Stuff from the Monday before FIU hosts Akron at La Cage Aux Panteres:
Don't be surprised if Mitch MacCluggage is the long snapper on at least field goals and extra points this week. Mario Cristobal called the position a weekly "open competition." Two bad snaps in a game, even if they didn't cost anything, tend to get coaches popping Tums like Chiclets. The two Saturday were terribly costly.
Richard Leonard will keep the punt return job, at least for this week. Cristobal really likes Leonard, but, again, give coaches the choice between a guy who could break it or drop it and a guy who'll catch the ball but maybe only give you five to 10 yards per return, they'll take the latter.
Freshman wide receiver DeAndre Jasper, whose speed got him rated at three stars by some recruiting analysts, should have his cast off this week and return to practice after sitting out since the start of training camp with a broken left hand.
Akron coach Terry Bowden's in the situation Cristobal was back in 2007 -- a program in the dumps, but in an area so talent rich, there's plenty left over even after the biggest schools eat. Akron's got a gorgeous new stadium, beautiful facilities and consecutive 1-11 records. Bowden said behind recruiting Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, he try to make inroads for Akron in South Florida and Florida's Gulf Coast.
"Heck, they don't know where Akron is," Bowden laughed on the MAC coaches conference call. "They don't know Akron from Toledo or Bowling Green."
There's a Bill Cosby routine in which his Dad threatens to get The Belt: "We had never seen The Belt. But we had heard about it. The Belt was 9 feet long...8 feet wide...and had hooks on it. And it would rip the meat off your body if it ever hit you."
The Sun Belt got The Belt this weekend.
FIU's loss. Middle Tennessee State lost at home to McNeese State, 27-21. Then, there you had the expected routs: LSU 41-14 over North Texas and Oregon's pinball machine 57-34 over Arkansas State. Only Troy beat an FBS opponent, outlasting Alabama-Birmingham, 39-29.
"Our demeanor, there were a lot of guys in shock, you could tell," Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn said. "We've go a lot of youth and inexperience. I think there were a lot of big eyes. We didn't respond to the adversity, at all."
"Defensively, we missed too many tackles. We weren't consistent enough tackling. we gave up a lot of yards after contact. Offensively, we were our own worst enemy there. We got inside the 5, had to settle for field goals."
North Texas coach Dan McCarney found a positive in the Mean Green's offensive line: "Zero sacks, zero penalties, zero missed assignments by the starting five. That's about a pretty good way to get started against as good a defense as there is in college football."