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Football Gameday XI with beef and Duck

Miami Book Fair. NPC Nationals bodybuilding in South Beach. NASCAR winding up its season with a duel in Homestead between the track’s ace (Carl Edwards) and one of the most aggressive, yet smartest and most talented drivers of this generation (Tony Stewart).

And I’m in Monroe, Louisiana, where the airport’s transitioning from 1964 to 2011 and, in the process, the baggage claim is outside. No belt, just a bunch of guys putting your stuff on a sidewalk. Long Beach or Maui, this ain’t.

The FIU football folks have beef with me. In the story that appeared in Friday’s Herald, I wrote that Winston Fraser and Jordan Hunt were singled out by Cristobal for Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin running for 164 yards in that Panthers loss. After the game, when we asked Cristobal how that happened, he said, “There were several occasions where we do have him bottled up and he kind of gets out of there in pressure situations or assignment situations. He got loose, sometimes, he read it well and sometimes we busted at the linebacker position.”

Fraser and Hunt play the vast majority of snaps at linebacker for FIU. Kenneth Dillard and Chris Edwards were the backups that night. By the official play-by-play and my game notes, Fraser and Hunt were on the field for Aplin’s biggest, most significant runs as he ran for 131 yards in the first three quarters. Hunt disappears from the play-by-play in the fourth quarter, when Edwards picked up his two solo tackles and four of his five assisted tackles.

FIU says Hunt and Fraser weren’t being singled out because Cristobal didn’t say them by name. I said you point to a position where you have two guys who play an overabundance of snaps, those two guys are singled out by logical inference. What say you folks about this?

Anyway, on to Louisiana-Monroe. The line on this game opened with FIU favored by one and has moved to Monroe favored by 1 to 1.5 most places and 2 at one offshore book. The over/under is 49.5-50. Looks like what money’s come in on this game has been on Monroe.

Statistically, we could be looking at another field position-kicking game battle: the Sun Belt’s Nos. 2 and 3 in yards allowed, Nos. 1 and 3 in rush defense with Monroe holding the higher ranking in both cases. FIU’s No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 2 in pass efficiency defense, and No. 3 in pass defense.

Strategically, Cristobal worries about Monroe’s defensive ability to make run reads and pass coverages difficult, a good talent to have when facing a spread option, especially one run by a redshirt freshman quarterback. This game might force us to see more of Medlock’s arm than FIU would like, although, what’s to lose? FIU’s already bowl eligible, can’t win the Sun Belt and won’t get one of the Sun Belt’s two bowl tie-in spots. They’re in the position Tony Stewart’s been telling everybody he’s in this week – can’t lose a spot in the standings, so no pressure. Hopefully, this means players playing loosely and coaches coaching loosely.

(But not too loosely – FIU has a tendency to let their Duck Dodgers-Dr. Doofenshmirtz come out when their base stuff is working just fine.)


In the kicking game, FIU’s got the paper advantage. FIU kicker Jack Griffin could probably kick with his left foot wearing Ferragamos and make five of 12, which is what Monroe’s field goal kicking has been this season. In kick and punt returns, FIU’s second and first in the Sun Belt, respectively, while Monroe’s third in kickoff returns, but next to last in kickoff coverage and last in punting (gross and net). Expect to see some avoidance of T.Y. Hilton and Luther Ambrose today, especially if it starts to look like one or two big plays could decide the game. That could lead to some shanked punts and field position swings over a few possessions.

“The two most dangerous returners (in the Sun Belt) will be on the field Saturday,” Cristobal said.

I like FIU’s defense lately and in this matchup. Overall, this season, running backs haven’t damaged them badly – Louisiana-Lafayette’s guys ran on them and Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey got his yards, but yards to nowhere – and sophomore Kolton Browning’s not the kind of running quarterback that FIU’s had problems containing. Then again, Browning hasn’t faced FIU, which gave up 31.0 percent of Aplin’s rushing yards this season and 19.4 percent of Lou-La’s Blaine Gauthier’s rushing yards for the season. One thing Browning hasn’t done is throw interceptions and FIU’s been gobbling those up the last few games.

Tough call. FIU’s more likely to get a special teams score and to get points out of good field position. But Jake Medlock’s more likely to make le grand boo-boo. And, it’s a road game…

I picked Monroe to upset FIU in the preseason and I’ll stay with that here, although without conviction. La-Mon 19, FIU 16.

That’s just one black man’s opinion. I could be wrong.

Now, off to kill some breakfast…



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typical miami herald yellow journalism misquoting the FIU coach . . . no wonder the mcclatchy/herald stock is at $1.14.

you cannot believe any of the crap written in this paper.

i'm sure my comment will be taken down once it is read by the numbnuts running this rag.

you're barking at the wrong writer

serious dude...

thanks djn

Really? Kolton Browning is not the type of QB FIU has a problem containing? Were you at last year's game? Did you see him rush for 70 yards against us? usually on those 3rd and 4 type of plays which keep drives going.

Not sure where you get your information from.

And by the way, thanks for sticking in FIU the commuter school in your article about possible bowl-births. If a school has more than 8,000 students, I'm sure more than half do not live on campus. Do you call UF or FSU commuter schools?

most schools with more than 8,000 students have people coming from all over the state to live on or off campus in their college town.

fiu students live at home with their parents.

Bruce Wayne, if you don't believe anything written in The Herald or on the website, why are you here? And if I was so unfair, why did I just give you the quote and give you the FIU argument? I didn't misquote him. FIU didn't claim I misquoted him. They claim I misinterpreted him. And your comment comes down because of the coarse word in your last sentence. You were fine until then.

FIUFan, I get my information from watching 2011 FIU, not 2010 FIU. Different teams, different defenses. And much as you don't like it, FIU's still a commuter school -- on-campus housing for 3,300 between both campuses, less than 10 percent of the enrollment. By comparison, 9,400 UF students live on campus at Gainesville and lord knows how many other students live within walking distance of campus.

FIU is a commuter school. So what? I don't think DJN was trying to be insulting. It is just a fact. By the way, UM has plenty of commuters. I am sure other big city schools get their fair share of commuters. I disagree with many of the Herald's opinions, but the fact is DJN is not trying to be anti-FIU. Seriously, let's get over the silliness. And I don't blame Cristobal for protecting his linebackers. He has to stand by his guys when the media starts calling them out by name. but don't forget DJN is reporter when not opining at times on his blog. He is going to report. What's the big deal? Just one FIU '90 graduate's opinion. Oh and I was a commuter.

Having students who live off campus doesn't make a school a "commuter school".

The normal progression at most schools is that students live on campus for the first year or two and then move off campus as upperclassmen.

The difference with a commuter school like FIU is that most of the students live at home with their parents and don't live on campus for any amount of time.

Take ANY major non-commuter university in the country and stick it right in the middle of Miami, and it instantly turns into a commuter school. That's just the way it is. Most big cities have better and cheaper places to live then a college campus. Try finding a place like coral gables, brickell, the grove, south beach, etc. in Gainesville. You won't. No wonder people fight for those dorm rooms.

Uh, no, Roary. FIU is a commuter school because by the time it really mushroomed, the surrounding area already was established as family residential. Combined with minimal on-campus housing, there's a paucity of students walking to classes. Plus, FIU draws, what, 70 percent from Dade and Broward? How many families, especially in this economy, already paying rent or mortgage are ready to pay rent in another place for a student at either campus? Especially in places like Coral Gables, Brickell or South Beach, where rents are still relatively stiff.

And have you been to a college town like Gainesville, Tuscaloosa, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana or (much as it hurts me to say it) West Lafayette? The Grove isn't much different than the main bar drags in those places or any decent college town. And, big cities DON'T have cheaper places to live than college campuses and certainly not off-campus housing in college towns. Rents there are dirt cheap because college students, especially those working their way through school, don't have jack. You and a couple of friends can rent that 3/2 with the beveled ceiling that you couldn't even look at in Miami.

I lived in a college town for four school years and two summers; rented in South Beach for eight years; and have owned in South Beach for 13 years. I love my neighborhood, but it's coollness isn't the reason FIU's a commuter school.

Also, when will people stop acting like "commuter school" is a pejorative term? FIU is what it is right now. There's nothing wrong with that.

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