Know Thy Enemy: Florida International Golden Panthers

Each week here at RCT, we will go beyond simple internet research and discoveries pilfered from newspapers. We will interview a blogger for the opposition to get an insider's look at that week's opposition. This week, I asked Peter Pelegrin of the Miami Herald five questions about the FIU Golden Panthers. Peter is the beat writer for the FIU Golden Panthers for the Herald, as well as the moderator of the blog Golden Panthers Prowl. If you are looking for FIU coverage, there are simply no better places to turn to. Thanks to Peter for answering the questions.

RCT: 1) Who do you think will be the starting QB for the Golden Panthers, both against Kansas and for the season? Do you have a personal preference for who deserves it, or is it really up in the air between Wayne Younger and Paul McCall?

PP: I think Paul McCall will get the nod. When he got his chance last season against Florida Atlantic and North Texas after watching the first 10 games from the sidelines, McCall showed he had control of the offense and made smart decisions. He has the stronger arm too. I think Wayne Younger will get some series too, because he is one of the more athletic players on the team and has improved greatly as a quarterback.

RCT: 2) What do you think will be the greatest strength of this year's FIU team?

PP: FIU's greatest strength this year will be its wide receivers and secondary. They are deep, talented and physical on both units. The emergence of receivers Marquis Rolle and Greg Ellingson will be beneficial this season as will freshmen receivers Junior Mertile and T.Y. Hilton. Getting safeties Jeremiah Weatherspoon (academics) and Marshall McDuffie (suspension) back this season is a tremendous boost to the secondary.

RCT: 3) Similar to question #2, what is FIU's biggest weakness?

PP: FIU's offensive line is a big concern right now. They have been very inconsistent throughout camp. For FIU's sake, hopefully the inconsistency has been, because of the improved pass rush from the defense.

RCT: 4) What would it take for FIU to pull the shocker and upset Kansas?

PP: To upset KU, FIU would have to not turn the ball over. Stay within itself and not let the hostile environment get to them. And they need to score touchdowns and not field goals when they have the chance. FIU has had a history of settling for 3 when they've been knocking on the end zone's door. If the O-line can give McCall time, then I think the offense can move the ball and get some points.

RCT: 5) What is a reasonable expectation for this year's FIU team? In other words, what would have to happen for you to consider this season "a success"?

PP: This year 2 with new coach Mario Cristobal. He inherited a program in disarray from former coach Don Strock, who was a poor recruiter and a lazy coach. Cristobal has a great work ethic and is a great, tireless recruiter. In another 2 or 3 years, FIU will be Sun Belt champs and regularly challenge Top 25 teams, because of all the high school talent that is available in FIU's backyard. This season, if FIU can win 4 or 5 games, it will a good improvement from last season's 1-11, in which the Golden Panthers had a roster made up of 77 percent freshmen and sophomores and were within a touchdown in the second half of 5 of their last 7 games. The team improved in the latter part of last season and needs to carry that over to this year.

Thanks again to Peter. And don't forget to check out his blog, Golden Panthers Prowl, for the most up-to-date coverage on the internet regarding the FIU Golden Panthers.

ROCK CHALK!

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