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.


  

June 07, 2010

Opening Game Time; FIU/MLB Draft

Ty  
The time has been announced for the Rutgers/FIU football season opener on Sept. 11. The Scarlet Knights and Panthers will kick it off at 8 p.m. as the game will be televised by ESPN GamePlan and ESPN3.com.

The game will also be shown on tape delay locally on Channel 39. Here is the fiusports.com release

Post your thoughts on the opening game kickoff time and vote down below.


FIU/MLB DRAFT

Tonight is the 1st round of the 2010 MLB Draft. FIU signee and Brito shortstop Manny Machado was picked 3rd overall by the Baltimore Orioles.

FIU signee and catcher Kellin Deglan was taken No. 22 overall by the Texas Rangers.

Looks like two scholarships just opened up.

Texas A&M righthander Barret Loux, who defeated FIU in the regional last Friday, was taken No. 6 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

You can check back here to see should any other signed Panther or future Panther go in the 1st round. And I will also post here any other Panthers that get drafted in the next two days of the draft which runs through Wednesday when the 50th round is completed.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw You good people are more than welcomed to post whatever you like on the GPP, but please keep it clean and stick to 1 screen name.

anonymous you had a conversation with yourself in the last post when you used xyz. And you've also used jli, jl and fiuer (not FIUer, who has been posting on here since the blog started).

gabster, you joined the GPP as Miguel Alfonso, then went to cane4life, fiu2big2tall, throwback.

You are both welcomed on here, but use one name.

Q&A

UltimateFIUFan: Hey Pete, let us know the status of FIU football players in NFL. I've heard rumors of trade talks with Antwan Barnes. How about Chandler Williams, is he with the Chiefs? Last season's players Levine, Bryant, etc., what their status? Thanks.

PP: Antwan could be moved, because the Ravens drafted Sergio Kindle, who would take some snaps from El Monstruo. CW is still in KC. Nothing new on Andy or El Oso.

Gooch7: PETE: I think GW season is one of the best by ANY FIU athletes in school history but don't forget Tayna Lawerence 2nd place finish in the 100m Dash (Track)! Then followed it up with One Bronze, Two Silver, and One Gold Medal in TWO olympics.. Not bad for a Golden Panther!

PP: And let's not forget former FIU track star and Olympian Ronald Forbes.

Aaapaw Lot of debate in the last few posts about TT's decision to hold back Scott Rembisz for a possible Sunday matchup with Texas A&M or UM. My 3 cents on it is that if FIU could not beat a team (Dartmouth) with a team ERA of nearly 7.00 (6.97 ERA before the game vs. FIU) then the Panthers have no business playing Sunday against either top 25 team.

Should FIU have won against the Big Green, Rembisz gave the Panthers the best shot of defeating either the Aggies or Hurricanes.

Right now, I don't think any other pitcher on the FIU staff could have hung with A&M or UM if Rembisz defeats Dartmouth and FIU plays Sunday.

Yes, it's a roll of the dice that did not come up for FIU, but like TT said he was thinking of winning the entire regional and not just one game.

This kind of debate is the beauty of sports where everyone has their opinion on how they would have played it. It's great.

What's your opinion on this and the Sept. 11 kickoff time?


April 28, 2010

GW Ties All-Time FIU Hit Streak; More FIU in NFL

Gwit With his double off the center field wall this afternoon in Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville, FIU third baseman Garrett Wittels tied former Panthers outfielder Anthony Hicks for the all-time FIU hitting streak at 35 consecutive games.

With the hit, GW (left, thanks Sam Lewis photo) also broke the Sun Belt Conference's all-time hitting streak record. GW had been tied with former FIU third baseman Bryan Pullin at 34 games. When Hicks played at FIU, the Panthers were not members of the Sun Belt yet.

GW looks to own the all-time FIU mark on Friday by trying to get another base knock against ULM.

I didn't give you guys a play-by-play on GW's at-bats today, because I figure I was playing with the baseball gods yesterday and sure enough GW went 0 for 3 before Tuesday's game was cancelled due to rain.

As the old saying goes: "You don't [flock] with a streak." Of course, flock is not the exact word that goes in there, but this is a family blog.

ARMOND THE LION; SPOON A BENGAL OR SAINT?

Former FIU defensive lineman Armond Willis (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) has been invited to workout with the Detroit Lions. Nice to hearAw as Armond showed up at FIU from Tennessee as a walk-on 3 years ago and now is going to get his chance in the NFL.

Traded e-mails with Jeremiah Weatherspoon's agent today and he says Spoon will workout for the Cincinnati Bengals this week and possibly the New Orleans Saints next week. Should Spoon sign with the Bengals, then obviously there is no need to visit the Super Bowl champions off of Bourbon Street. Thanks, Jsuarez88.

Dog Still nothing new on Scotty Bryant or Carlos Munera, who both should get some NFL looks in my opinion.

BARK AT THE SOFTBALL PARK

The FIU softball team is hosting a "Bark at the Park" for their doubleheader against ULM on Saturday at 2 p.m. All dogs get in with their owner for $3 and water and pooper scooper will be provided.

DAZZLERS AUDITIONS

While dogs are in the stands on Saturday at the softball game, beauties will be auditioning to beAud part of the Golden Dazzlers squad for the 2010-11 FIU sports season. I've been invited by the Dazzlers to watch the tryouts on Saturday afternoon and will have photos for you on here next week.

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.

April 23, 2010

Growling w/ El Oso

Sb With solid 2010 seasons, you are more likely to see FIU Panthers walk across the Radio City Music Hall stage in next April's NFL Draft than you are in this year's draft. However, that's not to say that a group of former FIU players won't catch on as free agents or get invited to an NFL camp this summer.

One of those former Panthers looking to get a shot at the next level is linebacker and FIU's all-time leading tackler Scott Bryant (left, thanks AJH photo).

Checked in with El Oso and this is what he had to say about possibly joining El Monstruo at the next level.

PP: How's it going as you try to get a chance to play pro? What are you doing while the draft is going on this weekend?

SB: So far, so good when it comes to my preparation. I'm back home in Lakeland for the weekend spending time with my family watching the draft. I'll be back in Miami to graduate from FIU on April 27. I'm focused on getting on a team or getting in a mini-camp. I don't care how I get there. I just want a chance to show that I could play football at the next level.

PP: What have you heard about your draft chances and what teams have shown interest in you?

SB: My agent has told me that he's hearing I can go in the 7th round or possibly sign as a free agent. I'veFins worked out for the Dolphins, Bucs and the Raiders and Bears have shown some interest. I'm looking to play as a linebacker at the next level, but if a team says "Can you play another position?" then I'm playing that position.

PP: Have any teams asked if you can play elsewhere or anything like that?

SB: The Dolphins have talked about me possibly playing safety. They play a 3-4 defense and at my size (5-10, 225) it would be tough to play outside linebacker in the 3-4.

PP: Have you ever played safety?

SB: No, I have not, but I've always thought about it. I'm always mistaken for a safety or a running back, but I always played middle linebacker at Lakeland High and then I played outside linebacker at FIU. I think the biggest thing in making the switch to safety would be the footwork needed to play the position and being able to react to the plays. I trained for about a month with Jeremiah Weatherspoon and he helped me out a lot. Maybe we can play together again, he was getting some interest from Miami and Seattle.

Bouie PP: Did you speak to any past players about what to expect this weekend and into next week?

SB: I got off the phone this morning with Alexander Bostic (right, making a tackle vs. Troy, thanks AJH photo) and earlier this week I spoke with Keke Bouie (left, thanks AJH photo). They both told me to keep my head right and don't get discouraged. When those guys both played they both had a never-give-up attitude and those are the kind of people I look up to. And you can see that as they both continued playing in arena football. Keke won a championship [United Indoor Football title playing for the Sioux Falls Storm in 2008] and Bostic is playing arena ball in Atlanta.

PP: What have you heard about what teams like about you?
 
SB: My agent has told me that scouts like my productivity and always being around the ball since I startedBostic playing football. They've said when they look at film if I'm not in making the tackle that I'm always in the play. As far as the mental aspects, they won't know about that until they sit down with me and ask me about the plays.

*[Last December, SB broke the all-time FIU tackles record previously held by KB]

PP: What's your mentality as far as your future if you don't get that chance?

SB: I will never be disappointed, because you never give up and you keep on going in life. Only the strongest survive and I will always know that I gave everything that I had and I never gave up. I trained and played my hardest and I did my best.

Apaw Thanks to SB for taking the time to join us here and best of luck to El Oso.

From talking with several scouts throughout last season, these are the Panthers most likely to get a look in NFL camps before the 2010 season.

Jeremiah Weatherspoon -- Although JSpoon did not have the spectacular senior season to open up some NFL eyes, the former Panthers safety has all the physical tools to play at the next level. It's just matter now for JSpoon to get a chance to show those physical tools. Some scouts said they like JSpoon's Munera athleticism, speed and size (6-2, 225) for the position.

Carlos Munera -- As you all know CM (right, thanks AJH photo) has got a cannon for a right leg and it doesn't hurt that he's built like a linebacker (6-2, 232). Besides the long punts, CM has the ability to pin an offense deep in the red zone. The one thing mentioned by some was that CM needed to be a little more consistent.

John Ellis -- With his size and smarts, the Bus -- as he was called by his teammates -- could get a look for a team in need of fullback depth or special teams play. You remember his fake punt run last season to spark the comeback against North Texas.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw While FIU released a 2-deep chart today, I wouldn't read too much into it. A lot of national publications ask for a depth chart after the springtime as they prepare to write their annual college football previews instead of actually showing up to camp in August and doing some work.

Yes, there are some givens on there like Goodbye, Gaitor, Little Canada, etc. However, remember the highly-touted freshman class has yet to step foot on campus, plus training camp has not happened and the season opener is still more than 4 months away. How about a 12 noon start against Rutgers on Sept.Shakira 11? Could be, to see if the Scarlet Knights can stand the heat down here.

Anyway, those of you on the ledge come down, relax and have a cold one.

Apaw The GPP Worldwide Readership keeps on adding new friends around the globe. A reader from Bogota, Colombia [Shakira's native country] says FIU baseball should finish 11-4 or better in the final 15 conference games. As of this writing, the Panthers defeated Western Kentucky 7-6 in 10 innings late Friday.

Get out your pencils and scorecard for an update:

December 17, 2008

FIU Recruiting Prowl: The Defensive Front 7

The start of our recruiting look at your Golden Panthers begins with an area FIU lacked last season and that was the pass rush.

Before proceeding with the first blog in the Recruiting Prowl series, we must state the GPP disclaimer (the Jc GPP lawyers -- NO not CrazyCane, U24/7 or MIA/NY Josh -- recommended to place the disclaimer here): None of the recruits mentioned on the GPP have signed any letters of intent yet. Please take any verbalGator  committments at your own risk. Taking verbal committments from 18-year-olds, who may have trouble choosing which flavor of Gatorade to drink, too seriously may be hazardous to your health.

OK, glad we got that out of the way. Let's move on.

As of today, here's your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 49 days (Feb. 4, 2009).

DEFENSIVE LINE

Throughout most of last season, the Golden Panthers played some solid D, but if you recall in blog posts over the 2008 season, the one part of the D we kept harping on was the lack of a pass rush. Part of that had to do with many of the FIU freshmen D-linemen not being big enough. The speed was there, but not the size.

Craw The Golden Panthers have assembled some pretty good talent and depth at D-Line in the 2 seasons since MC took over. Thus you don't see an emphasis on this position this off-season, but the Golden Panthers are still targeting it. Big JUCO DT Mark Crawford at 6-1, 305 and a 4.6, 40 is supposedly down to FIU and Kentucky, even though he has offers from all over the country. He is one of those JUCO guys that can sign as early as today and be at FIU in January.

Depending on what the plans are TE/DL Tourek Williams of Norland could also work here. You remember the last 2 Norland defenders FIU had turned out pretty well in El Monstruo and Alexander Bostic III. Of course, there are other D-Linemen recruits that have not been made known yet.

Fiuhelmet_4 Here are the D-Linemen FIU brings back: Ricky Booker, Curtis Bryant, Jonathan Jackson, James Jones, Reggie Jones, Jonas Murrell, Jonathan Nieves, Cody Pellicer, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, Artis Warthen, Kambriel Willis, Donnell Wilson.

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the D-Linemen FIU loses: Jonathan Betancourt, Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman, Jarvis Penerton, Armond Willis.

Carnac_2 2009 guesstimations: Getting a seasoned JUCOer like Crawford or other JUCOers that Twb may head toward FIU can only speed up the development of the FIU D-line. With a second season in the weight room look for Jackson (right, aqua shirt) Pellicer and Willis (right, suit) to get some size. RJones was pretty impressive in the one game he played at NT before getting hurt. Some guys who stood out on the scout D last season while redshirting were Pound and Smith. Still way too early to tell when JJones would come back from his knee injury. Interesting to see if Booker and CBryant can take that next step.

LINEBACKERS

The FIU LBs have some talent coming back, but could use more depth, plus some size.Kdil   Northwestern's Kenneth Dillard (right, blue jersey) will certainly push for immediate playing time. KD is fast, but at 190 might need to hit the weight room. Apopka LB Larvez Mars would be a great addition as well. For Mars services, FIU is up against teams from every BCS conference.

Fiuhelmet_5 Here are the LBs FIU brings back: Scott Bryant, Tyler Clawson, Aaron Davis, Winston Fraser, Toronto Smith, Mannie Wellington, Jarvis Wilson and we'll include Franklin Brown, who plays both LB and DB.

Fiuhelmet_7 Here are the LBs FIU loses: Matt Garris (retire), Ryan Martinez. Up in the air is Michael Dominguez, who was suspended for the 2008 season finale.

Carnac_3 2009 guesstimations: Don't be surprised to see Dillard become a starter if he has the Win same impact that fellow NW Bull - Anthony Gaitor had his freshman season. Having seen KD in a couple of games this season, can tell you he is the real deal. If Mars were to become a Panther, then you could see 2 frosh starters with El Oso next season. El Oso and Clawson will provide experience to FIU's young backers. The LB that I'm very eager to see line up is Fraser, who redshirted his frosh season with a hand injury. He could be the next dominant LB at FIU following in El Monstruo's steps. Davis, Wilson and Brown are playmakers and Little Canada already has the speed as Arkansas State found out the last 2 seasons, now with another season in the weight room maybe LC becomes Big Canada.

Coming next: Defensive backs and Kickers

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw_2 The Hilton Heave has gotten nearly 50 percent of the vote in our last poll question about your favorite moment of the 2008 FIU season.

That got my vote. Besides the way the play developed, what I also liked was the crowd reaction. When Goodbye first got the handoff from PM, a collective cheer came from the crowd. When Goodbye fumbled the ball, you heard a collective o-o-o-o-h-h-h and when Goodbye threw the Heave and everyone saw Junior standing alone at the 5 yard line, you good people at FIU Stadium went nuts.

FIU75: Pete, is it true the Howard Schnellenberg from FAU will be coaching the rest of the nation against Texas during the ALL STAR game on the 31st?

GPP: Yes it is. Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings will be coaching Texas.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Good luck to SR and the men's hoops in conference opener @ Arkansas State Thursday. Pete do we have a chance w/o our starters?

GPP: UFF, very unlikely, because ASU is much improved under former LSU coach Brady. On the bright side, you can pick up your WIN A GPP BLOG 2nd prize (2008 FIU football media guide) on Saturday at the FIU hoops game. Drop by the press table and I'll have it for you.

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)

October 27, 2008

Midseason + 1 Musings: DL & LBs

Five days until the next Golden Panthers game at ULL. We're halfway through our midseason look at FIU. Let's shift on over to defense, which for most of this season has been the Golden Panthers strength.

Been told by MH IT the posting comments system on the GPP has been fixed so go ahead and let the comments rip. On to the D.

DEFENSIVE LINEApaw Apaw_2 Apaw_3

The FIU D front seven has done a pretty good job thus far, but there is one major component missing from the D-line as well as the LBs: a consistent pass rush.

Yes, we have mentioned this before on the GPP this season, but too many times QBs are sitting back Qnew_2 there making themselves a sandwich while waiting for a receiver to get open. Spoke to MC about this and he thinks the FIU pass rushers are getting closer each game, but also some of the pass rushers need another off-season in the weight room.

It's not a good sign when you have a defensive back along with a defensive lineman leading the team in sacks. DB Robert Mitchell and DE Quentin Newman (left) each have 2 sacks to lead the Golden Panthers.

Newman has been among the more pleasant surprises this season on the D-Line leading FIU with 7.5 tackles for loss. Jarvis Penerton, Daniel Chacreton and Armond Willis have also made some plays. Once veterans like Jonas Murrell and Reggie Jones, who hurt his foot last week in practice, get going we might see more of a push toward the QB.

We've seen that freshmen Jonathan Jackson (right) and Kambriel Willis have the moves, but have yetJj_2  to gain the size to allow them to terrorize the QB. Fellow frosh James Jones has probably had the better season of the trio thus far. Jones seems to have more size right now. In limited duty, frosh walk-on Jonathan Nieves has had an impact. FIU has missed Cody Pellicer this season. A redshirt and a 3rd season in Rod Moore's offseason program will pay dividends for CP and FIU.

LINEBACKERSApaw_5 Apaw_6 Apaw_4

Talk of FIU LBs starts again with El Oso. Once again, EO is leading the Golden Panthers in tackles with 59. Along with safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon, EO may be the most punishing FIU tackler.

Michael Dominguez is having another solid season with 38 tackles and a team-leading 2 fumble Claw recoveries. Tyler Clawson (left) has also had a good season not only at LB, but on special teams as well.

Little Canada has made plays for the second consecutive season, but thought we'd see more of him after his dominating performance at Arkansas State last season.

Two LBs I think are going to have solid careers at FIU before they are done are sophomore Jarvis Wilson (below, right) and freshman Franklin Brown, who also sees double duty in the secondary at times. JW is a machine on special teams and with a little more size can be a pass rushing force on D. FB is just a football player, if you know what I mean when I say that. He has a nose for the football and the ballcarrier.Wilson_2

Here's one name to keep in mind for spring ball: Winston Fraser. The D is missing him this season with a hand injury just like Pellicer. WF 1 of the Booker T. 4 at FIU will make a huge splash next season when he's healthy.

On the road to Lakeland on Tuesday morning for a state golf tournament I have to cover, but will wrap up our midseason look at your Golden Panthers in Lakeland with the secondary and special teams. Be back in Miami on Thursday for FIU's practice and to catch a flight to Lafayette on Friday morning.

From here on out, all 5 remaining games will be huge for FIU if it plans on making its 1st bowl game. Four of those five are home games (might as well consider Dolphin Stadium against Florida Atlantic a home game) What are your thoughts on the Golden Panthers last road game of the season on Saturday:

October 15, 2008

Not Half Bad

Ty It's no secret and no surprise that very few Golden Panthers were on any preseason honors lists.

What a difference 3 wins and sitting atop the Sun Belt Conference makes at the halfway mark of the season.

On Wednesday, Phil Steele Publications released its 2008 Mid-Season All-Sun Belt Team and 8 of your Golden Panthers were among the honorees.

No shocker to see T.Y. Hilton (left) on the 1st team. In fact, Goodbye was named to 3 positions on the 1st team: receiver, kick returner and punt returner.

Joining T.Y. on the 1st team were: DE Quentin Newman (right), DB Robert Mitchell and P Carlos Munera.

Kind of a surprise to see LB Scott Bryant on the 2nd team along with DB Anthony Gaitor (Both shouldQn_2   have been 1st teamers). OL Joe Alajajian also made 2nd team.

Center Brad Serini made the 3rd team.

Of course, all this is just mid-season and we still have 6 games to go, but after just 2 FIUers (El Oso and Ash Parker) were All-Sun Belt honorable mention last season this is certainly an improvement.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw As you may have seen on-line at the MH, FC Barcelona and FIU signed a 3-year deal with a 2-year option for a proposed MLS Miami expansion team to play at FIU Stadium. Nice coup for FIU. With FC Barcelona's backing, the MLS should be headed this way.

Gppaw_2 We'll be blogging LIVE from Troy this Saturday starting around 6:45 p.m. Miami time. Also, the FIUTt  baseball team plays an exhibition against Team Ontario next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at University Park Stadium and I'll have a LIVE GPP Blog from the game to talk a little FIU baseball.

Gppaw_3 FIU football's radio broadcasts switch to WIOD 610 AM starting with this Saturday's game vs. Troy. Same announcers, different station for the remainder of the season due to WINZ 940 being the new home of the Miami Heat. You can also still catch FIU football in Espanol on 670 AM and 1550 AM with Jerry Castle and Joe Fields.

Gppaw_4 Congrats to FIU D-Coordinator Phil Galiano who arrived midway through practice Wednesday after Girl his wife delivered a newborn daughter this morning.

Gppaw_5Well, we bring out a poll question regarding an FIU tradition and what do you know we get 125 votes in less than a day. Some strong feelings toward "Ole! Ole! Ole!"

We'll turn our attention back to Troy after this, but FIUFPL had a good point: I did not make it a clear cut question so we'll ask it again and while we're at it tell us your thoughts on FIU signing a stadium deal with MLS Miami. . . .

October 02, 2008

Off The Field With: Scott Bryant

Let's take a little break from the regular blog news-type postings to try something different. Would like to start up a new feature on the GPP where occasionally we'll take some time out to talk off the field/court/diamond with a Golden Panther. First up: linebacker Scott Bryant. Sb

GPP: When coach Cristobal took over at FIU he installed a dress code for when you guys travel. So who is the best dressed player on the team?

SB: It's a three-way tie between James Jones, Jarvis Wilson and Artis Warthen. They come with their gator shoes on. Real sharp dressers all three of them. I just put on my shirt and tie and get on the plane.

Shoes GPP: What was the game day atmosphere like for the first game at the new FIU Stadium?

SB: It was crazy. It was intense. It was surprising not to be able to hear football calls on the field and hear players say "What was the call?" We were like "It's so loud out here".

GPP: You went to Lakeland High, home of the Dreadnaughts. When you first heard of the mascot's name did you have to go on-line and find out what a Dreadnaught was?

SB: I had to go on-line and find out what exactly is a Dreadnaught. I thought about dreads. I thought about it being naughty. No, was wrong on both. A dreadnaught is a battleship.Battleship_00001_2

GPP: Since you arrived at FIU you have been real good doing interviews and public speaking. But I'm sure you've had a slip up at some point during an interview. What was it?

SB: Forgetting the question. I try to pull things out of my head to answer the question that sometimes I tend to think too hard and I forget the question. I'll stop and ask "What was the question again?"

GPP: If you were to try another sport at FIU what would it be?

SB: Baseball. I played outfield and first base in high school. I don't remember my average, but I was a pretty solid hitter.

GPP: Speaking of solid hitters, who is the greatest linebacker ever?

SB: Ray Lewis. He's a leader and he's non-stop about what he does. The intensity and hard work is just obvious. The team follows him and looks up to him and he's confident in what he does.

Sb_2 Bt GPP: Which famous person have people told you that you resemble?

SB: I get jumped about Booker T (near right), the wrestler from the WWE. He has dreads. People are always like "Booker T, Booker T".

GPP: There is a lot of wrestling interest on this current FIU team? You have Andy Leavine, who came up with the name "The Divine Leavine" for when he pursues a wrestling career. Michael Dominguez is a wrestling fan and when they were younger Coach Cristobal and his brother had two tag team names: The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Flying Plantain Brothers. Which one of those two names would you pick if you were coach's wrestling manager?

SB: I like the Burritos. It's just hot down here and that's what Burritos are.

GPP: Here is the million dollar question FIU fans on the GPP have wanted to know for a long time: Which nickname do you prefer Scott "Buzzsaw" Bryant or Scott "El Oso" Bryant?

SB: I'm going to go with "El Oso", because a bear is unstoppable and once he has you in contain you're Bear going down.

GPP: So what would your wrestling name be?

SB: The Outstanding Oso.

**On the next "Off The Court": FIU's two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

**Reminder, the WIN A GPP BLOG scores for FIU/North Texas have to be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

Still going to do the question/answer session of the Pawse in the comments section inside the post, but wanted to keep the Pawse here to separate other blog stuff from the main post.

The GPP Worldwide Readership keeps rolling with a new state and a new country joining the Prowl. In our last couple of polls, readers have chimed in from Honolulu, Hawaii and Venezuela. Someone in Venezuela did not like any of our choices for T.Y. Hilton nicknames. Over in the 50th state of union and 34th state of the GPP, someone thinks overconfidence could be the biggest hurdle FIU must overcomeHaw_2 against North Texas.

On to the scorecard: The GPP is read in 34 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, HI, 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.

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

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

So let's poll it up and see what you good people think and also vote on the new GPP feature.

Be blogging to you from Denton, Texas at some point Friday with the FIU/NT game preview and predicted score. And don't forget we'll try a LIVE GPP BLOG from Saturday's game.

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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