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Day 3: Sunday in shoulder pads

The first full pads practice will be Tuesday. Today, the team worked shoulder pads, as they will Monday. 

Today saw some red zone work, an area that FIU did well in last year as far as getting points (86.7 percent of the time, 2nd in the Sun Belt) but not necessarily touchdowns (48.8 percent, 8th in the Belt). Those who read this blog during last season know that one of my pet peeves with FIU most of last season was the thin usage of tight ends Jonathan Faucher and Colt Anderson, two of their best athletes, in the red zone. It wasn't a coincidence that, late in the season, they got to the end zone on almost every red zone visit they threw to the tight end. Just based on that and having a 6-3 quarterback who consistently can see over defensive linemen on a short drop, I'd bet on Ya'keem Griner, Zach Schaubhut and Junior Delpe to get some play from 5 to 10 yards out.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was some extra work put in on center snaps the next few days.

Freshmen linebacker Patrick Jean, linebacker Leroy Owens and defensive lineman Fadol Brown are making strong bids for second-string playing time. Freshman defensive back Jeremiah McKinnon picked off two passes Sunday, one in team drills against the third team, another in individual drills. Again, caveat: it's not real until somebody gets hit in the mouth.

FIU coach Mario Cristobal will be on Channel 7 Sunday Sports Xtra tonight at 11:30.

Check out today's story on Kedrick Rhodes at http://www.miamiherald.com/sports.



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