PROJECTED DEFENSIVE STARTERS
LB: The Golden Panthers have a talented core of linebackers ready to play against the Scarlett Knights on Saturday. Expect senior Toronto Smith, sophomore Winston Fraser and junior Aaron Davis to start the game (depending on defensive package of course). Smith and Fraser have lined up mostly with the first-team all fall camp. Davis has seen more playing time with the second-team.
DB: Sophomore Emmanuel Souarin and Anthony Gaitor (right) as the two starting corner backs. Ash Parker and Jonathan Cyprien will be the two starting safeties. Possible second-team guys could be CB Jose Cheeseborough and S Marquis Rolle. Rolle saw a good amount of playing time with the second-team defense during FIU's resent scrimmages. Cheeseborough has seen some first-team playing time, but I do not expect him to start against Rutgers. I think Souarin has definitely taken the lead in practice.
DL: Defensive ends, sophomore Tourek Williams (left) and junior James Jones. As for the starting defensive tackles, Andrew Mattox and sophomore Joshua Forney have really stood out during camp. Cristobal seems really pleased with the effort Forney has shown so far. "I think all those guys are working hard. Tourek [Williams] continues to get better. Josh Forney had a great camp. I expect some pretty good things from Josh. The rest of the guys are hard working, blue collar guys," Cristobal said.
I am at FIU right now waiting to talk to coach Cristobal after practice. Check back later tonight for my interview with Cristobal, season projections and a preview of the Rutgers game.