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25 posts from August 2010

August 30, 2010

Monday practice report

Hey everyone, Monday practice was delayed for about 30 minutes due to a nasty thunderstorm that sent  the players running for cover under the bleachers. Practice was open to the media for the first 30 minutes.

Quick notes

DL Jordan White was practicing for the first time this season.

TEs Dudley LaPorte and Jonathan Faucher both practiced but were still in the orange jerseys.

LB Pooh Bear was also in the orange. 

OG Austin Tottle was back practicing.

QB Jacob Witt, who will have to miss this season because he transferred in from another school, was practicing with the defensive backs. "Since he can't throw the ball for us this year we might as well see what kind of athletic ability he has," Cristobal said. Witt will be part of the scout team this season and rejoin the team in the spring. 

Coach06 fiu spts da Coach Cristobal (left)

On today's practice

"Today was about getting back to business. We got our legs back a little bit. We focused on third down and some red-zone stuff. Try to cover all situations of the game. Really covering little things you don't think about like punting after a safety."

On having to wait two more weeks to play Rutgers

"I think we all do. You get a little bit jealous, you're going to turn on the TV this Saturday and there are going to be a lot of people playing and we're not going to be one of them. At the same time, you take to take it as a blessing. It gives a couple of guys more time to heal up and be a 100 percent."

On Pooh Bear

"He did some practice today. He did 7 on 7s, we kept him away from contact. This was his fist shot, he looked alright, he looked OK. Again, we are going to see how he response to the first semi-live work he gets. It can go either way. When it's an injury that serious we are going to take our time and make sure it's healed." 

Response to comments

Q. J.White, was he on live contact drills? or situational meetings? with First Team? or second unit? how did he look in that short time.... I have big hopes for him to be our big brick wall in the middle... like Ted Washington/Bowens...take two blockers and allow the LB's...chiaPanther

A. To be honest I really didn't get a chance to see White in any game situations. What I can tell you is that he is a really really really big dude. I'm about 6-2, 220 and this guy made me look tiny next to him. He definitely has the size to be a big contributor on defense. It was only his first practice so it's going to take him a few days to get fully up to game speed.

Q. Is the herald going to do a season preview edition like in the past? Did it come out already? I sure hope FIU is not short changed like in the past with like just two articles under the state college edition where a bigger coverage is assigned to university of gainsville, et al....FIU0406

A. Special football sections come out in Thursday's newspaper.

Justin Azpiazu

August 27, 2010

Middle Tennessee's Dwight Dasher suspended indefinitely

Middle Tenn Dasher Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher (left) has been suspended indefinitely athletic director Chris Massaro said on Friday. Dasher apparently accepted a $1,500 "loan."

Full AP story here.

This is what Middle Tennesse head coach Rick Stockstill had to say about Dasher.

On Dwight Dasher's current state after the NCAA violation
He is doing well. Obviously, he is very disappointed at the moment. The team has rallied around him. He is has been humbled with this situation and knows he made a mistake. That is part of your responsibility as a coach to help these players grow as people.

On naming a replacement starter for Thursday's game against Minnesota
No starter has been named because we still have work to do. Today (Friday) is like Sunday in a normal game week, so we have a little time. We have a pretty good idea of who it is going to be, but not sure yet.

On offensive changes as a results of Dwight Dasher's suspension
It changes things a little bit. Both our quarterbacks are good enough to do what we want to do offensively. Each of them is a little different in their strengths and weaknesses.

Where Dwight could carry the ball 15 to 20 times a game, the others cannot do it quite as much, but both can run the ball. We will still run the ball with the quarterback and our passing game will not change.

Justin Azpiazu

August 25, 2010

Wednesday practice

Hey everyone, because of the rain Wednesday's practice was closed to the media.

Few notes from Tuesday

TE Jonathan Faucher is almost ready to return to full practice according to coach Cristobal. Look for Faucher to fully practice by the end of the week.

TE Dudley LaPorte is healthy and ready to play.

LB Pooh Bear Mars is still out recovering from his broken ankle. Cristobal not sure when he will be ready.

DL Jason Fitch needs further evaluation.

FIU Blog the Prowl

I want to congratulate Pete on his new job and say I welcome the competition.

FIU Notebook

I wrote yesterday's FIU notebook on Faucher and his return. Story here.

I also had a note in the FIU rail about DB Jonathan Cyprien Story here. 

Response to comments

@FIUJM If you have a beef with Jorge Rojas fine. Feel free to call or email him. Adam is just doing his job. There's no reason FIU fans should be bashing him. He's a good reporter that has shown he is dedicated to cover the FIU beat.

I accidentally made two of the same post. I deleted the first one. Post your comments below.

Justin Azpiazu

August 21, 2010

Scrimmage report #2

Hey everyone, bright and earlier at FIU for the last day of fall camp and it was hot. The guys started at their usually 8 a.m. with some stretching. After individual drills, the team moved to 7 on 7s for a few plays.

7 on 7s

Wesley10 FIUfoot MHS TMC A few plays worth mentioning. LB Kenneth Dillard intercepted Wesley Carroll (left) on the line of scrimmage and rumbled forward for a gain. Carroll complete a few short passes. Carroll also had a long pass attempt, but was almost intercepted when he threw into double coverage.

Scrimmage notes

I was allowed to watch the first 25 plays of the scrimmage or so plays before practice was closed to the media.

I watched two series, one with Carroll and one with Wayne Younger.

First series

Carroll started the scrimmage working with the first-team offense. 1st play: T.Y. Hilton ran a sweep to the outside and picked up a few yards. 2nd play: Greg Ellingson faked out CB Jose Cheeseborough off the line of scrimmage and was wide-open down the sideline, but Carroll over threw what would have been an easy score. 3rd play: Carroll to Darriet Perry over the middle for about 8 yards,

Unlike Friday's scrimmage, where the defense started off in control, the offense seemed to be able to move the ball to start.

4th play: CB Emmanuel Souarin deflected Carroll's pass. 5th play: Darian Mallary runs for 4 yards and picks up a first down. 6th play: Carroll scrambles for six yards. 7th play: Punt.

Defensive starters on first play of first series. DL: Tourek Williams, Jerrico Lee, Joshua Forney, Jarvis Wilson. LB: Winston Fraser, Toronto smith. DB: Ash Parker, Anthony Gaitor, Jose Cheeseborough, Jonathan Cyprien, Emmanuel Souarun.

Second series

Younger takes over with the second-team offense. 1st play: Jeremiah Harden rushes for 2 yards. 2nd play: Younger completes to Harden for a first down. 3rd play: False start. 4th play: Harden rushes for 3 yards. 5th play: Younger to Jacob Younger for 3 yards. 

At this point, facing a third and long, the offense seemed ready to punt the ball again. 6th play: Younger fires a strike to Wayne Times for a 10-yard pick up and a first down. 7th play: Younger scrambles for 8 yards. After two more short runs, the offense stalled. Younger was sacked on a bad snap and Joshua Forney batted a ball down on the line of scrimmage.

Coach06 fiu spts da Post scrimmage interview with Mario Cristobal

On fall camp

"It went really well. We had a bad injury with Kevin Van Kirk. But aside from that, we can heal. I think we are in pretty good shape. We are still three weeks out, so technically, we have another week of camp, we just have school. Overall our players know there is work to do and they are hungry to do it."

How has the defensive adjust to the new schemes?

"Real well, real well. They had a great night [Friday] night. They did a lot of things that made it confusing and difficult for the offense and capitalized with tip balls and what not and creating turnovers. [Saturday] the offense came out and kinda of counter punted but the defense came right back out again and counter punched them right back."

On evaluating potential starters

"Its all performance based, it really is. And of course you always tie in academics and doing the right thing off the field. But it truly is on film evaluation and part of it is practice because you do create the scenarios in practice that simulates a game and of course you tie in the scrimmage."

I'll post stats when I get them in a little while.

Response to comments

@FIU FPL We need your thoughts/impressions so far. While a play by play of scrimmage is nice...what did you think? Is Carrol better or is Younger IN YOUR OPINION? Is the offense the strength or is it the defense? HOW GOOD is OL Caylin? Do the defensive schemes IMPRESS YOU or NOT?

A. I like what I see from the defense, they are quick. But I'm going to hold off on what I think 100 percent till we get closer to that first game against Rutgers. On the QB situation, Carroll will most likely start but Younger will still see the field.

Justin Azpiazu

August 19, 2010

FIU recruits Dominique Ferguson, Phil Taylor out for fall

Dominique Ferguson and Phil Taylor will miss at least the fall. Adam Beasley has the story. Full story here.

August 18, 2010

Foxsports: Dominique Ferguson to miss first semester

According to a report by Jeff Goodman on Foxsports.com, FIU recruit Dominique Ferguson will miss his first semester because of academic issues. Full story here.

I am trying to confirm with the university the authenticity of the report.


Wednesday notes; QB update

A few notes.Wednesday was the second of three two-a-day practices for FIU. Night practice is again closed to the media and public.


QB battle

After practice, Cristobal spoke about the competition between Wesley Carroll (left) and Wayne Younger (right). "Things are getting a little bit more clear. I think it's Wayne04 fiufoot05 sports nt important to note so no one gets frustrated with the process, it's important for us to get certain things in-house, so our opponents, especially opponent one, has to prepare for either/or. It would do our guys an injustice to come out and give away the advantage we might have, and I don't care if it's an ounce of information. If we can protect that, we will. In terms of the battle, yeah, things are beginning to get a little bit more clear, but the beautiful thing about it is the competition level between those two and the guys around them that are fighting to get the ball is perfect. They're all just battling for both of them."

Injury update

OL Kevin Van Kirk had knee surgery on Tuesday and is recovering. According to Cristobal, Van Kirk will meet with doctors to see if he can return this season, or apply for a medical red-shirt.

RB Jeremiah Harden sprained his ankle on Monday and is day to day.

RB Darriet Perry has a mild back sprain and is day to day.

After tweaking his ankle, WR Willis Wright was back participating in practice.


T.Y. Hilton named to Paul Hornung award watch list

Hilton4(SL_081011_D3A2343) FIU's T.Y. HIlton was named to the inaugural Paul Hornung award watch list on Tuesday. The award is for the most versatile player in major college football. The list, which is made up of 48 players, will be narrowed down to between 10 and 15 finalists in December. The winner will be announced in early January.

Response to comments

@Senorroar Will one of you two (Justin or Adam) be live blogging from home or away games?

A. I'll do home games. Adam will do road games.

@Gold What the heck is going on with all of these injuries?

A. Happens to every team during training camp.

@Don Strock What's the deal with Jason Fitch ?

A. Yeah, according to Cristobal, Fitch is dealing with a lower leg injury and will need further evaluation. There is no word yet on when he will be ready.

@FIUPantherFan Also, can you give us an update on the renovations to FIU Arena?

A. I didn't know the arena was getting renovated. I'll look in to it. 

I'll post a summary from Wednesday's practice in a little while.


August 17, 2010

Machado agrees to deal with Orioles

Bball07 umtennis MHS ADD According to the Baltimore Sun, Manny Machado agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles a few minutes before the midnight deadline. Full story here.

August 16, 2010

Monday practice; update on Van Kirk

The FIU football team started a little before 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning for its first of three two-a-day practices. During the morning session, the guys worked on second and third downs. Towards the end of practice, the Panthers switched to working on the two-minute offense. I was allowed to watch the first 30 minutes before it was closed to the media.

Injury report

TE Dudley LaPorte was in a walking boot on Monday after injuring his foot during Saturday's scrimmage. According to Cristobal, LaPorte is "day to day."

OL Kevin Van Kirk will have surgery to repair damage to his sprained knee. No word yet on how long he will be out.

DL Jason Fitch is dealing with a lower-leg injury and will need further evaluation by doctors.

RB Trenard Turner was still in a walking boot after injuring his ankle last week. 

Night practice

Monday's night session, which is closed to the media and the public, will be a special teams scrimmage, according to Cristobal. The guys will take part in 8 live kicks offs and kick-off returns, 8 punts and punt returns and other aspects of the special teams game.

Response to comments

@The Point - You are a 100 percent correct sir. I got him confused with the Cleveland Indians' Matt LaPorta ( I admit I am a huge fantasy baseball nerd). Sorry Dudley, I'll make sure to change the a to an e.


Manny Machado still unsiged update 12:16 a.m.

Bball07 umtennis MHS ADD FIU recruit Manny Machado (Brito) and the Baltimore Orioles still have not come to an agreement. The Orioles have until Monday night to sign Machado to a deal. If Machado and the Orioles do not come to terms tonight, there is a chances Machado will be playing college ball for the Panthers.

Panthers' fans don't get your hopes up yet, according to most reports, Machado is unlikely to walk away from a pro deal. It's not unusually for top draft picks to wait until the signing deadline to reach a deal.

Response to comments

I highly doubt Machado will not sign. I really do not see Bryce Harper or Machado going to JUCO. They would be leaving a lot of money on the table. We all find out in a few hours.

Bryce Harper signed with the Nationals, still no word on Machado.


August 14, 2010

Scrimmage report

Exciting day at FIU as the team played its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday. Practice kicked off a little before 8 a.m. with the guys stretching and doing individual drills. Before the scrimmage started, FIU coaches had the players do some 7 on 7s for 30 minutes or so.

Few notes on the 7 on 7s 

Wayne04 fiufoot05 sports nt On the second play, Wayner Younger (left) threw a nice pass over the middle to a wide-open WR Greg Ellingson for a score. Younger also had an interception on a tipped ball. WR Willis Wright made a nice catch in the flats and was able to turn the corner on the defense.


I was able to watch the first 30 plays before practice was closed. In total, I saw four offensive possessions  and four special teams plays.

In the first play of the scrimmage, OL Kevin Van Kirk hurt his knee and had to be helped to the sideline. After practice Cristobal said, that early indications are that it's just a knee sprain and that he'll miss about a week.

The defense dominated in the first three possessions forcing two punts and an interception.

The offense's first drive ended after six plays when freshman Jerrico Lee sacked Younger to force a punt.

In the next drive, Younger connected with TE Dudley LaPorte over the middle, but the drive stalled.

In the third drive, Emmanuel Souarin intercepted QB Wesley Carroll (right).  WESLEY11 FIUFOOT SPTS JWR

It took the offense four tries to break through the defense. Early in the fourth possession you could tell the offense had found its' rhythm. The drive started with Carroll scrambling to pick up some yards on a run. In the next play, Carroll connected with WR Wayne Times for a nice pick up. After a DB Franklyn Brown sack, Younger returned to the game and connected with WR Ariel Martinez. Martinez was hit hard by S Ash Parker who was waiting for him over the middle. Martinez was able to hold onto the ball. Unfortunately for the offense, they had to settle for a Jack Griffin field goal.

One00-MCristobal-LSPT-GDC Post scrimmage interview with Cristobal


"We moved the ball. Kickers were effective. The defense scored twice. We all know you can drive the ball 99 yards, but if you throw a pick or have a fumble, and it goes 6 the other way, it's all for not."

On the QB Battle

According to Cristobal, each QB saw between 48-50 plays. "Efficient for the most part." Even though Younger took the first snap on offense, Cristobal said that both played equal time with the first team.

Running game

"We had trouble getting the running game going. Credit to the defensive line, the defense. They won the line of scrimmage early. It was pretty even later on. The offense started moving the ball as well."


"On sometimes and sloppy on other."

On T.Y. being held out

"We had him do some stuff earlier in the 7 on 7s. We wanted to see certain guys play. T.Y. was not one of them."

On freshman Willis Wright

"One guy that really stood out offensively in the scrimmage was Willis Wright He caught a ton of balls was explosive, breaking tackles."

Defensive standouts

"Randy Williams is an intense, explosive football player. Anthony Gaitor is playing the best football he's played since being at FIU. One player that has impressed so far is [DL] Jerrico Lee"

Injury report

TE Dudley LaPorta hurt his foot during the scrimmage, but the injury does not appear to be serious. RB Trenard Turner was in a walking boot due to a sprained ankle. Turner will be out between 1 and 2 weeks.

Key stats

Wayne Younger: 9-16, 96 yards
Wesley Carroll: 18-24, 197 yards, 2TD, 1INT

Wayne Younger: 1 TD
Darrian Mallary: 5 carries, 31 yards
Darriet Perry: 6 yards 24 yards
Robert Boswell: 4 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD

Ariel Martinez: 6 catches, 135 yards
Jacob Younger: 2 catches, 57 yards
Willis Wright: 5 catches, 48 yards
Joey Harris: 1 catch, 3 yards, 1 TD
Ty Frierson: 2 catches, 22 yards, 1 TD

Special Teams:
Jack Griffin: 2/3 FG  Made from 40, 48  Missed from 50
Josh Brisk: 5 punts, 48.6 AVG, 52 Long


Sacks: Kenneth Dillard, Aaron Davis, Jeremy Jermin, Jonathan Jackson
INTs: Emmanuel Souarin, Jonathan Jackson (returned 35 yards for TD), Cain Elliot (returned 76 yards for TD) 
Fumble Recoveries: Emmanuel Souarin

Response to comments

@FIUJM What do you think of coordinators so far?

A. I think it's still too early to say. It's going to take a few games to see what they are going to do. One thing I can tell you is that the players seem to be really excited about defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and the new defense he has installed. 


August 12, 2010

Fourth day of practice; interview with OC Scott Satterfield

One00 MCristobal LSPT GDCHey everyone, out at FIU this morning for some updates on what's going on at fall camp on Thursday.

LB Toronto Smith was absent from practice for personal reasons. Cristobal expects him to be back in a few days.

DL Jason Fitch apparently passed his physical clearance and was practicing with the defensive line.

Walk-on freshman running back Croswell Paige was wearing the orange injury jersey after twisting his ankle.

LB Pooh Bear Mars (right) was also in the orange jersey. Mars was wearing an elastic LARVEZ11 FIUFOOT SPTS JWRresistance band that was strapped between his ankles. Strength coach Roderick Moore had Mars doing knee extensions while he walked to build his lower body strength. Moore took the exercise one step further when he had Croswell Paige jump into a grocery shopping cart to be pushed around the sidelines by Mars.

Individual drills

A little on what I saw during the time I was allowed to watch practice. 

The running backs were working on agility and catching. QBs were working on pocket presence and accuracy. LB were working on shedding blocks. The d-line was dropping to the ground working on fumble drills. O-line was working on blocking. WR where catching passes and working on getting free from CBs on the line of scrimmage.

Satterfield 03 Fuifoot MHS PAB

OC Scott Satterfield

Satterfield, a 13-year coaching veteran, comes to FIU after spending last season as the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Toledo. Before Toledo, Satterfield worked 12 years at his alma mater Appalachian State in North Carolina. Satterfield was the QB coach at Appalachian State during the 2007 season when the Mountaineers upset Michigan. 

Offensive strengths

"Our skill players. We have a very talented core of receivers," Satterfield said. "I'm really excited about our running backs with [Jeremiah] Harden now who is a big threat. Our skill set players are our strength but our o-line and our quarterbacks are coming along."

On T.Y. Hilton

"Really explosive player. He caught a couple balls and turned it up field. You can see his explosiveness," Satterfield said. Satterfield also mentioned that T.Y. was dealing with a "nagging muscle injury," during the summer but is healthy and ready to play.

On deciding who will be the starting QB

"Nothing is guaranteed for anybody at any position. The competition that is going on between them is going to make both of them the best player they can be. We are going to chart ever practice, going to see who is completing the most balls and who is making the right decisions in the running game. I told them, 'I don't care who it is, I'm going to go to the best player on the field to make plays'."

Coming to FIU

"Everybody has been great. We have a great coaching staff here. The guys have been working their tails off."

FIU training video FIUrage posted on a previous blog entry.


August 11, 2010

ESPN: Source : Thomas declines New York Knicks job

According to a story on ESPN.com, Isiah Thomas turned down the Knicks consultant job. Story here.

There is still no official word from the NBA on what its decision will be regarding the situation. The story on ESPN.com explains, "sources close to the NBA told ESPN 1050 New York," about Thomas' decision.

Stay tuned for the anything new with Thomas.


Third day of practice

Hey everyone, FIU took the field Wednesday morning wearing shoulder pads for the first time (as per NCAA rules) in training camp. The guys where going full speed today and doing some light contact stuff. Full pads are not allowed till Friday. The Panthers will have their first scrimmage on Saturday. 


TE Jonathan Faucher was not wearing the walking boot he had been sporting the past few days. Cristobal said earlier this week that it would be between 10 and 12 days before he was 100 percent healthy.

LB Pooh Bear Mars was limited in practice.

DL Jason Fitch has not practiced and is waiting for his physical clearance. Cristobal expects him to practice in the next few days.

DL James Jones was throwing up on the sidelines during practice on Wednesday. After drinking some water, Jones quickly rejoined his teammates.

 WR Rockey Vann is hurt (undisclosed) and will redshirt. 


August 10, 2010

Walter Pitchford leaning towards FIU

According to a story on Chicagotribune.com by Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan, former DePaul recruit Walter Pitchford is considering playing hoops for FIU and Isiah Thomas. Full story here.

The 6 foot 9, 205 pound center was released from his commitment to DePaul in July.


Second day of practice; Media Day

Hey everyone, quick update on what's going on with the FIU football team this morning. As many of you know, its been pouring, but that didn't stop the guys from practicing. I was out at FIU at 8:30 a.m. when practice was opened to the media.

A few things of note:

After being limited in practice yesterday OL Cedric Mack was practicing with the offensive line. I watched Mack running a few blocking drills and all I can say is, he's a really big guy (listed at 320 on the roster).

I also saw WR Junior Mertile running receiving routes and he looks completely healthy from the knee injury that sidelined him last season.

Notes from Media Day (camera wasn't working right so I couldn't take any pictures) One00-MCristobal-LSPT-GDC

Coach Cristobal (left) gave some updates on injuries.

S Ash Parkers is 100 percent healthy after having injured his knee in the first game of the previous two seasons.

LB Toronto Smith praised Parkers' perseverance in battling back from his injuries. "If you look at Ash play you can not tell he had an injury at all. Ash is never a person to have his head down and fell sorry for himself. He's making plays...he's a leader."

DE Thatcher Starling injured his back and needs further evaluation. His status is undetermined.

WR T.Y. Hilton is healthy and ready to play.

Cristobal touched on a number of different things during his 30 minute news conference.


"Right away we threw both of them into the fire and picked up right from where we left off in spring ball. Its a complete test. To run this offenses you have to be that guy. You have to be as sharp as the offensive coordinator and be on the same page." Cristobal stressed that both QBs are being equally evaluated and that he will not choose a starter until one clearly stands out. "Both have done a pretty good job," he added.

Cristobal praised third team QB Jake Medlock. "He's done some real good things as well."


Cristobal started off by mentioning T.Y. Hilton and the impact he can have on the upcoming season. "Nice thing now is that you have a Ty Frierson as a senior that's really put a lot of time into this program and is playing good football. Wayne Times is an All-Conference freshman performer," he said. Cristobal went on to say that when you add Greg Ellingson and Willis Wright to the mix, "there are some options there and what that means is competition has gotten that much better."


"Big emphasis in fall camp on not only running the ball but stopping the run." Cristobal also mentioned all that Jeremiah Hardin, Darriet Perry and Darrian Mallary are all healthy and ready to play.


"The schedule is what it is. We are always going to approach ever opponent like we always do." Cristobal was asked what the team learned about playing such a tough schedule last year. "First and foremost, that we still have a ways to go before we reach an Alabama level. More importantly we learned the importance of depth."

More to come

August 09, 2010

First day of practice


Hey everyone, bright and early at FIU. Had to drink extra coffee this morning to get ready. Under overcast skies the men on the FIU football team took the field for their first official practice of fall camp. I watched the first 30 minutes or so before the practice was closed to the media. A few quick updates on what I saw from where I was standing.

QB Wesley Carroll looked sharp on passing drills. LB Larvez "Pooh Bear" Mars didn't practice. TE Dudley LaPorte (big kid 6-4, 244) looked sharp running routes. Saw T.Y. Hilton running around and he looks healthy.

Notes from camp

LARVEZ11 FIUFOOT SPTS JWR Injury update on Pooh Bear (left). According to Cristobal the boot is off his leg and he is walking. He is way ahead of schedule. "We expect him to be ready Rutgers' game week and we expect him to play in that game,'' Cristobal said.

TE Jonathan Faucher had a walking boot on his leg because he sprained his ankle. Faucher should be out 10-12 days.

Practice will be open to the public on Friday night, Aug. 20. Starts at 7:30 p.m. The practice is free and seating is first come, first serve. There will be an autograph session after the practice. "We'll do everything from our individual drills to our 7 on 7 drills and of course team periods involving all situations,'' Cristobal said.

Only helmets, jerseys and shorts today as per NCAA rules for the first two days ofCat10 FIUfoot MHS TMC practice.  Wednesday and Thursday the guys can wear shoulder pads. Friday is live action, full pads. Photo (right) Wayne Younger hands off to Darian Mallary (Tim Chapman, Miami Herald)

New coordinators

I had a chance to interview both defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield after practice. Both seem really excited about coming to FIU.

CBZLZMELVKIYSCY.20100726174328 Collins (left, courtesy FIUsports.com) says that coming to FIU is a great opportunity for him to be a defensive coordinator at a D1 level school.

"We have a lot of returners with a lot of experience,'' he said.

Collins also stressed how much depth the team has on defense. According to Collins, the team has 8 or 9 good defensive backs that can compete in the SBC, 6 to 7 LB and 8 to 9 defensive lineman.

"Which is encouraging, not a lot of schools have the number of people that are ready to compete at this level,'' he added.

Collins is bringing in a new defensive scheme for the Panthers this season.

"I was at Alabama, UCF, Western Carolina there are influences from all those schools," he said, about this season's defense. Expect to see the Panthers line up in 3-4, 4-3, Nickel and 30 Nickel formations. "The big thing I've been impressed with is how much these kids are learning and how multiple they are allowing us [coaches] to be, because of how much they know."

Collins also feels that the defensive line probably lost the most from last year. But he feels really good about the kids that are coming back.

He is also really happy with how well the cornerbacks have adjusted to playing in new schemes.

A little on why Collins decided to come to Miami and FIU.

"I'm like LeBron, you can't say no to South Beach,'' he said. "The kids are probably my favorite thing."

Follow FIU coaches on twitter

@CoachCollins   - DC Geoff Collins

@ApolloFIU - running backs coach/st coordinator Apollo Wright

@CoachPopovich - assistant coach-secondary Jeff Popovich

@CoachMirabal - assistant coach-OL Alex Mirabal

@FIUCalhoun - assistant coach-DL Cedric Calhoun

@FIUCoachMoore - strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore

Response to comments

@Roary  Can you post the schedule of practices this week? Any practices on the weekend?

@Panthers Fan ? With the football season upon us, I must ask a very important question, if FIU goes out and starts the season 0-4, should MC get fired.

A. FIU starts off with a really tough four game stretch against Rutgers, @Texas A&M, @Maryland and @Pitt. Any D1 team would have a hard time with those teams, especially on the road. It really would not be fair to Cristobal to be fired for starting off 0-4. If they win 1 or 2 (which would be a really big achievement) is great, but where FIU is really going to have to step up is in the SBC. The SBC, with the exception of maybe Middle Tennessee or Troy, is not on the same level as the Big East, Big 12 or the ACC. The first 4 games are really going to say something about this team, but that is not what will decide the season.

Camp Schedule (Dates and times are subject to change) -



Monday, August 9 - 9 a.m.

Tuesday, August 10 (Media Day)
Wednesday, August 11 - 8 a.m.
Thursday, August 12 - 8 a.m.
Friday, August 13 - 8 a.m.
Saturday, August 14 - 8 a.m.
Sunday, August 15 - OFF
Monday, August 16 - 8:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 17 - 8 a.m.
Wednesday, August 18 - 8 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 19 - 8 a.m.
Friday, August 20 - 8 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 21 - 8:30 a.m.

Tomorrow - interview with OC Scott Satterfield, what a players usual day is like during camp and more notes.


August 08, 2010

Sun Belt Conference Camp Primer

The following is a list of the top position battles of the nine Sun Belt Conference teams, provided by the newspaper beat writers who cover them.


2009 record

4-8 overall, 3-5 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Quarterback: The departure of senior Corey Leonard leaves a large opening. The battle boils down to sophomore Ryan Aplin and redshirt freshman Phillip Butterfield. Coach Steve Roberts has said several times since spring practice that he's not settled on who the starter will be and that the two will compete for the job when preseason workouts begin. Aplin has an edge in experience having played in nine games last season and starting three of the final four games when the team failed to respond to Leonard in several key situations but did respond to him. Aplin finished the year with a school single-season record 65.3 completion percentage and 889 passing yards and three TDs but was picked off six times. He was second on the team in rushing with 253 yards and four TDs. Aplin hurt his shoulder during the season and missed all of spring practice. Butterfield was a highly touted, strong-armed QB that led Lake Hamilton High School to the Arkansas Class 6A state title his senior year after throwing for 2,761 yards and 23 TDs. But he suffered a torn ACL in the first week of preseason practices and missed the entire season. Butterfield redshirted and returns with high expectations. He took 90 percent of the snaps during spring practice, so he actually has more experience in ASU’s new hurry-up, no-huddle offense than Aplin.

The winner: Look for Aplin to begin the season as the starter. He's got Division I experience and was fairly successful at moving Arkansas State's offense. However, Butterfield appears to be the more talented of the two quarterbacks, at least on paper. If Butterfield can adjust to the speed of the game and make good decisions quicker, there's a good chance he'll take over the starter's role probably around the fourth or fifth game of the season and keep it. Unlike previous years, the backup quarterback, no matter who it is, will be very talented and capable of leading ASU's offense without issue.

-Matt Roberson, Jonesboro Sun


2009 record

5-7 overall, 5-3 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Offensive line: Yes, the whole line. Or at least four-fifths of it. FAU has to replace every starter on the line from a group that has zero career starts. Compounding the problem was that injuries hit in the spring, ruining the plan of identifying the five starters at the end of spring so they could go into the offseason and start molding the unit. Aside from center Jordan Sessa (6-5, 280, So), the other four positions remain up for grabs. Andy Czuprynski (6-5. 270, So.) was moved from defensive line to left guard on the offensive line in the spring and has plenty to learn but is currently No. 1 on the depth chart. That gives you an idea of what FAU is up against.

The winner(s): The coaches are going to have to make judgments very early in camp so they can give the starters as much reps as possible before they all make their first college start on Sept. 2 at UAB.

-Ted Hutton, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


2009 record

3-9 overall, 3-5 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Quarterback: Technically, it's a wide-open battle to determine who will replace Paul McCall, last year's starter who's out of eligibility. The top two contenders: junior Wesley Carroll and senior Wayne Younger. But if pedigree and performance in the spring game are any indication, Carroll certainly has a leg up. The Fort Lauderdale native started nine games at Mississippi State as a freshman in 2007, earning all-conference honors, but fell out of favor in 2008 before transferring to FIU the next spring. He redshirted in 2009, then acquitted himself well in practice this past spring. Younger appeared in nine contests last year, completing just 37.9 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions.

The winner: Wes Carroll because of his SEC experience and better fundamentals. But even if Carroll wins the starting job, Younger might get a handful of snaps per game, purely based on his athletic ability.

-Adam H. Beasley, Miami Herald


2009 record

6-6 overall, 4-4 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Running back: Due to injuries, inexperience and a lack of depth, the Cajuns finished seventh in the Sun Belt and 71st nationally in rushing offense (136.9 yards per game) last season. It was a sharp decline for a ground game that was among the nation's best over the previous four years, but they will have plenty of options in 2010. Junior Julian Shankle sat atop the depth chart at the end of spring drills but has rushed for only 155 yards in college and has been injury-prone. Freshman Rob Walker, who rushed for 3,897 yards and 51 touchdowns in his final two years of high school, signed last year but was declared ineligible during fall camp. He enrolled in January and played well in the spring before pulling a hamstring. Two other newcomers - junior Kevis Streeter (Iowa Western Community College) and freshman Aaron Spikes (Dallas Pinkston High) - will also compete for the starting job. Streeter accounted for 12 TDs last year. Spikes, once committed to Texas Tech, rushed for 1,526 yards and 16 TDs as a prep junior. The three-star recruit was hobbled for most of his senior season with an ankle injury.

The winner: Coach Rickey Bustle has said he would have no problem rotating multiple players in the backfield. Look for Shankle, Walker, Streeter, Spikes and sophomore Draylon Booker to all get some carries this season. But Walker and Spikes will likely carry most of the load as long as they both stay healthy, with Streeter likely playing a bigger role as a punt and kick returner. If the talented youngsters can produce, the Cajuns could shock a lot of people this season.

-Joshua Parrott, Lafayette Daily Advertiser


2009 record

6-6 overall, 5-3 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Quarterback: There are a lot of skeptics that do not believe there is a true battle at quarterback since last year’s starter Trey Revell is returning for his senior season. However, with a new coaching staff and Todd Berry’s desire to find the right guy to run his offense, redshirt freshman Kolton Browning has won the job over. However, it will continue to be a competition throughout fall camp. Revell has the experience – throwing for 1,739 yards last year over the course of 10 games. He missed two contests due to a broken thumb and had trouble returning to early season form once he came back from surgery. Browning, on the other hand, has no college experience but he has the confidence of a player that does. He ran the offense like a veteran during the spring game back in April and seems very comfortable in the pocket.

The winner: Experience can trump a lot of other attributes in a college quarterback, but Revell has to prove he’s a leader for the offense. He needs to bring the right attitude into the fall camp or Browning will continue to carry the advantage.

-Tabby Soignier, Monroe News Star


2009 record

10-3 overall, 7-1 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Middle linebacker: With the graduation of All-Sun Belt selections Danny Carmichael and Cam Robinson, linebacker is the glaring defensive question. Senior Antwan Davis is the lone returning starter. He can play all three spots, but he will move from strong side to middle linebacker. While Davis is versatile and experienced, junior Gorby Loreus, an explosive and powerful player, fits the middle linebacker spot better. Loreus is catching up after a spring injury, but he should push Davis for the starting spot in fall camp. Redshirt freshman Stephen Roberts may be better than both in time, but for now he lacks experience.

The winner: Davis will start somewhere. Whether that’s at middle linebacker depends on his level of leadership shown amid a young group in fall camp. Davis may start at middle early on, but he’ll have to fight to keep it. As many as seven linebackers are close to even on the depth chart, so expect frequent movement in the lineup.

-Adam Sparks, Daily News Journal


2009 record

2-10 overall, 1-7 Sun Belt

Top position battle

North Texas is back in a familiar situation again this season while searching for its next starting quarterback. Since Scott Hall graduated following the 2004 New Orleans Bowl, UNT has trotted out six starters, including Nathan Tune. The senior started two games last season in relief of Riley Dodge, who moved to wide receiver in the off-season due to nerve damage to his elbow following a series of injuries that sapped his arm strength. Tune will compete with sophomore Derek Thompson, who would be UNT’s seventh starter in six seasons if he wins the job. Thompson played just one series last season at the end of UNT’s loss to Arkansas State after Dodge broke his arm. Tune and Thompson are larger quarterbacks than Dodge, who was listed at 6-0, 193, last season. Both are 6-4 and around 225 pounds and are pocket passers who lack the running ability that Dodge possessed that made UNT’s zone-option play effective. Tune and Thompson are adjusting to new coordinator Mike Canales’ offense that should employ more downfield throws that Dodge simply could no longer complete most of last season.

The winner: The battle between the two will likely go down to the last few practices before UNT opens at Clemson. Tune doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has more than Thompson and will probably begin the season as the starter. UNT doesn’t have much margin for error and faces a huge home game against Rice in the second week of the season. If Tune struggles, UNT will turn to Thompson quickly in an effort to get the team on track to reach the seven-win mark head coach Todd Dodge likely needs to achieve to return for a fifth season at UNT.

-Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle


2009 record

9-4 overall, 8-0 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Quarterback: Redshirt junior Jamie Hampton and redshirt freshman Corey Robinson were the top two coming out of spring. They'll battle this fall to replace departed senior Levi Brown, the 2009 Sun Belt Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. Hampton threw for more than 1,000 yards in 2008, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game and redshirted last fall. Robinson threw for a nation record 91 touchdown passes as a Kentucky high school senior in 2007. Hampton says he's faster than he was before the injury, but won't be running nearly as much as he did. Robinson is a dynamic passer, but is working to decrease the turnovers.

The winner: Hampton is the best bet to start the season-opener on Sept. 4 against Bowling Green because of his experience and for the fact he is better ball controller of the two. But Robinson could take the role from him if he shows he can keep the ball away from the other team. Robinson is the future, no doubt, but who knows when the future will be.

-Drew Champlin, Dothan Eagle


2009 record

0-12 overall, 0-8 Sun Belt

Top position battle

Junior college transfer Matt Pelesasa grabbed this one by the throat during spring practice for two reasons. No. 1: Returning starter and redshirt sophomore Kawaun Jakes injured his ankle during a pickup basketball game. That earned Jakes a front row seat in coach Willie Taggart’s doghouse. No. 2: Pelesasa was the most consistent performer on the field – and not just at his position. Pelesasa is confident, has the size (6-1, 235) and possesses a pretty accurate throwing arm – not to mention he tosses probably the best deep ball WKU has seen since former four-year starter Justin Haddix in 2006. But with all the positives come a great deal of questions. He’s never actually played in an FBS-level game. So while he’s heard of how fast things move, he’s never actually seen it. He had stellar numbers at the JUCO level, but can he translate them to the 1-A level? This is a big moment for Jakes (6-3, 190), however, as he has to prove to Taggart that he’s committed to this program. If he doesn’t, he’ll likely fall behind another Taggart recruit in incoming freshman Brandon Doughty (6-3, 190). Unlike Pelesasa, we all know exactly what Jakes is capable of at this level. He showed real flashes of brilliance last season at times – especially during his 22 of 28, 276-yard, 2-TD performance at Navy. But he’s yet to impress the person who matters most – Taggart himself.

The winner: Expect Pelesasa to get the call when WKU plays its first game of the season at Nebraska. Jakes might have too much ground to make up in a short time and Doughty likely isn't ready yet. But my gut tells me this could be a battle that lasts throughout the entire season.

-Nick Baumgardner, Bowling Green Daily News

August 07, 2010

Rakeem Christmas picks Syracuse over FIU

The 6 foot 9 Christmas choose Syracuse over FIU and Georgetown.

Christmas told FOX sports' Jeff Goodman, “I had a lot of great options, but I fell in love with Syracuse. I know a lot of the guys on the team and that made a difference in my decision. I also felt that I could fit in well with their system.”

Read full story here.

Response to comments

@Que bola: I'll let you guys know tomorrow what practices will be open to the public.

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