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A dozen days to go...

While the men's basketball team bounces around Spain, the football team enters almost a bye week zone -- less than two weeks until the first game.

Once again, the first team tight ends were senior transfer Cory White and freshman Jonnu Smith. FIU coach Ron Turner used the word "special" when he talked about Smith's potential. Sophomore linebacker Michael Wakefield played the first team defensive end spot usually taken by senior Paul Crawford, as he did during most of Saturday's practice. Crawford saw little action Saturday and then took second team reps Monday. Turner would only say, "We're putting people where they belong."

Freshman guard Jordan Budwig took some first team reps.

In the two-minute (actually 55-second) drill, the first team got into field goal range with the big play being Jake Medlock arcing a throw to Smith, who was behind fifth-year senior linebacker Markeith Russell. That took FIU deep enough that a spike left Sergio Sroka with a 28-yard field goal. The second team didn't make it within field goal range, stalling at the 39-yard line.

Towering defensive end Lars Koht blocked an Austin Taylor field goal attempt. FIU's been averaging about a block a day on those. The upside? Guys like Koht and Crawford, trees with long branches, can put the fear of Dikembe Mutombo into kickers and FIU's got a couple of guys who can get there off the edge. The downside is that, clearly, field goal execution isn't where it needs to be. Turner half-joked again about going for it often on fourth down, then seriously said sometimes the kickers aren't getting the ball up enough and sometimes it's penetration. 

Wide receiver T.J. Lowder and safety Justin Halley sat out practice with shoulder injuries suffered Saturday. Clinton Taylor and Mitch Wozniak, respectively, took Lowder and Halley's first team reps. Running back Anthon Samuel was completely inactive with concussion symptoms from Saturday. Running back Jakhari Gore was excused from practice for a family matter. 

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