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And on the seventh day, FIU started early...

...not as early as Thursday.South Westside-20110804-00073

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but Sunday's full pads deal got going well before the scheduled 8:30 practice time. Coach Mario Cristobal said it had to do with still being in finals for summer session, giving some of the kids the chance to get in, get out and study, rest or go to church. Cristobal's mentioned church or prayer each day I've spoken to him this week. What's interesting to me -- just as a personal observation, means nothing as far as, say, how good the linebackers are going to be -- is how it came in the normal flow of his speech. It wasn't forced, like he was trying to show off how important his faith is to him.

Monday will be the first scrimmage, at 3:30. I won't live blog unless ordered to do so. For a scrimmage, I'd rather keep my usual detailed notes, observe for the blog and daily story and throw out the occasional Tweet.

The Sunday-for-Monday newspaper/website daily story is on Wesley Carroll. Carroll didn't participate much in team drills Sunday.
"We didn't go live on him," Cristobal said. "The other quarterbacks went live. And for a reason. We've got to get used to getting guys on the ground. We're playing so many young defensvie guys, you hate for them to get in the habit of getting to the quarterback and tagging off. It's a whole different dynamic when he ducks and shrugs out of there. At the same time, these young quarterbacks haven't played yet. They need to get hit."

That obviously didn't help the first team offense, which went three-and-out against the first team defense on the first two series. Cristobal says the offense has expanded by 40 percent since the end of last season. That plus with the usual trend of defense being ahead of offense early in camp and the two three-and-outs add up under the Neal math to equal, "Ehhh."

They ran 27 plays of team drills. "We are taking a lot of the freshman and putting them in with the ones and twos just to see where they're at," Cristobal said. Asked who has "flashed" (a trending piece of coachspeak over the last three years that just begs for juvenile jokes that shouldn't be made) among the freshmen, Cristobal named defensive linemen Denzel Perrine, Giovani Francois, Cody Horstman and Aaron Neilsen; linebacker Luis Rosado; Miami Killian graduate and cornerback Richard Leonard; wide receivers Dominique Rhymes and Clint Taylor, both out of Miami Northwestern; wide receiver T.J. Lowder; and running back Shane Coleman. Cristobal called Coleman "one of the faster players."

Running back Torrence Seymour, a redshirt senior out of Varela High, hopped to the locker room with assistance with what looked like a right knee injury.

Cristobal said kicker Jack Griffin is in competition for the punting job with returning punter Josh Brisk and Dylan Lynch. "No hesitation in making that move if he wins the punting job as well." He said he wanted to see Griffin really improve on kickoffs. Borrowing from baseball, Cristobal joked it would be great if Griffin were a "three-tool player" -- kicking scores, kicking off, punting. Of course, he might just be trying to remove any comfort level from Brisk.

As far as long-snapper, an underrated position until a screwed up snap costs you a playoff spot (Cincinnati Bengals, one year) or a playoff game (Dallas vs. Seattle, Jan. 2007), it's a battle between two west coast products -- junior Mitch MacClugage from Naples Barron Collier High and redshirt freshman Nick Thorstenson, a redshirt freshman from Naples Lely High. MacClugage has the experience edge, filling in some last season, but long snapper is all about bottom line dependability right now. You blow two snaps, the other guy blows none, he wins. You snap perfectly, the other guy throws back a couple of low ones, you win.

I'm on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DavidJNeal




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