Driving down 9 hours from South Carolina on Friday morning to get to Miami by Friday night for some 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.