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2 posts from August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Saturday Information

PARKING: Here's what you need to know. Back off, they only had a few months to get things squared away.

DEPTH CHART:Trust it at your peril.

In the first place, the offense is done as a classic I-formation or pro set with two wide receivers, a tight end, a fullback and a halfback/tailback. But FIU runs one-back, double tight end or one-back, three-wide (quarterback under center or not) more often than either the I or pro set.

Freshman Alex Gardner's listed third behind junior Lamarq Caldwell and redshirt junior Shane Coleman. Don't be surprised if that resembles Saturday's playing time about as much as I resemble Antonio Sabates (either one). Caldwell's No. 1 for now, Gardner's No. 2.

Redshirt juniors Dominique Rhymes and Richard Burrows are listed as the top two wide receivers. When I asked Turner about Burrows rise, he said Burrows has been the most consistent receiver in camp along with Rhymes. Turner said they'll run a lot of guys in there, but it's still interesting to see fifth-year senior Glenn Coleman third at one of the wideout spots and not see redshirt junior Clinton Taylor and Fred Porter among the top six. Freshmen Dennis Turner and Thomas Owens are there, though. 

On defense, FIU hopes they've got more depth along the defensive line than last year. They've got more bodies available. At one tackle spot, they list Leonard Washington, Imarjaye Albury (sat out 2013, transfer) and Marques Cheeks (sat out, academics).

See my last post about the linebackers. Lots of talent, not a lot of age. One outside linebacker spot lists an "or" between sophomore De'Shawn Hazziez and freshman Anthony Wint. Saturday could find redshirt freshman-sophomore-freshman linebackers trying to peel the onion of Bethune's option attack. In the secondary, behind strong safety Demarkus Perkins, we find freshman Shemarke Spence.

I'm not sure why redshirt junior Richard Leonard is listed at the top of the punt returners, but isn't listed among the kickoff returners. The College Football Performance Awards put him on their national kickoff returner watch list, remembering Leonard's 29.2 yards per kickoff return in 2012. If you believe the depth chart, "watch list" will mean he'll be watching others do the job he does quite well.

If you believe the depth chart.

Perhaps redshirt sophomore punter Chris Ayers found health in the offseason. He never seemed right last year. Sophomore Austin Taylor's the kicker.

That's all for now. Take us home, Stevie...



Pigskin Pops (updated with Turner conference call comments)

Do you understand the meager compensation given some of our blue collar bretheren who wreck their backs doing things like setting up FIU Stadium (surrounding Ocean Bank Field) for the start of classes and the football season? Do you know how little disposable income the average college-affiliated football player has?

After pondering that bit of John L. Lewis, take in these tidbits from FIU football practice. Yes, I'm still banned, although FIU coach Ron Turner did answer a few questions from me on the Conference USA coaches conference call.


Don't be surprised if FIU says to heck with it and comes out with a linebacking corps of freshman Anthony Wint, sophomore Treyvon Williams and redshirt freshman Jordan Guest. Why not? Go with talent, give it some experience and see what you wind up with at the end of the season.

In answering why things should be different this year defensively against Bethune, Turner said the defense should execute the scheme better, but also said, "We'll have some freshmen and redshirt freshmen out there at times..."

Also, it could be a family affair on the corners with junior Jeremiah McKinnon moving ahead of senior Randy Harvey to play with cousin redshirt junior Richard Leonard. Bethune's ground-air split comes straight out of World War I, so the better tackler should start Saturday.

Another redshirt junior Richard, wide receiver Burrows, could very well start with redshirt junior Dominique Rhymes. When FIU's got two tight ends on the field, it'll be most often sophomore Jonnu Smith and redshirt Ya'keem Griner. That gives them the option of putting Smith in the slot, so they can run plays out of two-wide, double tight end or three-wide formations without switching personnel. That'll help if FIU tries to run an increased tempo, which I'd bet they will. When they want to go three-wide with Smith at tight end, expect DeAndre Jasper and T.J. Lowder to get the most looks as the third wideout with Burrows and Rhymes. That is, until freshman Dennis Turner shows something in a game. If he does, move him to the top of that list.

Not sure where fifth-year senior Glenn Coleman fits into everything.

Turner also said on the conference call that while junior E.J. Hilliard will start Saturday against Bethune, freshman Alex McGough could see playing time "in the second, third or fourth series" or in the second quarter. 

Junior Lamarq Caldwell remains the top running back, but, sometimes, they'll do the smart thing of putting big, durable Caldwell at fullback and dynamic freshman Alex Gardner at tailback. That gives you a good blocking back along with two backs who can catch passes. When FIU wants to go heavy, look for redshirt freshman Jordan Gibbs, converted from linebacker to fullback, as the lead blocker for Caldwell.


Huh. Not surprising.

After seeing how some of FIU's 2015 commits looked Saturday against top high school competition, if FIU gets them to Signing Day next February, somebody needs to give running backs coach Kerry Dixon II a raise from $96,000.


Who's running the pool on how fast DP comments?

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