August 16, 2011

DeJuan Wright Tweets that he suffered a knee injury

Just as I filed the below football portion of this blog and cut off my computer to plunge into REM sleep, FIU's leading scorer and rebounder last season, DeJuan Wright, tweeted this on his Twitter account, @JustWright14, just after midnight:

"Partial tear in my MCL..." followed by a three-letter acronym usually written in disbelief or anger that translates, loosely, as "what the heck?"

Wright, a 6-3 senior guard from Detroit, averaged a team-high 30.3 minutes per game; 14.5 points; 6.7 rebounds; and 1.7 steals per game last season for the 11-19 Golden Panthers. He also shot a team-high .534 from the field and his .469 shooting percentage from three-point range was the best on the team among those who attempted more than one three-pointer a game.

Now back to the less newsy, more football portion of this blog (not often you'll read that sentence in mid-August)...

This blog should've been done hours ago, while I was awaiting my Bacon Burger at the campus Chili's after somehow failing to find the Subway (which I passed as I left -- I felt like such a freshman). Instead, I surfed the 'net and combed my notes for inspiration and energy. I also wondered how a Media Day with Spanish language media, a Cuban-American head coach who works for a Cuban-American athletic director who just got Captain Cuban-American to be his radio color analyst didn't have cafe cubano.

My failure to caffeine up -- real world sucked up the time I would've used to stop at my favorite place on South Beach -- can be blamed for my lousy questions that didn't often get the players to break from their well-coached repetition of the gospel. But a few nuggets did emerge, aside from the couple I used in the choppy story on leadership already up on

(If you want to read the story, that's your business. But, remember, I just told you it was there. I did not recommend it.)

Women's soccer season starts Friday in DeLand against Stetson.

Cristobal claims as far as camp injuries, "nothing really significant" that should make anyone "miss a game or two." That means either safety Jack Halley's testing came back OK and he doesn't have a concussion or Halley's testing came back saying concussion and Cristobal forgot. Because, on concussions, nobody knows anything about timetables.

T.Y. Hilton said he texted former teammate Anthony Gaitor before the latter's first preseason game, Friday night for Tampa Bay against Kansas City. "Just do you. just like college, but now it's the next level," Hilton said his text read. "You are on a different team with a different jersey. Be the Anthony Gaitor I know you can be."

Gaitor had a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass knocked down. Hilton also was in the text tube with wide receiver Greg Ellingson. Playing for Jacksonville, Ellingson had two passes thrown his way. Neither were completed.

Before talking to us, Hilton spent a fair amount of time with Rick Sanchez, who was present with his two sons. South Westside-20110815-00083

Asking a few pass catchers what they noticed different about Wesley Carroll this year, tight end Colt Anderson said, "Definitely see more confidence in him than last year. More leadership." Wide receiver Willis Wright added quietly, "A lot more pride." Interesting addendum...

Cristobal on Tourek Williams: "When he's on, when he's in shape, he's as good as any defensive player in the conference."

Cristobal said he wanted the offense to be a 50 percent split between run and pass. Coaches love to say that, but it always comes down to "what don't you defend well?" and "How well do we do what we do?" If you run and pass well, then it's up to the defense what you do. If the last run a school stopped was a moonshine run, pound the rock. If the defensive backs look like Urkel and Woody Allen, spend the day in the air. 

Fading to black. I'm out. We'll try to be better tomorrow.



August 12, 2011

Mike Baiamonte: from FIU hoops PA to the Heat to FIU football PA

And, now, the circle is complete for Mike Baiamonte.

Baiamonte, whose signature voice and catchphrases have become Miami Heat home game trademarks over the last 21 years, began working the public address with the first FIU men's basketball team in 1981-82. This season, the FIU '86 grad will assume the PA for FIU's home football games.

Baiamonte said he "absolutely loved" doing the PA for last season's opener against Rutgers and was thrilled when athletic director Pete Garcia approached him recently about doing it permanently. So far, there are no scheduling conflicts with the Heat game schedule. The Heat special community events might be another story. Baiamonte said Garcia, "has been gracious about understanding the priority if there is a conflict." (The Heat trump).

As you'll find on this blog (probably to a nauseating degree), little fascinates me like time's passage and the changes it brings. Sometimes, I sit in the office of my South Beach apartment and count the buildings that didn't exist when we moved in here or when I first moved to South Beach. I did the same thing sitting in the FIU stadium press box during Monday's scrimmage with the buildings on campus. I counted 10 buildings that weren't here when I covered FIU before. I asked Baiamonte if he gets similar feelings. 

"Every time I go back to the campus, usually for a sporting event, I think, 'This is not the same place I went to school,' he said. "When I went to school, there were five buildings on campus. There's more parking garages now than there were buildings then. And I'm at a football game at an on campus facility...people used to fly airplanes there. You used to park your car there so you could walk to class."

And as for sports, Baiamonte had the mike for the first 12 years of FIU basketball. They used to play at Miami-Dade's Kendall campus, then called Dade-South, and that was probably their best home court before Sunblazer Arena/Golden Panther Arena/US Century Bank Arena/Whatever Too Big Too Fail Buys US Century Bank Arena.

"We'd play about anywhere we could find a place," he said. "We played at Miami Christian High School in Sweetwater. We played at the James L. Knight Center. That was the most surreal venue I've ever worked."

Because the Knight Center was set up for concerts, the crowd was behind Baiamonte, the court in front of him and a curtain across from him.

Give Garcia credit for stomping the gas when the engine looks strong. With a potentially fantastic football season on the horizon, Garcia pushed for the Hilton4Heisman campaign; brought in Rick Sanchez as radio color analyst, a move guaranteed to get attention and could be at least fun; got the Mario Cristobal extension done; and hired Baiamonte to add a sound many South Florida sports fans now associate with winning and a cool, party atmosphere.

It could all wind up like Senna at Imola. Hilton could get injured or just have a blah season. The close games that went FIU's way last year could go the other way. Sanchez could get too blustery, or, worse, just be flat and boring. But you don't go from outsider to out in front without putting yourself out there somewhat.

By the way, check out today's story on night vs. day FIU football at Follow me on Twitter at

August 11, 2011

From practice in the darkness on the edge of town...

Overpriced colada in hand, I hit The Cage at Camp Mitch before 6 a.m. A few drips and drabs of information:

Wide receiver Rockey Vann's got a dislocated elbow and will be out a month, according to Mario Cristobal. Defensive lineman Jason Fitch has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee that Cristobal put somewhere between a Grade 1 and a 2. Fitch hopped off the field on his left leg after one of the last plays of Monday's scrimmage and immediately one of the trainers began feeling around the knee, never a good sign. 

After today's Panther Preview shindig at 6:30 at the Stadium Club, the Panthers will have a full scrimmage at 7 p.m. after a closed special teams scrimmage in the morning.

(Yes, really. A closed special teams scrimmage. It's special teams, not special ops, Formula 7X or the Krabby Patty Formula. Just a hypothesis: they'll practice punts, kickoffs and returns of punts and kickoffs. They'll practice blocking schemes and kick blocking schemes, most of which will be revealed by the third game. As quarterback Wesley Carroll's the holder on field goals and extra points, they'll probably also practice a few fakes. Oh, and a reverse on a punt return and a fake reverse, both probably involving T.Y. HIlton. They'll also practice what to do on bad snaps from various points on the field. Because that's what really well prepared teams do.)

As for the scrimmage, expect more of a game tempo and setup than Monday's scrimmage.

"We need to get used to being on the field more than four, five or six plays," Cristobal said. "We nened to get used to going 12 plays, getting your water, be back on the field and execute."

The scrimmage being at night prompted me to ask Cristobal how he felt about FIU being a night game team at home.

"I'm a noon guy," he said. "Playing college (here) then watching Miami Dolphins...I remember the Dolphins would wear all white and watch those teams come down here in October and November and melt. I'm a big fan of that. But I know we have to do what we have to do to make sure we always do what's best for our university and fans pack the stadium as much as we can. But am I a fan of noon? Absolutely. Light it up, make it 110 degrees and play football."


August 09, 2011

A few lines of scrimmage analysis

Some stuff from Monday's full pads scrimmage, which began in a light rain and closed in a clear buggy-ness that attempted to envelop and invade Coyote III in the parking lot. He wasn't happy. Neither was I.

(By the way, sorry I'm making this Late Night with David J. on my blog days. That's just the way we've had to work during the preseason, especially when practice ends in the late afternoon, there's no terribly breaking news, I still have to write the daily stuff for print and have to Eddie Arcaro the kid through dinner, teeth brushing and into bed. So, with The Crusaders' Southern Comfort album as soundtrack, I'll proceed...)

After a 70-yard bomb to T.Y. Hilton on the second play of the scrimmage, first team quarterback Wesley Carroll completed his next six passes for 90 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to Jairus Williams. As the rain stopped, Carroll arced a beautiful rainbow down the right sideline to Jacob Younger behind Jose Cheeseborough for 35 yards on a third and 2. Carroll threw well on the move to his left throughout the day. His next incompletion came on throw to the back of the end zone. The play after that, linebacker Christopher Edwards strung out Darian Mallary and Chuck Grace dropped Mallary for a loss of 3. A third down fade pattern to 6-2 Glen Coleman didn't work because 5-9 cornerback Richard Leonard wouldn't let Coleman big brother jerk him out of the way. On the next snap, sophomore linebacker Gregory Hickman blocked a 35-yard Dylan Lynch field goal attempt. Hickman also had a sack that ended the third 1s vs. 1s possession.

The day's John Mackey Award goes to tight end Colt Anderson, who caught a short ball from Carroll, then bounced through two tacklers the way the recently deceased Colts tight end used to do.

(Digression: Double shot of pain for old Baltimore Colts fans recently, with Mackey and Bubba Smith passing. Both were significant players in football history. Mackey was the first truly modern tight end -- fast enough to get deep and a big, powerful, bed-wetting nightmare for defensive players to tackle in the open field. That it took 20 years for him to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame can be blamed in two things -- some old-time journalists resenting his role with the NFL Players Association and sheer ignorance. Bubba Smith was very good in the NFL, but awesome at Michigan State. Nobody wanted to face him on the field in college, nobody could fail to like him off the field. How did a 6-7 guy from Texas escape the old Southwest Conference? It was 1963. In a great HBO documentary on the integration of the SEC, ACC and SWC, Bubba told of talking to legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal about coming to Austin. Royal said he'd like to have Smith, but didn't know if he could get him a scholarship. Texas didn't have any black players. In fact, their 1969 national championship team would be the last national champion without black players. Bubba, who wanted to go to Texas like kids want to go to Disney World, summed up the pain and stupidity in racism when he recalled thinking "How is it you don't like me and you don't even know me?" Bubba took his personality and game to East Lansing, where he became BMOC, incredibly popular among students of all races, an All-American and staple on one of the greatest defenses in college football history. Michigan State crushed opponents with black players the SWC and SEC didn't want. Bubba would be the No. 1 overall pick in the 1967 common draft  between the AFL and NFL.)

Sophomore defensive tackle Isame Faciane had a nice scrimmage and drew a holding penalty on Shae Smith that wiped out a Carroll completion. But Faciane, 6-3, 290, said he's still getting used to playing with his added weight, 10 pounds since the spring, 45 pounds since the end of last season, and playing inside. When I was in college, I saw a lot of people try to get used to moving with an extra 45 pounds after their freshman year. Most weren't 6-3 and playing defensive tackle, although they could do to a Mother Bear's or Pizza Express pizza what I saw senior James Jones do to a few running backs Monday.

In the kicking game, kickoff edge to Dylan Lynch, kicking field goals edge to Jack Griffin. Griffin nailed a 47-yarder to trump Lynch's 40-yarder and a block of a Lynch attempt by Hickman (either because of Hickman's penetration or Lynch not getting the ball rising quickly enough). On the kickoffs, Lynch's greater height gives the coverage team time to get there. Though they only went to the 11-yard line or so, better that than Griffin's easily returned low liners to the 5.

Kedrick Rhodes ran for 34 yards on six carries. He said he's up 12 pounds over last season and worked on his speed and cutting with speed. It showed. Running back Jeremiah Harden had my favorite run of the day, actually a swing pass reception that he took up the sideline...and over a couple of defensive backs. Harden's 5-9, 200. Like Jim Brown said in one of his autobiographies, if you're big and fast, let them worry about living to fight another day.

For other stuff from the scrimmage, see the story at For that story, let me correct that the walk-on quarterback is Fred Porter, not Frank. I had the roster in front of me, but did the writing version of misspoke.

T.Y. Hilton's on the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player) watch list. Hey, a college award named after a player who was, wow, actually great in college! Hornung won the Heisman Trophy while at Notre Dame. In the NFL, he played running back, threw the occasional option pass and kicked. His 176 points in 1960, a 12-game season, stood as the NFL record for a single season until LaDainian Tomlinson broke it with 186 in a 16-game 2006 season. The award's given by the Louisville Sports Commission, which is why it's named after Louisville guy Hornung and not future Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese. Griese ran, passed, punted and kicked for Purdue (blecch) in 1966. The Boilermakers lost only to Notre Dame and Bubba Smith's senior year Michigan State team, both of which finished undefeated with only the blemish of their 10-10 tie on their records.

OK, since I referenced the truest form of my fellow Indianapolis native's late night show earlier, we'll close with a video from the last Late Night with David Letterman on NBC. From June 1993...


July 20, 2011

Hilton, Heismans & Sun Belt Media Days, Part II

Up from a brief tryptophan nap following two platefuls of the wife's turkey marsala, still unsure what I wrote down as the name of the Marcus Valle jam the Sushi-Samba DJ laid out a few Saturdays ago, here's a few things from Day 2 of a videoconference/teleconference virtual tour of Sun Belt football.

Oh, wait, not yet. For now, let's put aside all those optomistic coaches and players declaring he and his teammates just are hunkering down, working hard, not paying attention to anything anybody says, becoming a family, blah, blah, bland. Let's focus on a piece of shamelessly quixotic promotion: FIU's Hilton4Heisman campaign on Twitter and Facebook, surely coming to a t-shirt near you.

Unless T.Y. Hilton has a Barry Sanders 1988 season -- Sanders, who had run for about 800 yards his first two years at Oklahoma State behind Thurman Thomas, exploded for 2,628 rushing yards, 3,249 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns -- Hilton has about as much shot at the Heisman as I do at Wednesday's Lotto. Or, as Uncle Junior said when the FBI told him they wanted him to flip against Tony, "I want to (spend time with) Angie Dickinson. Let's see who gets lucky first."

But it's still about "Look at what we can do!" at FIU and in the Sun Belt, so why not start a grass roots online Heisman campaign that quickly drew several Twitter followers among media who don't cover/talk FIU reguarly? Why not show some dreamy recruit, hey, this isn't an automatic bid BCS conference, but the NFL finds guys everywhere and if you tear it up here, we'll put you out there for the college hardware? Besides, the star system left Hollywood in the 1950s, but it's alive and well in professional and college-affiliated sports. All Hilton has to do is live up to some of the hype to feed more hype and it all works for FIU.

(By the way, bringing up Sanders 1988 Heisman makes me recall a moment from ESPN's The Sports Reporters that shows how unheralded he was to some even during that phenomenal season. It was the day after Sanders had been awarded the Heisman. USC quarterbcak Rodney Peete and UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman had been contenders, but Sanders had won in a clear rout. In what's now called "Parting Shots," Jackie MacMullan, then of the Los Angeles Times, ripped the Sanders selection with: "Sally (Jenkins, another scribe), let's see if in 10 years, you're going to be able to tell me who won the Heisman the year Rodney Peete and Troy Aikman didn't." Jackie MacMullan's a truly great reporter and writer, so respected that Bird and Magic chose her to write their joint book a couple of years ago, but she had one of those regional bias moments that happens to everyone.)

As for FIU being unheralded last year, Troy coach Larry Blakeney said they might've been to some people, but not to him.

"I paid attention to them. I knew they were going to be good," Blakeney said. "I might've picked them to win last year. I picked them this year. They put a woodshedding on us up here (52-35) and that doesn't happen very much at our place."

He called it a "solid win, they won't ever forget and we won't ever forget." He also said, though, "we were in a state of disarray on defense. We weren't chemically together, whether it was coaching, playing, personnel, whatever." The following weeks, he said, one player quit, one player was kicked off the team and another player wasn't allowed to practice for a week. In the three-game stretch that saw the FIU game sandwiched between a win against North Texas and a loss to South Carolina, Troy gave up 156 points. They gave up 42 in the final two regular season wins and the bowl game, granted, against lesser competition overall.

Blakeney also opined that once the conference adds South Alabama, they need to figure out a way to get a conference championship game together. He believes that's a step toward the Sun Belt, one of the 11 BCS conferences, being one of the six that gets an automatic qualifier into a BCS bowl. It gives a definitive champion and the money could keep teams from having to be jobbers, taking the paid beatings such as FAU's early schedule of Florida, Michigan State and Auburn on the road.

FAU's Howard Schnellenberger admitted they took those games for the money, but also had hoped at some point to win a couple of those games to give a huge boost to your program and the conference. As he said, that's what the University of Miami had to do (most famously, upsetting Penn State in 1979) and what he had to do at Louisville. It hasn't happened yet at FAU, "because we had to come from a further distance away."

What's not so far away is the a.m. herding of the kittens, otherwise known as getting my daughter out of the house in the morning. Night-night.

July 19, 2011

Sun Belt Media Days, Part I

Now that I'm back from The Jetsons' Publix, where I seemingly willed the PA to play Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" by thinking it was time for the White Woman playlist on my iPod, then had this post wiped out once, I shall ruin a good night of sleep by reconstructing stuff from day 1 of Sun Belt videoconference/teleconferences.

Second out of the box Monday were FIU head coach Mario Cristobal and wide receiver/kick returner/blood pressure raiser T.Y. Hilton. Predictably and smartly, Cristobal dismissed FIU being chosen as the Sun Belt's Most Likely to Succeed by the conference's coaches. You can read most of it here:

As I said, the big shrug is the only proper response. Even so, I've lived down here long enough and covered sports long enough that part of me wished Cristobal would channel his former University of Miami teammates' tendency for talking brash trash. Media from anywhere else might've hated those teams and the NCAA is still creating killjoy rules to stop college kids from enjoying the game the way those teams did, but everybody who covered them day-to-day misses them at least a little. All you had to do was ask the right question, have the pen or tape recorder ready and shut up.

When I asked him what he expected to see this year from defenses targeting him more so than last year, Hilton said he expected teams to bang him around more on his way into pass patterns with the outside linebackers and defensive ends.

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill came up with an interesting solution to the question of paying players. Usually, coaches preach the NCAA gospel of hypocrisy or do a Michael Jackson Motown 25 moonwalk away from the subject. Stockstill, instead, said, "I'm in favor of players getting something. Whatever it is, we should put something on the player. Not just "You're on the football team, you get $1,000.""

Stockstill didn't think it would be fair for a player who just sucked up campus air and resources elsewhere to get the same jack as a player with a 4.0 and good citizenship. So, he said, maybe schools could tell players they have to pass all their classes, maintain a 2.0 average, stay out of trouble -- no arrests, dorm fights, discplinary problems -- and at the end of the semester, they get, say, $1,500. Then, do the same thing for the second semester.

"That's a way to give them $3,000 or so," Stockstill said.

Yes, Stockstill's plan has holes that invite even more extortion and overall corruption than already occurs. But it's a better alternative to a system that's increasingly unfair based on the mushrooming profits created by some programs on the backs of labor paid with tuition for classes football programs all but discourage them from attending.

First-year North Texas coach Dan McCarney invoked the "Troy Davis" name when talking about Lance Dunbar, the preseason co-Offensive Player of the Year with Hilton. McCarney's first two years as Iowa State head coach, he stacked the offense on Davis' stocky legs and ran the Miami Southridge High graduate enough for two 2,000-yard rushing seasons. Dunbar, who at 5-9, 203, looks like he could've grown up at the Davis' family dinner table, ran for 1,553 yards on 274 carries last year.

And guess who'll be the first one to test FIU's suspect defense?

Give McCarney candor points when discussing North Texas' standing in most preseason rankings. "Who are we kidding? When you have one NFL player drafted in 15 years; eight wins in four years; and no player here has experienced a winning season, what do you expect? That those guys are going to pick us in the top 20?"

To close this post at such a late hour, a video from a song I used to hear on WIBC 1070 AM when my 12-year-old butt stayed up into the wee hours each summer 1980 night listening to the radio. 



July 18, 2011

From Underdogs to Overcats?

Back from a sort-of vacation and being randomly selected by the TSA for bag search -- they're batting 1.000 when I'm wearing a dashiki or kente cloth hat. Coincidence? -- and about to jump on the Sun Belt Conference preseason media teleconference. One thing we know we'll hear from the coaches today: pumping up of FIU, the coaches' preseason pick for Sun Belt champions.

The Sun Belt's assumed to come down to FIU or Troy with the standard preseason publication line about FIU being "they won't catch anybody by surprise this year." In other words, underdogs no more. Bringing to mind something from the days when Saturday morning television schedules were previewed with two-hour prime time shows on Friday night...


T.Y. Hilton shared Preseason Offensive Player of the Year with North Texas running back Lance Dunbar. Along with Hilton, left tackle Caylin Hauptmann, linebacker Winston Fraser, defensive end Tourek Williams, and safety Jonathan Cyprien were Preseason All-Sun Belt selections.

On to the conference calls...

July 07, 2011

Fast FIU Guy on List For Award Named After All-Time Plodder

Of Fred Biletnikoff late in his Hall of Fame NFL career, his Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler wrote in an autobiography, "They said Freddy lost a step, but Freddy didn't have a step to lose."

Biletnikoff couldn't outrun your mother if she was wearing her best date night heels. A lit cigarette hung from his mouth in the pregame locker room and the Raiders knew it was time to hit the field when they heard Biletnikoff barf. Still, he spent 14 AFL-NFL seasons making some A-list defensive backs feel after the game the way he did before the game. Canny with subtle moves that got defenders moving this way while he went that way, Biletnikoff retired from the NFL after the 1978 season at No. 4 all-time in receptions (his AFL years were counted, of course). His status in pro football history outranks his status as a college player, though he was an All-America pick at Florida State and had his No. 25 retired. So, there's a little irony that it's college football that gives The Biletnikoff Award to the best wide receiver of the year.

And FIU's T.Y. Hilton has been named to the Biletnikoff Award's watch list.

It's not an exclusive club (see below), but for a program still saying nationally and locally, "Hey, over here!" it's happy preseason noise. Hilton's a secret only to the casual college football follower. He's on Athlon Sports preseason All-America team, as the third team all-purpose man. Most preseason guides rank Hilton as the Sun Belt's best NFL prospect. No matter that he'll be the focus of opposing defenses. Like most elite college athletes, he'll still put up great numbers if for no other reason than he's a much better athlete than those trying to stop him.

The Biletnikoff favorite has to be last year's winner, Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who rolled up a ridiculous 1,782 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns on 111 catches. Blackmon's closest competition might be over in Norman, Oklahoma, where OU's Ryan Broyles caught 131 passes for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns. But, who knows? The usual run of injuries, surprises, underachievements and someone barely on the watch list could be walking off with The Freddy.

Anyway, the rest of the watch list, in alphabetical order:

Arkansas' Joe Adams; West Virginia's Tavon Austin; SMU's Cole Beasley (he'll get big numbers in June Jones run-and-shoot); Indiana's Demario Belcher (an IU man for a major award? Brotha, please); UM's Travis Benjamin (if Jacory Harris doesn't create too many Jim Thorpe Award candidates); Auburn's Emory Blake; Southern Mississippi's Kelvin Bolden; TCU's Josh Boyce; Virginia Tech's Jarrett Boykin; Mississippi State's Chad Bumphis (wonder if his grandparents had turkey-loving dogs); Virginia's Kris Burd; Alabama's Duron Carter; Syracuse's Van Chew; Arkansas Greg Childs; Utah's Devonte Christopher; Oklahoma State's Josh Cooper; Arizona's Juron Criner; Michigan State's BJ Cunningham; Texas' Mike Davis; Northwestern's Jeremy Ebert (no Siskel from Illinois?); Houston's Patrick Edwards; Notre Dame's Michael Floyd; Arkansas State's Dwayne Frampton (be cool if he had the hair...); Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller; Wake Forest's Chris Givens; San Jose State's Noel Grigsby; Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton; Alabama's Darius Hanks; Rutgers' Mark Harrison; Miami of Ohio's Nick Harwell (Woody and Bo jointly roll over in their graves, Woody a little faster); Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins; South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery; Illinois' Al Jenkins; Tulsa's Damarius Johnson; SMU's Darius Johnson (see Beasley above); North Carolina's Dwight Jones; Cal's Marvin Jones; Bowling Green's Kamar Jorden; Washington's Jermaine Kearse; Georgia's Tavarres King; East Carolina's Lance Lewis; Nevada's Rishard Mathews; Alabama's Marquis Maze (all these WRs, you'd think Bama still had Stabler and Namath back there); Minnesota's DaJon McKnight; Iowa's Marvin McNutt; Missouri's TJ Moe; Penn State's Derrick Moye; Toledo's Eric Page; Kansas' Daymond Patterson; Hawaii's Royce Pollard; Ohio State's Devier Posey; Michigan's Roy Roundtree; Pitt's Mike Shanahan (can this one win anything big without an Elway?); Boise State's Tyler Shoemaker; UConn's Michael Smith; Oklahoma's Kenny Stills; Boston College's Bobby Swegert; Texas A&M's Ryan Swope; Texas Tech's Alex Torres; Duke's Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon; Oregon State's Markus Wheaton; Western Michigan's Jordon White; Central Michiga's Cody Wilson; Wahsington State's Marquess Wilson; Cincinnati's D.J. Woods; USC's Robert Woods; Arkansas' Jarius Wright; Baylor's Kendall Wright; Louisiana's Ladarius Green; Tulane's Ryan Grant; and LSU's Rueben Randall.

That's the list. Here's The Freddy Film.


There's an Ebert on this list from a Chicago-area school and you expect me to resist?


January 12, 2011

Hilton to return for senior season

FIU wide receiver T.Y. Hilton announced Wednesday that he will return for his senior year after flirting briefly with a jump to the NFL.

Hilton, the Sun Belt Conference player of the year, chose to remain on campus for his final year to earn his degree and improve his draft stock for 2012.

"The No. 1, thing he was looking, was with most of the kids that leave school early, they wanted to come back and get their degree,” said Hilton’s father, Tyrone Hilton. “He is happy with this decision, and I support him.”

Full story to come ...

UPDATE: Here's the story.

Hilton to announce decision today

Will T.Y. stay or will he go? We should know by the end of the day.

Conference player of the year T.Y. Hilton is expected to announce his intentions for his senior season at some point Wednesday.

Not sure which way Hilton is leaning yet, but when we hear something, we'll let you know.

If you want up-to-the-minute accounts of his status, I suggest following me on Twitter, which is the fastest and easiest way to get the news out.

As for Mario Cristobal, yes, as many of you have noted, he didn't get the job at Pitt, where numerous reports linked him as a possible candidate. The Post-Gazette claims he was one of eight interviewed for the job, which ultimately went to Todd Graham.

Sorry I didn't get this out yesterday. My one day off for the week.

January 09, 2011

Hilton to go pro? Check back Wednesday

T.Y. Hilton will decide whether or not to jump to the NFL by Wednesday morning, and a formal annoucement is expected by the end of the week.

This is according to his dad, Tyrone Hilton, who had previously said that the Sun Belt's player of the year would likely have his mind made up after meeting with FIU coach Mario Cristobal Sunday.

Apparently, Hilton -- who was on a float with Cristobal Sunday as part of the Three Kings Parade -- is still mulling his options.

It seems he's not the only one.

Cristobal has been named by several publications as a potential candidate for the University of Pittsburgh's head coaching opening, but the school has been tight-lipped on specifics of its search process.

When we hear more, you'll hear more.

January 05, 2011

Projecting T.Y. Hilton's draft value

So news came yesterday that T.Y. Hilton might skip his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft as a freshman junior.

Certainly, few FIU fans would begrudge him that choice. He's already broken most every FIU receiving and offensive record, and made the signature plays of the Panthers' Sun Belt championship run -- not to mention their Little Caesars Pizza Bowl championship.

So can he? Of course. But should he?

Scouting websites haven't really given a grade for Hilton, because he's considered part fo the class of 2012.

But it's instructive to see the value of the player he's been most often compared with: Troy's Jerrel Jernigan.

Both are of the same mold: Smallish, lightning quick, and versatile.

And if Hilton's graded anywhere near as high as Jernigan, he should think long and hard about taking the plunge.

Several websites list Jernigan as one of the top receivers in this year's relatively weak class, and he's been slotted to go anywhere between the first and fifth rounds.

Now, we're hearing that Hilton's projection wouldn't be quite that high (probabaly no better than third round), and the depth of the position will surely improve when underclassmen decide to declare.

But if the Advisory Committee comes back with a strong evaluation, FIU fans may have to brace themselves for a Hilton-less 2011.

November 08, 2010

October 07, 2010

Q&A with FIU offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield

The GPP sat down with FIU offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield ahead of Saturday's showdown with Western Kentucky.

Q: How would you assess Wes Carroll’s play so far?

SS: Well, everyday has just been a process to try to get better. We strive for perfection, so if we fall a little bit short, we’ll still be pretty good. We’ve struggled a lit bit throughout the season thus far, hit or miss, real inconsistency throwing the football. He’s managed the offense well, though. We’ve had had some good drives, some 14-play, 16-play drives, and some of them, not just one. We’ve been able to manage the offense well. But there are times where we’ve gotten guys open and we’ve not been able to hit. But overall, I think he’s done well. He’s gotten better and better. I think he had a solid day at Pittsburgh. That was one of the better defenses we’ve faced this year. He’s protected the ball, for the most part, and I think he’s coming around. He’s learning the offense. He’s getting more comfortable running the offense. And you can’t get that just in practice. You have to play in the games. So I’m glad we had the four games before we’ve started conference play.

Q: How far along are you in learning what he’s comfortable with, and what he does well? Satterfield

SS: Again, everyday, he’s working on his accuracy. That’s the main thing. We’ve got to be accurate when we throw the football. The reading process in the passing game, he’s gotten better at, so we’re actually throwing to the right guys. Now we have to get the accuracy part. I thought Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh was his best game, in terms of throwing the ball, accuracy-wise. I think there were one or two balls where he wasn’t accurate on, but I think that’s one thing he’s gotten better with. In practice, we don’t want any balls on the ground. We’re trying to complete every pass, whether it be a walkthrough or whatever. And it think that’s one thing he’s gotten better with.

Q: Compared to other offenses, how difficult is this to pick up?

SS: It’s not that hard of an offense to learn. We basically run our offense. We’re not putting any new plays in, week-in and week-out. We’re running the same stuff, just out of some different looks. Once he gets the base down, which he has, we can start tweaking after that. It’s not that difficult of an offense to learn. We’ve picked it up pretty well, and not we’re in conference play, ready to move forward.

Q: What are defenses doing to keep T.Y. Hilton bracketed?

SS: Well, that’s a good question. Wish I knew what was going on. [Chuckle]. We always try to get the ball to T.Y. He’s a good player. There’s just been certain instances when we’ve tried to get him the ball, and whether they put a linebacker underneath and a safety over the top, he hasn’t been able to get clear. It’s not been good for us. We’re trying to get him the ball so he can do some things. We put him in the backfield so he can run the ball, some sweeps to get him the ball. Yeah, we’re constantly making an effort to try to get him the ball. I think the Maryland game, he had the most touches this season. But they have got a linebacker locked down on him and a safety over the top. Saturday, we put him on the outside and they put the corner down on him and the safety over the top, which they haven’t been doing all game. It’s making it harder to get the ball to him, but we’ve got to do some things creatively, motions, to get him free.

Q: How can you get better running the ball?

SS: Hopefully, now that we’re starting conference play, we’ll be able to run the football a little bit better, a feel. Again, we’re trying to get the five guys on the field at the same time, the O-line guys. We’ve kind of been shuffling the guard position. We’ve started three guards this year. We’re trying to find the right combination of five guys. Once we find those five guys, I think the cohesiveness with the guys up front [will improve]. Caylin [Hauptmann] just got here in the summer. Rupert didn’t play much last year. The guards have been shuffled around. The group of offensive linemen, now they’ve played four games together, they’re starting to mesh a little bit. I think the played well in the Pittsburgh game, who has one of the better D-lines we’ll see this year. I feel like, now that we’re in conference play and we have four games under our belt, we’ll start to run the football.

June 18, 2010

FIU At The Movies -- Episode IV

Crawl Four years ago in a blog not that far, far away from 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

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

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

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


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.


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.


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?

June 06, 2010

Canadian Spoon

Former FIU safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon signed with the Calgary Stampeders. Been told theSpoon Stampeders like Spoon as a starter. He is currently in rookie mini-camp north of the border.

Aaapaw Will have a wrapup post on the 2010 FIU baseball season in the next few days

Once again, congratulations to Garrett Wittels (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) on his active 56-game hitting streak. The greatest season by an FIU athlete that I can recall. Although, T.Y. Hilton's freshman season and Yarimar Rosa's All-American seasons are both a close second.

Mark your calendars, GW's historic run continues February 18, 2011 when FIU opens the season against UMass in a 3-game series at FIU Baseball Stadium.

Been assigned to MLB Draft duty the next 3 days so I will keep you updated on which current Panthers and which future Panthers get picked and when they are selected.

Of course, the first FIU player drafted Monday -- well what could have been an FIU player -- will be Brito shortstop Manny Machado, who is projected to be taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the No. 2 overall pick.


Aaapaw Pack your lunches, we're going on a field trip later this week.

TheChampionUnderdog: Hey pete, is Garrett going to continue letting his hair grow out until next season?Gw

PP: If he goes hitless in one game during summer ball, he might cut it. If he puts together a hitting streak during summer ball, then you might see hair coming out of No. 10's batting helmet next February.

I'll give you my thoughts on the 2010 FIU baseball season later this week. For now let's get your thoughts and your vote....

April 09, 2010

155 Days til Season Opener

Spring practice is done after Wednesday's Blue/Gold Spring Game and now the countdown begins for the 2010 season opener vs. Rutgers on Sept. 11 at FIU Stadium. Just 155 days.

The next time you'll see the Panthers on the football field might be for one of the few open practices when camp rolls around in the second week of August.

The last time we saw FIU on the field was Wednesday in the spring game and what came out of that was: an aggressive, faster defense, a stud running back in the making and an offense that took some time to getWilson going, but when the QBs got time to throw and the playmakers got a hold of the pigskin we saw what FIU is capable of when it has the ball. Now they just have to put it all together when Sept. 11 rolls around.

You can take to the poll question at the bottom of this post.


Yes, it was against an offense they see everyday in practice and yes, the offensive line was missing some key cogs (Brad Serini, Rupert Bryan and Austin Tottle on Wednesday), but the Panthers D certainly came out in the spring game like they just ate a 5-alarm bowl of chili from new DC Geoff Collins's kitchen.

What was most encouraging of the D's performance was that many of the young defenders (sophomores) were the ones making plays. FIU will rely on a lot of these young guys this season, because that's what the majority (18 sophomores) of FIU's D is comprised of in 2010.

Although it was old man -- if we can call a senior that -- Jarvis Wilson (above, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who unleashed havoc in the O's backfield early with 3 sacks of Wayne Younger. Sophomore LB Winston Fraser (left) had a hand in 1 of the 3 sacks. It seemed like Jarvis is a lot quicker this year.

Wf WF also got in on a QB hurry later on and with DL Tourek Williams chased down Younger which is not easy to do considering the QB's elusiveness. DL Kasey Smith, who coaches expect big things from, had a tackle for loss.

Other sophs who made plays early on were Markeith Russell and Josh Forney with some tackles in the backfield.

Although both GC and OC Scott Satterfield kept the play calling very simple, the FIU D did blitz a lot.

Probably, one of the sophs you have been expecting to breakout, did so Wednesday. Pooh Bear Mars (right) had 6 tackles in the game and about half of them were for a loss using his speed and power to get into the backfield. It seems like the game is slowing down for PBM this spring.

DB Chuck Grace made a couple of plays: batting a Wesley Carroll pass and CG also went over the middlePooh and batted a pass away intended for Wayne Times. Emmanuel Souarin, who has had a good spring, kept it going in the spring game with a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage on pass plays.

Senior Kreg Brown had a pick and defensive lineman James Jones almost had a pick that would have gone for 6 if he holds on.

One thing that might have had GC hot when he watched the film later was that there were a handful of missed tackles -- which was an issue last season even though GC was not here in 2009. Although on some of those plays, we have to give credit to No. 6.


No. 6 would be new running back Jeremiah Harden, (left) who made the spring game his personal showcase.

Jh What will stand out for most about JH's performance Wednesday will be the 69-yard TD run that only the Youth Fair was able to contain him from running onto SW 107th Ave. 

But more than that is what JH showed when he first gets any handoff. As you may have read in a previous post on here, WC -- JH's high school teammate -- described JH as a guy that gets lost going into a pile, but somehow always finds his way out for extra yardage.

Besides that ability, what I've noticed from JH is his vision of knowing where the blocks are going to be and knowing when to cut it back, because there are no open running lanes in front of him. That's what makes JH a special back.

On the long TD run, we saw that once JH got around the right corner he put it into an extra gear and then some to out run the D.

Now FIU has to develop another back to complement JH. A slimmer Darriet Perry has the ability to be that back. He needs to get back in the flow after missing half of last season with an injury. 

Freshman Kedrick Rhodes could possibly be the Ricky to JH's Ronnie -- if you will. If you're looking for a sleeper in this position battle come camp look toward senior Trenard Turner, who has a knack for breaking tackles, but has been injured most of his FIU career.


Like you've read a zillion times on here, the FIU spread O will go as the O-line goes. Missing 3 key OLinemen Wednesday didn't help, but still the O had some trouble getting going early on which occurred in some games last season.

However, once the O got some rhythm we saw what the playmakers can do.

TE Jonathan Faucher, who along with Colt Anderson has improved, caught a 16-yard TD pass from WC.Jm

WC also hit Junior Mertile (right, thanks AJH photo), who looks fully recovered from his knee injury, for a 56-yard TD.

Again Times continues to look better and better. WT led all receivers with 4 catches for 73 yards and what makes him dangerous are his moves in the open field. The moves are T.Y. Goodbye-like.

WC had the better day of the 2 QBs throwing the ball and directing the O. But at the end of the day, the stats were similar between the 2 QBs. WC was 8 of 11 for 90 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT. WY went 8 of 15 for 80 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT.

Future FIU playmaker Willis Wright and future FIU safety Randy Williams and many of the Miami Springs Golden Hawks took in the spring game as they sat near the 40-yard line.


Apaw Will have a mid-season look at the FIU baseball team on the next post. The Panthers are in Murfreesboro, Tenn. this weekend taking on a tough Middle Tennessee. Saturday's game is on TV on CSS's Sun Belt Game of the Week.

Apaw The lovely Golden Dazzlers are putting on their annual variety show on Saturday, April 17 at U.S. Century Bank Arena. As we saw last season, the Dazzlers can put on a show with their tribute toDazzz Daz Michael Jackson (left, thanks AJH photo) and their salute to Harley Davidson (right, AJH photo) Here is some more info from an e-mail sent by the Dazzlers:

The Variety Show is an annual fundraiser (and biggest) which we have done in the past. This is the 5th one.

It is an all dance event featuring the Golden Dazzlers performing various dance routines showcasing many styles of dance such as lyrical, jazz, pom and hip hop. Group numbers, solos, duos and all sort of combinations will be involved. In addition, we have guest performers from the community, giveaways and2010 Variety Show interactive crowd games. 

After spending all year performing at football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball games (not to mention the appearances and community events) this is finally an event where it’s only about us, by us. It’s the Dazzlers turn to shine!

We would love the fans’ support on this one!!!!

Tickets are now on pre-sale for $ 8.00 at the football fieldhouse and at the door at the arena on show day for $ 10.00.

Apaw As you may have noticed by the photo on the left in the rail, Adam Beasley is joining the FIU beat and will handle the print duties.

A little about Adam: besides bringing plenty of writing experience from Syracuse and working in newspapers in 5 states, Adam is a busy guy at the Herald.

In addition to FIU, Adam also covers soccer for the Herald and works in the news department. In news, Adam will be a charter member of the breaking news team. Adam will continue to split his time with the continuous news desk, writing breaking news and 1A takeouts for the daily newspaper and the Sunday newspaper.


O'darris D'haiti #20: How did saloney joseph do as I worked out with him before he tried out for the team. He is a small guy but the kid has heart. You think he will stay with the team by what u seen so far in practice and the spring game?

PP: Saloney looked quick. He's not that big of a back at all, but he might surprise if given some extra reps. Not sure if he will be back for fall camp. All depends on the health of the RBs.

Xmas You Got Gold: Pete, the regular signing period for college hoops should be starting soon, right? I think it's mid-April til mid-May. Does Isiah have any scholarships left for 2010?

PP: IT does not have anymore scholarships left for this season, but you never know if all the players from last season will be back and maybe a scholie or 2 opens up here or there. Will have any updates if they happen. If anything else, check back in October when practice begins.

Last I heard, we might find out around mid-summer if it will be an early "Christmas" season for FIU.

April 01, 2010

2nd Spring Scrimmage

The Panthers went through their second spring scrimmage on Thursday afternoon at FIU Stadium.

The scrimmage like all practices this week was closed to the public and media, but after speaking to someTw sources, here is some of what happened during the scrimmage.

The defense got after it with four sacks. Tourek Williams, (right) who continues to shine this spring, got a sack on one play and a tackle for loss on another. Was told TW really stood out on Thursday.

Little Canada, James Jones -- recovering nicely from off-season surgeries -- and Andrew Mattox had the other sacks.

Was told on his sack, Mattox chased the down the quarterback across the field showing off some of the quickness that earned him Volusia County Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. Mattox is turning into one of the better walk-on additions in the program's 8-year history.

Wayne Younger (left) got the majority of snaps on Thursday, because Wesley Carroll had to leave early for a class. WC threw just one pass and completed it for nearly 40 yards to Ariel Martinez.

Wy WY continued his strong spring going 15 of 23 for 168 yards and 2 TDs.

Among WY's top throws on Thursday, he connected with T.Y. Goodbye for a 38-yard TD. WY also found T.Y. for another good gain and Ty Frierson as well.

No shocker here, Goodbye led all receivers with 6 catches for 90 yards. Yeah, No. 4 is pretty good.

WY's other TD came on a short pass to emerging tight end Colt Anderson. That's CA's 2nd TD catch in as many scrimmages.

Although from what one source said, CA did not have to make his video game move to score this time, unlike the XBox move he made on his 38-yard TD in the first scrimmage.

Trenard Turner led the running game with the only rushing score from inside the 10-yard line.

From what another source tells me, after the offense did its work, the defense took over again to end theWf scrimmage.

Word is defensive back Emmanuel Souarin again made tackles for loss and played good pass coverage. Defensive back Antwoine Bell had a pass deflection.

Linebacker Winston Fraser, (right) healthy again, ended the scrimmage with an interception that he almost returned for a TD.

From what I was told, Fraser played very aggressive Thursday and looked as quick as ever. WF is one LB that can really be a difference maker on this defense in the upcoming season. You all saw what he did when he was on the field last season.


Aaapaw LIVE GAME BLOG is back tommorrow (Friday) and all through the 3-game series this weekend between FIU and Louisiana. Will be on-line at 6:54 p.m. tommorrow. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

While the Panthers will be playing baseball Friday. The Golden Dazzlers will be playing babeball as they make their baseball debut at Friday's game.....The photos -- such as the one on the right never get old.

Aaapaw No word yet on the spring game. But it could be sometime in the middle to latter part of next week.Dazz


FIU observer: Is Jonathon Jackson still on the team?

PP: Yes he is and he's made some plays this spring.

c-UM: Dont sell us short now Pete, we have 16 wins, not 15

PP: Yes, FIU has 16 wins. My mistake.

SouthPaw: Pete, what's the status of Edgar Theliar and Derrick Clark? Are either expected to be back for Fall practice?

PP: No, neither will be at FIU.

You Got Gold: Hey Pete, Could you update us on the McVay and Leith injuries?

PP: Leith is still expected back at some point this season to give FIU another lefty out of the pen. McVay is not pitching this season as he recovers from elbow surgery.

Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez photo gallery for pictures

Time for a spring poll question:

March 24, 2010

As Promised...1st Spring Scrimmage

We're down to 5 spring practices before the Spring Game. FIU will hold its second spring scrimmage this Saturday at 12 noon at FIU Stadium. A 12 p.m. scrimmage?? Could it be to get a feel for opening the season Sept. 11 at high noon in 90-degree weather against the northern-based Rutgers?? Something to think about.

Harden So to get you ready for Saturday's scrimmage, here's what went on in the Panthers first spring scrimmage back on March 12.


Two of the most important units on the Panthers team this fall will be the offensive and defensive lines, because both are relatively young and inexperienced. In the scrimmage, each line got the upper hand on the other during different times in the 100-play workout.

The O-line carved up some nice holes for the FIU RBs, but some of the FIU RBs made their own holes such as newcomer Jeremiah Harden.

In what might be a sign of things to come later this fall, Harden (left) had a punishing 22-yard touchdown run in where he broke three different tackles. On 2 of the tackles, JH powered through 2 pairs of defenders. JH doesn't look like a big, bruising back, but as former high school teammate and current FIU teammate Wesley Carroll put it: "Jeremiah will run into a pile of players and when you think he's stopped, Jeremiah will pop out of the pile and break one."

On this TD run, JH did not encounter a pile, but on 2 different occassions it appeared JH was going down. Instead he broke free. The run brought to mind when Darriet Perry carried three Hooters defenders on his back for 13 yards in the 2009 Don Shula Bowl at Dolphin Stadium. JH finished the scrimmage with 6 carries for 35 yards.

Speaking of DP, he had some tough running too. DP looks a lot lighter than last season and my 2 cents think that will help him more this season. DP also made a nifty 1-handed catch on a pass thrown behindTimes him.


Wayne Times (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) was the featured receiver in the scrimmage as T.Y. Goodbye sat out with bumps and bruises -- nothing serious. He is expected back for Saturday. Tight end Dudley LaPorte will miss the remainder of spring ball with a small fracture in his foot. DLP is wearing a boot and should be healed by the time camp rolls around in August.

Times showed some sticky hands and his new muscles helped him break some tackles that he probably does not break last season. WT led all receivers with 7 catches for 44 yards.

Although the O-line paved the way for 145 rushing yards on 27 carries (5.4 yards per carry), they had a couple of false start penalties that were bug-a-boos last year.

Future FIU O-lineman David Delsoin and future FIU QB Jake Medlock took in the scrimmage.


Sound like maybe a Cajun dish? Nah, just some of the defensive standouts in the scrimmage. And that's how you spell chese for this particular post.

The defense got going once the offense entered the red zone.

Kasey Smith had a sack and defensive back Dez Johnson, who is back after getting a medical redshirt from last season, broke up a pass in the end zone that ended the possession on 4th down.

We won't really know how much the D has improved under new DC Geoff Collins until they start playing against an offense with a different color jersey and helmet, but one thing that has been prevalent through spring ball is that the D looks more physical than last season.

Gaitor DB Emmanuel Souarin, who is having a good spring, had a big hit to stop a short pass. Safety Jonathan Cyprien is not making it comfortable for receivers to go over the middle.

Anthony Gaitor (left, thanks AJH photo) is healthy and he's shown it on pass D. He knocked away two passes.

The Pooh Bear Mars you have been waiting for is starting to be unleashed working at middle linebacker. PBM broke through the O-line and got the tackle for loss on a screen pass. You could tell on the play that PBM has some quickness.

Walk-on DB Jose Cheseborough had a sack. Everytime I look over at No. 27, he seems to be making a play.

Linebacker Aaron Davis made 2 consecutive plays: making a tackle in the backfield for a loss and on the next play, AD broke up a short pass.


The quarterbacks played pretty even in the scrimmage. Wayne Younger was 14 of 28 for 100 yards. WC was 5 of 15 for 75 yards and a TD.

WC connected with Colt Anderson (right) for the only passing TD on a pass down the middle. CA made the playCa when he faked out 2 defenders on his run into the end zone. The move got the rest of the team hooting and hollering on the sidelines. The TD went for 38 yards.

Keep your eye on Anderson, because he can be a big part of this offense. He has the size, hands and athleticism to play tight end at the Division I level.

Yes, DLP is a huge part of this team's offense, but CA is developing as a solid tight end and you can't forget about Jonathan Faucher and Joey Harris, who have become 2 big bodies that can catch the football.

Toward the end of the scrimmage, Kendall Berry broke off a 23-yard run. KB led all RBs with 54 yards on 6 carries.

The scrimmage ended with the D stopping the O inside the 5-yard line. Cyprien had a pass breakup and redshirt freshman Terrance Taylor deflected the pass on 4th down to end the day.

After the D denied the O, DC Collins dove into his defense's celebration pile.


Aaapaw Thanks again to all you good people for the kind words. Let's get to your questions:


alt7787: Since you're back I've got a question on top of my L.A. Fitness one, but answering that one is at your discretion. Haha. Josh Johnson has been somewhat weak this spring training, is it anything to be legitimately concerned about or will Josh be good to go opening day?

PP: The L.A. Fitness reference in the previous blog was about a husband and wife who yelled from theJj second floor of that gym asking me where have I been for the past week.

Josh Johnson (right) will be fine. Most every player has a bad outing during the spring. The Marlins have bigger concerns than JJ such as who will be their 3-4-5 starting pitchers and will Leo Nunez hold up as the closer. It could be a long season if the Marlins starting pitchers struggle early like they did last season and wear out the bullpen.

gpantera: In order to write informative FIU Blogs, will the Herald allow you to cover FIU in person by attending practices, games, travel with team, etc?

PP: I will be at games. We're still ironing out the schedule as far as how the beat will be covered between me and TBA or his cousin TBD. You'll keep getting the daily blogs on here that have won Oscars, Tonys, Grammys, Emmys and Espys and there will be times when I'll also be covering on the print side.

chrisfiu: On a side note, great to hear the Dazzlers will also be at the baseball games. Will the dates be given out in advance?

PP: I'm going to get more info for you on when the Dazzlers (left, thanks AJH photo) will be performing at baseball games. Maybe they will break out new baseball outfits. Just not the baggy throwbacks the baseball team wears for Sunday home games.

Dazz Gooch7: PETE: Since there is ONLY one week till the Spring Game will the Herald and FIU advertise the game so we can have a good turn out.

PP: I'll find out more for you about what FIU is planning for the Spring Game.

ThePerfectFan: OMG it is so good to have you back PP!! I want to ask a question about pitching for the FIU Baseball? Why do all the pitchers start such a wonderful season and all of a sudden they start falling like flies in such a short time? Are they been overworked, not given them enough confidence? Given them too many innings to pitch? What is it can someone please explain?

PP: The lack of depth on the FIU pitching staff is one reason. FIU has to manage the way it uses its pitchers carefully this season, because whether it was losing 2 of its top pitchers (Ebert, Mejia) to the major leagues or injured pitchers (Garcia, McVay, Leith) and another not being eligible (Dodds) the Panthers are playing without a full staff this season. That's the hand they were dealt and you try and make the best of it.

I don't think it's a case of pitchers not having confidence, but sometimes they pitch a little more this season, because of the lack of depth. And at times it has worked fine such as Daniel DeSimone (right, thanks AJH photo) pitching a complete game last week and giving FIU 7 innings in Tuesday's win vs. Jacksonville -- both outings helped the FIU bullpen get some much needed rest. At other times, the opponents catch up to FIU's lack of depthDd such as last weekend vs. Troy and hot-swinging Rutgers from 2 weeks ago. It's going to be interesting to see how FIU fares down the stretch against a tough-hitting Sun Belt where 14-12 games can be the norm as the weather gets hotter and as the season heads down the stretch.

*BTW, FIU is not changing its colors to green and white, what DD is wearing in the photo on the right is the green hats and socks the Panthers wore on March 18 vs. Southern Utah in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

josh: Pete anything new about the Norwegian bball player Torgrim Sommerfeldt? I know you mentioned a few weeks back about him possibly coming to play?

PP: Nothing new on Torgrim. However, there is another top player that might be popping up on FIU's radar. Need to double check what I'm hearing before posting on here. Let's just say if all of Isiah's commits and the players he is recruiting end up signing with FIU, then you might be watching the 2011-2012 All-Sun Belt First Team wearing FIU across their chests and playing at the Bank. Stay tuned.

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