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Defensive state of mind

Hey everyone, thanks for the kind words. Before I get to this season's defense, I'd like to take a moment to say that, it is really not fair the amount of abuse Adam Beasley has been getting. Beasley is a good reporter. He has a lot of experience, and is just trying to do his job. I know you guys are going to rip me for saying it, but so what. Cut the guy some slack.

That being said, you guys are more than welcome to call or write Jorge Rojas to tell him how you feel about the events that have taken place recently. His contact info: office number 305-376-3213 or jrojas@miamiherald.com. 

Defense breakdown 

Geoffcollins One of main changes to the FIU defense this season has been the hiring of former UCF linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Geoff Collins (left, courtesy of FIUsports.com) to the defensive coordinator position. Collins, a 16-year veteran, spent a year at Alabama as the director of player personnel before moving to UCF.

In his first of two seasons at UCF, Collins lead the Knights to a second place rank (Conference USA) in total and scoring defense. Collins inherits a Panthers' defense that really struggled last season. Overall the team was outscored 424-275 in total and 258-194 in the SBC.

2009 FIU Defensive Statistics

Scoring: 35.3 points per game (7th in Sun Belt, 111 in the Nation)
Rushing Yards/Game: 232 (8th in Sun Belt, 116th in Nation)
Passing Yards/Game: 258 (8th in Sun Belt, 108th in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 491 (9th in Sun Belt, 119th in Nation)

Last season, defensive breakdowns and a tough out of conference schedule limited the Panthers to only three wins. With the exceptions of the Florida and Rutgers games, the FIU offense was able to score points. In five conference games, FIU scored 30 or more points but only won two of those games. One to North Texas and the other to Western Kentucky (the two teams that finished below FIU in the SBC standings). Collins is going to have to sure up the defense if FIU has any hopes of having a winning record. All eyes are going to be on Collins during their tough four game stretch to open the season. It will be interesting to see how the guys responded once they start their SBC schedule.

Defensive players to watch (5 returning starters)

Torontosmith LB: Possibly the position with the most depth for FIU. Returning starters Toronto Smith (left) and Winston Fraser will be joined by OLB and projected starter Kenny Dillard. Smith, who was solid at MLB before injuring his knee last season, and Jarvis Wilson are the only two senior LBs on the roster. Franklyn Brown, who missed 2009 with a groin injury, should be back healthy. Also, don't forget about Pooh Bear Mars. Last but not least, junior Aaron Brown, who finished 2009 with 59 tackles, should be a force during the season. Even though the LB core is solid, It will be up to the D-line to open holes up front for the linebackers to make plays.

DL: After losing three out of four starter to graduation, there is a fair amount of uncertainty on the defensive line. Junior RE James Jones is the one starter left from the 2009 season. At the moment Tourek Williams is projected to start opposite him. Kasey Smith and Joshua Forneyare are the two projected starters up the middle. Three00 fiufoot SPTS ADD

DB: The defensive backs are lead by none other than Anthony Gaitor (right). Gaitor has been a thorn in the  side of opposing offenses the last two seasons. Last year Gaitor, a preseason All-Sun Belt Team selection, recorded 45 tackles and two picks.

Justin

Response to comments

@panther viscosity - You're right, I added some info about him to the LB part. Thanks

@roary What's the deal with section 112?

@TrueBlue I know where you're coming from. All I'm asking is from this point on to give the guy a chance. He's been on vacation the last few days. He gets back to work on Friday. If after football season you guys don't like him or me, what can we do?

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