June 18, 2010

FIU At The Movies -- Episode IV

Crawl Four years ago in a blog not that far, far away from you....it began as a simple way of recapping the FIU sports year. After smashing box office records, a sequel was called for in 2008. Then, although the GPP did not sign for a three picture deal, there were no issues in making the trilogy last summer.

And now....FIU At The Movies, Episode IV.

A look at the FIU sports year by referring to motion pictures released during the Panthers athletic season (AugustMovie 2009 to June 2010). Cell phones off please. And now your feature presentation.....


The Goods -- FIU softball has the goods as it gets its 1st NCAA Tournament win and features the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year (Kasey Barrett), Sun Belt Player of the Year (Ashley McClain), Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (Brie Rojas) and Sun Belt Coach of the Year (Beth McClendon).

Four Final Destination 4 -- No. 4's final destination is the end zone. Just ask Kansas (2008) and Alabama (2009) as the first time Goodbye touches the ball in each of his first 2 seasons, he takes it back for 6.

The Open Road -- FIU hoops late November/December schedule where the Panthers spent 24 days on the road.

All About Steve -- Sun Belt voters got it wrong when they picked some dude from North Texas as the winner of the SBC Basketball Tournament halftime dance-off. How could youVanessa not vote for Vanessa (right)?

Play The Game -- Why won't the Coral Gables school play FIU? Nah, never mind, I won't bother anymore.

Gamer -- Scott "El Oso" Bryant (left) breaks the all-time FIU tackles record held by Gamer Oso Keyonvis Bouie.

Whiteout -- What Scott Rembisz's pitching did to opposing Sun Belt bats at the conference tournament.

The Other Man -- The Hooters were looking at Carlos Munera to punt, but fullback John Ellis had the ball on the fake punt and rumbled 25 yards to set up the tying TD.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs -- The SBC Baseball tourney started cloudy, but once FIU brokeDogpile that "pressure barrier" as TT calls it, the Panthers (right) were hitting meatballs the rest of the way en route to the Sun Belt title.

Bright Star -- Marlon Bright wins the Sun Belt's Behavior Award among his many accomplishments during his FIU career.

Free Style -- Actually, 3 Style for FIU women's hoopster Monika Bosilj, Power who broke the program's all-time record for 3 pointers with 188.

Adventures Of Power -- Jabari Henry (Freshman All-American, SBC Frosh of the Year) leads FIU with 12 HR. Jabari homers in 1st college at-bat (3-run bomba vs. Maryland) and to finish his first season at FIU, Jabari homers off MLB's No. 6 overall pick Barret Loux of Texas A&M.

One Good Man -- Long time FIU media relations guru Rich Kelch retires last December. Don't know much about Rich, then click HERE

Gw Good Hair -- Garrett Wittels' "bird's nest" (left) does not get cut during his 56-game hitting streak. It must be good hair.

AstroBoy -- FIU QB Paul McCall graduates and heads off to Mars training in the desert.Hubble

Hubble 3D -- How Sun Belt Tournament MVP Jeremy Patton's eyes saw the baseball in Murfreesboro.

Saw VI -- Only the Dade County Youth Fair stopped Jeremiah Harden when he turned the corner and saw 6 in the spring game. He'll see more 6s this fall.

As Seen Through These Eyes -- GW and Robin Ventura talk about what only their 56+ hit streak eyes have Yr experienced.

4th The Fourth Kind -- Yarimar Rosa (left), with another out-of-this-world season, is honored with a 4th All-American nod. The first 4-time All-American at FIU and probably the greatest volleyball player ever at FIU.

Storm -- On a scorching Halloween day, FIU storms back in the final minute and wins in OT against Louisiana. PMC hits Greg Ellingson for 6 in the back of the end zone with 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Dustin Rivest kicks the winning FG. Tyler Clawson dominates on D in OT and Tourek Williams blocks the tying field goal attempt to seal the victory.Dazzzz

The Other Side Of Paradise -- My day as Dazzlers audition judge (right). I'm ready for 2011.

Legion -- Alex Legion transfers to FIU and the legion of top recruits for the 2010-11 hoops season headed to FIU.

Mammoth -- Mike Martinez's moonshot HR at the SBC tourney. Ball landed inside the Middle Tennessee football stadium which has 2 decks so the ball had to clear the 2nd Green deck. Although, there is a rumor that the ball is still travelling somewhere along the interstate pass Murfreesboro and heading to Churchill's in downtown Nashville.

Green Zone -- They may be green by class designation -- freshmen -- but these Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year are not green on the field or court. FIU's Jabari Henry (baseball), Brie Rojas (softball) and Jovana Bjelica (volleyball) all won the conference's Freshman of the Year Award in their respective sports.

Kick Ass -- Once again the FIU volleyball team (right) is at the top of the Sun Belt andVolley coach Danijela Tomic wins another Sun Belt Coach of the Year Award.

Hey Watch This -- GW decides to hit in 56 straight games and captures the nation's attention.

The Good Heart -- FIU DB and Rudy Finalist O'Darris D'Haiti (left)and Od what he does each day for his family.

Touching Home -- What the FIU baseball lineup did a lot of this season with their XBox .337 team batting average.

Oceans -- Actually, it's pools for FIU diver Namiko Shibata, who was named the SunEndgame Belt's Most Outstanding Diver this past season.

Endgame -- The closing abilities of FIU receivers coach Frank Ponce, who was named the Sun Belt's Top Recruiter this past season.

Whiz Kids -- FIU's APR improvements by its teams. Especially, the baseball team that scored an FIU baseball-best 975 and who broke even in practice hours -- yeah, they lost Sleep 2 hours a week, but also gained 2 hours back due to their solid 975 score. No scholarship losses and no postseason ban.

Waking Sleeping Beauty -- Yes, the sleeping giant has been dozing for a while, but in the past year the sleeping giant garned a Sun Belt baseball title and NCAA Tournament appearances by the baseball, softball and volleyball teams. Women's soccer and tennis teams became 2009-10 regular season Sun Belt champions and top recruits arriving in all sports at FIU.


  

April 26, 2010

GW Going For Hit Streak Record

Gw Tuesday evening in Jacksonville, FIU third baseman Garrett Wittels attempts to tie the all-time FIU hit streak record held by former FIU outfielder Anthony Hicks, who set the Panthers record by hitting in 35 consecutive games in 1989.

GW has a 34-game hitting streak, which ties former FIU third baseman Bryan Pullin for 2nd all-time. Two games ago, GW (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) broke the Sun Belt Conference's all-time hitting streak when he surpassed former Troy outfielder Tom King, who hit in 31 consecutive games in 2006.

I will have semi-live pitch-by-pitch coverage of GW's at-bats right here on the GPP during Tuesday's FIU vs. Jacksonville game.

What's semi-live you ask?

If you ever saw the movie "Bull Durham" (photo, below left) -- which has been recommended several times before on the GPPTeddy by yours truly -- then think of Durham Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Teddy Cullinane (right) and how he "announced" the Bulls road games.

From the friendly confines of his radio studio in Durham, Teddy would call the Bulls road games as if he was there at the road ballpark with the Bulls. Teddy would be on the phone with someone that is actually at the game and he would do play-by-play and make sound effects with two wood Bull sticks (photo, right) to produce the sound of the ball hitting the bat. Teddy would also pump in taped crowd noise.

Now you guys can't hear me so I won't be hitting two wood sticks or pumping in crowd noise, but I will have someone at Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville giving me pitch by pitch when GW is up at the plate and I will post that during GW's at-bats on here Tuesday.

TIGHT BELT RACE

Despite the Panthers dropping 2 out of 3 to Western Kentucky last weekend, FIU remains right in the thick of the Sun Belt Conference race.

Only 2 games in the loss column separate the 1st place team (South Alabama) and the 6th place teamsBelt (FIU & Louisiana) in the SBC. Sun Belt Standings

Like they did against New Orleans, the Panthers need a sweep this weekend of a lesser opponent in ULM.

FIU hosts ULM in a 3-game series beginning Friday night. I can't be there Friday, but I will have LIVE BLOGS of games 2 and 3 of the series on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's 1st pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Will be on-line at 5:54 p.m.

The Warhawks (15-24, 5-13 Sun Belt) are second to last in the conference in batting average and runs scored. Meanwhile, FIU remains tops in the Sun Belt in hitting with a .340 team average.

ULM's pitching staff is dead last in the conference with an 8.08 ERA and opponents are hitting .321 against Warhawks pitchers.

Of course, as Joaquin will remind us, this game is not played on paper. So let's see what happens.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw To answer FIUFan's question, as of this post there have not been any other Panthers to sign with an NFL team.

If we are going on production alone -- which isn't that what you look for in any sport -- I Pmc agree with FIUFan that Scott Bryant should get a shot in an NFL camp. Carlos Munera is another former Panther that should get a chance with an NFL team.

Aaapaw Good to hear from former FIU QB Paul McCall (right, thanks AJH photo) on the last post. Like all the former Panthers -- such as O'Darris D'Haiti, who checks in here from time to time -- you guys are always welcome on the GPP. Drop by the GPP anytime, PMC and let us know what you're up to on the way to Mars.

Aaapaw GW has had enough firepower in his bat this season to get him to Mars. How far do you think GW will get? If he gets past 40 games, we'll do another poll.

March 22, 2010

Hello Again

Great to be back from an unexpected spring break. Thanks to all you good people for your support through your e-mails, letters, texts, yells across L.A. Fitness and yells across FIU Baseball Stadium. Good to see the enthusiasm and energy on this blog has not waned despite the 1-week absence. Hell, even CrazyCane sent me an encouragingRak e-mail and wrote to the editors, go figure?? I don't care what that dude writes on here, because I'll bet you he secretly wears blue and gold despite his rants.

Anyhow, there was a Herald personnel decision made regarding the FIU beat that really would be a waste of 5 minutes of your life and my life for me to explain to you good people. The end result is that I'm still here in your cyber world and we missed plenty from the FIU sporting world last week on this blog so let's get to it.

CHRISTMAS SEASON DRAWING NEAR AT FIU

Rakeem Christmas -- the No. 1 center in the nation -- visited FIU this past weekend and from talking to people close to the visit....Christmas (right) could come early in November for FIU basketball. There has been no verbal commit yet from RC, but from what I've been told it's looking pretty good for the Panthers to land the U.S.'s top center. FIU is competing with Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Georgetown for RC. Also, it's not a bad sign at all that RC's aunt was at a couple of FIU basketball games this season cheering on the Panthers from the stands at the Bank.

CALLING ALL CLOSERS

Berko Big blow to the already pitching-thin Panthers with the loss of closer Bryam Garcia. BG has an elbow injury and is out for at least a month. He was wearing a big black brace on his right arm on Sunday just like Paul McCall wore last season when he hurt his elbow. BG was lights out when he took to the mound in theCardenas 9th inning this season.

Look for Eric Berkowitz -- who has been FIU's most consistent reliever this season -- and freshman Alberto Cardenas (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) to share the closing duties. Berko (left, thanks AJH photo) has done a solid, steady job in middle relief this season. AC has got closer's stuff -- a lively fastball and a nasty breaking ball that might just be the best on the team.

But FIU has to get more consistency in the middle innings from its relievers if the Panthers want to get to that elusive regional this season. As we have seen from the first 20 games, FIU can hit with anyone, but its bullpen and at times the starting pitching has to be better. Sunday's 14-12 loss to Troy when the Trojans went for 2 instead of the extra point was a typical Sunday Sun Belt Conference game where both teams ran out of pitching and it turned into a slo-pitch softball game. The Trojans just got a few more outs late than the Panthers and that was the difference.

FIU is back on the diamond on Tuesday for a 2-game series with Jacksonville at FIU Baseball Stadium. The Dolphins were a regional team from last season and are no mid-week patsies, bettys or alices for that matter. FirstBueller pitch Tuesday is at 6 p.m.

Wednesday's game is at 3 p.m. According to the Mayan calendar Wednesday's game falls on "National Get the Hell Early Out of Work Day". Here's an excuse you could use: my 89-year-old aunt is flying into town and she has a phobia of riding in taxis so I have to go pick her up at the airport. Or just tell the boss you're about to vomit and need to go home.

Unconfirmed rumor they will be handing out DVDs of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" at the Stadium on Wednesday.

Actually, the real reason for the 3 p.m. start is that JU has a 9-hour bus ride back home so they asked for an early start time. JU will return the favor when FIU visits April 27-28. The series finale for that one is a 3 p.m. start as well.

There WILL NOT be a LIVE GAME BLOG of Tuesday's game between FIU and JU. With the new Herald personnel decision, we're still trying to figure out when the LIVE GAME BLOGS will resume. As soon as I have an answer for you I will post it on here.

DAZZLING ON THE DIAMOND

If the FIU pen needs some help they could get it from the Golden Dazzlers distracting the opposing batters. Been told FIU's finest (left, in their black outfits for a halftime show, thanks AJH photo) will perform at select Panthers baseball games later this season. So now you get Dazzlers all through the FIU sports season.

Dazz BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Check the next post on Tuesday and I will have the details of the 1st FIU football spring scrimmage that occurred 2 weeks ago.

The Panthers are scheduled to hold their second scrimmage on Saturday morning. The FIU Spring Game is next Wednesday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at FIU Stadium.

January 28, 2010

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Quarterbacks

Looks like this season there will be plenty of depth for FIU at the most important position on the football field.

With an expected starter in place, at least three other quarterbacks will be vying for the backup job. TheWc competition begins in the spring and could go until the final week of fall camp.

We're into the final week of the 2010 recruiting season, your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 6 DAYS

QUARTERBACKS

After a year of learning the offense while sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Mississippi State, Wesley Carroll (right, not a bad a number for a QB to wear) is expected to take the starting quarterback reins vacated by Paul McCall, whose eligibility is up. Can't say PMC graduated, because he's still in grad school working on going to Mars.

Of course, now WC and the rest of the FIU offensive players will have to learn some adjustments to the spread offense from last season with the change in offensive coordinators from Bill Legg to Scott Satterfield. Will have an interview with SS on here soon.

The Panthers offense will remain a spread, but like whenever any new coach or coordinator takes over there will be new terminology and new plays to study up on. With 8 months to grasp SS's new offense, the Panthers should be ready come the 2010 season opener on Sept. 4 vs. a to-be-determined Sun Belt Wy team at either FIU Stadium or at a Sun Belt stadium outside of Miami.

From what we saw of WC last season during scout team work, the Panthers offense should be in good hands this coming season. WC is mobile, accurate and athletic playing QB. One thing about WC that was consistent in practice all throughout last season was his ability to throw on the run. With the spread, that's a very nice quality to have in a QB.

Wayne Younger (left), the only senior among the QBs, begins the spring as the No. 2 QB and is still the most athletic of FIU's QBs as we saw in the game-winning QB draw against North Texas last season. The thought here is that you won't see as much QB rotation as with PMC last season, but expect WY to get snaps this season. Of course, this is just a thought. I'm not OCing the FIU O.

MC is a big fan of competition so therefore Chris Schirripa should get his shot at the No. 2 job in the springMed and in the fall. Schirripa can also run and showed a more accurate arm at the end of last season during practice.

FIU commit Jake Medlock (right, No. 5) has all the tools you look for in recruiting a QB. Size, arm strength, accuracy and mobility. However, how quickly Medlock grasps the college game will determine if he's in the running for a backup job or he redshirts.

Fiuhelmet BACK IN 2010: Wesley Carroll, Junior Delpe, Chris Schirripa, Wayne Younger

Fiuhelmet GONE IN 2010: Paul McCall

3cents $.03 for 2010: The former All-SEC Freshman quarterback is in shotgun for the Panthers this season. But like stated in the offensive line recruiting preview in the post before, if Wesley Carroll does not have protection and time to throw then he'll look like Wesley Snipes back there. FIU's biggest concern heading into spring practice and into the 2010 season is how well the O-line develops. Younger is too good an athlete not to have him in a game for a few plays. If Schirripa continues his development, he could push WY for No. 2.

Next up on the Recruiting Prowl: Running backs

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG from Hooterville on Saturday at 6:54 p.m. for the FIU/Florida Atlantic game. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Apaw In the previous post, I erred and listed OL Mario Caraballo as a returning senior. Caraballo was a senior last season and has graduated. So the only returning seniors on the FIU O-line are: Brad Serini and Cedric Mack.

Q&A

FIU Fanatic: I note that both, OL Stanley St. Jean (or is it Jean?), and DL Mark Grant, are not in your updated list. Do you have info they are not committed to FIU anymore?...did FIU stop contacting them?Also...and I know this might be a tall order...but, could you maybe get Willis Wright to do an interview with you? 

PP: Mac Brown, Tray Schley and Stanley St. Jean are no longer being recruited by FIU. Mark Grant might get a grayshirt, but is not expected to make it this coming season.

Willis Wright interview is in the works.

Gooch7: Pete: Once NSD comes and goes can you please see where our recruiting class ranks among the Sunbelt?

PP: Sure I'll post the rankings on here. But take them with a grain of salt as FIU's neighbors to the north can attest. The Hooters have never had a highly-ranked class, but had won back to back bowl games until this past season. Remember, nobody wanted Rusty Smith coming out of high school and he turned out to be a pretty good college QB.

cj: hey pete whats the story w/ tauren austin's recruiting.. i know we got medlock as a Oral commit but i know we are also lookin at TA as well.. any thoughts?

PP: Austin is visiting Cincinnati this weekend. From what I've heard, it will come down to the Bearcats and FIU, although Cincy already has 2 other QBs commited. The third option being Western Kentucky. Even though the Hilltoppers have a QB commit, I'm not sure he is as good as Austin. So it might end up being FIU and WKU for Austin's services. This time of year (recruiting season)....who really knows? Not even the kids themselves know.

 

January 17, 2010

Astro Paul

With 17 days left until National Signing Day, we'll get back on the FIU recruiting prowl on the next post, butPmcc first why don't we take a trip to Mars with former FIU QB Paul McCall.

As part of his FIU graduate work and thanks to the Florida Space Grant Consortium, PMC -- an aspiring astronaut -- is taking his first steps as he prepares to eventually go to space, maybe even Mars one day.

PMC is currently in the Utah desert working in the Mars Desert Research Station of the Mars Society. There PMC and his crew, of which he is the youngest astronaut in training, are conducting surface simulations in a Mars environment. The crew is there doing geological, biological and life sciences research.

Pmc dig Among the crew working with PMC (that's PMC researching on the left), are two pilots, an R&D executive of a biomedical company, a teacher from Belgium, a Colombian engineer that works for the European Space Agency and an award-winning science fiction author.

Here are some websites to visit with more info on what PMC and his crew are up to.

To view their daily reports and images click here: Mars reports

To view PMC's blog click here: Paul Goes to Mars

To view PMC's crew's bios and that of PMC himself click here: PMC's Mars crew

LogoPANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw Some of you asked when is the FIU Baseball banquet this season. The date is Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Graham Center at FIU. You can contact the FIU Baseball office at: 305-348-7403 and ask for Nike Sheffer. Yes, I know FIU is an adidas school, but they got Nike working in the baseball office.

FIU's Opening Day is on Feb. 19 vs. Maryland at 7 p.m. at University Park Stadium.Base

Aaapaw We'll take a look at the Panthers linebackers on the next post as we're just a little more than 2 weeks from NSD.



  

December 26, 2008

FIU Recruiting Prowl: Quarterbacks

Pm The Golden Panthers don't need a quarterback for next season, but in 2010 it will be interesting to see who is starting the season at Texas A&M under center -- or in FIU's case -- in the shotgun spread.

Paul McCall enters the 2009 season entrenched as your starter, but between Wayne Younger, Colt Anderson and this season's batch of recruits the Golden Panthers will need to start planning for the future giving next year's backup some reps so he doesn't face the Aggies cold.

Before we look at the QBs, here is your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 40 days (Feb. 4, 2009).

QUARTERBACKS

Next season should be the time when a true No. 2 QB emerges for the Golden Panthers, especially with all the QBs now having 2 years in the spread offense. WY (left), who will be a junior next season, likely will get first dibs on backing up PM. However, CA (right) -- who will be a redshirt sophomore next season -- showed Wy plenty of potential in practice last season. CA's arm strength has gotten better. He Ca moves around well and at 6-4 has good size for a QB. Let's see if he can take that next step next season. Darold Hughes has had his moments running the scout team O and burning the 1st team D at times, but he'll have to be more consistent to get in the QB mix.

On the recruiting trail, there are some intriguing prospects -- and of course, nothing is official until NSD.

Still nothing new regarding Wesley Carroll (left in blue and gold colors -- don't get started with gold helmets, SP). You would have Wc_2 to imagine if WC does become a Golden Panther that he would be thrown right into the starting job competition for 2010 after he takes a redshirt in 2009. But my good friends, remember the GPP's Gatorade analogy when it comes to this situation and all recruit situations.

North Miami Beach's Nico Flores (right) would be a tremendous signing if MC were to land Nnf   him. The 6-2 QB is being recruited by the world, but is visiting FIU on Jan. 16.

Mccloud_2 Cedric McCloud (left) from Jacksonville Raines at 6-0 is not as tall or as fast as NF (5.0 to 4.7 40-yd), but does have a strong arm and some bulk at 200 pounds. CM is someone that could develop into a pretty good spread QB.

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the QBs FIU brings back: Paul McCall, Wayne Younger, Colt Anderson, Darold Hughes.

Fiuhelmet_3 Here are the QBs FIU loses: None.

Carnac 2009 guesstimations: Do NOT see MC going the route of his counterpart across town and playing the backup QB in the second quarter or whatever. However, the Golden Panthers backup next season should see action against Alabama and Florida and possibly when FIU is comfortably ahead in other games.

This whole backup/next FIU QB after PM thing next season could depend on what QBs the Golden Panthers sign in February. If WC joins the Golden Panthers, then WY and CA may have their work cut out for them in 2010. Wouldn't surprise to see WY on the field as a receiver eventually, because he's a hell of an athlete. CA has got all the tools of a Division I QB, maybe competition from an All-SEC freshman QB helps CA flourish.

From what I've heard and read, the guess here is CM would need at least 1 or 2 seasons before Hh_2 challenging for starting role. NF could challenge for starting QB role from Day 1.

Regardless, of who emerges as PM's successor, they just have to remember one thing: Get TY the damn ball !

Coming up next: Running backs

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

  Gppaw_3 Spoke to El Monstruo's cousin up in Baltimore and he said EM is doing better after his season-ending injury. Left EM a message to call me back and when he does I'll post an update on here.

Gppaw_4 In our last poll question, you Santa Clausers would like to bring the players in the trenches to FIU as an Xmas gift. 45.7% of you said FIU is getting O-linemen for Xmas; 27.1% said give FIU D-linemen and 20% said give FIU a Manning-esque QB.

pikedanny: While I am loving the Christmas spirit shown by Mr. Pelegrin... I must say this blog entry was pretty redundant. No news not even some insight... I think you could've come up with something better. No?

GPP: It's Christmas time. Let's have a little fun with an FIU Christmas blog. We're in cyberspace where there is endless space to write and no time constraints. In fact, one of our 2 poll questions at the end of the Pawse is in regard to the 2 X-mas blogs on the GPP. Plenty of newsier blogs up ahead. Thanks for Sc En_2 your readership.

gpantera: Thanks for your support. Let pikedanny, yourself and me all get a shot of egg nog and toast the GPP and the holiday season.

alt7787: pete, i was so happy to see TY on the Miami Heralds All Florida Team. Before I opened the paper this morning I was hoping that he wasnt snubbed in favor of some underachieving receiver from UCG. but I was soooo delighted to see him on the first team. I also noticed your name was part of the team that chose the players. honestly, did you have to do a lot of lobbying for TY or was he a pretty unanimous selection?

GPP: Among the other writers that voted for the Herald's All-Florida college team, TY was a no-brainer as was Anthony Gaitor (left). The FIU second teamers (Scott Bryant and Robert Mitchell) needed some lobbying. Here's my 1st team ballot: OFFENSE -- QB - Tebow, UF; RB - A. Smith, FSU; WR - Harvin, UF; Ag WR - Hilton, FIU; WR - Murphy, UF; TE - Grant, FAU; OT - Rizzo, FAU; OT - Trautwein, UF; C - Serini, FIU; G - Pouncey, UF; G - Hudson, FSU; K - Gano, FSU. DEFENSE -- DE - Selvie, USF; DT - J. Jackson, FAU; DT - Troup, UCF; DE - Brown, FSU; LB - Spikes, UF; LB - Joseph, FAU; LB - Spence, UM; DB - Gaitor, FIU; S - Black, UF; S - Mitchell, FIU; DB - Burnett, UCF; P - Henry, UF; RS - Hilton, FIU.

FIU Fanatic: Any link to that "All Florida" Team? Guess, it's not yet online?

GPP: Already told the MH on-line people that the team needs to be on the MH page. So let's see when they get it on there.

Here are 2 poll questions. The first deals with FIU QBs, the second is your opinion on the GPP's 2 Christmas blogs. Here is the link for last year's in case you forgot: 2007 FIU Christmas Carol

December 15, 2008

Your 2008 FIU Football Moment

We'll start focusing in on your Golden Panthers recruiting story lines after this blog post. Here's a Wc_2 Wesley Carroll (right) update to tie FIUGPanther and you good people over until then. Spoke to friends in Mississippi, who spoke to WC last Friday and WC said he is not sure where he will play now in 2009.

Mississippi State officially released WC from his scholarship last Tuesday. And according to sources in Miss., new Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen is recruiting 2 to 3 QBs that would come in and challenge last year's starter Tyson Lee and redshirt freshman Chris Reif. Both sources and myself have gotten nowhere with WC's high school coach, George Smith. All parties getting no answers from GS or in my case -- smart answers. As the Recruiting World Turns continues....

Now to the point of this post, to find out what was your favorite moment from the 2008 FIU football season. Below are the nominees and you can vote at the end of the post. (Thanks to Sam Lewis and Alex J. Hernandez for FIU pics)

Tyku Aug. 30 - Hello, Goodbye (left): A highly-touted freshman by the name of T.Y. Hilton makes good on his signing day promise to MC: "Take it to the house, the first time I touch the ball". Hilton, who would later this season be dubbed "Goodbye!" by TheChampionUnderdog and GPP Nation, takes a punt return 74 yards for a touchdown leaving the Jayhawks in the dust.

Sept. 20 - Home Sweet Home: The Golden Panthers open the doors to Fiustadium their new Cage -- the new FIU Stadium (right). The Golden Panthers fall to South Florida 17-9, but the only on-campus stadium south of Orlando is open for business.

Sept. 27 - Holy Toledo!: No need to wait until December this time for the 1st win of the season. Behind a solid running game and a suffocating D that allows 3 points after the 1st quarter, FIU knocks off its first non-conference foe as a Division I team. Final score: FIU 35, Toledo 16.

Oct. 4 - North Texas, Paul McCall is Your Daddy: While T.Y. Hilton notches another 2 TDs -- one of them a dazzling catch-and-run that breaks 3 NT tackles, FIU quarterback Paul McCall (left) throws 4 TDs to tie Pmm the program record of Jamie Burke. That gives PM 7 TD passes vs. the Mean Green in the last 2 games.

Oct. 11 - Your Welcome, AOL: FIU gets its first win in the new FIU Stadium by handling Middle Tennessee 31-21. Besides the sharp FIU intro video of the Panther jumping buildings and landing on the MT helmet set to "Thunderstruck", Hilton's (right) new touchdown sound effect, the AOL sign-off, makes its debut: "Goodbye".

Nov. 8 - The Hilton Heave: A field goal festival for Dustin Rivest, whoTymt  sets the FIU single-game record with 5 FGs, to keep the Golden Panthers in the game against Arkansas State. But the late-game drama belongs to two FIU freshmen. Goodbye fumbles an end around, but stays with it and throws against his body a 38-yd TD pass that Junior Mertile "was waiting forever for the Money Ball to come down". FIU 22, ASU 21.

Nov. 29 - An Offensive Afternoon: No, I don't mean to send you good people back to your shrink's couch. Yes, it was an offensive ending losing 2 14-pt. 4th quarter leads to the Hooters, but the title of this game refers to the FIU O putting up 50 points in a 57-50 OT loss. Freshman RB Darriet Perry (left) shows that he can carry the load literally and figuratively, taking 3 FAUers for a 13-yd ride en route to 115 yds and 2 TDs. PM becomes 1st FIU QB to throw for 400 yds. Goodbye scores 3 TDs and GE puts up 138 yds receiving. The promise of a potent FIU Dp O is unveiled.

Dec. 6 - The Beginning of the Turnaround: After a slow-starting 1st half, FIU turns it on in the 2nd half for a 27-3 season finale win over Western Kentucky. FIU matches the program-high of 5 wins in the season and rides a surge of good vibes into the off-season and recruiting.

Vote for your favorite 2008 moment below the Pawse.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

  Clawing Cancer: Senor Pelegrin... the following's from Manny Navarro's UM blog:

"From what FIU beat writer Pete Pelegrin tells me, UM is looking for a four-game deal in hoops, with three games at UM and one at FIU. That's doesn't sound like a stretch, considering UM has hosted 10 of the team's 12 meetings. But FIU athletic director Pete Garcia is looking for a basic home-and-home series with the Canes." Is that true?

GPP: Yes, except it is a 2 for 1 that UM is looking for and FIU only wants to play 1 for 1 and if they do 2 for 1s then UM has to pay FIU, which it does not want to do. Really, no big deal, FIU has to worry about getting healthy and winning some games when the "cavalry" as SR calls them, comes back in January.

Since Ultimate FIU Fan asked: FIU hoops injury updates from SR today: Tremayne Russell (hand), Alex Bc Galindo (ankle) and J.C. Otero (knee) all should be back by the 1st week of January. Josue Soto (thumb) is expected back the 2nd week of Jan. Russell Hicks (foot) by the "last few games of the season". True story, I almost went on injured reserve covering FIU hoops at the UM arena. Stepped on a chair to shake hands with Max and Miri, who were on the second level above the press area, and my ankle twisted, but not enough to sideline me. Maybe the FIU hoops injury curse extends to off the court as well.

Pantera Dorada & esteban688: PD, good meeting you at the Dazzlers Calendar signing. . .Regarding A.J. Grant, he may or may not make it academically at FIU and the AFL is an option, but he has not signed with any AFL team and the league is in $$$$ trouble, so who knows.

gpantera: Pete Pelegrin, You're MIA. Haz algo para la patria. We're dying for football info. Heck, any FIU sports info will do at this point.

GPP: gpantera and la patria, was a little busy today doing a Marlon Bright story for Tuesday's paper....hope this best of FIU football 2008 helps for now and we'll get into a recruiting breakdown next to fill the FIU football withdrawal. MC will also be on here LIVE doing a Q & A with you good people. He's kind of busy right now doing this recruiting thing, but he called me the other day to assure you good people that he will do a LIVE blog on the GPP. Will post when we have a set day and time.

Apaw We've reached north of the border, ay! in our GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP. A GPP reader in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada believes that FIU & UM have better opponents to play than Sbrew each other. More 80 percent of you think it's a shame the crosstown series is over. Maybe the GPP scorecard will cheer you up:

GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP SCORECARD:

The GPP is read in: 37 STATES: ALA, ARI, ARK, CA, COL, FLA, GA, HI, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MO, NEB, NEV, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WASH, WISC.

22 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Time to vote on your moment:

December 09, 2008

T.Y. & Gaitor All-Sun Belt....MC Gets Hosed

Tyhilton The official All-Sun Belt team was released this morning and T.Y. Hilton (left, thanks to Sam Lewis for all FIU pics) and DB Anthony Gaitor (right) were 1st team selections. Goodbye received multiple honors as the Sun Belt's Freshman of the Year, 1st team kick returner and 1st team all-purpose. Goodbye also was named as 2nd team WR.Ag_2

MC, however, did not win the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. Instead, Troy's Larry Blakeney, who always has his Trojans atop the SBC took the award. Sure thought going from 1-11 to 5-7 would merit a coach of the year honor, but guess not.

Other Golden Panthers honored on the All-Sun Belt teams were: C Brad Serini (left), DE Quentin Bs Newman and P Carlos Munera on the 2nd team; LB Scott Bryant (right) and QB Paul McCall were honorable mention.

Here's the All-Sun Belt 1st team: Player of the Year: Tyrell Fenroy (ULL, Sr., RB #32); Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Sb Desormeaux (ULL, Sr., QB, #6); Defensive Player of the Year: Alex Carrington (ASU, Jr., DE, #98); Newcomer of the Year: Levi Brown (Troy, Jr., QB, #12); Freshman of the Year: T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., WR/KR/PR, #4); Coach of the Year: Larry Blakeney (Troy).

First Team All-Conference Offense: Michael Desormeaux (ULL, Sr., QB, #6); Reggie Arnold (ASU, Jr., RB, #2); Tyrell Fenroy (ULL, Sr., RB #32); Casey Fitzgerald (North Texas, Sr., WR, #87); Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, So., WR, #3); Zeek Zacharie (ULM, Sr., TE, #15); Matt Mandich (ASU, Sr., OL, #63); Brad Bustle (ULL, Jr., OL #75); Chris Fisher (ULL, Jr., OL #79); Chris Jamison (Troy, Sr., OT, #65); Dion Small (Troy, Sr., OT, #74).

First Team All-Conference Defense: Alex Carrington (ASU, Jr., DE, #98); Jervonte Jackson (FAU, R-Sr, DL, #92); Brandon Lang (Troy, Jr., DE, #91); Cameron Sheffield (Troy, Jr., DE, #90); Frantz Joseph (FAU, R-Sr., LB, #56); Cardia Jackson (ULM, Jr., LB, #51); Boris Lee (Troy, Jr., LB, #2); Corey Small (FAU, R-Sr., DB, #26); Anthony Gaitor (FIU, SO., DB, #7); Terence Moore (Troy, Sr., DB, #20); Sherrod Martin (Troy, Sr., DB, #6).

First Team All-Conference Specialists: Josh Arauco (ASU, Jr., K, #89); Truman Spencer (North Texas, Sr., P, #25); T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., Return Specialist, #4); T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Fr., All Purpose, #4)

December 01, 2008

Shula Bowl Afterthoughts....Greed Is Still Good

Vino_2 Hopefully, you good people took Sunday to have a couple of adult beverages, took a walk in the park, spoke to a shrink, downed some antacid or spent a couple of hours pumping iron in the gym.

Yes, it was probably the toughest loss in the 6-year-going-to-be-7-year history of FIU football. The heck with the 7 OT North Texas loss in 2006, this Shula Bowl was for a chance at a bowl game for FIU. Clawing Cancer, yes, we need to revise that FIU loss list.

Hey, today is Dec. 1. Happy December and 24 days until Christmas....Last year on Dec. 1, FIU was 0-11. A 4-7 record is an improvement.

But I know, I know, I know after the first 9 games of the season, all you good people learned you were Gg_2 related to Gordon Gekko (right). Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I wanted to go bowling too and in Hawaii.

Although the Shula Bowl was lost, all was not lost for your Golden Panthers:

Apaw_5 If you were at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, then you saw what might be the best offense in the Sun Belt next season and this offense was wearing white with blue and gold. And NOT red, white and blue.

FIU has a No. 1 QB and his name is no longer Paul Younger or Wayne McCall. FIU's starting QB is Paul McCall (400 yards, 4 TDs). FIU discovered a No. 1 RB in Darriet Perry (left) (115 yds, 2 TDs) -- Did you see the 13-yard run where he was dragging 3 FAU tacklers on his back to pick up Dp an extra 6 yards?

FIU has 2 No. 1 receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Greg Ellingson (237 yards combined and 4 TDs). Besides outrunning everyone on the field, Goodbye also showed he can break tackles on his 34-yd catch and run TD. The other FIU WRs also contributed: Jason Frierson, who is developing the last few games. Junior Mertile, who I would like to see him break one just to see how fast he is. The O-line did a nice job too, opening holes for DP and allowing just 1 sack against an experienced FAU D.

If these are the kinds of recruits MC is bringing in, then the future is quite bright for FIU. Remember, there are a bunch of defensive freshmen that are either still developing physically or redshirting this season. Add another 25 signees in February and this team's talent keeps growing.

Apaw_6 During camp we thought Blue25's impact would come as a WR, but did we ever think he would have the impact he's had on STs. Blue25 blocked a punt and has been a ST maven with his open field tackling on punt returns. He did both vs. FAU. O' Darris D' Haiti also blocked a punt on Saturday -- his 2nd of the season after getting one at North Texas.

Apaw_8 And while NO loss is a good loss (If you ain't first, you're last) and I'm sure I'll hear it from you good Rb people who don't want to hear this: But FIU will learn from this game. I'm NOT calling this a good loss, because there is no such thing. But whenever they're faced with this situation to close a game down the road -- and your Golden Panthers will be in this situation again, because this program is headed in the right direction -- FIU will know what to do and if it forgets, just say "Shula Bowl 2008" or "3-Minute Debacle" and that's all the motivation the Golden Panthers will need.

Of course, there were aspects of Saturday's game that FIU needs to work on:

Apaw_7I wrote on the GPP last week that FIU needed to get constant pressure and sacks on Rusty Smith in order to get him off his game. The Golden Panthers did not do that. Thanks to the Owls WRs dropsies, RS did not get going until the 4th qtr when all of the sudden FAU WRs learned how to catch the ball. The Owls had the same issue last week against Arkansas State where they dropped 12 passes.Arnold_2

What I noticed from Saturday's game was that FIU was always a second or two late to crushing RS. This was because of 2 things: strength and speed. FIU is not quick enough or strong enough yet to blow by or through other O-lines. I counted at least 4 times in the 4th qtr when an FIU defender was closing in on RS, but just did not get there on time. Another year of experience and growth in Rod Moore's offseason workout program and the Golden Panthers will get there.

Apaw_10 Read most of your comments on the FIU D in this past game and I don't care what D scheme you want to use, you're not going to stop Smith, the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Year and best QB, without your starting safeties and without consistent pressure and sacks. Through no fault of the Cc_2 players playing safety Saturday, FIU had 2 guys playing safety that are NOT safeties, but rather cornerbacks. RS is no dummy. He figured that out quickly. FAU couldn't take advantage earlier, because the Owls WRs couldn't catch a cold for the first 3 qtrs. You could make an argument that this is where the previous FIU coaching staff's recruiting prowess was on display. Right now, FIU has no depth and that was exposed in this game.

Apaw_11 Not a fan of using that shotgun on third and short or at the 1-yard line like on Sat. in the drive that resulted in a FG to give FIU a 16-14 lead before halftime. DP was averaging 5 yards a carry at that point in the game....FAU could not stop him (still love that 13-yd run with 3 FAU guys on DP's back)....Make FAU stop him from 1-yard out.

Apaw_12 I'm with all of you on that there is no excuse to miss PATs. Kickers have one duty -- to kick. Will say that Dustin Rivest has improved greatly from last season. For the record, only 1 of the 2 PATs was missed in Sat.'s game. The first one. On the second PAT the snap was mishandled so the kick never got off. Still, missing PATs has no excuse, but there was more Jets_2 to Saturday's loss than just the extra point. FIU's O,D and ST all made enough mistakes to help out FAU.Hh_2

This Saturday we're going to see how FIU handles adversity after this disheartening loss. Will the Golden Panthers curl up in the fetal position and become the J-E-T-S (Just End The Season) or do the Golden Panthers come out roaring, score 50 points and become Kings of the Hilltoppers and this time close the deal with a W into the offseason?

Golden Panther Pawse 12/1

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw_4 Congrats to the FIU volleyball ladies for reaching the NCAA Tournament. FIU opens Vb against Colorado State in Gainesville and then gets the Florida/FAMU winner.

Apaw Throw some salt over SR's left shoulder, get him some Lucky Charms or get him a rabbit's foot, because got word a little while ago that center Russell Hicks will miss 8-10 weeks with a slightly fractured foot that occurred in last Friday's practice in Los Angeles before the UCLA game.

Apaw_2 Will have Shula Bowl thoughts right after this Pawse and your WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard is updated below the Q&A. Scores for FIU/Western Kentucky have to be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

Apaw_3 LIVE GPP BLOG for the season finale vs. WK begins around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday from FIU Stadium where I've never had a problem with the wireless. Unlike last week's debacle at DS.

pantera rosada: Can we settle Greg Ellingson's nickname as "Velcro" (right)??Velcro

GPP: Will have to put that and other suggestions up for a vote, because GE is surely developing into one of FIU's top receivers. GE had his first 100-yard game on Saturday with 138 yards. I'm kind of partial to Spid GE's nickname being "Spiderman" because of his web-like hands and the way he went over the ULM defender to make that TD catch. cobracommandr has volunteered the nickname "Stick-Um" (below, right being used by Lester Hayes). Let's get some more GE nickname candidates and we'll put a Stick poll together.

SouthPaw: Hey Pete, just want to make sure you don't confuse me with the loser that posted the false rumor about T.Y. I posted "we're going to win this one" after FAU tied the game at 36. Obviously, I'm not a college football expert with that prediction!

GPP: I never once thought it was you, SouthPaw. Remember, I get everyone's e-mails when they post and this poster was new to the GPP. And considering the good contacts I have with the FIU football program, this poster never had a chance with his TALL TALE.

FIUJM: What's the deal with kickoff/punt returns? I know MC let Hilton do kickoff returns at end of the game but what about punt returns?

GPP: Goodbye (hammy) was not 100 percent going into the FAU game so the coaching staff was being cautious with him.

NYCFIUFan: Do you expect or have you heard of any voluntary turnover in the coaching staff this upcoming year?

GPP: No changes expected. Last year, OC James Coley was kind of expected to go to Florida State after they named his close friend, Jimbo Fisher the HC in-waiting when Bobby Bowden steps down.

Pm_2 Baltimorepanther: How many records were broken or established yesterday by FIU?

GPP: Goodbye became the single-season receiving yardage leader passing Cory McKinney's 890 yards of 2002. Paul McCall (left) became the 1st FIU QB to throw for 400 yards in a game. Darriet Perry became the first FIU freshman running back to run for 100 or more yards. T.Y.'s 3 TDs left him 2 TDs shy of the FIU season record of 12 set by former RB Rashod Smith in 2004.

Quijote: Can you comment on FIUDad's input?

GPP: FIU is no longer bowl eligible with Saturday's loss. You need at least 6 wins and the most FIU (4-7) can get is 5. Here you go Quijote.................Pb_3 

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 11 games): Down to 5 people for the GPP Blog and up to 12 people could possibly win the media guide.

9-2: Baltimorepanther (237); Gold (245).

8-3: outofthecage88 (228); Ultimate FIU Fan (245); FIUChris (268); FIU Fanatic (268).

7-4: Puma (212); Fomenter (230); Clawing Cancer (231); FIU Voice (234); NYCFIUFan (252); fiufan751 (255); MIA/NY Josh (311).

6-5: FIU 0406 (249); FIUJM (254); TheChampionUnderdog (267); SouthPaw (290).

5-6: Max (262); gpantera (310).

GPP: 8-3, 225

 

November 19, 2008

FIU Volleyball Sweeps

No, not just yet in the Sun Belt Tournament, which begins at noon on Thursday against South Alabama, but the Golden Panthers did sweep the highest honors of the Sun Belt Conference on Wednesday.Yrs

FIU took home the Sun Belt Player of the Year, Sun Belt Coach of the Year and Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year awards.

Two-time and soon to be 3-time All-American Yarimar Rosa won the SBC Player of the Year to go along with the 4 billion other awards she has already won this year. YR also made 1st team All-Sun Belt.

You can check out a story on YR in the Miami Herald on Thursday.

FIU coach Danijela Tomic earned the SBC Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Panthers to a 26-5 record and the Sun Belt championship. That's DT's 2nd Coach of the Year award in the last 3 years.

Isadora Rangel won the Sun Belt's Newcomer of the Year Award and made 2nd team along with Natalia Valentin.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw We'll get back to the gridiron on the next post. T.Y. Hilton will be featured in a Channel 10 story that will air either this Saturday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 11:30 p.m. The Ch. 10 crew was at FIU on Wednesday interviewing Goodbye, MC and Paul McCall for the story and the Ch. 10 sports guy is supposed to e-mail me when the piece will air.

Gppaw_2 FIU hoops is off to a nice 2-0 start before they play at Washington on Thursday night. On Wednesday, center Russell Hicks was named a preseason All-American by collegeinsider.com

Gppaw_4 We could be looking at a trap game for your Golden Panthers this Saturday against ULM. It's the last game of the season for the Warhawks. Their coach is on the burning seat -- not hot seat -- and they have nothing to lose since they are 3-8 on the season and going nowhere. So what are your thoughts going into Saturday's crucial game:

November 10, 2008

Top 7 Wins In FIU Football History

Since FIU has a bye this week, thought about taking the opportunity to rank FIU's top 7 wins in program history. The Golden Panthers turn 7 years old after this season is complete, so 7 sounds like an appropriate number.

You can play along on-line at home or at work and tell us your rankings and then vote at the end of this post for what you think is the greatest win in FIU football history. Also, we're still taking suggestions for naming T.Y. & Junior's game-winning play on Saturday. Got some names in the last post, but will keep the suggestion box open until the end of the week.

Top 7 FIU WinsFiuhelmet_5 Oldfiuhelmet_3 

7. FIU 38, Western Kentucky 35 (2005) 

Hilltoppers tie the game 35-35 with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter. FIU QB Josh Padrick completes passes of 28 yards and 21 yards to Chandler Williams to get the Golden Panthers down to the WKU 18. With :02 left in the game, kicker Adam Moss (left) -- who received a scholarship from FIU after hitting former coach Don Strock's car with Moss_2 field goals at the parking lot of American Heritage High -- nails a 36-yard field goal to win it.   

6. FIU 52, Florida Atlantic 6 (2005)

They say a rivalry only becomes a rivalry when both teams win. After 3 tries, the Golden Panthers finally beat the Owls and in record-breaking fashion. FIU returns 4 interceptions for touchdowns to tie an NCAA record. Keyonvis Bouie, Lionell Singleton, Nick Turnbull and Marshall McDuffie all get pick 6s to wallop FAU.

5. FIU 38, North Texas 19 (2007)

The Golden Panthers were not going to let the grand Orange Bowl go out a loser in the final college football game played at the historic stadium. Behind an aggressive FIU D led by Audric Adger's 4 sacks and an opportunistic offense with Paul McCall's 3 touchdown passes, the Golden Panthers sent the Orange Bowl out a winner and ended what was then the nation's longest losing streak at 23 Ntwin games. FIU also gave new head coach Mario Cristobal (right) his first college win.

4. FIU 22, Youngstown State 16 (2004)

The first road win in program history saw FIU's backup QB do an impersonation of his head coach, a former Miami Dolphins backup QB. With the Golden Panthers struggling on offense and down 16-3 at halftime, former FIU coach Don Strock brings backup QB David Tabor -- FIU's 1st ever recruit -- into the game. Tabor completes 15 of 22 passes for 174 yards and 3 TDs in the second half to rally FIU to a season opening win.

3. FIU 31, Louisiana-Monroe 29 (2005)

The game that showed FIU could play Division I football by getting its first win against a Division I opponent. On the road against the Indians (ULM is now known as the Warhawks), the Golden Panthers Turnbull fell behind 6-0 in the first quarter, but never trailed after that and at one point built a 24-9 lead. Former FIU safety Nick Turnbull (left) returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown to extend the FIU lead to 14-6 in the 2nd quarter.

2. FIU 27, St. Peter's 3 (2002)

The game that started it all. For years, FIU students wanted a college football team and they finally got one on August 29, 2002. Before a Sun Sports TV audience and a sold out FIU Stadium, the Golden Panthers rolled by scoring 27 points in the first half. Former FB Jerrid Lundstedt caught a 5-yard TD pass from Jamie Burke (right)Burke_2  with 8:18 left in the 1st quarter for the first-ever FIU touchdown. Burke would score the 2nd FIU TD on this 6-yard touchdown run (right) later in the 1st quarter.

1. FIU 22, Arkansas State 21 (2008)

A little anti-climactic since this was the subject of the previous blog. But again, FIU's ability to overcome a 9-point 4th quarter deficit after going 8 times deep into ASU territory and not being able to score one touchdown. Especially, after falling apart when adversity struck the previous 2 weeks vs. Troy and Louisiana. Also, the win kept FIU's chances at its first-ever bowl game alive and produced probably the most memorable play in FIU history, which we have yet to give a proper name to. "The Hilton Heave", "The Goodbye Money Ball" or whatever name we vote on was just an amazing play by Jr probably the best freshman in FIU history.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw So what did you think? You can re-rank these wins or add another by posting a comment. Vote on the greatest win in FIU history below the Pawse.

Apaw_2 Me (no, not me personally, some GPP reader named Me) posted on the previous blog the link to voting for T.Y. Hilton for Freshman of the Year on CBSsportsline. CBS has narrowed down their choices for Freshman of the Year to 5 players. Click on Vote T.Y. for Freshman of the Year

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 9 games):

9-0 (points differential)

Baltimorepanther (164).

8-1

FIUChris (176); Gold (184); Ultimate FIU Fan (189).

7-2

FIUVoice (145); Puma (153); NYCFIUFan (173); FIU Fanatic (188).

6-3

Clawing Cancer (160), outofthecage88 (160); Fomenter (163); FIU0406 (180); FIUJM (181), Gazi (181); TheChampionUnderdog (187); SouthPaw (216); FIUBlueandGold (221).

5-4

fiufan751 (194); Max (204); MIA/NY Josh (219); U24/7 (226); gpantera (237); CrazyCane (287).

GPP 7-2, 180.

November 09, 2008

Greatest Win In FIU Football History & Name The Play

The FIU football program has only been around for 6 years going on 7 at the end of this season, but Ty Saturday's come from behind 22-21 win over Arkansas State is the greatest win in the history of the program for several reasons:

Apaw First time in FIU history in which the Golden Panthers were able to overcome a deficit of 9 points or more in the 4th quarter and win the game.

Apaw_2 FIU overcame adversity. Until the final TD, FIU was not able to score a TD the first 8 times it was deep in Red Wolves territory on Saturday. Thanks to Dustin Rivest's leg FIU got 15 points. FIU was not able to respond when challenged against Troy and Louisiana in the past 2 games. The Golden Panthers delivered the knockout punch against ASU.

Apaw_3 Like it has for most of the season, the FIU D was clutch coming up with 3 straight stops on ASU possessions in the 4th quarter after ASU built a 21-12 lead and then Franklin Brown intercepting Corey Leonard at the FIU 35. ASU kicker Josh Arauco is deadly and a few more yards and we might talking about a 24-22 loss.

Apaw_4 The win salvaged any chance FIU has at reaching its first bowl game. The Golden Panthers will likely not win the Sun Belt, because they are 2 games back of UL and do not have the tiebreaker since they lost to the Cajuns. FIU has to run the table and finish 7-5 to get into a bowl. Nothing against the SBC, but a 6-6 record for a SBC team will not get it into a bowl game. FIU is also 1 game back of Troy and does not hold the tiebreaker there since it lost to the Trojans.

Apaw_5 The final reason Saturday's win was the greatest in FIU history was the way the Golden Panthers pulled it out. On a botched trick play that will go down in FIU football lore. As of Sunday afternoon, FIU was trying to get the play on ESPN as one of Sportscenter's top 10 plays of the week.

If you have not seen the play do yourself a favor and go to fiusports.com and click on the game recap where there is a video of The Play....

T.Y. Hilton and Paul McCall fumbled the exchange on an end around. Goodbye went to scoop the ball about 5 yards backward while PM threw a block. Goodbye then goes left with the ball when he told me he Jr was supposed to go right. The entire ASU defense hones in on Goodbye while Junior Mertile (left) is wide open 30 yards downfield. The closest ASU defender was about 25 yards from Mertile. Goodbye lobbed the ball downfield, Mertile waited forever for it to come down, saying to himself "This is the money ball. This is the money ball." and snared it for the winning touchdown with 2:04 left in the game.

You've heard in NFL lore of Franco Harris's "The Immaculate Reception", Dwight Clark's "The Catch" (right) and the Tennessee Titans' "The Music City Miracle", well now it's your turn to name the T.Y./Junior TD play.Catch

Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started: "The Hilton Heave",  "The Goodbye Money Ball".

We'll keep this suggestion box open for naming the play for about 4 or 5 days and then we'll vote on the top selections. After giving T.Y. his "Goodbye" nickname, can TheChampionUnderdog name the play too or do you have a better name for the play?  Post it on here.

Will have the latest WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard on here Monday.

Thanks to Sam Lewis for the FIU game photos.

November 08, 2008

FIU/Arkansas State LIVE GAME BLOG

Greetings from FIU Stadium. If you're here, drop on by the open-air press box on the east side of the Gday stadium and say hello. Like Bob Uecker, I'm in the front row. Speaking about Uecker and baseball, congrats to Puma for being the first to get the Bull Durham reference in the previous FIU football post.

If you're somewhere else in the world, welcome to the LIVE GPP BLOG of FIU/Arkansas State as your Golden Panthers try to get back on the winning side with the first of 4 home games to close out the season and by possibly winning all 4 go bowling.

But 1 at a time as we're getting ready to kickoff to the LIVE BLOG and the game, which is about 15 minutes away....

October 23, 2008

Midseason + 1 Musings: QBs and RBs

Still another 8 days until the Golden Panthers next game, so what better time to look back at the first half of the season (6 games) + 1 game.

Seven games into the season, the Golden Panthers are 3-4 and in contention for the Sun Belt Gppaw_4 title with a 2-1 record (not likely you seriously envisioned that back in August).

Just for kicks, we'll judge each position's performance thus far by the number of Panther Paws handed out -- sort of like the GPP's helmet stickers -- 5 Paws to 1 Paw with 5 being the most Paws a position can get.

**(FIU coaches and FIU marketing gurus: feel free to use the Panther Paw/helmet sticker idea as you like. No royalties required for the GPP).

We'll start out with the quarterbacks and running backs and then go through the rest of the team in the next three blogs.

QUARTERBACKSGppaw_7Gppaw_8 Gppaw_9 

After a slow start to the starting quarterback situation, it looks like FIU has settled whatever questions or worries it had at QB to start the season. Paul McCall (left) has done a nice job taking over the offense and guiding the Golden Panthers in what is no longer a new spread offense since these guys have been with this type of O since spring ball.

Pmthrow Like QBs are required in the spread, we've seen that PM can move when he has to and is not afraid to take on tacklers. However, he may want to be a bit more wary, the other day in practice he took on 300-pound DT Andre Pound (appropriate last name for a DT) and it looked like AP got the best of that matchup.

Since the INT against South Florida, PM has been on a roll throwing 8 TDs vs. 2 INTs and has shown the arm to throw the deep ball, which with the receivers FIU has can be a very easy way of getting 6 quickly.

Wayne Younger has seen limited play thus far, but provides FIU a dependable backup, who can make plays with his feet. Seeing WY throw in practice, it seems his arm has gotten stronger since breaking his collarbone last year.

It's looking like a redshirt season for Colt Anderson and that may not be a bad idea. CA has all the athletic ability to be the future No. 1 QB on this team. Maybe a year learning La Pierna's spread will benefit him and FIU down the road. Darold Hughes might have the strongest arm of all the FIU QBs as he's shown running the scout team O.

RUNNING BACKSGppaw_10 Gppaw_11

FIU has yet to unearth that workhorse running back that can take 20-25 carries a game and get the Golden Panthers 125-150 yards on the ground. Eventually that will come.

Until then, Julian Reams (below, right), A'mod Ned and Daunte Owens have done a decent job when they've had the room to run.

JR showed he might be that back with his performance vs. Toledo. AN had some breakaway runs last Jr season, but we've yet to see them this season. DO had a good debut against Troy last week, but like MC said this week in practice, let's see it consistently. We might see more of DO the rest of this season.

Darriet Perry is looking like a redshirt despite working with the 2nd team in practice most of this season. DP owns a bunch of high school rushing records so it will be interesting to see what he can do after an FIU off-season conditioning program.

It hurt the Golden Panthers to lose Trenard Turner to a knee injury for the season. TT seemed to coming on last season.

We'll take a look at the receivers, tight ends and the O-line on the next post.

October 13, 2008

Better Times On SW 8 St....But Still Got Work To Do

Panth Your Golden Panthers are growing up right before your eyes and rather quickly, too. 3-3, 2-0 tied for 1st place in the Sun Belt and a huge test against the perennial class of the SBC at Troy this Saturday.

Impressive win against Middle Tennessee and the Sun Belt's top passer, Joe Craddock, on Saturday. FIU held Craddock, who averages 268 yards per game to just 25 yards and got JC an early trip to the showers for his ineffectiveness.

Another stellar performance from the FIU D swarming the MT backfield with tackles for loss, playing tight pass D -- Anthony Gaitor (right) 2 INTs & SBC Defensive Player of the Week -- and containing backup QB Gaitor_2 Dwight Dasher, who killed them last year.

This is a well-coached unit by D-coordinator Phil Galiano. Like AG said in the postgame interview, he was sitting on the 2nd INT that went for a TD, because they had seen that formation all week on film and when MT lined up in it, Galiano yelled it out and AG went pick 6.

What was clearly evident vs. MT, was the Florida speed FIU has and the Blue Raiders did not have. FIU was much faster on both sides of the ball. These young Golden Panthers now just need to add some size in the weight room and there will be a complete Division I football team playing on SW 8 Street.

Although the stats do not completely reflect it, Paul McCall (left) may have had his best game making decisions. PM knew exactly when to tuck the ball and run and when to throw it. PM also showed some Pm nimble feet ducking a couple of sacks and leading the team with 53 yards rushing. Nice aggresive running, especially with the somersault in PM's 9-yd TD run.

Good to see Junior Mertile (below, right) make an impact. While T.Y. Goodbye has definitely been the most productive freshman thus far, you may not know this, but shhhh! quietly JM leads the team with 14 receptions.

Greg Ellingson and Jeremy Dickens had some nice grabs Saturday and provided some timely downfield  Jr_2 blocks. For the 3rd straight game FIU showed it hasShh the ability to score plenty of points in Bill Legg's O. BTW, pretty sharp play-calling from the La Pierna. BL had MT off-balance. MT was looking for the short stuff all through the 3rd and early 4th quarter before PM hit T.Y. with that 63-yard TD. The FIU O-line did a fine job for the 4th consecutive game.

What has been a little troubling about the O has been the slow starts. As the Sun Belt sked toughens up, especially with the next 3 games against the other 3 teams tied with FIU for 1st, the Golden Panthers O needs to get into games faster and not wait until the second quarter. Also, can't have PM leading the team in rushing. FIU needs more of the RBs performance vs. Toledo.

The D has been lights out for most of the season, still, more sacks would not hurt. There have been several times when the opposing QB is sitting back there going through his reads. With bigger and better O-lines in Troy, ULL and Ark. State awaiting FIU, the pass rush has to finish and not just put pressure here and there. 

Fiuinaug Overall, the Golden Panthers were pretty much on point against the Blue Raiders. All 3 facets of the team produced and the result a 3rd straight win equaling the program record and equaling the best start in FIU history (2002 team, which featured FIU football pioneers like S John Haritan, left, started 3-3).

The FIU fans also helped out the Golden Panthers. Good to meet, Quijote and gpantera, who dropped by the front row of the open-air press box to talk FIU football. At the start of the game, it looked like it would be an average turnout in the student section, but when I looked over there midway through the 1st quarter, the area was just about full and good thing for those metal stands, because when they get stomped FIU Stadium gets loud.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw_2 Saturday's game vs. Troy is on ESPN regional, but you can also catch it at FIU Arena where the university is hosting a watch party at 7 p.m.

OR you can join me in Troy on the GPP with our LIVE blog from Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy, Alabama. I will be on-line around 6:45 p.m. Miami time on Saturday.

Gppaw_3 This just does not get old.....Congrats, once again to Yarimar Rosa for her 4th SBC Volleyball Player of the Week Award. It's the 9th in her career (a Sun Belt record) and YR is looking later this Yr_2 season to earn her 3rd All-American honor in 3 years at FIU.

Gppaw_4 Got a chance to finally see the Panther intro video (was busy during USF game to notice) that is played on the Jumbotron before the Golden Panthers take the field and must say that is one impressive intro piece with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing in the background and the live-looking Panther jumping from building to building and stomping through the opponents helmet on the FIU Stadium field. Kudos to Ed Filomia, who put the video together.

Gppaw_5 Reminder the GPP Q & A's are now in the comments section.

WIN A GPP BLOG Leaderboard (through 6 games; scores for FIU/Troy must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday)

6-0 (points differential)

FIUChris (111); CJ (118); Baltimorepanther(125); Ultimate FIU Fan (134).

5-1

FIUVoice (105); Clawing Cancer (108); FIUJM (113); FIUBlue82 (116); NYCFIUFan (117); Puma (120); Gazi (121); FIU Love (122); esteban688 (124); FIU0406 (126), The OC Panther (126); Gold (127); FIUPantherFan (128), TheChampionUnderdog (128); FIUBlueandGold (135); TNGoldenPanther (136); alt7787 (141).

4-2

outofthecage88 (110); Fomenter (129); FIU Fanatic (143); gpantera (148); Max (150); FIUfantastic (163).

3-3

FIUrulez (143); fiufan751 (153); Quijote (156); U24/7 (161); SouthPaw (166); MIA/NY Josh (174); CrazyCane (209).

GPP 5-1 (143).

Gppaw_6 The GPP doesn't hand out mid-season awards, but will have a mid-season review + 1 game of the Golden Panthers next week during FIU's bye week. For now, this question will tie you over:

September 29, 2008

FIU 35, Toledo 16....So What Do I Know?

Thank you: gpantera and Quijote you guys are correct. I should not quit my day job and go make a living in Las Vegas. And you know what? That's just fine with me.

BTW, Quijote, nice play-by-play blog you conducted on Saturday night. And it was great to see the huge Ty GPP turnout during Saturday's game. I was planning on going live on the GPP Saturday night, but I got called for other MH duty.

Glad I was wrong about the Golden Panthers this past Saturday, because covering a winning team is a lot easier than what you good people in FIU Nation and yours truly have experienced during most of the first 6 years of the program.

Before we get into Saturday's win over Toledo (Do those 8 words sound and look good on the GPP?) Here's a true story of what I was covering on Saturday night:

I was at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami focused on The Miami Classic football game between Howard University and Savannah State, which featured 15 former Dade and Broward prep players. This used to be the Orange Blossom Classic that FIU played FAMU a few years ago, but is now renamed the Miami Classic and is expected to move next year to FIU Stadium, but with 2 different teams.

While at The Miami Classic part of me was thinking of what was going on in Toledo........since I had to write a follow-up story on FIU's win for Monday's paper. You can check it out click here.

I did not listen to the game on the radio, but several co-workers were texting and calling me with Bus_2 FIU/Toledo score updates. And then early Sunday morning I got to speak with MC about the game.

MC said when the Golden Panthers bus pulled up to FIU Arena at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning about 200 FIU fans were waiting for the team and screaming "FIU!, FIU!" and he said the players went nuts on the bus and were all proud of the support shown by the FIU early birds before dawn.

As for the grounding of the Rockets, the FIU D was huge again. The Golden Panthers allowed just 146 yards after the 1st quarter to this high-powered attack that put up 54 points on No. 25 Fresno State last week. Coordinator Phil Galiano's FIU D has been stout the past 2 weeks against 2 explosive offenses.

Jonas Murrell and Marshall McDuffie -- a couple of veterans from the 2005 FIU D that was No. 1 in the Mitchdom_2 nation in tackles for loss and No. 28 in total D -- played really well. As did Robert Mitchell (right), Michael Dominguez (right), Scott Bryant, Anthony Gaitor and Dez Johnson. It was encouraging to see the D not panic when it got down 13-0.

The FIU special teams set the D and O up with some strong hidden yardage. Jonathan Faucher's forced fumble and recovery gave the FIU O great field position. Punter Carlos Munera (below, left) nailed 4 punts inside the Toledo 15 and geez, he's only in his 4th college game and we're already running out of superlatives for freshman T.Y. Hilton. Or as MC said Sunday: "T.Y. is like a video game. He makes everyone look silly."

Munera Good to see the FIU O get it in gear. The O-line has improved considerably since the South Florida game and that in turn helped create holes for Julian Reams and A'mod Ned to rumble for 126 yards and 4 TDs. Also congrats to JR for eclipsing 1,000 career yards at FIU.

Now can all the Paul McCall (below, right) detractors on this blog please just sit back and watch what this QB can do with some time to throw. Like I wrote on the GPP last week, don't give up on PM, because we all saw what he can do in the final 2 games last season.

No, PM did not put up Marino-like numbers or Brady-like, in PM's case since that's his favorite QB, but Pm he did show some grit. He stood in the pocket, knowing a blitz was coming right at him and completed a pass to TE Eric Kirchenberg for 22 yards and got knocked pretty good. The hit took PM out for 1 play and Wayne Younger entered, but it was PM's show the rest of the way.

While Saturday's W was what the doctor ordered for FIU, there are still some things the Golden Panthers need to work on as they prepare for North Texas: 1) FIU is still too inexperienced to be getting off to slow starts and trying to recover each week. 2) While the O showed much improvement, they still have to prove they can drive the ball the length of the field. Would like to see FIU put together some 70 or 80-yard drives. 3) Still haven't seen the deep ball from the O. Maybe the Golden Panthers are just saving it for later? 4) Can't be overconfident going into North Texas. Forget about last year. I had written last Friday that overconfidence could have set in going into Toledo, but the FIU coaching staff addressed that last week just fine.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Suddenly, not only has the FIU season gotten more interesting. So has our WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard (FIU/North Texas scores must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday):

4-0 (pts. differential)

FIUChris (75); Baltimorepanther (86), CJ (86); Ultimate FIU Fan (99).

3-1

Clawing Cancer (69); FIUVoice (77); FIUJM (80); FIU Love (82); outofthecage88 (83); inspubadj (85); Puma (86); FIU0406 (87), Fomenter (87), ridgepanther (87); FIUBlue82 (88), Gold (88); NYCFIUFan (92); The OC Panther (94), U24/7 (94); FIUPantherFan (95), TheChampionUnderdog (95); fiufan751 (97), FIU Fanatic (97); FIUrulez (99); Quijote (101); esteban688 (102); alt7787 (105); FIUBlueandGold (106); Gazi (107), TNGoldenPanther (107); MIA/NY Josh (119); CrazyCane (121).

2-2

Max (99); gpantera (111); FIUfantastic (127).

1-3

SouthPaw (137)

GPP: 3-1, 106

Miri: Pete, do you have the picture of the stadium in a bigger size? Thanks. :)Fiustad

GPP: You can click on the FIU Stadium photo in the last blog or here on the right to get a bigger size. If you want to mess around with it go to fiusports.com and click on the FIU Stadium link and that might provide a larger aerial photo of FIU Stadium.

The OC Panther: YO Pete! get the headline on the game story fixed.

GPP: Fixed.

Puma: Case in point Pete. While not exactly a signature victory (Toledo is ranked near the bottom of DI schools), look at what we get for coverage. A special to the Herald article by I assume the local Toledo correspondent. The guy gets it wrong by saying it’s our first victory against an FBS team. We can’t even get a Herald journalist to write the story? Why read the Herald’s wire stories when we can get that somewhere else on the web? If you’re going to remain relevant you need to focus on the LOCAL content

GPP: Puma, you are preaching to the choir. Your question/comment is exactly the situation I encounter on a daily basis. You and the rest of FIU Nation can try to make a difference by writing in to sports editor Jorge Rojas at jrojas@miamiherald.com and let him and the rest of the MH know how much Air interest and support there is for the Golden Panthers in South Florida -- not sure the MH understands that. Just the GPP alone got a ton of hits during and after Saturday's game. Let's see where the blog numbers have us on Monday. As soon as FIU won against Toledo, my campaign began to fly out to Denton, Texas to cover next week's game. Let's see what they tell me this week.

caFIUne & SouthPaw: Pete, I saw the participation report for the game on fiusports.com and it said Daunte Owens started at receiver. Is that true?

GPP: No, Owens did not start at receiver. Was told Greg Ellingson, T.Y. Hilton and Junior Mertile started.

Earth gpantera: Earth to Pete Pelegrin. Come in Pete, over. Since last we communicated, FIU won a football game. Do you have any thoughts or insights to share?

GPP: gpantera, roger that, good buddy. This is Pete Pelegrin to Earth. Hear you loud and clear. My bro and his wife had a baby boy today. Became an uncle and  a godfather. Sorry I'm late to the GPP party, but better late than never. While I may not Gfath_2 post something at an instant on the GPP on days off, I'm always around.

SouthPaw: I've been surprised to see Johnathan Nieves (below, left) seeing action in so many of our first four games. Can you tell us more about this freshman? Suprised that he's seeing the field ahead of more heralded guys like Curtis Bryant, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, and Donnell Wilson.

GPP: JN is a walk-on freshman from Braddock High in West Miami, who had a Jn_2 really good camp and earned playing time. Like MC has said many times before, this FIU coaching staff is not afraid to play young players that practice well and earn time. JN has a 1/2 sack on the season and blocked a FG attempt at Iowa. CB is still nursing a broken hand. KS saw action against Kansas and AP and DW have still not seen the field and could be redshirted to get bigger.

The GPP Worldwide Readership picked up another reader in the Caribbean. In our last poll question, a reader from Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda said Wayne Younger should be starting at QB for FIU. Thirty-nine percent of you disagreed and said Paul McCall and 30 percent of you said play them both.Andb_2  

Break out the GPP scorecard: The GPP is read in 33 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

14 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

So what does the 1st win of the season mean for FIU?

September 25, 2008

Paul Younger Has Left The Stage

Pm Just when you thought Paul Younger would be headlining the FIU offense this Saturday against Toledo, MC said after today's practice that Paul McCall will start against the Rockets and that Wayne Younger would see action in the first half. Here is MC's direct quote after Thursday's practice:

"Paul will start the game and Wayne will play quickly in the first half," MC said. "Wayne played better in the [South Florida] game and he had a chance to really make a statement in practice and he did ok -- just ok. Paul really practiced well these last couple of days and now he's got to show it in the game. I'm looking for one of those guys to make it real clear and real easy, but until they do it's not fair to the team to go with one when the other one is right there.''

Will have more on the FIU/Toledo game on the Friday blog with the GPP's preview and predicted score.

Remember, your last chance to get your score in for this game in the WIN A GPP BLOG contest is at 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday. And Quijote, if a contestant does not select one game, then he or she is eliminated from the contest. The 3 simple rules outlined on a cocktail napkin at the beginning of the season are: 1) Make a prediction each week on the FIU game (name a winning team and score) 2) The deadline for each game's predictions is anytime before kickoff. We are going by the time on the GPP, so DO NOT think if it's 6:59 p.m. on a Saturday on your clock, it's also 6:59 on the GPP clock, because you'll be late and you're out. 3) Standings tiebreakers at the end of the season will be the total point differential of your scores.

Baseball's magical month is 4 days away when the MLB playoffs begin. FIU baseball is hoping to unleash Turtle some magic next season with its incoming class that TT released today. Here is the link for the FIU baseball class on fiusports.com.

The FIU baseball alumni game is Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at University Park Stadium and the 2009 Golden Panthers first exhibition baseball game is Oct. 22  at 6 p.m. against Team Ontario. Planning a live baseball blog from that game.

Will answer your questions on the Golden Panther Pawse in Friday's blog.

September 24, 2008

On The Mend, On The Fence & On Video

Some good news out of practice today, left tackle Andy Leavine was jogging around the field at FIU Leavine Stadium during Wednesday's practice and could be ready sooner than expected.

Originally, Leavine, who had a small fracture in his left foot, was expected back either for Troy on Oct. 18 or after that. After Wednesday's practice, MC said "there's a great chance he would be ready for next week" meaning FIU's Sun Belt opener at North Texas.

As you may have read in my Tuesday practice report in the MH -- help me out here Clawing Cancer, because you spotted this -- which was the website that wrote in their preseason FIU preview that the Golden Panthers starting QB would be Paul Younger?? Py_2 Turns out they could be right for this Saturday's upcoming game at Toledo.

MC said he would take the week to decide on whether Paul Younger or Wayne McCall would start on Saturday. In his weekly press conference on Wednesday morning, MC said about the QB situation:

"As of right now both quarterbacks will play and I think Wayne has closed the gap even more in the past week or so. I think it’s hard sometimes to judge everything on the first three games because Paul McCall hasn’t played football since high school. These are the first three games he’s played in the past three years and you can’t deny the fact that Wayne is doing some things really well. He provides that danger aspect with his feet as well so we want to get both in the game and make sure we do the best job that we can to play to their strength."

                                                                                                                                                       

Speaking of Wednesday's press conference, after it was done the FIU athletic department surprised MC with a cake for his 38th birthday on Wednesday. The Golden Dazzlers brought the cake into the room as Cake Newdazz2_2 the Channel 7 cameras were rolling. You can check out the video at fiusports.com. MC is the 3rd youngest head coach in the NCAA behind Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (33) and Western Kentucky's David Elson (37).

                                                                                                                                                       

There's no TV, but there is live video available for Saturday's FIU/Toledo game. Go to the official Toledo athletics website: Rocket Vision and click on the Rockets Vision icon on the right and you can sign up to see Saturday's game for $10, but you'll need to cancel your account after the game, if not Toledo will keep billing you monthly for stuff you don't want to see, unless you're a big Rockets fan.

                                                                                                                                                    

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

                                                                                                                                 

I'll have the GPP's FIU/Toledo preview on here on Friday and remember the deadline for scores for Saturday's game for the WIN A GPP BLOG contest is before 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                 

Spoke to some of the right people for stadium issues at FIU today and here are some updates for the next game:

                                                                                                                                                         

1) gpantera: The Panther video that was played on the jumbotron is being checked on to see if it can be downloaded.

2) Been told the stadium's sound system has been addressed and is fixed for the next home game. Also, the stadium folks now know that when FIU has the ball -- no music -- make the place a library. Let the rest of the O hear PM and WY's snap counts.Fiuqbs_2

                                                                                                                                  

pikedanny: Why would FIU agree to remove the "Panthers" from the endzones for Miami FC?

                                                                                                                                                      

GPP: Nothing has been agreed. That is just my guess since the soccer probably would like to have a completely green field. The FIU logo at mid-field would stay, because that would be too much of a hassle to remove and paint again.

                                                                                                                                 

SouthPaw: Pete, I thought the standard uniform at home was blue jersey with white pants? Do I need to trot out our miserable record wearing blue pants again? Blue pants bring bad karma and bad luck. I thought I saw #77 Javon Hill on the sidelines on Saturday. What's the story with him? And is Ash Parker eligible for a medical redshirt?

                                                                                                                                                       

Dbs GPP: Yes, the blue top with white pants is, but FIU wanted to wear the blue on blue last Saturday. As the home team, FIU is allowed to choose what combination to wear. Blue pants don't bring bad luck, lack of execution on the field and mistakes on the field bring bad luck. Hill is academically ineligible this season. Parker can apply for a medical redshirt.

                                                                                                                                                       

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete will the other screen opposite the present one be up next season? Will it be stats only or video too? Saw Cedric Mack on the sidelines. HE IS HUGE!!! Will he be available against Toledo? Please say yes!

                                                                                                                                                      

GPP: There's a chance the other scoreboard could be up at some point this season. Last I heard, it will be score and stats only, no video. As far as Mack vs. Toledo, he's not playing and with each passing day it looks more likely that he will redshirt this season.

                                                                                                                                                       

Gold: I saw last night that 2 more players from South Florida committed to FIU this weekend at the game. A team mate of TY from Miami Lakes and an OL from Hollywood. Pete, what is the deal with these cats? Can we do some sort of highlight, perhaps once a month on FIU recruiting?

                                                                                                                                                         

GPP: DB Derrick Jones from Miami Springs is 5-9, 180 and has great cover skills from what I've been told. Similar to an Anthony Gaitor. OL Derek Wimberly plays for Hallandale not Hollywood, but you're close enough (about a 5 min. drive). At 6-4, 250-pound, DW, a tackle, will need to get into that state-of-the-art weight room in the new FIU fieldhouse this summer to play his freshman season. Need to be at least 290 for OL. We'll get some recruiting updates on here soon. But remember until these cats sign on the dotted line nothing is official.

                                                                                                                                                      

Miri: Have you heard anything about new license plates with the new logo?Xmas

                                                                                                                                                       

GPP: Nothing new yet, but did hear the new FIU on-line store with tons of new FIU logo merchandise will open in late November in time for your Christmas shopping. Was told there will be a large variety of FIU products in the new on-line store.

                                                                                                                                                         

FIUFloridaPower&Light: FIU Beach? What happened to that?


GPP: Was told the money is not there for FIU Beach right now. But if you know someone who wants to donate some palm trees, a truckload of sand and decorate the place then let me know and I'll get the Beach_2 word to the right people at FIU and we can get it done. I'm with you, FIU Beach is a spectacular idea by Clawing Cancer and there are plenty of telegenic co-eds at FIU for the ESPN cameras.

                                                                                                                                                      

FIU Love: Pete, will the visitor side section bleachers be re-done as part of the April 2009 phase? it looks weird how that section is not connected to the rest of the stadium to create a perfect O.

                                                                                                                                                    

GPP: The visitors' side section is part of the north side construction with the student support complex/welcome center, which is scheduled to be done by 2011 with an outside chance of it being finished by 2010. When the lower level of FIU Stadium is done it will be in the shape of an octagon and not an "O". The visitors side is going to look exactly like the south side. Except, there will be 21 suites on the north to give the stadium an even 40 suites when the lower level is done. The FIU Alumni Center will be attached to the east side of the stadium.

                                                                                                                                                       

FIUer: Pete, why is it when one Googles or searches on Yahoo for FIU blogs, message boards, or anything really except the actual name, the GPP is nowhere to be found?

                                                                                                                                                      

GPP: Yeah, we need to add "FIU" to the title of Golden Panthers Prowl so that Google can pick it up. Thanks. The MH website is going through a re-design in the next few weeks and was told after the new site is downloaded that we can ask for changes to blogs, etc.

                                                                                                                                                      

Saturday's game is winnable for FIU, if the Golden Panthers show more offense than 10 to 14 points. So with that thought, let's get your thoughts on:

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                       

September 23, 2008

A Little More O Would = Big W

Wow, go out of town for my day off on Sunday and return to an extraordinary lively GPP. Which can also College Crowd_2 describe the great college football game day atmosphere at the inaugural game at the new FIU Stadium on Saturday where your Golden Panthers would have shocked the college football world and owned the MH front page this week with a little more offense.

The FIU D played their hearts out and probably the best I've seen it since 2005 or when they closed out college football at the Orange Bowl in fine fashion last season in a win vs. North Texas. There were even shades of the 2005 FIU D which the led the nation in tackles for loss and finished 28th overall.

I don't buy the theory that USF was still thinking Kansas. The FIU D deserves a ton of credit for Saturday's performance. The Golden Panthers went up against a USF offense that averages 494 yards and 42 points per game. FIU D held USF to 321 yards and 17 points.

Your next two FIU guys to get a shot in the NFL will be Jeremiah Weatherspoon (6 below left) and Robert Mitchell. Those two were spectacular on Saturday. JW cleaning USF RB Mike Ford's clock on 1 of FIU's 3 goal line Clock stands against the No. 12 team in the land. JW also led FIU in tackles.

Saw the replay of Saturday's game on ESPNU and in the blocked FG, RM sped past the USF line and stretched out like Superman to block the kick. RM also blasted through on his sack of Matt Grothe and had several other solid tackles.

The rest of the FIU secondary deserves some applause too for holding the dangerous MG to only 136 yards passing. Anthony Gaitor showed his speed with a couple of tackles for loss and Marshall McDuffie (22 left) had some strong stops in his first Jw start.

The FIU D-line was just as good not letting the USF O-line push them around. Jonas Murrell had a huge stop on the final goal line stand of the night and then went and gave MC a 350-pound chest bump that the ESPN cameras and announcers ate up.

Jarvis Penerton (below right with the safety), Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman, Armond Willis, James Jones and Juan Nieves all played well too. As did LBs Scott Bryant, Michael Dominguez and Tyler Clawson.

The only thing that I thought the D was not consistent enough in doing was rushing the passer. We still have not Penerton seen that on a regular basis from this FIU D. But with some more time in the weight room, that pass rush will come. As we get deeper into the season, expect to see Jonathan Jackson and Kambriel Willis among others to have that impact.

What is still troubling after 3 games is the lack of offense from the Golden Panthers. Thought for sure with the short FIU drives in the 1st half on Saturday, that the FIU D would wear out in the 2nd half, but thanks for proving me wrong on that one, FIU D and a big tip of the cap to Rod Moore and his off-season conditioning program for that.

It seems like the FIU O are not all on the same page right now. Which got me thinking to last season when FIU went to a new O and it took about 5 or 6 games for FIU to get it together on O. This season is another new O with new OC Bill Legg. Maybe it will take 5 games for FIU to get the O together.

Ty Of the few O hi-lites from Saturday: T.Y. Hilton (left, running away from the USF D)-- enough said.

Also, the banged-up O-line blocked better in the 2nd half and I thought -- with the exception of 1 run where he danced too much and La Pierna let him know it on the sideline -- Julian Reams (below, right jumping with Brad Serini after a TD) did a nice job of running when he got some openings. Greg Ellingson also showed his sure hands.

Wayne Younger did give FIU a spark with his legs when he came in the 4th qtr, but unlike several of youReams  good people, I'm NOT giving up on Paul McCall, because we all saw what he could do last season with some pass protection.

This will be an especially crucial week for the O to get it together, because Toledo hung 54 points on No. 24 Fresno State last week and FIU's D can't be saving the day all the time.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post had the day off yesterday, but from what's been going on it sounds like Manny needed the day off. Glad to read most of you good people have put Mannygate under the bridge. MN apologized and let's all move on.

Here is the Win A GPP Blog leaderboard after week 3: (FIU/Toledo scores must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday)

3-0 (pts. differential): FIU LOVE (46), ridgepanther (46); Fomenter (47); FIUBlue82 (48); NYCFIUFan (49); outofthecage88 (50); FIU 0406 (51); FIUVoice (55); fiufan751 (56); Puma (57), TheU24/7 (57); The OC Panther (58); FIUrulez (59), TheChampionUnderdog (59); FIUChris (60); FIU Fanatic (61), Gold (61), inspubadj (61); FIUPantherFan (62); lol62 (64); esteban688 (66), Quijote (66); Gazi (67); alt7787 (69), MIA/NY Josh (69); CJ (70); Baltimorepanther (71); CrazyCane (81); Ultimate FIU Fan (82).

2-1: Clawing Cancer (49); FIUJM (63); TNGoldenPanther (87); FIUBlueandGold (90).

1-2: Max (85); gpantera (95); FIUfantastic (96); SouthPaw (112).

GPP: 3-0, 65.

**If your GPP name and score is not listed, then either you did not post a score for the Iowa or USF game or posted after last Saturday's 4:59 GPP time deadline.

On to the questions....

alt7787: Do you still stand by your Marlins not making the playoffs prediction?

GPP: I know you asked this last Friday before the Phillies took care of the Marlins, but I still stood by the Marlins Fish not making the playoffs. Need more consistent offense and a better bullpen for them to contend any year. Too many Marlins that either strikeout or homer, need some guys that hit above .300 in that lineup.

Clawing Cancer: Pete... did FIU relent at all from their "you gotta buy season tix to get the USF game" line?

GPP: No, they did not, but individual tickets are on sale for the rest of the home games. Yes, I too heard Roman loud and clear on the ESPN broadcast.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: Pete-Can you find out if there was something wrong with the sound system, it was very low. They need to raise the volume. Do you feel like I do that this game was winnable, if not for those personal fouls? Your thoughts on Toledo, what do they bring to the table and how do we compare?

GPP: I'll look into it. One thing about the speakers and music: Message to whoever plays the stadium Shhh music, you CANNOT play it when FIU is on offense. Several of the Golden Panthers offensive players mentioned to me after the game that they had trouble hearing the signals and snap count from PM and WY, because the music was playing. This is FIU Stadium. Give the Golden Panthers some home field advantage on offense. Zip it!

The USF game was very winnable with a little O, forget about the personal fouls with the way the FIU D was playing. Toledo brings a very potent O to the table and if FIU does not score it could be a long night in Ohio. If the Golden Panthers can show some life on O and score some TDs, the Toledo game is a winnable game.

gpantera: PETE, is there any way for us in cyberspace to get a hold of that video, post it on our Facebooks, favortie blogs, etc. and effectively share FIU with the world?

GPP: Will let you know about the status of the FIU video. Thanks, for the shameless plug. Nothing wrong with a little P.R.

FIUJM: Pete, question for you...Alonzo Phillips. He is 3rd fastest player on the team, is he even suiting up for games?

GPP: AP made a great tackle on punt coverage against USF when he flew and tripped up the returner at the 15. He had a pass thrown his way, but dropped it.

Stad SouthPaw: Pete, can you give us an update on the latest constructiion plans for FIU Stadium over the next few years? What is slated for completion next year and for the year after that?

GPP: The fieldhouse/team meeting rooms/6 extra club suites/patio area is expected to be done by next April. The north side is in the process of being designed. Construction on the north should start in 2010 and should be done by 2011. The upper deck will largely depend on how quickly FIU starts winning on a consistent basis. The tentative timetable for the stadium to be done with 45,000 capacity is 2015.

Miri & Quijote: Pete, my friend just said that Miami FC wants to move to the FIU stadium. I saw them at the game, so I was wondering if something was brewing. When do you think the move will happen?

GPP: Miami FC is likely headed to FIU next season, at least that's what the soccer club said last week during their final week playing at Tropical Park. The MH had a couple of soccer articles last week mentioning the move. FIU has been negotiating with them for a while now. If that's the case for the Fc first couple of FIU football home games in 2009 we may see the end zones just plain green and with no PANTHERS lettering, because of soccer.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, just found out that our men's Basketball team will play UCLA during Thanksgiving. I'm already booking my flight to LA to support our men's basketball team!!

GPP: Yes, I believe a few blogs ago I posted the hi-lites of the men's hoops OOC sked this season: at UCLA, at Georgetown and at Washington along with other OOC games such as the final game between FIU and UM. Have a turkey drumstick for me in L.A.

**Almost 70 percent of you said you were looking forward to watching an FIU game at the new FIU Stadium the most in our last poll question. Now chime in on your inaugural game day experience at the new on-campus home of your Golden Panthers:


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