Herald or miamiherald.com on Monday. The story centers on the 3 All-Miami-Dade defensive backs (Richard Leonard, Khambrel McGee and Sam Miller) ready to join the FIU secondary. Read to find out how Leonard made Deion Sanders do a double-take last March. That's McGee (left) working out in front of Deion in the photo on the left.


Nice win by your Panthers last night on the hardwood. Since he got a first look at his team back in October, FIU coach Isiah Thomas has said that the Panthers could be a tough team to face come Sun Belt Tournament time in March. In Saturday night's 96-81 win over UALR, FIU showed why.

Crisp passing, a scorching Marvin Roberts shooting 6 of 9 from 3-point land for 28 points and some tough full court press D gave the Trojans fits and put on a show for FIU alum and Golden State Warriors guard Raja Bell. Add to it the presence of J.C. Otero's passing, rebounding and shooting and Phil Gary's slick play at point guard and you could see that IT might be on to something. And it should get even better when the new players arrive for the 2010-11 season.Itpop

FIU has a tough one for its next game when the Panthers travel to Hooterville next Saturday to face Florida Atlantic.

The Dallas Mavericks used to have a free chalupa night for fans in attendance when they scored 100 or more. I suggested to IT (right) last night that whenever FIU scores 100 or more points that fans at the Bank should get a free bucket of his Dale & Thomas Popcorn served at the Bank. IT's response: "Good idea".



SouthPaw: Pete, what happened to Derrick Clark?

PP: Couldn't play last season, because of grades. Let's see if he's eligible for spring ball.

Jorge Suarez: Pete, two more questions... Speaking of what could be our best CB recruiting class ever, do you think we still have a good shot on landing KM's NW teammate Khalid Marshall? & in your opinion, do you think Willis Wright will sign with FIU?

PP: Not really sure about landing Marshall. He could be a late addition, but the Panthers are also looking to keep adding beef along the 2 lines, because that is what is needed after last season. Wright has a ton of schools after him, including FIU. He took his visit with the Panthers this weekend. I think Wright will make his decision on signing day and after what MC and his staff did last season with Pooh Bear Mars and Dudley LaPorte on NSD, I would not be shocked to see WW wearing blue and gold next season.


January 23, 2010


Helmetlogo The second of the Arkansas teams visit FIU tonight for what will be the Panthers last homeUalr game until Feb. 6 vs. North Texas.

UALR is 1-7 in Sun Belt play, could be what the doctor ordered for a Thursday night-cold shooting FIU. But then again it could be a long night if the Panthers don't make the Trojans pay when they go to a zone D. Let's see....

January 22, 2010

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Defensive Backs

Playing in a conference where the majority of teams employ the spread offense, this position (including safeties) might be one of the more valuable positions during recruiting season for Sun Belt teams.

Gaitor So to no surprise your Panthers are recruiting some athletic, quick players for the secondary. Among the five commits, three of them make up the All-Miami-Dade County high school secondary.

Before we roam the secondary with your Panthers, your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 12 DAYS


Like most of the FIU defense last season, the play of the DBs was spotty whether it was due to injuries or just not tight enough coverage the Panthers DBs have to improve their play in 2010.

When you look at the DBs it all starts with senior-to-be Anthony Gaitor (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who was limited all last season with a nagging ankle injury. Gaitor is the anchor of the secondary and if he's healthy you can expect big things out of him in his final season in the blue and gold.

Outside of Dez Johnson, who is expected to receive a medical redshirt for last season, Gaitor will be the only senior DB.

Johnson would be expected to nail down the corner job opposite Gaitor, but he will have plenty of competition come spring practice and into fall camp.

Sophomores Derreck Jones and Emmanuel Souarin came on toward the end of last season and couldMcgee have something to say about their playing time this coming season.

UCF transfer Corey Ammons was a highly-touted DB coming out of the same high school as FIU safety Terrance Taylor. Ammons could be one of the favorites to win a starting job come the season opener against a Sun Belt opponent still to be determined.

Jarrell McGee (right, thanks AJH photo) was a heralded DB at North Dakota College, but was slowed by injury last season. He is expected to figure into some playing time.

One darkhorse candidate to see increased snaps this coming season might be Jose Cheseborough. The walk-on from Edward Waters opened some eyes while working with the scout team D last season and made some plays in the scout bowl last month.

Mcgeek Leon All the returning DBs will be pressed by a very talented trio of FIU recruits. (From left to right in the photos) Northwestern's Khambrel McGee, Killian's Richard Leonard and LaSalle's Sam Miller were among the top DBs in Miller South Florida high school football this past season and could have an immediate impact at FIU in about 7 months when fall camp starts.




The safety positions will also be interesting to watch come spring practice. The Panthers bring back sophomore Jonathan Cyprien (right), who finished second on the team in tackles and had a solid freshman season.

Ash Parker is a senior this season after sustaining his second season-ending injury in as many years atCyp Alabama last September. AP's experience and ability can definitely help what will be a very young secondary.

Kreg Brown is also back and Chuck Grace should be ready to go after missing time last season with injury.

Taylor showed flashes of his talent last season while redshirting and will challenge for a starting spot this season. Cain Elliott also redshirted last season and his 6-2 frame is made to play safety.

Miami Springs' Randy Williams and Boca Raton's Justin Halley are two safeties commited to FIU. Both have good size with Williams at 6-1 and Halley at 6-2.

Fiuhelmet BACK IN 2010: Kreg Brown, Jose Cheseborough, Jonathan Cyprien, Cain Elliott, Anthony Gaitor, Chuck Grace, Dez Johnson, Derreck Jones, Jarrell McGee, Ash Parker, Emmanuel Souarin, Terrance Taylor.

Fiuhelmet GONE IN 2010: O'Darris D'Haiti, Peter Riley, Jeremiah Weatherspoon.

3cents $.03 IN 2010: As much as the FIU D-line, the Panthers secondary will help determine how much this defense can improve. One area that the secondary certainly has to improve on from last season is their tackling. There were a lot of arm tackles last season that opponents easily broke. You have to like the athleticism of this group. The incoming DBs might be the best recruit group for an FIU defensive backfield in the 8-year history of the program. There will be size and speed in the FIU defensive backfield in 2010.

Take to the polls in our 2 DB/Safety questions below the Pawse

Next up on the FIU Recruiting Prowl: Offensive line.


Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG  of the FIU/UALR game on Saturday night from the Bank. Blogging at 7:56 p.m. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.


blkpanther: The FIU forward commit you were asking me about during the LIVE HOOPS BLOG on Thursday night is 6-Yvan 10 power forward Yvan Ngirabakunzi (right), who is currently a junior at Piney Woods High in Mississippi. Yvan is ranked as the No. 40 power forward in the nation for 2011.

Gooch7: PETE: Any Babeball news before the season kicks off?

PP: Golden Dazzlers news is always on the GPP. Like the new outfits they displayed during halftime of Thursday's basketball game. The ladies wore colorful short dresses during their halftime performance. On the left (thanks AJH photo), is their outfits for halftime of the Shula Bowl last month.

Daz As far as FIU baseball, I'll be visiting the Panthers practices as soon as we get through National Signing Day. You can expect some FIU baseball blogs on here after Feb. 3.

Crazy Cane: Expect a rough season. Turtle has only really had 1 full year to recruit. The players are young. Give it time. UM is scared to play FIU. If only some of the signees would have come to campus rather than go to MLB. etc. etc. etc. Pete, aside from that, anything else?

PP: The season will depend on how the No. 2 & 3 spots in the starting rotation develop among Logan Dodds, R.J. Fondon and Corey Polizzano. FIU also has to field better this season. Expect FIU to score some runs and hit well. 

Turtle guided FIU to the largest win improvement from one season to another last season in the 37-year history of the FIU baseball program. The Panthers will field a team of 7 freshmen, 13 sophomores, 6 juniors and 6 seniors this season. So more than half of the team is comprised of underclassmen.

The team across town still does not want to play FIU in any of the 3 major sports -- although evenutally they won't be able to avoid FIU in an NCAA baseball regional. We'll have to wait and see on the two No. 1-rated players from the U.S. (Manny Machado) and Canada (Kellin Deglan) that signed with FIU. Will have more for you CC when I get to the FIU diamond next month.

Jorge Suarez: Pete, we're waiting for that interview with the new OC. Do you have a timeline on it yet? Do you expect any JUCOs to sign this year? Early signing period passed and we didn't get anyone in here. Feed the hungry pete! Thank you

PP: Will have new OC Scott Satterfield on here soon. No timeline, but hopefully after this coming week. This coming week is a little hectic with the Herald's recruiting series starting. I am down to write stories on FIU (Monday), Florida Atlantic (Tuesday) and Central Florida and South Florida (Wednesday) -- don't ask me why FAU, UCF and USF. They're paying me for it. FIU is recruiting some JUCOs. Will have some more info on that when it happens. You will be fed.


January 21, 2010


Helmetlogo It's an Arkansas 2-step for your Panthers this week with home games against ArkansasAsu State and Arkansas-Little Rock. First up, the Red Wolves of ASU.

They will be tipping it off shortly so let's go blogging....

January 20, 2010

College All-Star Challenge at FIU; UNO Leaves Sun Belt

Fiustad FIU Stadium will be the host of the College Football All-Star Challenge. The event will be taped at FIU on Monday, Feb. 1 from 1:00-3:30 p.m.

In previous years, the challenge has featured NFL stars such as Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan, Reggie Wayne, DeAngelo Williams and Edgerrin James. The event will be aired by ESPN on Friday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Apaw Will have LIVE HOOPS BLOG of FIU/Arkansas State at 7:54 p.m. tommorrow (Thursday, Jan. 21). Tip-off is at 8 p.m.


This is from a press release from the Sun Belt Conference this afternoon:

The University of New Orleans has voluntarily withdrawn its Sun Belt Conference membership effective JulyUno 1, 2010. UNO will drop to Division III.

Budget cuts, the continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the failure of a student referendum to increase student fees for athletics previously forced the university administration to establish plans to maintain a Division I athletic program with far more stringent financial constraints.

UNO was a founding member of the Sun Belt Conference in 1976 and later rejoined the league in 1991.

UNO originally suspended nine of its 15 intercollegiate sports in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Sun Belt Conference headquarters, which has been located in New Orleans since 1991, will remain in its downtown office as it still remains an approximate geographic center for the league's member institutions.

With the withdrawal of UNO, the Sun Belt Conference will be comprised of 12 member institutions of which nine play in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

For the three Sun Belt sports with divisional play (men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball) teams will remain in their current divisions with each division now comprised of six institutions (East: Florida Atlantic, FIU, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky - West: UALR, Arkansas State, Denver, Louisiana, ULM and North Texas). 

Sun Belt Conference men's and women's basketball teams will begin competing in 2010-2011 in a 16-game conference schedule with each team playing a home and away game against teams within their division.  Additionally each team will play all members of the opposite division with three of those games being played at home and three on the road.

Sun Belt volleyball schedules will also feature a 16-game format, The league's volleyball championship will continue to be conducted in an eight team format.

The Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship will continue under the same format with eight teams participating.  The league schedule will also continue to feature 30 games for the 10 teams that will compete in the league beginning in 2011. Each team will play a home and away three-game series against their natural rival with the series' scheduled for the first and last week of the season.  The natural rival designation for FIU is FAU.

Scheduling standards for football will remain unchanged with each team playing four home conference games and four road conference games.  With the anticipated arrival of South Alabama for football in 2012, the conference will expand to 10 football institutions with teams continuing an 8-game conference schedule and one natural rival remaining on the schedule each year. (In other words the Shula Bowl will always be an annual game as it should be.)

NCAA transfer rules are still applicable for current UNO student-athletes and all Sun Belt Conference member institutions have been notified.

"The Sun Belt Conference will move on as a 12-member league and there are not any current plans for expansion or contraction," said Commissioner Wright Waters.


New D-Line Commit

Faciane Since we're in the middle of our recruiting preview and we've already taken a look at the D-Line, thought I'd pass along the latest D-Line commit for your Panthers.

Isame (pronounced ICE-EM) Faciane, a 6-4, 255-pound defensive lineman from Salmen High in Slidell, La. says "I am a FIU Golden Panther".
Faciane had offers from FIU, Louisiana, Arkansas State, ULM, Tulsa, New Mexico, SMU and Northwestern State.

He earned first team all-state honors in Class 4A as a senior after recording 44 tackles and eight sacks.

January 18, 2010

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Linebackers

This was probably FIU's most talented defensive position last season and quite possibly this season asToronto well.

Plenty of Panthers linebackers return, but FIU does lose two stalwart linebackers. Let's take a look at the 2010 LBs.



Despite a defense that had its rough games last season, the FIU linebackers for the most part held their own and other LBs emerged showing the promise that had plenty of you good people excited when they inked their LOI on signing day.

Another year of experience paid off last season for Aaron Davis (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who really came on in 2009. One of AD's best games came against Louisiana on that Halloween noon scorcher of a game at FIU Stadium. AD had 9 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in the tight 20-17 FIU win. The following couple of weeks he put up 13 tackles against Middle Tennessee and then 13 more tackles against North Texas. AD finished 3rd on the team with 59 tackles.

Ad Unless Jarvis Wilson moves back to LB from the D-line under new DC Geoff Collins, then Toronto Smith (above, right, thanks AJH photo) will be the lone senior on the LB corps. Little Canada was having a solid 2009 season until hurting his knee. LC really took to the middle linebacker spot. His experience and leadership will be vital for what will be a young and relatively inexperienced LBs unit this coming season.

With a full healthy season, the thought here is that Winston Fraser can put up numbers similar to AD and maybe even Scott Bryant-type numbers and might be the best FIU LB. WF's size, instincts and quickness is what you want out of an LB. Hopefully, WF stays injury-free in 2010 to show his total potential.

The losses of seniors Bryant and Tyler Clawson to graduation will hurt. Those two LBs knew exactly how to play the position inside and out and provided tremendous help to the underclassmen LBs last season. 

The next wave of FIU LBs ready to take the next step this season are sophomores: Kenny Dillard, Pooh Bear Mars and Markeith Russell. With year 1 of college football under their belts expect to see more out of the trio this season.

One LB that FIU really missed in 2009 was Franklin Brown (right, thanks AJH photo), who will be a redshirt sophomore this season after missing all of last year with a groin injury. In 2008 during his freshman season, you good people saw what a playmaker FB is on D. Who could forget his game-clinching INT against Arkansas State? Once he's ready to go in 2010, FB adds another top defender to the Hickman FIU D.Fb

Since there is a greater need to build depth and size along the D-line and the fact that you can never have too many defensive backs in the Sun Belt, as of this post FIU has commitments from 2 LBs.

Tampa Bay Tech's Greg Hickman (6-1, 255) and Hollywood Hills LB Caleb Vincent (6-2, 225).

Hickman has all the tools to become one of the top playmakers on this D.

Fiuhelmet BACK in 2010: Franklin Brown, Aaron Davis, Kenny Dillard, Chris Edwards, Winston Fraser, Pooh Bear Mars, Markeith Russell, Toronto Smith.

Fiuhelmet GONE in 2010: Scott Bryant, Tyler Clawson

3cents $.03 for 2010: Another season and off-season for the underclassmen-heavy LB unit should help in 2010. Senior Toronto Smith and junior Aaron Davis have to ensure the younger LBs mature quickly for the Panthers. The FIU LBs have plenty of talent, but how much will a lack of experience hinder their progress. The LBs -- like the rest of the D -- will be learning a new defense this spring and into the fall. If they are healthy, keep an eye on Winston Fraser and Franklin Brown -- the Booker T. duo have the ability to be among the top LBs in the conference.

Aaapaw Next up on the FIU Recruiting Prowl: Defensive backs

Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG on Thursday as your Panthers basketball team returns home to face Arkansas State at 8 p.m. at the Bank.

January 17, 2010

Astro Paul

With 17 days left until National Signing Day, we'll get back on the FIU recruiting prowl on the next post, butPmcc first why don't we take a trip to Mars with former FIU QB Paul McCall.

As part of his FIU graduate work and thanks to the Florida Space Grant Consortium, PMC -- an aspiring astronaut -- is taking his first steps as he prepares to eventually go to space, maybe even Mars one day.

PMC is currently in the Utah desert working in the Mars Desert Research Station of the Mars Society. There PMC and his crew, of which he is the youngest astronaut in training, are conducting surface simulations in a Mars environment. The crew is there doing geological, biological and life sciences research.

Pmc dig Among the crew working with PMC (that's PMC researching on the left), are two pilots, an R&D executive of a biomedical company, a teacher from Belgium, a Colombian engineer that works for the European Space Agency and an award-winning science fiction author.

Here are some websites to visit with more info on what PMC and his crew are up to.

To view their daily reports and images click here: Mars reports

To view PMC's blog click here: Paul Goes to Mars

To view PMC's crew's bios and that of PMC himself click here: PMC's Mars crew


Aaapaw Some of you asked when is the FIU Baseball banquet this season. The date is Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Graham Center at FIU. You can contact the FIU Baseball office at: 305-348-7403 and ask for Nike Sheffer. Yes, I know FIU is an adidas school, but they got Nike working in the baseball office.

FIU's Opening Day is on Feb. 19 vs. Maryland at 7 p.m. at University Park Stadium.Base

Aaapaw We'll take a look at the Panthers linebackers on the next post as we're just a little more than 2 weeks from NSD.


January 15, 2010

New OC will be Scott Satterfield

Satterfield Your new FIU offensive coordinator is expected to be Scott Satterfield.

As of tonight [Friday], Satterfield is in the process of signing his new FIU contract to direct the Panthers spread offense.

Satterfield has plenty of experience running spread offenses.

Satterfield was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Toledo last season for what was the No. 13 offense in the nation. The Rockets defeated the Panthers 41-31 at FIU Stadium last season.

Before that Satterfield was the quarterbacks coach and called the plays at Appalachian State where the Mountaineers won the national championship for 3 straight years from 2005-07. Here's more on Satterfield's coaching history: Scott Satterfield bio

Will have an interview with the new FIU OC on here after I get in touch with him.

January 13, 2010

Back to the OCs

With a couple of previous OC candidates getting jobs elsewhere in recent days (Mike Groh - Louisville & Shane Montgomery - Youngstown State), the list has dwindled some as far as who will be the Panthers offensive coordinator in 2010.

What we know so far is the following coaches have interviewed for the position: Gregg Brandon, Scott Satterfield, Charlie Weatherbie, Ed Zaunbrecher and Mike Cassano.

Canales Now there are 4 other names to throw into the mix, who have also interviewed as of today: South Florida offensive coordinator Mike Canales (left), former Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart, Southern Illinois offensive coordinator Phil Longo and Stephen F. Austin offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson (right).

Interesting situation at USF, after Leavitt got fired the A.D. asked the coaching staff to stay on through recruiting with whoever is the new Bulls head coach making the decision on whether or not to retain Leavitt's assistants. Not sure if I'm a USF assistant I'm too comfortable with that situation. Canales has also been courted by Southern Mississippi. So he seems to have options for 2010. Canales has also directed a pretty potent USF offense, mentored Chargers QB Phillip Rivers and has a tonDawson of experience. Check out his bio: Mike Canales

Dawson worked wonders at SFA with the Lumberjacks offense. (That's the same SFA that FIU upset when the Jacks were ranked No. 5 in Division I-AA in 2004). Dawson took an offense that was averaging 16 points a game and had the SFA O averaging 35 points per game the next season. You gotta like those numbers. Here's more on Dawson: Shannon Dawson

We could learn soon who will direct the FIU O in 2010.

Of the remaining candidates, who seems to be the best choice? 

January 12, 2010

Geoff Collins: Get Your Chili, Hot!

The FIU offensive coordinator search continues and double-checking before posting on here, but one of the more solid candidates for the OC job -- previously not listed on the GPP -- might emerge for FIU. Stay tuned. Time to meet your new defensive coordinator, Geoff Collins.

Collins My first impression talking to GC (yeah, he's got the same initials of an on-campus FIU building) was that this is a man ready to get to work judging by the energy he spoke with while in his car driving down the Turnpike to Miami on Friday night. He reminded a little of MC, but with a southern accent -- after all GC is from Conyers, Georgia.

But don't hear it from me, let GC tell us about himself:

PP: What did you know about FIU before you heard about the defensive coordinator opening?

GC: I knew it is an up-and-coming program. I've heard about Coach Cristobal's energy and enthusiasm. And I know that FIU is located in an area where there is not a better place to recruit than in South Florida. And to be that Division I school where your backyard is the best recruitiing area you can't match that.

PP: Did you recruit the South Florida area while at Central Florida?

GC: No I was in charge of Orlando to the north in the state of Florida. I also was in charge of south Georgia and from Atlanta to the northeast corridor of Georgia.

PP: I'm sure you got to see some film on the 2009 FIU defense when you went through your interview process. What are your initial thoughts of last year's FIU D?

GC: I thought there were some talented individuals on the defense. One thing I expected to see before weSpeed even popped the tape in was speed and when I saw the film there was definitely speed on that defense. The other thing I noticed was that against good programs I saw the kids really hungry and ready to step up to play the big programs they played last season. My job is to make them better and help them make plays.

PP: Reading through your bio it seems everywhere you have been and regardless of what position you held the teams you have been associated with have improved. Why do you think you've had the success you've had in your career?

GC: I've wanted to be a football coach ever since I was a kid. I've always studied the game. I have a passion for the game. And in whatever role I have been fortunate to be involved with in football I have always strived to be the absolute best in that role. The standard of excellence I expect from myself, I expect from those around me.

PP: Under coach Cristobal, FIU has run a 4-3 defense. Will that remain the Panthers defense in 2010 or will we see other alignments?

GC: I've been exposed to a lot of defenses during my coaching career: 4-3, 3-4, 8-man front. What I first D want to do is study the Sun Belt Conference and the offense each team in the conference runs. Then I will figure out what is the best defense we can employ with the athletes we have on campus. I want to look at the defensive personnel we have coming back and the new personnel arriving on campus.

One thing I will tell you the nature of my personality is that I don't let other offenses dictate to me what I do on defense. I want to dictate with my defense what the opposing offenses do. I want other offenses worrying about the FIU defense.

PP: I was checking out some of the past articles about you in the Orlando Sentinel while you were at UCF. It seems one of your favorite phrases is "Get your chili, hot!" What does it mean and how did it come about?

GC: I'm a very exciteable guy. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. If you can't be excited about collegeChili football, then why are you in this line of work? As a student-athlete, you have your scholarship paid to study for an education and play football. And as a coach, you are out on the field coaching football for a living. What better job is there?

I got the chili saying from Western Carolina offensive line coach Drew O'Daniel when I was the defensive coordinator there. OD, that's what we called coach O'Daniel, is a big country guy and he used to say it to his offensive linemen. I thought it was a pretty good thing to fire up his players. Get excited, have some energy and enthusiasm.

PP: The Orlando Sentinel also called you a "Twitter superstar". What was that all about?

GC: As the recruiting coordinator I could sense and feel the energy surrounding the program. I got a Twitter account and posted sometimes. When I posted it was usually colorful stuff about our program and always positive.

PP: Is the Twitter account making its way down the Turnpike with you?

GC: We'll see how it evolves. Right now I got a lot of work to do and I can't wait to get started.

PP: Thanks coach Collins for your time and we'll see you on National Signing Day or at spring practice.

GC: No problem, your welcome Pete. Oh and by the way Pete, "Get your chili, hot!"


Aaapaw O'Darris D'Haiti (right) finished runner-up to Akron's LeVon Morefield for the Rudy Award onOd Monday in Orlando. Still, congrats to OD for making the top 3 -- a well-deserved honor


Mike: Pete, Does Apollo Wright work with any of the position coaches or does devote full time to special teams only? Is Geoff Collins going to bring in new DB and DL position coaches? Any talk about eliminating one offensive position coach and adding a defensive position coach? Will the new OC be bringing in a couple of position coaches?

PP: Wright helps Jeff Popovich with the DBs. Collins is not going to bring in any position coaches. The only position left to fill on the staff is the OC job.

Miri: Pete, are they going to put up the banners for the retired numbers again at the arena?

PP: Been told they are. Plus, heard that there will be two video scoreboards installed in May one on the east side of the arena and the other on the west side.

pikedanny: Pete, I asked this once before and it lost in the shuffle - was hoping you could give me an answer. What happened to the new jerseys the Men's Basketball Team was wearing last year? I noticed Isiah took their names off their jerseys but did they have to switch back to the old plain looking ones?Lastseason

PP: Not sure what new jerseys you are referring to. Here on the right at the top is last season's home uniform worn by Alex Galindo and below it is this season's worn by Marvin Roberts. They look the same to me, with the exception of no last names on the back of the jerseys. Maybe you're referring to the gold jerseys?Thisseason



January 09, 2010


Helmetlogo Welcome to the Bank for tonight's FIU vs. Troy basketball game as they will unveil the name of Troy the student section tonight.

Can your Panthers unveil a two-game winning streak after Thursday's win over ULM. Let's see....

January 08, 2010

Going to Work Already

Whirlwind of a day for new FIU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. Got off the phone with Collins earlierColl this evening and will post a detailed interview with the new FIU defensive chief when I get a chance to go through the tape.

Collins didn't waste any time getting to work. Collins had his contract faxed to him in Orlando this afternoon, signed it, hopped into his car and headed down the Florida Turnpike to Miami to meet with FIU defensive recruits tonight for dinner.

Without going through the interview tape yet, will tell you that Collins talked about his defensive philosophy, what he saw from the 2009 FIU defense and what "Get your chili, hot!" means.

Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG of Saturday's FIU/Troy game beginning at 7:52 p.m. Tip-off for the game is at 8 p.m. as they unveil the name of the student section at the Bank.

New FIU DC Geoff Collins (2nd update)

Gcollins Geoff Collins is on his way to FIU this afternoon to sign a contract to be the Panthers next defensive coordinator.

Will update this post later today. Hopefully with an interview with Collins.

Still waiting to hear from Collins at some point today, but here are some of his coaching and recruiting accomplishments.

At FIU, Collins takes over a defense that was ranked No. 119 in the country last season after FIU permitted 491.5 yards per game.

It won’t be the first time Collins inherits a defense in need of help.


In 2002, Collins was named defensive coordinator at Western Carolina and took one of the worst defenses in the FCS and led it to a No. 14-ranking nationally in 2003 and No. 12-ranking in 2004.

Before joining the Knights, Collins served as director player of personnel at Alabama where he helped bring in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class for Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

Collins had the same responsibility at Georgia Tech the year before joining Alabama and helped the Yellow Jackets sign the nation’s No. 11 recruiting class and No. 1 in the ACC.Chili


Don't discount Collins's recruiting ability for FIU as we are just 26 days away from National Signing Day.


Speaking to a friend and UCF fan in Orlando, the good people of the Disney area are pissed that Collins left, because of his impact on recruiting and his tremendous upside as a coach. Plus, his enthusiasm -- one of his favorite sayings is: "Get your chili, hot!" We'll have to ask him about that.

At UCF, Collins helped the Knights' run defense to a No. 4 national ranking this past season.

Collins will get a chance to face his former employer in 2011 when FIU and UCF begin a four-game series with two games at each school’s on-campus stadium.  




Suddenly, there are plenty of college free agents that are or were planning to spend the next four years inBull_market Tampa, but with the firing of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt today -- free agency has started in Tampa.


Don't be surprised to see FIU among other schools to start a full-court press on high school stars like defensive tackle Todd Chandler.




Rice offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher and Toledo quarterbacks coach Scott Satterfield are expected to interview for the FIU OC job joining the list of coaches that were posted on the GPP a couple of days ago.


And there are several other OC candidates expected to check out FIU next week. Will have them on here when they do.


Before Rice, Zaunbrecher was the co-offensive coordinator with former FIU OC Bill Legg at Purdue. Satterfield helped the Rockets explosive offense and QB Aaron Opelt's development. FIU got a firsthand glimpse of the Toledo O this past season in the high-scoring game at FIU Stadium.



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