January 11, 2014

Senior Adult Swim (& Dive); modest Mama Hilton

Today's 146-90 crushing of Central Connecticut came on Senior Day over at the Biscayne Bay Campus pool, the fourth of four home swim meets this year. Too bad the most successful team, if you combine academics and athletics, at FIU has so few chances to be seen by their peers. Plus, the water women do their thing across town from the main campus.

But at least they've got their own venue, unlike the track team.

Anyway, enough with the re-yammering of what I've yammered before. Here's the senior class:

Sonia Perez Arau -- FIU's distance ace holds school records in the 500 freestyle, 1000 free, 1650 free, 400 individual medley and was part of the school record 800 free relay team. She set the Sun Belt Conference record, 4:10.54, in winning the 400 IM at the Sun Belt meet last year and has the best 400 IM time in Conference USA this year.

Perez Arau also made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or better) in 2011-12.

Sabrina Beaupre -- The best diver in FIU history. The only record she doesn't hold is in a 10-dive 1-meter competition and 11-dive 3-meter. And she doesn't hold those records because the NCAA discontinued them. Three-time Sun Belt Diver of The Year, which makes sense because she won the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions at all three of the Sun Belt Conference meets and holds the Sun Belt records in each event. She could rack up a hat trick at the Conference USA meet because C-USA has Platform Diving. Beaupre's ranked first in Platform and 1-meter this year, second in 3-meter.

You know the line about "as useful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest?" Well, One-Ankle Beaupre kicked butt in all those contests last year before missing the NCAAs for ankle surgery.

She also made the Sun Belt Commissioner's List (3.5 GPA or better) in 2012-13.

Mary Boucher -- Boucher would be FIU's Distance Queen, record-holder in the 1650 free and 100 free, if it weren't for Perez Arau. She's also got the fourth fastest time in the 500 free. She made the Sun Belt Commissioner's List in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Melissa Moreno -- Moreno has the third fastest time in the 200 butterfly in FIU history. Just writing "200 butterfly" makes me want to call a masseuse for my shoulders and lats. Moreno made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Sarah D'Antoni -- D'Antoni scored points for FIU in the 100 fly and 200 fly at the 2013 Sun Belt Championships, her 200 fly time being second all-time at FIU behind the Panthers all time Fly Girl, Marina Ribi. D'Antoni made the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll last year, her first at FIU since coming from Indian River College.

Valeriia Popova -- Popova swam the breaststroke leg of the school-record 200 medley relay team and has the seventh-fastest FIU times in the 50 free and 100 back. She made the Sun Belt Honor Roll in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Note to those advocating the necessity of babysitting academically deficient athletes in certain other sports: the swim team often is finishing its first workout of the day when other athletes are hitting the snooze bar for the first time and they don't seem to need an army of coaches hounding them about going to class.



In the above story, I made reference that T.Y. Hilton's mother, Cora Hilton, played college basketball. She didn't make any reference to her high school days other than to say she played.

One of the community folks I've known down here since my earliest days at The Herald texted me early this morning that the former Cora Burnett "was one of the best point guards in Miami Central history" as well as "A school leader in our class...everybody had respect in school for CB."

Indeed, some research determines she was a star point guard on strong Central teams before graduating in 1981.






January 05, 2014

Hilton heading up; swimmers finish second

T.Y. Hilton didn't have a Roc Alexander to punk Saturday in the NFL playoffs. He didn't have a Marvin Harrison to suck attention. But he knew how to take advantage of a sitaution for 13 catches, 224 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas City Saturday.

When Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne scorched Denver for 10 catches, 221 yards and two touchdowns in the 2004 Wild Card round, Wayne benefitted from the circumstances. After Peyton Manning was nearly perfect in the 2003 playoffs against Denver, the Broncos traded for cornerback Champ Bailey. Denver stuck Bailey on Marvin Harrison in the 2004 playoffs and had a safety checking in also on Harrison, but left rookie Roc Alexander on Wayne. Manning and Wayne buried poor Alexander that day.

Saturday, as has been the case for just over half the season since he went down with a season-ending injury, Wayne was out. Hilton, already drawing occasional double coverage before Wayne went down, has become even more the focus of opposing defenses in a league where winning turns on making or preventing big plays. Hilton owned the Colts first drive. And the 64-yard winning touchdown bomb encompassed the essence of kid football: go long and I'll heave it to you. Or, if the kid throwing happens to be Andrew Luck, I'll whistle it along a wire to you in stride.

Kansas City lost Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers during the playoff game against the Colts, subtracting from an already-banged up secondary. There was clear confusion on the game-winning touchdown. Yet there was also just slow reaction to too much speed. Still, that's a good secondary. KC won't be spending multiple draft picks on cornerbacks, as Denver did after the Manning-to-Wayne beat down.

Hilton's put on size, which he'll need for durability. Because just as Harrison retired and Wayne became the No. 1 guy in Indy for Manning to target, Wayne's years remaining are few and Hilton's next in line to be Luck's main man wideout (if he isn't already).

And with each game, a few people will ask and learn, "What's Florida International?" Good marketing.


FIU finished second to New Mexico in Saturday's 10-team FIU Invite.

Sabrina Beaupre won both diving events, which meant she was a bigger winner in South Florida during break than her beloved Canadiens were on the ice against the Florida Panthers. Freshman Jennifer Alfani won the 50 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay with juniors Klara Andersson, Johanna Gustafsdottir and freshman Jennifer Deist.


October 23, 2013

Today's Paella of Sports

Before heading for The Cat House up north Wednesday I swung by FIU Stadium.

The only Home Depot jersey sat on the shoulders of freshman running back Alonso Randolph, still on crutches. Cornerbacks Richard Leonard and Jeremiah McKinnon were back at practice. Off the roster and the program for now are redshirt junior wide receiver James Louis; sophomore safety Adrian Jenkins; transfer running back Anthon Samuel; and sophomore wide receiver Raymond Jackson. Some might return for spring football.

I wouldn't expect many lineup changes this week. If you know one player from Louisiana Tech, it should be IK Enemkpali. That's not an architectural firm, but a 6-1, 272-pound defensive end with 5.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and -- love this -- a team-high two interceptions.

With the Indianapolis Colts having a bye this week, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will serve as honorary captain for Saturday's FIU game.


I heard there's been a firing among the athletic department directors. Still checking to confirm.


Hey, FIU's got another diver besides senior Sabrina Beaupre! Freshman Lily Kaufman took home Conference USA Diver of the Week honors after FIU's trounced North Florida and senior Sonia Perez took the C-USA Swimmer of the Week award. 

One of FIU's weaknesses in the Sun Belt Conference meets was volume of swimmers and divers, especially the latter. Beaupre won the last couple of years with the ease of FDR, but other schools still piled up points behind her. Beaupre and Kaufman have the top two scores in C-USA this season.

Perez, the 2013 Sun Belt 400 individual medley champion and FIU school record holder, won the 400 IM at North Florida in 4:20.93 and the 100 backstroke in 58.70.


Freshman Coralia Arias became the third consecutive FIU player and second consecutive FIU freshman to take medalist honors at the FIU Pat Bradley Invitational. Arias' 6-under 210 led FIU's third place team effort and put her a stroke up on Daytona State's So Young Hwang. As a team, FIU finished 12-over 876, behind Maryland's 9-over 873 and Daytona State's 10-over 874. 

Last year's medalist, sophomore Meghan MacLaren slumped over the final two rounds to a 9-over 225, 28th. Sophomore Sophie Godley finished sixth at 2-under 214.





October 06, 2013

A Two-Loss Weekend

Junior Johanna Volz's overtime goal gave the women's soccer team a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon against Louisiana Tech to get 4-8 and 2-2 in Conference USA. The men's soccer team crushed Marshall 4-0 Sunday to even the overall record at 5-5 and the Conference USA record at 1-1. The swim team gave FAU the what for Saturday.

OK, volleyball went zero for Texas, losing 3-0 each to Texas-San Antonio and UTEP.

In the NFL, T.Y. Hilton blazed to five catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns for Indianapolis. Jacksonville lost again, but safety Johnathan Cyprien had a team-high 12 tackles, all solo.

The opening line on Saturday's Homecoming game against Alabama-Birmingham is "pick 'em."

September 30, 2013

FIU on Sunday

The men's soccer team beat Penn 2-0 behind goals by Quentin Albrecht and freshman Luis Betancur. That gave them a weekend one up to go with Friday's one down, a 4-2 loss to Princeton.

The women's soccer team, having a tough season at 3-7 and having lost Friday night's conference opener against Charlotte, got some of what they needed Sunday with a 4-0 win over winless Old Dominion at Camp Mitch. Junior Ashleigh Shim scored twice, senior Nicole DiPerna and Junior Johanna Volz got the other two goals in FIU's first Conference USA win.

The volleyball team also split on the weekend, outlasting Charlotte 3-2 on Friday and getting dusted 3-0 by Marshall Sunday. Friday night, sophomore Lucia Castro led the team with 17 kills and Ashlee Hodgskin had 23 assists and had 17 Sunday.

In the NFL, Jacksonville safety Johnathan Cyprien had four tackles in Jacksonville's 37-3 loss to Indianapolis, one of which was of T.Y. Hilton. Hilton has five catches for 48 yards. Linebacker Antwan Barnes had a sack for the Jets in their loss to Tennessee. Look for Tourek Williams to get more playing time in San Diego now that Dwight Freeney's suffered yet another serious injury (that man does not have good fortune near Chargers colors). Offensive tackle Caylin Hauptmann was active, but didn't play for Seattle against Houston.

And the line on Saturday's football game at Southern Mississippi dropped to Southern Miss favored by 15.

August 21, 2013

Giving you a Wednesday

FIU's last team conference champion that plays its sport on an FIU campus opens its season Friday, 7 p.m. against Arizona. Hopefully, I'll have a season preview up tomorrow or Friday.

T.Y. Hilton's having a spectacular preseason for Indianapolis after showing himself to be one of the most dangerous young receivers in the NFL last season. Becoming enough of a national name to be name-checked by national media pales next to his accomplishment this spring: Hilton finished his work toward an FIU degree in Liberal Studies.

So now the best player in the history of FIU's highest profile program can fully claim the description "student-athlete."

As for the football team's Wednesday morning practice...kind of good news/bad news.

The good news: freshman running back Alfonso Randolph showed the vision and cutting ability FIU coaches like on a 20-yard third-and-long run and a 16-yarder, two plays later. His next carry, senior defensive tackle Isame Faciane destroyed the blocking and planted Randolph for a loss of 2. Randolph wasn't heavily recruited, but he's run well throughout camp.

The first team offense drove 65 yards to a touchdown on the second team defense, converting a fourth down along the way.

Kicker Sergio Sroka nailed a 47-yard field goal attempt and freshman Austin Taylor hit from 46.

The rain held off until 15 minutes after practice.

The bad news: way too many drops and jumps. If you play the way you practice, get ready for an overabundance of "aw, he had it..." plays this season. This isn't just from Wednesday and isn't just about the receiver drops -- when Dominique Rhymes dropped two perfect throws from E.J. Hilliard, it seemed the perfect benediction for practice. The near-interceptions kill. There were too many late, telegraphed throws from Hilliard and Jake Medlock that shouldn't have been launched and should've been picked off. To pull off the upsets FIU desires, you have to grasp those turnover opportunities.

The second-team offense committed most of the false starts.

While kickers hit two long field goals, two more field goals were blocked. Paul Crawford got some of a Sroka 46-yard attempt -- 6-8 Tall Paul, long kick, no surprise -- and a shorter field goal got smothered by a third of the block team.

"Good for the defense, not good for the field goal unit," FIU coach Ron Turner said. "Like I said, we might lead the country in going for it on fourth down."

Each of the three times Turner's said that, there's less levity in his voice. Like I said before, coaches despise uncertainty on special teams. They want nice snaps, clean holds, punts and kicks that clear the line of scrimmage and go where they're supposed to go and returners that hold onto the ball (the only thing that could keep junior Richard Leonard, who blew a punt Wednesday, from being one of the nation's best returners). So far, FIU's found some consistency in Chris Ayres punting and Sroka's kicking. The long-snapping, the holding, the blocking for kicks, the fielding of punts and kicks...comfort level not reached yet. 

Redshirt junior backup defensive lineman Jerrico Lee is out with "health issues" and will miss at least the opener at Maryland. Freshman offensive lineman Tim Thomas is still dealing with family issues in Texas.

Personnel deployment: sophomore linebacker Patrick Jean (pronounced "jahn," he confirmed today) took second team reps at outside linebacker. In the 11-on-11s at practice's end, the first team corners were Brad Hyman-Muhammad and Jeremiah McKinnon, the safeties were senior Mitch Wozniak and fifth-year senior Terrance Taylor. The second team corners were redshirt junior Sam Gervais and freshman Wilkenson Myrtil.


July 26, 2013

TY in SI


Here's a link to the video that's a companion to Jim Trotter's story in the July 29 Sports Illustrated on former FIU star T.Y. Hilton.

It's hard not to think of Hilton when hearing the Dolphins defensive backs talk about how much speed has been added to the receiving corps this year...a year after the Dolphins left Hilton on the board.  

December 12, 2012

A good day for Cyprien, Hobbs & Albrecht

The same day senior safety Johnathan Cyprien will turn his tassel at graduation (Hospitality Management), he was announced as FIU's second ever Senior Bowl invitee.

"I'm really excited. I can't wait," said Cyprien, who has signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus.

NFL scouts hung around FIU practices late in the season, usually checking out Cyprien, defensive end Tourek Williams and left tackle Caylin Hauptmann. Cyprien should be able to attend the Senior Bowl, unlike T.Y. Hilton, who had to miss it last year with a quad injury. He said he'll try to get in touch with NFL cornerback and fellow North Miami Beach High alumnus Louis Delmas to get the skinny on the Senior Bowl.

As for last week's firing of Mario Cristobal, Cyprien said, "It was a shock. He was my coach for four years. But I have no say-so in the athletic department. Whatever happens, I've got Coach Cristobal's back."

Cyprien is one of Cristobal's favorite people, both on and off the field. If Cristobal had a daughter, he'd have wanted her to marry Cyprien.


In more on and off the field (or pitch) news...

Senior defender Anthony Hobbs was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American. Brown defender Ryan McDuff won the Senior CLASS Award, which takes into account performance on the field, citizenship and academic achievement. Hobbs was one of 10 finalists.

The 10 goals and 23 points this year by sophomore forward Quentin Albrecht not only were the most by an FIU player in a decade, but got him selected Third Team All-South Region.


Don't go looking up Shoat Cooper's college coaching record. Shoat was the New York Giants coach in Dan Jenkins' 1973 satirical classic, Semi-Tough, which was made into a Burt Reynolds-Kris Kristofferson-Jill Clayburgh movie in 1977 and followed by a few novel sequels.

November 26, 2012

Basketball Jones; TY & History

The women ballers fell to LSU Sunday, 76-69, in the championship game of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic, but the weekend transitioned the seasons from football/volleyball to basketball. The former seasons ended. The latter seasons get some home action this week with doubleheaders at The Branch against Arkansas State and South Alabama.

After the women hoopsters upset Iowa Friday night on Jerica Coley's leaner at the horn, the men took out Coastal Carolina 87-77 for the first career college win for Richard Pitino. Saturday, the volleyball team lost its epilogue match, against Central Florida hours before the football team suffered its final heartbreak to Louisiana-Monroe, putting to bed two disappointing seasons.


As soon as T.Y. Hilton crossed the goal line on his 75-yard punt return, I got a text message from a longtime friend and Colts fan crowing that Hilton got the first of many return touchdowns. Hilton later became the first Colt to have a receiving and return touchdown in the same game, no small thing for a franchise that had Hall of Fame all-purpose guy Lenny Moore and Lydell Mitchell.

And, with the Dolphins, tight end Michael Egnew's game jersey remains pristine.


November 14, 2012

Perez Sun Belt Swimmer of the Week; Shula Bowl line swing

Sonia Perez won the 400 Individual Medley in a dual meet with North Florida, then stole the show by winning her guest star appearances in the 200 butterfly and 200 breaststroke. Her 4:20.97 in the 400 IM was the 33rd best in the nation this year.

For this, Perez was named the Sun Belt's Swimmer of the Week Wednesday.


FIU opened a 1.5-point favorite over FAU for Friday night's Shula Bowl. Now, across the Vegas sportsbooks, FAU is a 1.5 to 2-point favorite. The over/under sits at 52, which, to me, seems on the low side.

And, in Davie, tight end Michael Egnew, a player the big-play-starved Dolphins took while leaving T.Y. Hilton on the board, has yet to get into his first NFL game.

November 04, 2012

Women's soccer's season ends; Hilton's happy

In a loser-goes-home Sun Belt Conference title match Sunday afternoon, FIU lost to North Texas 1-0 on a goal in the 63rd minute. FIU got outshot 21-9 and 14 of those North Texas shots came in the second half.

FIU ends the season 13-6-2.


Is it irony or appropriate that T.Y. Hilton's first big NFL game came against his hometown team which twice passed him over in the third round of the NFL Draft?

Hilton had 102 receiving yards and a touchdown for Indianapolis Sunday against the Dolphins. Ironically (no question here), the snallish Hilton's touchdown came by outjumping defenders while he dropped a sure touchdown on the play he outran the Dolphins secondary.

September 23, 2012

Medlock 4 weeks, Mallary OK, TY TD

Quickie updates from Sun Life Stadium, where the crowd's only slightly bigger and the quarterbacking much less enjoyable than Saturday night at La Cage.

*Quarterback Jake Medlock will be out four weeks with a broken foot.

*Running back Darian Mallary should be OK for next week.

*T.Y. Hilton scored his first NFL touchdown, a 40-yard pass from Andrew Luck.

August 26, 2012

No football, English or American

Topping this mini-post off with some electronic dap for T.Y. Hilton, who had four catches for 54 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown Saturday for Indianapolis against Washington. He also had a 22-yard kickoff return. The touchdown showed good resiliency after he had a tough first half last week against Pittsburgh.

Today's women's soccer game with Moorehead State has been cancelled as we wait for Isaac to do his thing. Don't bet on a makeup date.

The football team was scheduled to have the day off anyway.

While waiting for Isaac, check out this Isaac doing his thing...



August 25, 2012

Of Water & Watch Lists & Volleyball

This is why you do don't put off doing stuff when you can, as happened around here after Coyote 3 dogpaddled back home last night from what became Deutchsland Night at FIU men's soccer.

Let's say a water main near your building bursts one morning just because that's what water mains do occasionally. You have no running water in your crib, turning you into a high rise Okie, and your surrounding streets look like this.

Miami Beach-20120825-00697
That packed dishwasher that didn't get run the night before with the dishes in the sink that didn't get rinsed off? That shower you didn't take, though you already felt icky from pre-dawn to late night rippin' and runnin'? Those errands you declined to run the day before? Now all you can do is pull out the proverbial jug of wine, loaf of bread and jug of water (didn't do the pre-storm bathtub fill yet and your kidneys do not care...)

And blog about yet another watch list. The first Senior Bowl watch list includes FIU defensive end Tourek Williams, safety Johnathan Cyprien and offensive tackle Caylin Hauptmann. T.Y. Hilton was the first FIU player to be named to the Senior Bowl.


Eric Reyes started 12 games for FIU in goal last season. For Friday night's opener against Bryant, Reyes watched freshman Robin Spiegel, from Wipperfurth, Germany, get a three-save shutout win. Spiegel was a relatively late recruit, according to coach Kenny Arena, a June find. 

"At this point in the season, we started who we felt was doing the best," Arena said of the whole lineup. "Like I told the guys, it's game by game, practice by practice."

Spiegel's sophomore countryman, Quentin Albrecht, potted both FIU goals.


FIU sits at 1-2 after a four-set win against Florida A&M Saturday evening at the (big breath now) Campus USA Credit Union Invite in Gainesville.

Earlier in the day, the Panthers suffered a five-set loss to Florida Gulf Coast 25-23, 13-25, 25-17, 18-25, 15-12. Senior Marija Prsa compiled 25 kills while redshirt sophomore Jessica Egan racked up 25 assists. Hopefully, there's no three-knockdown rule if FIU loses this afternoon to Florida A&M.

Friday, freshman Lucia Castro, out of Puerto Rico's Caribbean School, led FIU with nine kills and Egan had 21 helpers in FIU's 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-12) loss to No. 18 Florida. FIU actually led 19-17 in the first before a 5-0 run swung the game.


August 14, 2012

Two more things from Media Day

A couple of things I forgot from earlier...

1. Some programs shoo NFL scouts away for fear the temptation of league money will shorten the careers of their best players by one or two years.

FIU, on the other hand, embraces the NFL hawks.

"Not every school allows them in for preseason camp," Cristobal said. "We do because that's the next phase of our program."

He said three NFL scouts would be at Monday night's practice and NFL scouts would be around the team throughout the season.

"When a guy like Anthony Gaiter and T.Y. (Hilton) catches their attention, now there's that much more focus that there are legitimate, really, really good football players down at FIU," Cristobal said. "So we open up the doors to them. We actually provide weekly e-mails and footage and information.

"We want guys to graduate and they will. Again, that's the most important thing. But we make no reservations about it -- we want guys to come here who want to play in the NFL. We want to coach guys and want to play with guys who want to play in the NFL, who want to make this a way of life. That do not want to make this a hobby."

2. The players present were logical ones: quarterback Jake Medlock; kicker Jack Griffin; and the preseason All-Sun Belt players -- running back Kedrick Rhodes, right tackle Rupert Bryan, Jr, left tackle Caylin Hauptmann, defensive end Tourek Williams, linebacker Winston Fraser, safety Johnathan Cyprien.

The only preseason All-Sun Belt player not there? Junior defensive tackle Isame Faciane, not having the best camp so far. I'm hearing it was a coincidence, however.

Quick hits from Media Day; T.Y. pics from Sunday

Not much new at Tuesday's Media Day. But here are a few tidbits, some of which appear also in a story that'll appear in tomorrow's print Herald and online later this evening:

Mario Cristobal said there's a significant gap from Jake Medlock to Lorenzo Hammonds, Jr., and E.J. Hilliard, but that in less than two weeks, he expects the latter two to be up to where they can help FIU win and not just get FIU through the night. As far as their classmates, he expects 23 to 26 freshmen or redshirt freshmen to play on the first or second string or play serious special teams time.

Cristobal called Jeremiah Harden "1A" at running back behind Kedrick Rhodes and said Darian Mallary looked as good Monday evening as he has in two years.

Senior left tackle Caylin Hauptmann, when I asked about the senior leadership this year and the way they've done so much teaching with the younger guys, he said, "When we went to our bowl game two years ago, we had great leadership from people like Brad Serini and Cedric Mack. Whereas last year, we didn't have a core leadership -- what to do, wehwer to go, what steps to take. I remember that, our seniors remember that. We just took from that. To be able to see that two years ago, we're just implementing it to them."


T.Y. Hilton, Sr. sent me some photos from Sunday's Indianapolis Colts preseason game. Here's one of T.Y., who had a total of five touches (three catches, one run, one punt return)...


...and one of T.Y. Hilton, Sr. and Cora Hilton




August 12, 2012

A few thoughts from Saturday night; Hilton's debut and football cards

Usually, as readers of this blog know from last year, my usual long-winded postgame blog analysis is done after the game and posted sometime in the wee am hours (exceptions for excessive sleepiness preceding multi-hour morning drives). Last night, I planned to do the same. I didn't plan to get home late, sleepy and still needing to hit Lincoln Road for dinner with the wife.

So, it's Sunday morning.

Head Coach's view (or, part of it):

"Kedrick Rhodes ran really, really well. Tourek Williams played really really well. Richard Leonard, Junior Mertile, big plays. Jeremiah McKinnon played some good fotoball...a lot of big plays both sides of hte ball. Back and forth in a good way. That's what you want to see. A really good first scrimmage."

While there were big plays by both offense and defense, it seemed most of the offensive explosiveness came from the 3s facing each other. My first thought after the scrimmage was, "Well, that's probably the best defense they'll face all season..."

Fireman's Fund full coverage in the secondary. A pass rush that usually got to or around the quarterback. Solid tackling. That was the first team defense all night. They had maybe two real failures in a series of downs. The first I describe in the next paragraph. The other was a third and 10 with the offense backed up on its own 1 on which quarterback Jake Medlock completed a pass to Zach Schaubhut for about 19 yards.

Medlock was upbeat afterwards, but that's him.  He's the kind of guy in the action movies who says, "So I lost an arm -- I still had one to shoot with and there was less of me for them to shoot at!" He said he wanted to show composure after bad plays and he did that. He also showed a good voice at the line, turning a third and 6 into a third and 1 by drawing defensive tackle Isame Faciane offside. He nearly did it again on the third and 1, the entire defensive line jumping forward and back like a quartet of Kappas or Q-Dogs in a step show. Rhodes plowed for a first down. Mario Cristobal was happy about that.

Othewise, it was pretty much a shutdown. The second teamers didn't have quite the same amount of success with the second team offense, but they allowed only one score, an incredible one-handed catch sky sweep by Jairus Williams with Mertile in his jersey. They had some outside containment problems. Shane Coleman got outside for a 48-yard run and Hammonds broke out for a 22-yard run. They had freshman linebackers Leroy Owens and Patrick Jean working the middle much of the night. That's going to happen with young guys. Owens, who also had a sack, made the interception that killed the second team's two-minute drill drive.

Among the third-teamers, quarterback E.J. Hilliard, aside from telegraphing a throw that allowed Mertile to jump the route for a pick six with the second team, showed his legs and a pretty good arm for distance and accuracy. He escaped the pocket and hit redshirt sophomore Michael Curry deep for a 70-yard touchdown.They hooked up for a 42-yard play earlier in the scrimmage. Both were behind freshman safety Davison Colimon, who bounced back after the first one with a fumble recovery.

The touchdown to Curry came with Hilliard being chased by freshman defensive tackle Darrian Dyson. A helmetless Darrian Dyson, who drew a flag for it. According to Mario Cristobal, this year, once you lose your helmet, you can't re-engage a block and can't rejoin pursuit of a player. Three helmets came off during plays Saturday night, which Cristobal mentioned as a concern.

Freshman quarterbcak Favian Upshaw hit redshirt freshman T.J. Lowder for a 44-yard touchdown late in the scrimmage. That kind of made up for the handoff between Upshaw and freshman fullback Lemarq Caldwell that freshman defensive lineman Diegot Joseph snatched up.

I would've been shocked if I had seen anything else Saturday night. FIU's a top notch defensive team -- and big, really looking big -- with a strong running game and a quarterback still getting it all together. That's only slightly less the case with the second team units.

There's still three weeks practice time left before Duke. And as I wrote in a story from Sun Belt media days, given the choice, every Sun Belt coach said they'd rather have the best defense than the best offense.


 Hilton made his preseason debut with Indianapolis today -- three catches for 25 yards, one rush for 9 yards around the right side as the Colts lined up in the shotgun, one punt return for 6 yards.

A few days ago, his father texted me pictures of three autographed Hilton rookie cards.





June 01, 2012

Basketball games, football tickets & golf outings

As expected, we'll get a psychologist's dream, a Freud Shootout (or is it Oedipus Throwdown) this season in men's basketball: son Richard Pitino, Jr.'s FIU team trying to slay father Rick Pitino's Louisville bunch.

But don't be surprised if it's not just a one-shot deal, but a home-and-home series lasting at least the first two years of The Pitino Era at FIU.


Season tickets go on sale for men's football at midnight tonight at http://www.fiusports.com.The first 500 new season ticket buyers who buy two tickets in the sideline sections get a limited edition replica of Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium. Limit one replica per account.

I should've blog posted about T.Y. Hilton's 4-year deal when I found out about it Thursday evening. But, I lollygagged a bit, then fell asleep watching the Thunder swat the Spurs and, well...

Good for T.Y.


Friday's FIU Athletics Golf Outing on Doral's Red Course got drenched. So you know the names that follow are almost as serious about their golf as Bishop Pickering.


Andrew Vargas, Eric Kaplin and Juan Cueto shot a 52 in the scramble scoring. Six shots back were the foursomes, Tom Shull, Brad Randall, Blake St. Clair and Chuck Beurman; and Frank Gonzalez, Daniel Chavez, Carlos Arboleda and Robert Shafer.

May 20, 2012

A Seed; An Offer; A Thank You and Goodbye for Goodbye

FIU will be the No. 3 overall seed, the second highest seed in Pool B, for the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament.

FIU faces No. 6 seed Troy Thursday noon, No. 7 Middle Tennessee State Friday noon and No. 2 Arkansas State 4 p.m. on Saturday. The best record in the pool plays the team with the best record in Pool A for the championship next Sunday.

FIU swept Troy in West Dade, scoring 20 runs in the three games; took two of three from Middle at home, although they got mercy ruled, 13-3 in the one loss; and took two of three, including a 16-5 mercy rule KO win, at Arkansas State last week. 


Boca Raton Olympic Heights cornerback Degaulle Sama says he's received an offer from FIU.


The Stadium Club was the site of a celebration and send off for T.Y. Hilton Saturday night. As Hilton highlights from Miami Springs High and FIU played on eight flat screen TVs around the room, various speakers, including FIU President Mark Rosenberg, spoke of Hilton as a person, player and what he's meant to FIU.

President Rosenberg said he showed a 1981 graduate film of the 2010 19-14 loss to Rutgers in which Hilton had 110 all-purpose yards and the alumnus said, "Mark, I have never seen anybody cheer for FIU before."

Hilton himself wasn't able to be present, having to remain in Indianapolis.

This was what greeted folks on the right as they entered.

Hiltonstuff 001

April 28, 2012

A potentially breathtaking combination: Hilton & Colts

In contrast to the bulk-based, muscular football identified with the Midwest, the Indianapolis Colts began believing in scoring points from a distance and with style since drafting Peyton Manning in 1998. Going! Going! Gosh!, Zoom at the Top and Gee Whi-z-z-z describe the Colts offensive style (OK, they're also the titles of RoadRunner/Coyote cartoons, but even more to my point...). Evolution of rules and style pushed the rest of the NFL toward the Colts style and they chose to rebuild starting with quarterback Andrew Luck, you know they're not changing.

That's why it wasn't shocking they took T.Y. Hilton. They resigned aging Reggie Wayne, drafted a couple of tight ends, so they needed some zoom, baby. They need it on the offense and in the kick return game.

Hilton said on his visit to Indianapolis, "The receivers coach and I grew a bond, the offensive coordinator and I grew a bond as well. He saw where I was coming from and I saw where he was coming from."

He also visited with Philadephia, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Jacksonville, worked out for Baltimore and the Dolphins. As the third round plodded along, "I was just being patient," Hilton said. "What really got me was when Jacksonville chose the punter. I was thinking, what is the world coming to?"

The third round was winding down when he saw the phone call from the Colts. "I was holding my breath. I was thinking, their next pick is in the fourth round. They're calling me to tell me they're taking me in the fourth round iwth the first pick tomorrow. They said, "we just traded up for you." It took my breath away."




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