There was football weather at FIU Stadium on Wednesday afternoon as FIU began spring practice. A windy and chilly day, of course nothing like the high of 45 degrees that awaits a thin-blooded native Miamian in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Friday.
Lots to get to from Wednesday's first practice. Thanks to Roy Viera for all of the photos from Wednesday's practice. Will try on Thursday to post larger photos than the ones currently on here. Having a little trouble with this blog's photo posting.
First thing I noticed on Wednesday was No. 1 playing defense. That's right, receiver Marquis Rolle has become safety Marquis Rolle. MC said the switch was made, because there are a ton of receivers on the team and the Panthers need help at safety this season. Rolle has never played safety before, but he's got the size and athleticism to play the position.
Speaking of safety, Ash Parker is back for one final season after tearing his knee in the last two season openers (2008 at Kansas and 2009 at Alabama). Ash will not participate in contact drills this spring -- only in non-contact stuff. Maybe playing the season opener at home is the charm for Ash.
Noticeably bigger from another off-season in the weight room: Wayne Times (not looking like a freshman anymore), T.Y. Hilton (above, right with a solid 175 pounds with muscles), Winston Fraser looking like a senior. Tourek Williams and Jonathan Jackson both up to 250.
New defensive line coach Cedric Calhoun was in FIU gear and coaching up the Panthers D-linemen. So was new linebackers coach Juan Navarro as he coached the LBs.
On the D-line, James Jones, who returned from knee and shoulder surgery, was full-go on Wednesday. He should definitely help the FIU pass rush this season, if his play at Kansas in 2008 was any indication. Jonathan Jackson is getting close to being 100%, but he will be limited in the spring as he prepares for fall camp in August.
The newest Panthers made a connection. As he went through his reads and no one was open, QB Wesley Carroll scrambled out of the pocket and found Jeremiah Harden, who cut across the middle for 7 yards. You can read more about these two in Thursday's MH.
Catches of the Day: Times making a 1-handed catch with his body going the other way on a deep pass down the middle. Receiver Ariel Martinez (left, thanks RV photo) going up, up, and away for a pass over the middle. Somebody find some playing time for this guy, every time I turn around he's catching everything thrown his way. Junior Mertile doesn't look like he missed a beat returning from last year's knee injury. JM made a couple of nice catches.
If you didn't know the chili was hot on defense, you certainly learned Wednesday afternoon. New DC Geoff Collins (right, thanks RV photo) is a walking Cuban coffee colada. New OC Scott Satterfield was not heard from Fort Lauderdale like GC, but he got his points across constantly instructing the FIU QBs. Last time FIU had an OC/QBs coach that played QB was James Coley -- now Florida State's OC. SS played QB at Appalachian State.
Wayne Younger (left, thanks RV photo) looks bigger and he must be, because there was some extra mustard on his fastball today. You sure you don't need another pitcher, Turtle?
New punter Josh Brisk sure gets some hang time on his punts and seems to have a strong leg. Is it Munera-like? Not sure yet have to see more punts.
Former FIU defensive back and Rudy Award Finalist - O'Darris D'Haiti is organizing a charity flag football tournament to benefit the relief effort in Haiti. The tournament is this Saturday, March 6 at FIU's North Campus.
If you are interested it is $10 per person and you need at least 5 people on your team. Or if you just want to watch it's $5 general admission. The tournament will take place in the rec fields behind the North Campus library by the basketball courts.
For more info: contact O'Darris (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) at email@example.com
Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG of Saturday's opening game of the Sun Belt Conference tourney between FIU and Denver. Tip-off time is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. (Eastern). Game probably won't start until about 10 or 10:15 p.m., because there are other games being played on the same court before FIU's game. Regardless, expect the LIVE BLOG to begin at 9:43 p.m.
NYCFIUFan: Hey Pete, since Fomenter has fallen off the face of the earth and I was in second place, can I get the opportunity to post?
PP: Go ahead. You are a double winner in the 3rd annual GPP Win A Blog. E-mail me your blog with whatever photos or art you want on it and I'll post it on here.
Gooch7: WHAT ARE THE TOP 10 MALES AND FEMALE ATHLETS IN FIU HISTORY? PETE: Maybe we can post up a survey to see what people truely know about FIU Athletic History!
PP: Go ahead and start posting. I have to do some research to get my list. We'll have a poll question on the top athlete later.