Got the caffeine to push me through another hour or two, got the sugar rush from apple streudel, got the Brazilian club jazz going as my rhythm section, got a winning Lotto ticket ($5) so let's start covering more ground than grass with...
WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Mario Cristobal said Tuesday night's full contact scrimmage was a draw. Offense galloped through the first scrimmage, nine days ago; defense gangsta slapped around the offense Friday night and, as described by Cristobal (it was a closed practice scrimmage), Tuesday night was a microcosm of the first two scrimmages combined.
"Even means winning games, when your team can beat each other each down." defensive end Gregory Hickman said. "Hopefully, we'll be pretty good." Hickman quickly corrected himself, "not pretty good. Really good. Better than last year."
Player on the rise for now: defensive end Paul Crawford. The 6-8 sophomore apparently had a second consecutive strong scrimmage and looked impressive during the open part of Wednesday night's practice. Defensive coaches love length and Crawford's all length, but he's also got speed. In the practice closing wind sprints, Crawford led the way in his group, seemingly almost eased up.
After the last of those wind sprints, new arriving cornerback DeMarkus Perkins fell to one knee and took his helmet off. He didn't know how many there were for the rest of the team, but he'd made up his mind this was his last.
Cornerback Chuck Grace walked over and in an encouraging tone, said, "Come on, Perk. We've got to get in shape."
Perkins said, "I can't go, man. I can't go for real." The 5-9 Grace ignored Perkins, helped the latter to a standing slump and supported him as they moved back toward the post-practice coach's speech.
Cristobal, after saying Perkins made a tackle on his first kickoff coverage during the scrimmage, admitted as far as Perkins conditioning, "He wasn't ready. Six plays, he was over here fertilizing the, ah, artificial turf. He's got a ways to go."
It should be said, though, in hitch pass blocking drills, Perkins was one of the few defensive backs who consistently shed his blocker and made the play on the wide receiver attempting to fly past. On the other side, wide receiver Jairus Williams was making defensive back pancakes like his middle name was "Bisquick." until Jonathan Cyprien stepped in to prevent the drill from turning into Williams' personal IHOP.
Rivals.com is reporting that South Broward punter Chris Ayers has committed to FIU for 2012. We'll try to get that confirmed.
(Apparently, not enough caffeine -- just made a dumb mistake that cost me the next section. Take two...)
The women's soccer advance on the first game will appear on this blog Thursday night or Friday morning. The Sun Belt coaches picked Chelsea Leiva as their preseason Player of the Year and FIU as the No. 2 team in the conference behind the University of Denver. Though I'll be part of The Herald army at the Dolphins preseason game Friday night against the visiting Cam Newtons, check the blog Friday night for results and coaches comments on the Stetson game.
FROM THE PITCH TO PITCH...
The baseball team announced its 2012 recruiting class late Wednesday afternoon:
C Aramis Garcia, 6-2, 200, R/R out of Pines Charter in Pembroke Pines. He was a Herald First Team All-Broward pick and was a .414 hitter in his high school career with 15 home runs. But it was his defensive quickness that's considered major league level. The Cardinals drafted him in the 20th round in June.
SS Julius Gaines, 6-0, 160, R/R Locust Grove (Ga) Luella. FIU recruiting coordinator Frank Damas calls Gaines, ranked among Baseball America's top 100 high school players mainly on his defensive skills, "the most athletic recruit we have."
P Jose Lazaro, 6-3, 180, R/R North Broward Prep. The Yankees took Lazaro in the 28th round in June. He had 101 strikeouts in 58.1 innings as a senior as he compiled a 2.52 ERA and 7-0 record. He brings a 4.3 GPA, too, so he'll surely help the team average in that regard.
P John Costa, 6-2, 200, R/R West Palm Beach Summit Christian. The Class 3A-2A-1A State Player of the Year went 9-1 with a 2.52 ERA and struck out 97 in 69.1 innings.
OF Nathan Burns, 6-4, 220, L/L Howard College. Burns hit .419 with 12 homers and stole 32 bases (nice to see that coming back into style).
INF Adam Kirsch, 6-0, 200, R/R North Central Texas College. In a statement, Damas calls Kirsch "the best pure hitter that we are bringing in this year." Kirsch is coming off a .466 season with 12 homers, 12 stolen bases.
UTL Oscar Aguirre, 6-2, 200, S/B Homestead South Dade. I admire anyone who is truly ambidextrous as Aguirre is.
OF Roche Woodard, 5-9, 170, R/R Tampa Hillsborough. A 5A FACA All-State selection, Woodard hit .351 with four home runs and 12 stolen bases.
P Anthony Coletti, 6-1, 175, L/L Hollywood South Broward by way of Palm Beach College. Coletti was a reliever at PBC. Damas claimed in the statement that his fastball is between 89-92 mph.
OK, it's 2 a.m. Time to put it down. Later today, folks.