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25 posts from August 2010

August 06, 2010

Isiah staying with FIU, takes consultant job with Knicks

Story to come, but here's the Knicks' release:

NEW YORK (August 6, 2010 – Isiah Thomas has been named a consultant to the New York Knicks, it was announced today in a joint statement by Knicks President Donnie Walsh and MSG Chairman James L. Dolan. In this role, Mr. Thomas will assist the team’s senior management in various capacities, including player recruitment.

“Isiah Thomas brings unique experience as a Hall of Fame player, coach, executive and owner, and we believe having him as part of our organization will be extremely beneficial to the team’s success. Isiah was helpful to the team’s senior management during our most recent recruitment efforts, including assisting with the acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire. He will provide valuable insight and analysis of young prospects from around the world. Isiah will remain head coach of FIU, and that will continue to be his primary responsibility.”

“I’m excited to once again be a part of the New York Knicks organization. I was honored to have been asked to help during the recent free agent recruiting process, and believe that this new role takes full advantage of my skill set as an evaluator of basketball talent. While I will of course continue in my role as FIU’s coach, I look forward to working with Donnie, Coach D’Antoni and all of the Knicks staff to help bring a championship back to New York,” said Mr. Thomas.

UPDATE: Here's the story.

August 05, 2010

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.


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?

August 04, 2010

Offensive breakdown

One00 MCristobal LSPT GDCWith only a few days before the start of training camp things are really starting to heat up at FIU. 

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.

Concerns for 2010

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 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)

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 Satterfield 03 Fuifoot MHS PAB13th 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 Statistics

Scoring: 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)

TY11 FIUFOOT SPTS JWR 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 last season.

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. 

Questions sent

Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to suggest a question for coach Cristobal. I added a few more  than the five I had said in the last post. You can read the ones I sent below.

After a long and hot Miami summer I know FIU fans are itching to talk some football. Check back later tonight for my take on FIU's chances in the Sun Belt this season.


Q. There have been a lot of complaints against The Miami Herald by FIU fans for what they describe as  "a bias towards UM." As someone who went to UM and is now the head coach for FIU, how do you feel about the charges FIU fans are making against the Herald?

Q.  What have been some of the struggles of trying to turn FIU into a school known for football?

Q. What incoming freshmen has the best chance to start this year?

Q. How do you feel about starting the season with a bye week followed by four BCS teams? Are there plans to change that next year?

Q. How do you decide who will be your new QB after losing Paul McCall?

Q. What are you expecting from your offense?

Q. What happened to the panther walk before the games? Is that still going on?

Q. What have been some of the reactions of the recruits when you show them our new facilities? Any big targets impressed?

Q. In five games last season FIU was able to score over 30 points but struggled on defense. What are some changes fans can expect?

Q. What are some of the injuries to players you are having to deal with before training camp starts?

Response to comments 

@FIUJM I'll talk about the new coordinators in a few days.


August 02, 2010

Q&A with Coach Cristobal

Hey everyone, greetings from Los Angeles. I've been out of town since CORRECTION-Hidden-Hollywood

Thursday checking out the west coast. I'll be back on the FIU grind Wednesday morning. 

On the last post, a reader asked about a live chat with coach Cristobal. I am still trying to work out an opportunity to have him on GPP. In the meantime, I'm going to sendOne00 MCristobal LSPT GDC him a FEW readers questions.

Post your questions in the comment section and I'll pick five good ones. The first day of practice is only a few days way so get ready.


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