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3 posts from February 8, 2013

February 08, 2013

FIU's Multiple (Turner) Offense

Head football coach Ron Turner brought Stanford offensive assistant coach Morgan Turner to Near Sweetwater as the assistant coach in charge of tight ends and offensive tackles.

Morgan Turner joins brother Cameron Turner, FIU's quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. Ron Turner, who'll serve as his own offensive coordinator, knows the younger Turners the same way. He knew their mother, Wendy Turner, first.

Wednesday, Turner explained the characteristics of those he wanted on his staff.

“What was most important to me, No. 1 good people,” Turner said. “Good people who are good teachers, good communicators know the game of football, but also care about individuals. If you’ve got guys who care about guys and they know that they care about them, they’re going to play hard. They’re going to want to please them.

“What was also important to me was getting people on the staff that I knew,” he continued. “Either, I know personally, worked with personally, know what kind of people they are. Or, they worked for or with someone that I’ve worked for or with and know personally and trust. Every guy on this staff that I’ve hired fits that bill.”

Too bad there's no chance of bringing in Ted Turner as Assistant Coach in Charge of Writing Really Fat Checks. Or, this Turner below...


Diamond Din-Din & balls so soft

Some of feel stuck for a Valentine's Day present. Some of you know you don't have a good track record of buying presents (giving her a case of Budweiser so she doesn't have to buy it and carry it when she does the weekly Big Shop at Publix? Not getting it done.). Some of you haven't been together long enough or are smart enough to declare "This is just one more thing for us to stress over so no more Valentine's Day presents unless it's something for both of us/the house."

With that in mind -- oh, you who forget flowers, leave this blog and order them right now -- here's a list of what's available at auction, live or silent, during Saturday night's Diamond Dinner fundraiser for FIU baseball and softball.

Download 2013SilentAuctionWEBSITE

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will be the guest speaker. Call the Panther Club if this entices you to jump on the few remaining tickets. 305-348-4697.

Speaking of softball, a team with three preseason All-Sun Belt players among six returning starters gets going this afternoon in FIU's Panther Invitational against Kansas.

In addition to Jessy Alfonso, Brie Rojas and Kayla Burri, transfer Amber Curry made All-Big East while at St. John's. All should help replace the program's all-time best player, FIU graduate Ashley McClain, who led FIU last year in hitting (.356), home runs (eight), on-base percentage (.458), slugging percentage (.594), was the only player to start all 55 games (only Rojas also played in 55, started 54) and didn't commit an error (the two other players with a 1.000 fielding percentage played 54 games combined).


They got Woodsy

Thursday, FIU's 84-65 win against FAU's Owlmen left little competition for Best Night of the Year at The Branch.

1. Enough crowd showed up on a weeknight that it was worth opening the south side upper section. Granted, this is helped by the opponent being just an hour plus away, but FAU didn't exactly travel well. This was an FIU crowd. The official count, 1,532, is the largest home crowd of the season by 34 percent over second place, 1,143 for the loss to Middle Tennessee.

Whatever was going on up in the boxes actually looked like more than a few people killing Fritos and time. Instead, that area exuded the feel of its own energy center.

The Pi Kappa Alphas sitting in the south side upper section asked all game for Manny Nunez. When he entered late, they made a joyful noise unto their Manny and he acknowledged them with a "louder, louder" wave. Nunez's basket almost brought the house down.

"Yeahhhhh, Manny!" senior guard Cameron Bell said. "That guy, he works so hard every day in practice, it's so nice to see him out there. He was excited so it made us all excited."

Tymell Murphy said, "He had his crew up there, his PIKE crew. Everybody was excited for him. I like that."

2. FIU celebrities were there: President Marc Rosenberg, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Albert Maury, former FIU football players T.Y. Hilton, Anthony Gaitor, Antwan Barnes, Johnathan Cyprien. At halftime, Hilton and Gaitor, who was at the women's game Wednesday also, almost got pinned to the end of press row by the steady stream of fans wanting to take photos with them. 

3. Highlight plays. Deadspin ranked FIU as No. 12 on a list of The 15 (or so) Most Watchable College Basketball Teams, posted by this week. Certainly, FIU's got-to-go style, the many steals (15 on Thursday) and the contortions of a player like Murphy on drives to the hole make for some picturesque plays and rarely lets a game get boring.

But Thursday, FIU added a coffee shop's worth of dunks. Jerome Frink got a midcourt steal and took it in himself for a spectacular jam. Cameron Bell posterized Pablo Bertone in the first half. Frink worked himself into an Alonzo Mourning-like scream after one second half dunk. 

Also, one Frink block on Bertone so dismissive, the "yo, mama" was implied.

4. FIU finished the job.

Get a big lead, get sloppy, get mad after the game. That's been FIU's pattern in several games this season.

Last week's loss to Middle Tennessee State contained the twin going-forward crushers, "blowing a 20-point lead," and "a winning shot at the horn." A loss like that can affect teams for a month or two.

Instead, FIU put what they learned from that loss into practice. Still, early in the second half, as FAU got on a 6-0 run, you knew it was time for Murphy, the Panthers Kaopectate (he stops runs). All season, when the Panthers need a productive offensive possession to stem an opponent's run, Murphy usually wound up making the possession work.

Sure enough, teammates cleared some space and Murphy drove right over Andre Mattison for the hoop and the harm. That calmed everybody down for the moment. When I asked Pitino about Murphy's knack for getting the bucket that keeps the Panthers from being overwhelmed, he likened Murphy to Louisville's Russ Smith.

"He's a really weird player. I probably learned from my dad with Russ Smith -- sometimes, you've got to throw the rule book out the window a little bit," Pitino said. "Ty's that kind of player. He does so many things that I got frustrated with, that he doesn't do intentionally, where he makes a lot of mistakes. But we're so much more productive when he's on the court.

"He really didn't even play that well and he had 13 points, nine rebounds, six steals and three blocks," Pitino said. "He makes things happen. Me, as a coach, I have to get over some of the mistakes he makes. Because, I don't have to generate a basket for him. Sometimes, he can just go and get it. He finds a way to get to the rim."

Murphy said at halftime, "I was frustrated with myself because I felt I missed a couple of shots that I normally make. My teammates and coaches tried to keep me confident. When they see me down, sometimes, I sink a little too much, they just try to tell me to stay confident, that I'm doing all the other things well."


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