Things seen during Friday night’s scrimmage at Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium at Camp Mitch:
Some good hitting. Demarkus Perkins took batting practice on the receivers.
An eventful night for fifth-year senior-to-be wide receiver Glenn Coleman. During the special teams portion, Coleman worked as kickoff returner and punt returner. He ran with the twos most of the night, causing me to wonder if Ron Turner’s certain of Coleman’s eligibility for next season. Remember the last time the best at his position kept running with the twos, it was a hint last August that cornerback Richard Leonard might not be around for the fall.
Anyway, Coleman had two of the most disparate plays you can have in a practice. In the 7-on-7 period, it looked like he short-armed a sideline throw from quarterback Alex McGough. A sideline throw…did he hear footsteps from the first down marker? Later, Coleman turned the corner on an end around, treated linebacker De'Shawn Hazziez like Reagan did Mondale, then proceeded up the sideline before getting pushed out of bounds after about 20 yards. Coleman came up with a hop-limp and didn’t participate in the rest of the scrimmage. In between those plays, he created a 30-yard catch-and-run from McGough on a crossing pattern that set up one of the few scoring chances in the scrimmage. Chris Ayers couldn’t get a subpar snap down for Serge Sroka, blowing that chance.
(Oh, sidelight – until FIU renews its deal with U.S. Century Bank Arena, the former Sunblazer Arena, former Golden Panther Arena is officially FIU Arena. I vote we call it Former Sunblazer Arena.)
The first team running backs were redshirt junior-to-be Shane Coleman and sophomore-to-be Silas Spearman. Coleman’s faster, but Spearman’s a better runner. Determined plodder Lamarq Caldwell took second team running back reps. For the beating he took last year, they should’ve given Caldwell two scholarships, but he doesn’t bring the explosiveness this team sorely needs at the skill positions.
Redshirt junior-to-be Dominique Rhymes lined up at first team wide receiver. He dropped one deep ball in his breadbasket from E.J. Hilliard and failed to lay out for another one that looked nicely placed. Rhymes remains football young, but he’s got two years to keep from being Jairus Williams if he wants a shot at playing for cash here or in Canada.
There will be a quarterback competition between McGough and Hilliard. Much as FIU coach Ron Turner tries to compliment Bud Martin and give Akil Dan-Fodio some reps at quarterback, there’s a clear separation already between the top two and the next two even if Turner won’t say it.
“E.J. is doing a good job making good decisions, seeing the field the way he’s supposed to see it,” Turner said. “Getting in and out of plays. He made some mistakes, sure, but he’s doing some really good things. He’s had a very good spring.
“A much different quarterback than he was in the fall,” Turner continued. “He’s become more of a student of the game. He got a very good understanding of what we’re doing. He’s in there studying all the time. We’re having very goodfootball conversations about what we’re seeing, some of the little adjustments that we’re able to do that we couldn’t even dream of doing a year ago. Alex is doing the same thing. He obviously doesn’t have as good a grasp as he’s been in the system for 11 practices. But he’s a quarterback. He’s got a quarterback demeanor.”
McGough threw the night’s only interception, a bad decision into double coverage that sophomore-to-be Wilkenson Myrtil picked off.
Myrtil was a state track champion that FIU managed to snag in the 2013 recruiting class that looked strongest in defensive backs (on paper).
“He’s playing really well,” FIU coach Ron Turner said. “We know he’s an athlete, he can run. A year ago, he was a typical freshman – very undisciplined. We couldn’t put him on the field. If we did, we had to be careful because he’s extremely undisciplined. He was undisciplined off the field. He’s been very disciplined on the field. He’s been very disciplined off the field.
“Same with (junior-to-be Jeremiah McKinnon). (McKinnon) looks like a completely different guy than a year ago. Unbelievably undisciplined a year ago…on and off the field. Couldn’t trust him for anything. I’m not saying anything I haven’t said to him (and didn’t make apparent by McKinnon’s disappearance from practice for several weeks). He’s been outstanding this spring. Outstanding focus.”
In the Home Depot jerseys Friday were safety Justin Halley, defensive end Wonderful Monds II and tight end Jonathan Pavlov.\
In the first round of punting drills, Karson Dietrich outpunted Ayers with a 43 and a 45-yarder. Later, Argentine import Jose Laphitzondo blasted a 55-yarder. I still say that competition doesn't really get going until All-State punter Luke Medlock shows up in the summer.