They're testing the fire alarm in the Graham Center. FIU Move Crew members slow traffic as they helpfully trundle old, jutting-back televisions across crosswalks. Packs of callow teenagers and their lost parents follow young adults officially swathed in logo shirts and seriousness.
Signs of another school year's start. So, let's start by speaking of freshmen and academics.
Freshman linebacker Treyvon Williams spent Friday's football practice at first team middle linebacker. Freshman running back Alfonso Randolph got first team reps at running back. And freshman cornerback Brad Hyman-Muhammad was with senior Sam Miller as the first team pair in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Freshman Jordan Gibbs, who had been in the Home Depot non-contact jersey the first two weeks, practiced fully, but at fullback instead of his recruited position of linebacker. FIU's only true fullback on the roster was redshirt freshman walk-on Jorge Lorenzo.
Now, you might've noticed the first team cornerbacks. At Wednesday's practice, a woman from the SAAC popped by practice and had a quick word with junior cornerback Richard Leonard and running back Jakhari Gore. I heard later Wednesday Gore and Leonard had meetings to discuss their academic situation.
Friday morning, Gore didn't take a single team drill rep, just as he hasn't all camp. But, neither did Leonard. Not 7-on-7, not 11-on-11. Not first team, not second team. Not on kickoff returns, where Miller, Deonte Wilson, DeAndre Jasper, Terrance Taylor and Glenn Coleman took reps.
"We're just resting him, getting the other guys some work," FIU coach Ron Turner said of Leonard.
By the way, Leonard is, pound-for-pound, the strongest FIU player, according to numbers provided by FIU to The Herald for our football special sections. The player who moves the most weight is backup center Michael Montero.
Another quick academic aside: unless something drastically changes, you won't see senior wide receiver Willis Wright in an FIU uniform this season. That's a shame for the team, but mostly Wright, a wonderfully talented player.
Senior defensive end Paul Crawford, who was demoted to the second team this week, got put through the whistle drill by Turner after practice. Seems somebody is in Le Chateau de Bow Wow.
During Friday's practice, sophomore running back Lamarq Caldwell tried a halfback option pass. Redshirt junior safety Justin Halley picked it off. That might work better with someone with quarterback in his more recent past. Taylor had the day's other interception, of an E.J. Hilliard fade to Jairus Williams that floated behind Williams. It wasn't the crispest offensive day.
But on the upside, none of the field goal attempts got blocked off the feet of redshirt freshman Sergio Sroka and freshman Austin Taylor. Both looked like they went three for three. Tight end Zach Schaubhut held for both. Brandon Taylor did the long snapping for both.
A quartet of women's soccer team players strolled through the GC in eye-grabbing fuschia shirts telling you, "SOCCER GAME TONIGHT."
Actually, there's two. The men's team plays Lynn in a preseason game at 4:15. The women open their season against Arizona at 7 p.m.