A few things from Friday morning's football practice, occasionally in cooling rain:
Wide receiver-turned-strong-safety Adrian Jenkins picked off E.J. Hilliard in team drills. But when working in the red zone, Hilliard looked like he had a better day than Jake Medlock.
"I think both of them right now are just focusing on learning the offense, knowing exactly what we're doing so they can react," head coach Ron Turner said. "Neither are to the point where they can react yet. Every play they're thinking. That's going to happen for a while."
Turner said he doesn't know whether his offense exceeds FIU's previous offense in complexity or diversity, but knows "it is as opposite as it can be. So, it's completely different. Terminology, schemes, techniques, fundamentals, there's not one thing that's similar."
Freshman linebacker Patrick Jean and redshirt freshman wide receiver Dominique Rhymes, at separate times over the last few days, complimented the coaching staff on its teaching ability and attention to instructional detail.
Jean said linebackers coach Tom Williams, "explains
football to us in a way we understand, so that we actually know the game.”
When I asked for an example, Jean said, “In meetings, he showed us the mannerisms of the back. That’s something I never knew before. I never looked at the footwork of the back, I never saw his
shoulders. I always watched the o-lineman in front of me. He’s training my eyes instead of my feet. The physicality, that’s going to come. The technique, that’s going to come. I can work on that. But if I get it right with my eyes, I can play faster now.”
Wide receiver Raymond Jackson hasn't been at the last few practices. Turner gave the almost euphemistic explanation that Jackson is "taking care of some personal stuff, focusing on academics" but also said, "We'll get together at the end of spring and see where we go." I suspect offensive lineman Prince Matt's in the same boat.
I'm hearing that Tymell Murphy, last year's leading scorer, will wait to see who the new coach is before deciding whether or not to transfer.
Local native Tony Pujol, now an assistant at Alabama, has been in the mix the last couple of times this job came open. Pujol worked at Virginia Commonwealth and Alabama under Anthony Grant, another Miami native. Also, at Appalachian State, Pujol helped with a multi-year team APR that was consistently above 970.
The Pitino-Donovan connection: Grant coached under Billy Donovan during Donovan's first 10 seasons at Florida before heading for VCU and Bama, five of those seasons as associate head coach. Donovan thinks highly of Grant who thinks highly of Pujol.
FIU enters next week's Sun Belt Conference tournament with the best team stroke average and the individual with the best stroke average, freshman Meghan MacLaren.
Jonathan Winters, an artist as a comedian and a comedian who was a funny artist -- some of his paintings possessed smarter wit than a season of average sitcoms. Winters might've been the most complete comedian we've seen. He could bring down the house and leave other comedians in awe doing stand up, prop, improvisation as well as comic acting, a comic cycle few attempt.
Winters reminds me of Dave Letterman in that some people just didn't get him, but those that did laughed very hard. For a very long time. He died Thursday.