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Gameday XI: Not Kane, Dillon nor George Preston...

Before I get to why today's game against Marshall reminded me of lines from two 1970s sequels, Bad News Bears in Breaking Training and Let's Do It Again, here's some stuff I didn't have room for in The Herald advance story.

When I asked senior defensive tackle Isame Faciane for his favorite FIU Stadium moment, he actually didn't bring up his 51-yard fumble return touchdown against Central Florida in 2011. I did. I found it interesting he didn't immediately go to that moment when he scooped up a fumble and outraced a UCF lineman so badly, the guy pulled up around the 20. That play tied the game 7-7 with a few seconds left in the first half in front of a packed house and turned the momentum in a 17-10 win that pushed FIU to 3-0.

Faciane laughed, "That was my highlight moment. That took the cake. I think I went deaf running that play. All I heard instead of (breathy crowd noise imitation we all do) was "eeeee," like a straight ringing. I was so out of breath, I couldn't even celebrate right. They tackled me before I got to the sideline."

When I asked Sam Miller, the son of a Sam Miller who'd been coaching high school football a long time when the senior cornerback was born, the most important thing he learned, he said “As a freshman, get your priorities straight. Have everything in line in life. Everything doesn’t revolve around football. I had to see a bigger picture, not just with my work ethic with football, but with life and the classroom.”

I asked defensive tackle Greg Hickman how he's grown the most during his four years at FIU.

"I think I became more coachable. Very coachable," Hickman answered. "My leadership skills...I didn't have the good people skills growing up." He smiled, "Here, I was not "The Man" anymore, I have to fit in and do my job like everybody else."

When I asked him about playing with his injured ankle, a flawed load-bearing piece of the body, Hickman said, "I think I would’ve sat down for a game or two if I had the time to waste. But this is my senior year, when every down matters. I have a dream and a goal that I want to accomplish, so being hurt isn’t an excuse.”

The NFL's a possible future for Hickman and Faciane. Not so for fifth-year senior middle linebacker Markeith Russell. Russell doesn't have NFL size, speed, quickness or instincts. He's got an NFL heart and persistence that'll serve him well in the white collar world he'll soon enter. Each game, he's having to be helped off the field two or three times, ground down by being in the middle of a defense on the field too often even before factoring in the lack of depth.

"When I see a guy do that, he goes down and two or three plays later, he's back, I'm a ltitle suspicious," FIU coach Ron Turner said. "I don't like that stuff. In his case, it's legit. He's legitimately hurt. He probably should not go back in, but he's going back in. In a lot of cases, you're 1-8, those are "1-8 injuries." Not with him. He couldn't even walk to get to the plane. To get through security to the plane (after the UTEP loss last week), it took him 10 minutes. He couldn't walk. His body is a mess. He's out here today. He'll be out there Saturday giving it everything he's got."

I wrote earlier in the season and I'll say it again now -- this team's losses aren't about effort. They're trying. And, as much as I love to question play-calling and conceptual approach, as much as I still question whether this entire coaching staff fits in South Florida, no college coaching staff could've gotten more than three wins from this roster. Not Nick Saban's Alabama staff. Not Bo Schembechler's staffs at Michigan. Not Woody Hayes staffs at Ohio State. Not the staff at Miami of Ohio with Bo Schembechler working under Woody Hayes. Not the 1994 Cleveland Browns staff with Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and Kirk Ferentz.

This was a roster stripped down by losing 30 seniors from last year, stripped down further by academic issues in play before the staff got here then supplemented by one of the lowest rated recruiting classes in the nation (for what those ratings are worth -- some of the best contributors are freshmen). Even before you install completely new offensive and defensive systems, what do you expect?

Which brings me to this game and a scene from Let's Do It Again. Jimmie Walker's gawky, ectomorphic boxer Bootney Farnsworth, days from facing muscular punching machine 40th Street Black for the title, asks his manager what's going to happen.

"He's going to beat your brains in, kid."

This defense would be hard pressed to hold Marshall under the speed limit when fresh. Quarterback Rakeem Cato averages 7.9 yards per attempt. Their top three rushers this season average 5.2, 9.4 and 5.5 yards per carry. Wide receiver Tommy Shuler catches one of every three Cato completions. He's the possession guy. The next two top receivers, Devon Smith and Gator Hoskins, average 18.9 and 16.3 yards per catch, respectively.

That's a team breaking off Bunyonesque chunks of yardage. Last week, Marshall lost the turnover fight to Tulsa, 5-1. The Herd still rampaged for 619 yards of offense and 45 points.

Anybody expect FIU's offense, which could be quarterbacked by both Jake Medlock and E.J. HIlliard Saturday and ranks dead last in the nation, to keep up with that? Didn't think so.

That brings me to the Bad News Bears in Breaking Training line. After scouting the Houston team they're about to face in the Astrodome, a Bears player tells William Devane's Mike Leak, "I'd say pray for rain, but we're playing indoors."

Which is FIU's chance of staying in this game. A rainy evening won't help the crowd (will anything?) but if you're hoping for a miracle, the first thing you hope for is bad weather. That's slips, drops, fumbles, turnovers, a randomness that injects more chance into the game. It also tends to dampen scorching hot offenses.

Or not. The famous Doug Flutie Hail Mary ended a rain-soaked shootout at the Orange Bowl.

The line's 33. The over/under has dropped to 54. I'm thinking Marshall can't wait to rest players with a big game against East Carolina coming up next week, especially if the field's bad.

42-10, Marshall. But that's one black man's opinion. I could be wrong.

 

Comments

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I predict 56-3 Marshall. The Thundering Herd is in town with a scheme to roll big and fast over a flat, poorly coached FIU team. Marshall wants to knock the socks off of FIU to bolster its already strong South Florida recruiting efforts. That is the word.

I am torn between sitting in my club seats or trading my expensive tickets for some hot dogs and drinks. It is a tough decision because I would enjoy a snack at the expense of FIU Athletics. Actually, a refund for my wasted money this year would be appreciated.

David Neal will be the first to report of Turner's resignation at the end of the season. He is not coming back. His focus is on a return to an NFL assistant spot. David got it right when he wrote this is in process.

Garcia's future is in limbo. He is on the verge of the end of his run. Some insiders say thatban exit by Turner will result in Garcia's firing and his replacement by Julie Berg on an interim basis while the trustees conduct a search. Rosenberg and the trustees will work through the firm that advised FIU a few years ago to terminate Garcia. Most of you, including David, know by now that this firing recommendation was rejected by a heavy handed Maury. All of Garcia's staffers voiced their surprise and distaste. Since then, Garcia terminated staffers whom he felt crossed him.

Expect much of this news to resurface in line with Garcia's anticipated firing. It is very simple in that Turner's resignation will serve as the straw that breaks the camel's back. Rosenberg is clueless with athletics stuff. But he is smart enough to realize that a string of problems that lead to a loss of support for FIU's flagship program hurt everyone involved. Change is inevitable.

Those extended bits about the seniors are great, David. And the rundown of how no one could win with so few pieces to work with is sound as well as funny. However, your piece yesterday about the strength of the new recruiting class does suggest something of a fit, no? I mean, I wish there had been more creativity displayed on the field even if it wouldn't have meant much in terms of outcome, and it would be nice to have more local talent coming in next year, but if the incoming class is supposedly in the middle of the national pack somewhere, who cares where they went to high school? As to the lunatic(s?) who keep calling for/praying for Turner to leave at the end of this year, wouldn't that be just great? Best recruiting class in school history (yeah, rankings are subjective, but still...) lined up and a person would want the guy who put it together to leave so we can be certain to have yet another horrifying year? But here is a very practical question: the Herald keeps saying there is no TV for the Marshall game but unless my DirecTV guide is incorrect, the game will air on Fox College Sports; are the editors simply trying to spare viewers the agony?

Very good blog, David, with the emphasis on seniors leaving after their stint at FIU.

Expect another lopsided loss, unfortunately. Patience and perspective.

I will give the 2013 coaches this much: this year I have actually seen third and short and fourth and short where our 230 lb. QB lines up under center. Leaving aside the fact of whether or not we have converted any of the ensuing plays, this alone shows a monumental leap forward.

It is almost farcical how Patrick Batemon (oops, I mean Nick Walsh) spew venom as if they had any sort of inside knowledge. It's sad, really, that you spend your life trying to convince everyone that you're an insider, as if somehow that will provide justification for what many would consider a miserable existence.

I feel sorry for you. I really do. The fact that someone's perceived demise could bring another person joy (even to the point of disillusionment) is saddening.

You're either an emotional broken person, or someone who was fired and has an axe to grind. Desperately hoping that if you repeat a lie long enough, and under a few different screen names, that people will begin to believe it. And if they believe it, maybe it spreads. You're like a reverse Batman, and I feel sorry for you.

As a season ticket holder since the program's inception, to product on field is deplorable. Director of Athletics and ENTERTAINMENT, Vince McMahon put a better product out with the XFL! We all still remember "He Hate Me" Rod Smart! The Director of Athletics has been on the sidelines for all of one quarter of one game (T.Y. was in attendance)mostly on his cellphone. The stadium is a ghost town. Tonight they raffled 17, yes 17 prizes to students and the student section was not even a quarter full. Included in the prizes were four $1000 tuition scholarships and four $250 credit for Panther Dining just to name a few. As for my Club seats which 12 years ago were $100 a seat for the season have jumped 3000% and that's because I received a $100 discount. Mind you tonight my same seats that cost me $66.67 per game were being sold to alumni for $5 and that included a hot dog, bag of chips and beverage(yes even beer) and we still couldn't fill the stadium. I happen to work at a local high school where several Golden Panthers played and one is currently in the NFL and the FIU coaching staff is yet to even pass by to see if there is any talent. Where will these recruits come from? Miami-Dade and Broward are hot beds for talent but they are not even visiting. Sadder even is the fact that Alex Mirabal's return with Marshall got more Herald coverage than FIU itself.0-6 at home and optimistically 2-4 on the road( You have to believe). Mario wasn't good enough with 3 wins, what's Ron going to do with 1 (thanks to a field goal block as time expired to a team that has not won since December of 2011. Just a Die Hard FIU fan that has had enough.

I've good news & bad news. First the good news:

1) FIU won the 1st QUARTER!
2) I believe Isame Faciane & Fred Hickman will play in NFL next year.
3) Former FIU coaches Cristobal & Mirabal are both fighting for conference championship, MC for NC.

Now the bad news:

1) FIU lost from the 2nd - 4th quarter 48-7!
2) FIU Football is 1-10.
3) FIU's AD Mr. Garcia is still stealing $$$$ from FIU by keeping his job.
4) The home game experience is horrible.
5) No football coach makes it a point to meet fans or recruit locally.
6) Did I mention that the AD needs to be replaced?


I went to the game but left at halftime. Bad football. FIU looked like a bad high school team.

You know what's sad. Some of you guys, and you know who you are, have handles that you have used for years, but instead you act like cowards and post here under aliases. You know who you are, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Your constant lobbing of baseless allegations, rooting for other programs (merely out of anger), and seeming interest in FIU failing so that the man you don't like is fired is absolutely pathetic.

Over the last few months I haven't seen any solutions, nothing but a stated desire for revenge even though nothing was done to you. Meanwhile you have been posting here, under multiple names, spinning hair brained theories and unsupportable allegations to the detriment of the school you profess to love. You're acting like children, plain and simple, and it is really sad that some grown men don't have the introspection to see how ridiculous their actions are.

JulesFIU07, you obviously have not been reading this blog carefully and in detail. Primary cause of Athletic failure, Mr. Garcia. Solution? Have him replaced. By whom who ask? A search for an AD that has the INATE ability to build bridges, which will help in fundraising, create a value to coming out to FIU Athletic events to EVERYBODY (students, staff, alumni, community youth groups, etc.). This AD needs to endear himself / herself to the community, not make themselves be viewed as a vile, repugnant person, such as our AD is viewed NOW. You would HOPE this person has a MORAL compass somewhere in his being, again another missing piece in current AD. In short, a person with marketing, management, public relations, innovative thinker with exceptional people skills that is also a skilled negotiator that doesn't ALWAYS hold a hard-line. This along with a genuine ability to communicate with others while surrounding himself with empowered folks that buy into the vision of making FIU into a power.

Nothing described above, as to WHAT we need in AD is present in WHAT we have now.

That is right. You righteous posters have no basis in fact for your complaints. We long-time FIU supporters will not rest until Pete Garcia is terminated, tarred, feathered and walked on a leash around the stadium grounds for fans to throw beer and hotdogs at him. He is a cancer that has been allowed to spread unchecked. If Rosenberg had followed the report of the consulting firm a few years ago, Garcia would have been terminated. For what? A long list of items detrimental to the image of FIU. David Neal read the report. He would write an expose if he had on-the-record statements of former FIU AD employees. These individuals can't do it because of agreements with the university. We will stop our posts about the truth when Garcia is fired. The truth is what we want. And Garcia's termination. He schemed to damage the careers of many former AD employees. His master plan has failed over and over again. Ron Turner is the dufus who took the job, realized he doesn't fit in this mess and started his plan to depart,

Hire an AD with ethics.

One more thing, D. Neal tell your "CLUELESS" Herald sports TV calendar person who posted NO TV for last night's game that they probably did us a favor. Hopefully no one watched last night's horrid play in front of an empty stadium made up of mostly Marshall University fans.

Finally, FAU fires their coach MID-SEASON no less & if they beat us, they're bowl eligible. How do you like them apples, Mr. Garcia!

Self-righteous? So I am the one talking about morality?

There has been no proof of this alleged outside report recommending Pete be fired. There has been no proof that Maury has gone out of his way to keep Pete on board.

It is also inaccurate to say that his entire tenure has been a failure. He has hit and miss, which is a more accurate assessment of his time as AD.

Finally, all I say regarding the new handles is diction, think about that. Because if I am recognizing certain people's writing styles correctly, then you know damn well I've made my feelings about our current leadership clear to the university administration. At least I took my message to leadership, and if I am going to complain I'll use my known handle (which I've done before), not hide behind a pseudonym.

Jules = Julie = Not Julie Berg = Julie Cat = Stage name of adult entertainer who traveled to Vegas several times with Maury and Garcia on a "recruiting trip"

It all makes sense now.

Waiting for the news of Turner's resignation after a loss to FAU

WAITING for the firing of Garcia

We will celebrate. This board will light up with more posts than ever before.

So Nick Bateman, does that me you will go back to your original handle?

Once again, another baseless accusation on your part, and saddest thing is that, if I am right, you know me personally. Children, some of you are just children.

JulesFIU07, I'm assuming from your writing and passion that you're either a graduate student or a graduate of FIU. Kudos on either. My emails & letters (old school) to top administrators have gone unanswered, I am a former season ticket holder but not much of a donor, YET! I'm not in any FIU click just got enamored with my school that attempted to make waves a few years ago. My interest was piqued, I bought in, heard rumblings about THIS AD GUY & SLAM, CRASH, POW, prices are jacked, coaches are fired, more rumblings about this BULLY. It gets to a point where you just say SEE YA! That is what I'VE done b/c I don't like bullies.

When you say coaches were fired, do you mean Mario was fired? I don't see anyone pissed over Isiah being canned. Do you mean Price? A lot of people were ready to move on.

If you sent letters in, then chances are they have been read an internalized, you won't necessarily get a response.

There are various stories. There are those who think Pete is a bully, there are those who say he is simply no nonsense and tough, somewhere between the two is probably where the truth lays.

However, my issue isn't with calling for the man's job. My issue is with people hiding behind new names.

No hiding here. This us the only blog that talks FIU sports. I also check out Marlins & Heat blogs when looking for sports info.

So, Nick, now that David has posted the consultants report, what do you have to say now?

"He is a cancer that has been allowed to spread unchecked. If Rosenberg had followed the report of the consulting firm a few years ago, Garcia would have been terminated. For what? A long list of items detrimental to the image of FIU." - Nick Walsh (aka Patrick Bateman)

Funny, zero reference about a firing recommendation. Long list of detrimental items? Please. That's not even remotely accurate.

Again, it's obvious what your agenda is. Mario left here with very hurt feelings. He made it a point to attempt to destroy PG and FIU in whatever fashion. His "friends" made it their personal mission. Mario also had a penchant for distorting some facts, for anyone who ever met him. I find it very likely that he filled you with ideas that this report was very damaging to PG, and I'm sure he also filled you with ideas about wild recruiting trips for PG and AM. So you, like the good little puppet you are, have made it your personal mission to carry on Mario's malicious vendetta while he spends time in Tuscaloosa.

Grow up, and get a life.

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