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The end of Spring, 2 months before summer

Let's make this clear -- spring football is spring football. Unless you've got an offense of experienced clones or a defense of accounting majors, your offensive execution does well to simply better Obtuse. Screw up, get moved down the depth chart, you've got a few months to rectify the situation before the first game. The Chopped-kitchen sense of urgency of losing your job while the clock of regular season games ticks away isn't there. New guys who might help aren't there yet.

And the Spring Game's ridiculous scoring system, which was changed after the start of the game and had the press box arguing with the scoreboard, reminded me of Fizzbin.

 

So, the ceiling on enthusiasm about the spring should be just above eye level. That said, here's what we saw at eye level Saturday:

Alex McGough might not start the season as FIU's quarterback, but there's all but an informal pool among those of us media types paying attention as to how many games pass before he gets his first start. If Saturday's Spring Game had a standout offensive player, it was McGough. Yes, he was playing against the second team defense. Yes, in his only series with the first team, he didn't see Dominique Rhymes breaking open on the medium post and went deep instead. And it's not as if E.J. Hilliard didn't look OK Saturday and has looked better this spring than he did last fall (sometimes I wonder, for all the social media fussing from some players wanting Hilliard to play more, why he seems to get hung out to dry so often with drops, bad patterns, etc.).

But McGough already shows a talented arm. His 23-yard throw to Ya'keem Griner Saturday almost taunted defenders on the downward float to Griner's hands. Achingly beautiful, best pass of the day. He tends to make good decisions. Also, his ballhandling is excellent. Most quarterbacks sell a play action fake like they're killing time by throwing game at a girl they don't really like. McGough sells it like he's trying to find Scarlett Johansson's end zone. It's an underrated skill that can exasperate defenders. He said he worked on that facet heavily after his senior season. 

The offensive line, a year after recalling The Berlin Wall post-reunification, shows the effects of a year of experience and maturity. There were holes Saturday and the protection usually gave the quarterbacks enough time. The sacks seemed to be Ken O'Brien sacks, where the quarterback holds the ball too long.

Anthon Samuel, Bowling Green transfer, just got cleared from a concussion suffered last fall. His academics are in order. FIU coach Ron Turner hopes Samuel can play again because FIU's short on running backs. Poor Lamarq Caldwell got run as ceaselessly Saturday like he did in some of those games last year. But Shane Coleman ran with the ones, Silas Spearman suffered a knee owwwy (he's lucky it wasn't worse) and Alfonso Randolph still isn't cleared for full contact. Freshmen Alex Gardner and Napoleon Maxwell, that's not a thumping bass you hear. That's Opportunity banging on your door. 

Turner wants to redshirt Chris Flaig, a 2013 recruit from Vero Beach who stayed with FIU through the coaching change. Flaig, diagnosed with epilepsy a decade ago, has undergone two brain surgeries in the last year and took several snaps Saturday.

Officially, middle linebacker Luis Rosado has 3 inches and two years experience on Treyvon Williams. Williams possesses instincts, however, that Rosado doesn't have. That's why Williams saw some first team time last season and should this season before long. He named speed, ability to change direction, footwork and eye discipline as what he needed to most work on during the offseason.

"No, there's a reason behind everything," Williams said when I asked if he was surprised he was back on the second team this spring. "Coach has me on second team for a reason. It could be multiple number of things."

The paucity of "explosive plays" -- runs longer than 10 yards, passes longer than 20 yards -- said FIU still doesn't have enough skill position pop and the defense tackles well.

 

 

Comments

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Sweet! That's for the Twitter updates. I also had a chance to stream some of the audio by former Miami Herald writer (or janitor depending on who you ask) @petepelegrin.

Also enjoyed @larrybluestein tweets from the game.


Now time to work on things and feel come the new class of signers!

GOFIU

^^^ wow, * Now time to work on things learned and welcome the new class of signees.

Late afternoon mimosas Chia? LOL

DJN, thanks for the ONLY recognition of the FIU Spring Game (article & blog). To expect a MERE MENTION of FIU's Spring Game from an incompetent, near-sighted tool called Barry Jackson from your employer is expecting too much. Why doesn't he call his Sunday opinion piece, "Heat, Dolphins & UM Buzz?" He's a pathetic joke.

DJN had great coverage. We saw him hustle after scrimmage to talk to players, best part of it, he didn't get any 'no comments'. Lol

As for Barry Jackson, that guys is disgrace. He is such a UCG homer but it's ok because Herald allows it. I chose not to read his crap at times. I only read parts that interest me(fins, heat inside info). I hate Loria but BJ seems to not like Marlins team, he takes shots at them at times. Rarely takes shots at UCG, mostly praises them.

Nice article on mourelle. That kid is pitching well. Hope baseball sweeps this weekend.

..."like he's trying to find Scarlett Johansson's end zone..." Nice.

Old man Turner won't give up the draw play. A real, offensive genius he is. This team will win games despite Turner, not because of him. Having Samuel will help greatly, let's hope he and Spearman can stay healthy.

Did you think you were gonna see anything but vanilla in the final open scrimmage?

No way were we going to see the Oregon of the East in terms of formations and plays.

There were only a few things to look at this spring game, in my opinion.
1. QB
2. OL
3. LB

Why only those three, because, again in my opinion, the other battles for significant time won't really heat up until this year's signees class comes in.

The DL will see Jordan and Sibole to add beef and some breathers for the other current DTs.

The WR competition won't heat up until Denis Turner and the other guys start running routes. It has been nice to see Coleman on the field and some development form TJ Lowder/Rhymes/Burrows/etc.., but the HR threat is not on campus yet.... Recall Coleman was not the HR guy (ever). That role was to be WW who despite having a year and a half to fix his academic issues is still not on the field. Coleman can stretch the field some but that wasn't ever going to be his role.

The Running Backs race won't heat up until the new class and A. Samuel suit up.

So we go back to the three areas of interest.
QB; Alex will push EJ. He has legit height and better arm strength. He lacks experience at the college level, but has played as much football as EJ has, if not more. Where EJ was the understudy to Teddy for 3 of 4 years at NWestern, Alex has three years HS experience in a pro-style set up. He and Luke Medlock were on ESPN's list of top 100 ProStyle QB list... This will be a good battle. The battle is on and right now it's a two horse race.

OL; Important to see where the OL is at this phase. It is year two of the Offense. Still playing a bunch of guys recruited to run/block for the SPREAD were asked in 2013 to play Power Football with out the benefit of sitting and strength training for that roll. So, it does look like they are growing into the bodies need and have done better than at this time last year. The recruiting class is bringing a few 300lb guys and this staff showed last year that they are not afraid to start a freshman OL. At any rate its been nice to see the OL provide a little more time and a little more running room.

3. LB; Gone are the happy thoughts that the biggest guy in the room left us with when he announce that the class of 2012 would have the greatest LB Class in FIU History. That never developed, not as freshmen under MC or as Sophomores under Turner and coach Williams. SO the jury is out and this position is in bad shape in terms of Experience & Leadership. This will be a good battle.

Good post, Chia. If our OL can finally give our QB some time to throw, that's be a healthy change.

Unless Luke is lights out, I think we'll open the season with McGough under center. No offense to EJ, but i don't believe he's the answer.

I am just hoping the next Medlock can punt as well as his departing brother. Punters may not win games but they can sure help keep you from losing them. 2-1 McGough
starts vs. mighty Bethune-Pressure Cookers.

Luke is also considered a good punter, but it would suck to lose a year of eligibility of a qb to punting duties.

Hopefully the Argentinian kid whom we've seen kick it 50 yrs in the air can be consistent by September.

“The O-line tried to up everybody else,” Smith said. “They were always doing extra work. All of them were challenged that they were the weak link of the team last year and they took that personal. They O-line had to get their legs stronger and they embraced that idea.”
- Quote from Chad Smith, Strength and Conditioning Coach.

The OLine was one of the weakest, if not the weakest unit in 2013. Followed by a WRcorp decimated by the loses of WW and GC.

But its hard to fault the players and Coach Shank, because they were never recruited for this kind of offense and lack both power and strength.

So two more months until camp opens...can't wait.

My thought provoking observation of the Spring Game is this: We need less "cottage" queso in the dazzlers squad for 2014!

http://fiusports.typepad.com/the-prowl/2014/04/inside-the-fiu-football-offseason-strength-conditioning-program.html

The quote above is from an article written by former Herald 2008 janitor of the year 2008, Pete Pelegrin.

Hmm, Chia. Last time I checked, one does not "lose a year of eligibility" for taking on punting duties in addition to whatever else one might be able to do for a team. We can only pray to God that someone will be able to take on the duties of punter for a team that lacked so many basic fundamental skill players last year. Meantime, I do not think that anyone in their right mind expects young Medlock to come in and compete for the starting job of QB, but maybe you have been up to Jacksonville on numerous occasions and stand ready to enlighten us?

Redshirt for Medlock? I dunno. If he is the best punter come Fall, I say use him. If he is good enough to win the qb job somewhere along the way, bully for him. Backup qb's are not hard to recruit as we have learned these past few years.

Diagodog,

I cannot "enlighten" you. Much like when a jackass is taken to water, but the owner can't make it drink. I am neither a current or former FIU athletics employee. As such, I don't have any inside info. I've had over the years met people who have "inside" info that I try to share. But, take that with a grain of salt as the inside info is usually 60% inaccurate (LIKE the BUTCH DAVIS INFO) and mostly what PG decides to filter out.

So, since I have acknowledged that I cannot enlighten you, I can however try to explain what I meant by:
"Luke is also considered a good punter, but it would suck to lose a year of eligibility of a qb to punting duties."

A player has 4 years of eligibility. If you are a 3star QB with other offers as a QB, you would like to have the 4 yrs to compete for a QB Position. Some QB's like Colt/Akil get to college and convert, yes that happens. But, I figure a 3 year QB Starter ranked as #97 prostyle qb by ESPN who was recruited as a QB would not like to use up one year of eligibility on punting. Specially, when his long term competition are also true freshman.

I haven't been to Fletcher to see him throw... again, these are just opinions and assumptions. Assumptions (like the jackass above) are something that everyone has. Maybe he does come in knowing the offense. Maybe he has Jake's old playbook and formations... who the hell knows.....I know I don't.

However, reading your follow up post, I think you understand what I meant.

Also, I think the expression is leading a horse to water, but since English is not my first language #ESOL I get my expressions screwed up. ;-)

This blog has been brought to you by the letters D, J, N... and the # 0.0 (like founders GPA)

No worries, Chia. I enjoy yor posts. If the kid from the Argentine can hold up, I will be happy. A team can endure without a place kicker, but everone needs a punter. Last year's guy was not of D 1 caliber, end of story.

To say the special team performed very short bus special is an understatement

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