September 01, 2008

Better But Need More Water

Plenty of you GPP readers might have a future in Las Vegas, judging from your predicted scores in Week Lv 1 of the 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest. The standings are posted at the end of this blog and Iowa scores are due before 12:00 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

As for last Saturday, in the season opener against No. 13 Kansas, we saw an improved, quicker, more physical FIU team, but a team that still needs work, especially on offense.

Glass Being a glass-is-half-full blog, we'll start with the positive. The Golden Panthers defense had KU flustered in the first few drives. Whenever, FIU blitzed KU QB Todd Reesing had no answer. On some plays, he looked surprised that he had Golden Panthers in his face. But then KU got the short passing game going to negate the FIU rush.

Despite, not having much time to throw and no running game to speak of Paul McCall (below, right) looked in control. When he did get some time to throw late in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd quarter, you saw that he was comfortable running the new O. Heck, PM even ran the ball well -- the question mark in his game. PM had two scrambles for 24 yards and eluded tacklers in the runs. If not for 3 sacks, PM is FIU's leading rusher on Saturday. But that's not what you want from your QB.Pm

The other bits of FIU sunshine on Saturday were: Freshman T.Y. Hilton (left), who last signing day told MC that he would take back his first punt for a TD. Sure enough, T.Y. got 6 on his first college return. We had mentioned here throughout camp, that if T.Y. got an opening, nobody would catch him. KU saw the back of No. 4's Ty jersey.

The kicking game came through Saturday. Dustin Rivest nailed a career-long 43-yd FG. Punter Carlos Munera showed a strong leg.

As for that missing water in our glass, FIU is not going to win too manyWat_2  games, if it's O starts with four 3-and-outs in its first 5 possessions. The O needs to do a better job of sustaining drives and give the defense a breather. KU lead the time of possession 37:49 to 22:11. FIU was only 2 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. Yes, FIU's conditioning is much better thanks to Rod  Moore, but no matter how much you condition, you're not going to last playing on D for almost 40 minutes a game.

Several of you have been quick to point to the O-line and yes, they do need work, but it was the entire O that faltered vs. KU. The RBs didn't always hit the right holes. PM sometimes didn't make the right reads and other times when PM did find open receivers, the WRs dropped passes that would have been long gains and on one pass a TD early in the game to possibly take a 7-0 lead.

Hic Maybe, it was just the typical hiccups associated with running a new O for the first time in a real game. Regardless, from being there and judging by the reactions of the largest crowd ever at a KU football game in the 119-year history of KU, it sure didn't feel like a 30-point game. The FIU D held the second highest scoring O in the nation last year to 10 points in the second half and those 10 were the result of turnovers that pinned the D deep in their territory.

Penn State hung 59 on FIU in last year's opener and Kansas hung 55 on FIU last year with 615 yards of offense. In Saturday's game, KU had less than 300 yards before the final drive of the game. Yes, some are going to just read the score and say same old FIU, but if you saw this game, then you saw some improvement. An improvement that for FIU's sake continues throughout this season.


Here are your Week 1 standings in our Win a GPP Blog

Your point differential is in parenthesis:

1-0: outofthecage88 (2); FIULOVE (3), FIUrulez (3), inspubadj (3); FIU Fanatic (4); esteban688 (5), fiufan751 (5), FIUPantherFan (5), ThaChampionUnderdog (5); nycfiufan (6); FIU 0406 (7), Hay (7), ridgepanther (7), U24/7 (7); FIUBlue82 (8), fomenter (8), Gazi (8), Puma (8), The OCPanther (8); BaltimorePanther (9), Clawing Cancer (9), Gold (9), mia/ny josh (9); FIUChris (12), panther viscosity (12), Quijote (12), TN Golden Panther (12); CJ (13), FIUJM (13); FIU Voice (14); lol62 (15), Pantera Dorada (15); alt7787 (16), Max (16); fiu ex dad (18), Ultimate FIU Fan (18); Crazycane (19); FIUBlueandGold (20); Devastator (23), greenlizard69 (23); sammy da bull (47).

0-1: 2006PA (31); gpantera (33), SouthPaw (33); FIUfantastic (37), ScUMsanitizer (37); E-Man (38).

GPP 1-0 (8).

**Congratulations to the FIU volleyball ladies, who knocked off No. 19 Clemson on Saturday and captured the Clemson Big Orange Bash Tournament by sweeping the Tigers, Syracuse and Charleston Southern. Two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa (right) was named tournament MVP.Yr

On to the questions....

FIU 0406:  I was watching ESPN today and I noted two things, they were still referring to us as Florida International and they were still showing the old logo. Also, this is something I mentioned some time ago, but its worth mentioning again. On the herald link for FIU: 

it also shows our old logo. Pete, could you look into this.

GPP: ESPN and all the other national media outlets got a letter and media guides from FIU regarding the new reference to the school. It might take a big win against a BCS team for those people to take notice. Before writing this blog, I e-mailed the MH's on-line person about the old FIU logo on the MH's FIU page so let's see what happens this week.

FIUfantastic: Please fix the Photo Gallery from the Kansas shows a picture of Paul McCall and says: Florida International quarterback Troy Dannehower throws the ball

GPP: E-mailed on-line about that too.

Radio gpantera: I wish the freakin' radio guys would refer to us as FIU only as instructed by our athletic department.

GPP: The "freakin' radio guys" read this blog, so tune in next Saturday for the Iowa game to see if they go by FIU and not Florida International when referring to the Golden Panthers.

SouthPaw: Can you update us on why Cedric Mack didn't play? Some of the names that I'm expecting to see make big contributions this year that I would have thought would have been on the two-deep are:
Cedrick Mack (biggest loss of the game for FIU), Mario Caraballo, Javon Hill, Travis Felder, Devin Parrish, Kambriel Willis, Reggie Jones. And others who I think should be seeing significant playing time this year that look like they didn't play are: Mannie Wellington, Matt Garris, Winston Fraser, Aaron Davis, Daunte Owens, Alfonso Bryant, Derrick Clark, Marcelus Manear, Jason Frierson. Some of the guys that started and saw extended action were not guys who have contributed a whole lot in the past (Tyler Clawson, Quentin Newman, Artis Warthen, Dan Chacreton). I was glad to see the coaches put McCall back in there after sitting him down for a series.

GPP: Both Mack and Willis were having certification issues they were taking care of last week. Jackson Def played and beat KU linemen a couple of times, but KU QB had already gotten the pass off. James Jones (67, right chasing Reesing) was impressive in his first game. Caraballo, Wellington, Garris and Fraser are all hurt. Hill hasn't practiced all summer and looks like he's done. Felder (academics). Parrish, R. Jones, A. Davis, Owens, A. Bryant, D. Clark, Manear and Frierson all did not play vs. KU.

Clawson, Newman, Warthen and Chacreton all had good camps and earned their playing time according to coaches.

As far as PM being removed. It was NOT because of his play. The plan was for WY to play 2 series in the second quarter, regardless of what the game situation was at the time. PM never got benched.

FIUChris: How serious is Ash's injury? He's one of our best playmakers in the defensive backfield.

GPP: X-rays were negative, but won't know more until practice on Tuesday.

****Picked up a few more readers around the world in our last blog. Thanks to the handy-dandy map tracker of GPP readers: Portland, Oregon and Managua, Nicaragua (love the gallo pinto) -- where Gallo_2 someone down there thinks FIU will be 6-6 or better this season -- have joined the GPP expanding our worldwide readership:

Our GPP Worldwide Readership scorecard reads: 32 STATES the GPP is read in: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

12 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

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

Thanks to all for participating in our last couple of polls where the majority of you liked the closeness of the seats to the new FIU Stadium field the best, and where most of you are thinking 5-7 or 4-8 for FIU this season. Here's the latest question....

August 30, 2008

Your New FIU Starting QB Is....

LAWRENCE, KANSAS -- Welcome to Kansas, GPP Nation. It's gameday and we're about 6 hours from kickoff. New season. New uniforms (FIU will wear new white tops with new white pants tonight, check the MH sports website later tonight for photos) and maybe a new record. Speaking of records, haven't really followed the band, Kansas, but did some research on some of their song titles and thought I might apply Kansas them throughout this post. So here's "What's On My Mind":

There will be a quarterback under center for the Golden Panthers tonight. Here are some clues as to who is the FIU starting QB this season. If you read the FIU preview in the Miami Herald "print" edition on Thursday, then you will only need one or two clues to figure out who is FIU's starting QB this season. For those that didn't read the MH, you may have to "Hold On" until the end of this post.

Chime in with the answer when you know who the quarterback is after reading these clues: the Golden Panthers new starting quarterback will be starting grad school in September seeking a master's in computer engineering. Thinks V for Vendetta is the perfect movie, Thinks an Italian girl is the perfect girl. Thinks lasagna is the perfect meal. Thinks a Corvette Stingray is the perfect car. Thinks the 1972 Las Miami Dolphins are the perfect team. Thinks Christian Bale is the perfect actor. And thinks Italy is the perfect vacation spot. If you still haven't figured it out, then the answer is at the bottom of this post.

On to today's game. It's a chamber of commerce type of Saturday here in Lawrence, Kansas. The weather is clear, sunny skies with about 60 degrees in the morning, should be up in the 70's by kickoff tonight.

This is not exactly a tune-up opener for FIU as they face the second highest scoring team in the nation last year in the Jayhawks, who hung 42 points per game on opponents and 55 on the Golden Panthers in a 55-3 win last year. KU's defense also allowed the fourth fewest points in the nation last season, 16 points per game.

Don't see FIU pulling off any upset tonight, that would be "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" but here's what we'd like to see: an FIU offense that can score some TDs and not settle for FGs or turn the ball over. Ku_2 The FIU D has looked good in camp, now let's see them at least contain this high-powered KU O. This is one of those learning experience games for the Golden Panthers that will only make them better come Sun Belt play.

In last year's game, it was a competitive one in the first half with KU leading 10-3 until the second half meltdown when the Jayhawks scored 45 unanswered points, thanks in part to 5 FIU turnovers. Limiting or not committing any TOs tonight, might and I say might, make for a game. Of course, another handful of TO's could make FIU "Dust In The Wind" tonight. Don't know if a competitive game could happen, because its the season opener and KU -- already feeling slighted by the national media saying last year was a fluke -- will be out to prove everyone wrong and FIU has not been good in hostile venues before. Maybe that changes tonight.

GPP says: Kansas 44, FIU 14Pm_2 

No more "Mysteries And Mayhem" if you still haven't figured out the QB and just scrolled down here, then here's your new FIU starting QB, Paul McCall:

A look "Down The Road" at the rest of the FIU season has me thinking 4-8 in 2008. Might see the Golden Panthers sneak out of Toledo with a W and then go 3-5 in the Sun Belt.


**Remember, last possible minute to get your FIU scores for tonight's game and for our 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest is tonight at 6:59 p.m. (EDT) by the GPP clock. Read the previous 3 posts for rules and regulations.

FIUJM: Is there reason why visitors section is using high school benches?

GPP: You wouldn't want to put the FIU fans in those uncomfortable, no backrest seats. So that's why visiting teams' fans get those seats from the old FIU Stadium.

CJ: Question about the it just me or does it look a bit sandy and streaky?

GPP: In that photo they just fed the field sand and ground up tires. After a while, the sand and tires settle into the turf and you don't see those streaks.

FIUFan: Hasn't FIU requested to be called FIU and not Florida International University by media outlets? How's that going?

GPP: The first page in the football media guide says "We are FIU and please refer to us as FIU. Do not use Florida International University, Florida International, Fla. Internat'l....or any other variation". Some of the media is getting used to it, especially the local TV, others it has taken time. I know I usually have to remind the people who edit my stories NOT to change FIU to Florida International in the first reference.

Roary_2 ** Thanks to B for posting that picture on the GPP. With your permission, B, I'm going to re-post it here since it is such a pretty picture. Thanks again.

Oh, you say Roary is in the photo? Now, I just noticed him.

Gold: Can you do a tour of the finalized project? There has to be pictures up of what each section of the stadium will look like when everything is complete. Can you get a picture of the girl who is taking you on the tour. She looks cute.

GPP: Guess the title of the last blog is a little misleading. That was the last stadium tour before the Kansas kickoff. I'll be back at the stadium in a few weeks with my camera and a Herald photographer for another GPP Stadium Tour blog and for a story I'm doing for the MH on the new stadium that will run before the USF game.

Allison's picture is up on the last few blogs.

alt7787: Hey, Pete have you been working out with the players lately? Your looking pretty juiced up in that picture. You better watch out, I dont know if you can have those guns out in public.

GPP: No, don't workout with the Golden Panthers, but it must be all the typing that's shaped the guns.

Miri: Have you heard about anything cool they would do for the team entrance at games?

GPP: Nothing yet, except the Panther Walk, but I'm sure FIU has some pre-game plans up its sleeve.

SouthPaw: I enlarged the Younger photo, and still can't see the "panther eyes." Wyeyes_4

GPP: The Panther Eyes are on the white plate on the crown of the helmet. The eyes are not that big, but it gives the helmet a different look.

You good people got my FIU season outlook, what's yours:

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