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Goings and Comings

As the FIU football staff turns...

Sacked (so far): Tim Cramsey, offensive coordinator; Todd Orlando, defensive coordinator; Alex Mirabal, assistant head coach, offensive line; Frank Ponce, wide receivers; and Dan Hernandez, graduate assistant, offense. Edwin Pierre-Pata, graduate assistant, defense, had used up his graduate assistant eligibility.

And most of the support staff: Juan Lozano, director of football operations; Phil Ockinga, director of player personnel; Shawn Burns, director of football relations.

Still on staff (as of right now): Recruiting coordinator Dennis Smith; Jeff Popovich, special teams and secondary; Apollo Wright, running backs; Cedric Calhoun, defensive line; Juan Navarro, linebackers, defensive line; Chris Harzinski, graduate assistant, offense; Matt Garris, graduate assistant, defense.

Mike Salemi, equipment manager and facilities coordinator, is still on the job.

New guys: Illinois offensive line coach Luke Butkus (former Illini player during Ron Turner's time there as head coach and, yes, nephew of Dick) will be offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Turner's son, former Minnesota Vikings assistant Cameron, has been in the building. Coming down to be a graduate assistant is former Miami University graduate assistant Mike Hiestand, son of Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, Turner's offensive line coach at Illinois and on Lovie Smith's Bears staff with Turner.

Now, this isn't to say further changes in staff aren't coming or that those remaining from the past staff are safe. Mirabal was told he was terminated, officially, the same day Butkus was hired. So, of the past staff that remains, some might be just be keeping the office warm.

Butkus said he hasn't seen much of FIU on film, but has talked to Turner and said, "I see we've lost a few guys. But that's college football. You can sit there and pout about it. Or, you can roll up your sleeves and go to work. You asked if there's a certain height or weight I like linemen to be. No. If they come to work, roll up their sleeves, it's still a blue collar game."

Butkus actually knows South Florida a bit. He spent a lot of time here during his youth visiting relatives in North Miami who operate Miami Divers, a boat cleaning business. He's been an offensive line coach with Chicago and Seattle in the NFL before doing that job last season for Illinois.

 

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