Coach Mario Cristobal and new coordinators Scott Satterfield (offense) and Geoff Colllins (defense) are in the final stages of preparation for the start of training camp on Sunday (Aug. 8).
As many of the readers of GPP know, last season the Panthers
finished with a 3-9 record that was good for seventh place in the Sun Belt
Conference. The team slid from a possible bowl berth in 2008 to a mediocre 2009 campaign that showed the program still needs a lot of work if they hope to win
a SBC title.
Here are some of my thoughts on what are some of the big
issues the FIU coaching staff will need to address early in camp.
Last season, statistically, FIU really struggled on both
sides of the ball.
2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 22.9 points per game (6th in Sun Belt)
Rushing Yards/Game: 105 (last in Sun Belt, 107th in Nation)
Passing Yards/Game: 216 (6th in Sun Belt)
Total Yards/Game: 321 (last in Sun Belt)
2009 Defensive StatisticsScoring: 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)
The program seems to have addressed concerns by bringing in two new coordinators
to help Cristobal. Offense coordinator Scott Satterfield, former passing game
coordinator/quarterbacks coach from Toledo, helped the Rockets to a 5-7 record
in 2009. Offensively, Toledo was ranked 19th in the nation in
passing yards and 13th in the nation in total yards per game, so you
know guy was doing his job. It is still to early to tell what changes
Satterfield will make to the FIU offense. We probably will not know what tricks he has up his sleeves till early in the season.
2009 Toledo Offensive StatisticsScoring: 29.7 points per game (2nd in MAC, 108th in Nation)
Rushing Yards/Game: 159 (5th in MAC)Passing Yards/Game: 278 (2nd in MAC, 19th in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 437 (1st in MAC, 13th in Nation)
Offensive players to watch (6 returning starters)
WR: The Panthers return with a solid group of receivers anchored by FIU favorite T.Y. Hilton and Greg Ellingson. We all know Hilton is a special player but how special will he be this year? In 2009, Hilton was bothered with an injured knee for much of the season. A big key for Satterfeld will be turning Hilton into the electric player we all fell in love with in 2008. Also, look out for freshman Willis Wright (Miami Springs). I spoke to Wright before the start of the 2009 high school season and he is a big boy.
QB: Still unclear who will be named the starter but coach Cristobal said last week it will be decided before the end of training camp. THIS COULD BE THE SINGLE BIGGEST ISSUE FOR THE OFFENSE. Both QBs Wayne Younger and Wesley Carroll have done well during the summer.
RB: Who will start the season at running back, Darriet
Perry or someone else? FIU was one of the worst rushing teams in the country
JUSTIN - Part 2 (defense) tomorrow
ALSO the website Bleacher Report has a pretty good article that ranks the QBs in the SBC. They seem to like Carroll over Younger. Read here
Response to comments
@panther viscosity Commits so far - TE Ya'Keem Griner (Bradford), WR Clinton Taylor (Northwestern), OLB Demetrius Allen (Northwestern), S Luis Rosado (Gainsville), QB Rakeem Cato (Miami Springs), OLB Lyndon Edwards (Northwestern).
QB Cato could have big passing season. Any of the Northwestern guys can break out.