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2011 FIU Preview - Offense
FIU WR T.Y. Hilton
FIU WR T.Y. Hilton
Posted Jun 7, 2011

Preview 2011 Florida International Golden Panthers Offense

FIU Golden Panthers

Preview 2011 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: Offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield came in last year and made a night-and-day difference for the FIU attack. All of a sudden, the line started to produce, the running game was great, and the passing game was shockingly efficient. The return of Sun Belt Player of the Year, T.Y. Hilton, gives the receiving corps a star to work around, but there are other veteran targets good enough to make the air attack even stronger. The ground attack should be terrific with four productive backs returning led by 16-touchdown rusher Darriet Perry and speedy home-run threat Darian Mallary. Quarterback Wesley Carroll has the job all to himself, and he’s just the type of veteran who can utilize all the weapons as long as he gets time.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Wesley Carroll
226-367, 2,623 yds, 16 TD, 14 INT
Rushing: Darriet Perry
170 carries, 839 yds, 16 TD
Receiving: T.Y. Hilton
59 catches, 848 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR T.Y. Hilton
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore C Ceedrick Davis
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Wayne Times
Best pro prospect: Hilton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hilton, 2) RB Darriet Perry, 3) OT Caylin Hauptmann
Strength of the offense: Running Game, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Line Depth, Backup Quarterback


State of the Unit: The FIU passing game wasn’t all that efficient and it didn’t exactly bomb away, but all the quarterbacks combined to complete 61% of their throws for 2,698 yards. An accessory for the running game, the goal is to keep the chains moving and to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

Former Mississippi State starter Wesley Carroll used to be a promising SEC quarterback, and now he’s a Sun Belt champion having completed 62% of his throws for 2,623 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ran for one score, but he’s not a runner, and he threw 14 interceptions. However, he only threw three picks over the final five games and three of the interceptions came in the loss to Florida Atlantic. At 6-1 and 202 pounds the senior isn’t all that big, but he’s accurate at times coming within one pass of setting the NCAA record for the most throws in a row by a freshman without an interception (137). He’s more mobile than the stats might appear, but he leaves the running to the backs.

The Golden Panthers have a mobile option in Soloman Smith, a 6-0, 194-pound transfer from Alabama State. He’s not big, but he has a decent, accurate arm and can move a little bit and make things happen. He’ll battle with 6-3, 210-pound redshirt freshman Jake Medlock, a bigger passer with a live enough arm to get a long look as the quarterback of the future.

Watch Out For … Carroll to come up with a strong season. He started to find his groove late last year, and with his main target T.Y. Hilton back in the fold, there’s no reason the Golden Panther passing game can’t be more efficient and effective.
Strength: The receivers. Greg Ellingson is gone, but the rest of the top targets are all back. Seven of the top eight pass catchers from last year are in place, and Carroll is now a crusty veteran.
Weakness: Backup experience. The Golden Panthers could count on veteran Wayne Younger in a pinch, at least in theory because of his experience, and now it’ll be a roll of the dice if anything happens to Carroll.
Outlook: As long as the interceptions are cut down and if Carroll starts to use his experience and his accurate arm to push the passing game down the field a bit more, FIU should be set. The backup situation is another story with someone needing to emerge to become ready to take over next year.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Running Backs

State of the Unit: FIU is loaded at running back with a four-headed monster along with WR T.Y. Hilton for a ground game that gained 2,438 yards and 26 touchdowns. There’s a terrific blend of speed, power, and shiftiness, and there’s no reason the big production of last year from the Sun Belt’s second best ground game can’t improve.

While he only started one game, senior Darriet Perry was the team’s most productive back finishing with 839 yards and 16 touchdowns including 11 scores in the final six games and 186 yards in the key battle with Troy. The 5-9, 202-pounder is a good receiver, catching 12 passes for 137 yards, but he’s at his best with the ball in his hands and the goal line in sight. The Georgia native could’ve gone to Illinois, but he took his talents to FIU and showed why he was such a sought-after recruit last year with a Second Team All-Sun Belt campaign.

Syracuse transfer Jeremiah Harden was the starter for the first five games of the season, but problems with his toe, knee, and what might have been a concussion. The 5-9, 200-pounder finished third on the team with 327 yards and a touchdown and caught 13 passes for 59 yards and a score, and if he’s 100%, he’s the likely starter with home-run hitting speed and tremendous cutting ability.

5-8, 175-pound junior Darian Mallary turned into the team’s second-leading rusher with 679 yards and two touchdowns averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He’s not all that big, but he handled the workload over the last month of the year running 15 times or more in each of the last four games with 118 yards against troy and 194 against Middle Tennessee. At worst he’ll be a dangerous third man in the mix.

Also getting a few carries here and there will be sophomore Kedrick Rhodes, a 5-11, 175 pounder who blew up for 293 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, with 100 yards against Florida Atlantic. Just as he was getting going, he suffered a leg injury and was barely a part of the mix the rest of the way. He’s a slippery back who might get lost in the shuffle, but has the talent to carry the attack.

Watch Out For … a steady rotation. With the way Perry ran in key spots, and with 16 of the team’s 26 rushing scores, Perry would be a lock for the starting job, right? If Harden is healthy, he’s probably the main man, while Mallary and Rhodes can both produce.
Strength: Experience. The team’s four best backs return and WR T.Y. Hilton ran for 282 yards. The ground game was 27th in the nation and it should be even stronger with a tremendous rotation to work with.
Weakness: Power. It’s nitpicking, but this isn’t the biggest group of backs around. They’re all compact and they’re all shifty, but there isn’t one who’s going to move the pile on a regular basis. Perry and Harden can each get physical enough to get by, though.
Outlook: The FIU running backs were considered a major problem going into last year, and then everything changed. Now the ground game should be devastating no matter who’s carrying the ball, and the Golden Panthers should get plenty of production from all of its great options. Any of the four backs could start for just about anyone else in the Sun Belt.
Unit Rating: 6


State of the Unit: Greg Ellingson finished second on the team catching 43 passes for 612 yards and five scores. He’s gone, but he’s the only main man missing from a corps that gets back four of the top five receivers back, and including the running backs and tight ends, returns seven of the top eight main targets.

The star of the team, and the Sun Belt, is returning Conference Player of the Year T.Y. Hilton, a phenomenal all-around playmaker who caught 59 passes for 848 yards and five scores, ran for 282 yards and four scores, averaging 9.4 yards per carry, and averaging 6.3 yards per punt return and 28.7 yards per kickoff return. The 5-10, 183-pounder gets the ball in his hands in a variety of ways as often as possible, and he’s electrifying whenever he gets his chances, highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown run against Troy and an 11-catch, 140-yard, one score day against Arkansas State. He can be erased from time to time, though, catching just one pass for eight yards against Middle Tennessee, but he requires the full and total focus of opposing defenses. Even though he has gotten a bit bigger and stronger, he’s still a thin player who can’t take too many big shots. However, he has held up well over his amazing career with 374 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 157 catches for 2,493 yards and 17 scores; 41 punt returns for 428 yards and a score; 2,307 yards and four scores on kickoff; and 38 passing yards and a touchdown on 2-of-2 passes.

While Hilton is the unquestioned No. 1 target, junior Wayne Times came into his own as a true sophomore finishing second on the team with 28 catches for 341 yards and a score. While he didn’t have any blow-up games, he was good for around two grabs a game and showed enough to make teams pay this year for focusing only on Hilton. At 5-11 and 178 pounds he’s not all that big, but the former quarterback has 4.4 speed and can stretch the field. Adding size to the spot is 6-5, 201-pound sophomore Jairus Williams, a very big, very smart receiver who caught three pases for 22 yards in his limited action.

6-2, 195-pound junior Jacob Younger turned into a bit of a surprise as a decent starter catching 16 passes for 151 yards. While the numbers are hardly anything to get excited about, with his size and experience he has the ability to take over Greg Ellingson’s former role as a go-to receiver on midrange plays. He’ll work with 6-1, 200-pound sophomore Willis Wright, a good-sized, fast young player who got his feet wet with two catches for 12 yards, but will be a factor as the season goes on.

Tight end Jonathan Faucher has gotten bigger and better over the last few years, hitting the weights to get up to 233 pounds on his 6-3 frame. While he has improved as a blocker, his only caught nine passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns after making 30 grabs two years ago. He’s a slippery target who has the ability to do more for the passing game, and he’s a reliable veteran. 6-4, 220-pound senior Colt Anderson caught three passes for 40 yards in his limited time, but he’s a good enough receiving tight end to step in when needed.

Watch Out For … Times. He showed just enough on a week-in-and-week-out basis to prove he’s ready to become a more dangerous factor. He has the speed to get deep and he has Hilton to take away all the attention.
Strength: Hilton. It’s a shocker that he came back for his senior season, and while he might not have been a top 50 overall pick, he would’ve been a major factor as a No. 3 receiver and a kick returner. The reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year will do it all again.
Weakness: Scoring wide receivers. Two of Hilton’s four regular season receiving touchdowns came in one game, and no other returning wideout scored more than once.
Outlook: The receiving corps has been a particular area of focus on the recruiting trail over the last few years, and it shows. The return of Hilton instantly made the unit a strength, but Times and Younger are good enough to shine on their own. Faucher is too good to let the tight ends be ignored again.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: Three starters return to a group that was terrific in pass protection and was good enough to pave the way for the nation’s 27th best running game. Gone is center Brad Serini, and all-star who everything worked around, but there’s enough talent returning to expect a decent year once the final combination is found.

The best returning starter up front is junior Caylin Hauptmann, a 6-4, 311-pound veteran who earned Third Team All-Sun Belt recognition working at left tackle for 12 games, and was banged up for the win over ULM. Big, strong, and experienced, the JUCO transfer from College of the Canyons, who blew off Auburn, USC, and other big names for FIU, should be the anchor. He’s a blaster of a run blocker and a good enough pass protector to be a rock against the Sun Belt’s better speed rushers.

6-2, 276-pound Rupert Bryan started most of last year at right tackle but filled in for Hauptmann for one game at on the left side. The junior bulked up after coming to FIU at around 255, and he has grown into a solid pass protector with the skills and ability to play either outside spot without a problem. He’ll be backed up by sophomore David Delsoin, a 6-6, 288-pounder with great upside, but no experience.

Trying to take over for Serini in the middle is 6-4, 305-pound sophomore Ceedrick Davis, a spot starter and a key reserve throughout last season. He brings more size than Serini, and he has the versatility to play anywhere on the line after stepping in for a start at right tackle. 6-2, 268-pound sophomore Giancarlo Revilla came to FIU as a great center prospect but could mostly see time at guard if Davis is a rock in the middle. He started the first two games last year at right guard, but he’s a center.

Junior David Istanich got a start against Florida Atlantic but was mostly a key reserve playing both at right guard and right tackle. He’ll get the first look at left guard, but he’ll go where he’s needed with 6-4, 285-pound size, and good experience. Pass protection will be the key to his game, while 6-3, 274-pound junior Kevin Van Kirk should be ready to make a big impact after redshirting. A star at Santa Rose JC, he knows what he’s doing.

The right guard situation could be wide open. Senior Curtis Bryant started the final nine games of the season and was steady, but the 6-2, 283-pounder could be better suited for the defensive line. He has tackle size and strength, and so does Jordan White, a 6-4, 330-pound redshirt freshman who’s built to be an anchor on the defensive interior. They’re both big, tough blockers, but if others step up at guard, they could end up moving around.

Watch Out For … a lot of movement. The line was worked and reworked before last season and the results were solid. Don’t get comfortable with the depth chart in any way.
Strength: Tackle. No matter what the configuration will end up being, the Golden Panthers are set with Hauptmann a big, talented blocker who’ll earn all-star honors, and Bryan is a good veteran who can play on either side.
Weakness: A one-year wonder? FIU’s blocking was miserable for years doing absolutely nothing in pass protection while struggling for the ground game. That changed last year, but will it last? There are several moving parts and lots of new starters.
Outlook: It might be asking a lot for the consistency and production of last year’s line, but if Davis can be a rock at center in place of Serini, and is the guard situation can quickly get settled, the overall production will be fine. The line won’t be as good as it was last year, but it won’t fall off the map and revert back to pre-2010 form.
Unit Rating: 5

- 2011 FIU Preview | 2011 FIU Offense
- 2011 FIU Defense | 2011 FIU Depth Chart
- FIU Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006