Florida International Preview 2006 - Offense

Posted Aug 8, 2006

FIU Golden Panthers Preview 2006 - FIU Offense

What you need to know ... There are a lot of ifs all over the place hoping for several promising young prospects to become major factors all over the place. One area that's not a problem is quarterback where Josh Padrick is primed for an All-Sun Belt season while backups Tavares Kendrick and Jamie Burke could be the best reserves in the league. There are several good, speedy backs to count on behind a huge offensive line that should be fine by midseason. The receiving corps needs a second wide receiver to emerge to help out Chandler Williams and tight end Samuel Smith.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Josh Padrick
22-1-366, 2,461 yds, 13 TD
Rushing: A'mod Ned
88 carries, 379 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Chandler Williams
61 catches, 870 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Josh Padrick
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OT Dustin Gibson and senior OT David Bailey
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Julian Reams
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Samuel Smith
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Padrick, 2) Smith, 3) WR Chandler Williams
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, tight end
Weakness of the offense:
Experienced depth, number two wide receiver

It's a great situation for head coach Don Strock to work with. Josh Padrick is a strong starter and great leader who knows the offense back and forth. It'll be a total shock if he doesn't lead the Sun Belt in passing. Tavares Kendrick is the future of the program and needs more reps this year to get ready for next season, but he'll be pushed hard by former FIU star Jamie Burke.
The key to the unit: Josh Padrick has to cut down on his interceptions and Tavares Kendrick needs more meaningful reps.
Quarterback Rating: 6

Projected Starter
- Josh Padrick, Sr. - 221-366, 60%, 2,461 yds, 13 TD, 11 INT, 39 carries, 12 yds, 4 TD
Padrick is a three-yard starter who should be one of the Sun Belt's best quarterbacks after earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors. He's a polished passer and a great leader. He's 6-3 and 207 pounds with a live arm and good mobility. He could grow into the type of player good enough to carry the team a long way.

Top Backups
- Tavares Kendrick, Soph. - 11-18, 61%, 134 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 carries, 3 yds
The 6-4, 222-pound junior saw a little bit of action early on last season and will be groomed for the 2007 starting job. He's a great athlete with a big arm and enough speed to be a dangerous second option behind Josh Padrick.
- Jamie Burke, Sr.
The former starter retired from football after having problems returning from a torn ACL, but he returned last year to lead the scout team. He's a good passer who earned D-IAA All-America honors in 2002 and will now push Tavares Kendrick for the number two job.

Running Backs
Ben West got back on the team after off-the-field issues and turned into a good back. His departure doesn't hurt too much with the return of several very good young prospects led by the flashy A'mod Ned and the speedy Julian Reams. True freshmen Devon Freeman and Chance Attaway were Florida state high school stars who'll see several carries in the rotation.
The key to the unit: Getting more big runs and get over five yards per carry out of the number one tailback.
Running Back Rating: 4.5

Projected Starters
- A'mod Ned, Soph. - 88 carries, 375 yds, 4.3 ypc, 3 TD, 13 catches, 81 yds, 6.2 ypc
The small, shifty sophomore got in the mix over the second half of the season and turned into the workhorse. He's only 5-9 and 174 pounds, but he has good breakaway speed and great hands as a receiver. While he won't be a 1,000-yard rusher, he needs to average around five yards per carry. 

- Fullback John Ellis, RFr.
The 215-pound redshirt freshman is a physical back with good hands and a little bit of power. He can be used as a featured back if needed and will be a dangerous receiver when he isn't blocking for the speed backs. 

Top Backups
- Julian Reams, Soph. - 87 carries, 322 yds, 3.7 ypc, 1 catch, 2 yds
The high school track star has the speed to become a top star in a 208-pound frame. He has as much talent as anyone on the roster and showed good potential as the featured back over the first three games. He got dinged up and wasn't quite right the rest of the way.
- Devon Freeman, Fr.
The 200-pound freshman helped Niceville win the Florida state high school championships and will get every shot to see playing time right away. He's not as quick as A'mod Ned or as fast as Julian Reams, but he can move.
- Fullback Chance Attaway, Fr.
More of a tailback than a fullback, the 198-pound true freshman will get every shot at the starting fullback job and will be used as a between-the-tackles tailback.

Even with the loss of top touchdown man Cory McKinney the receiving corps should be strong thanks to the return of Chandler Williams and tight end Samuel Smith. Several young receivers have to contribute right away with Reggie Thompson and Sanchez Anderson needing to grow into reliable deep threats. True freshmen John Houston Whiddon and Elliott Dix will be counted on to provide the depth. Moses Hinton will combine with Smith to form the Sun Belt's best tight end tandems.
The key to the unit: A second wide receiver has to emerge to take the pressure off Chandler Williams and the true freshman have to be better than expected with several passes to be spread around in the FIU attack.
Receiver Rating: 4.5

Projected Starters

- Chandler Williams, Sr. - 61 catches, 870 yds, 14.3 ypc, 2 TD
Williams has been a steady receiver over the last three years and turned into the team's go-to target last year. He wasn't flashy and only caught two touchdown passes, but he was consistent setting the school-record with a 61-catch season. He's not going to beat the better defensive backs deep, so he'll have to make big plays underneath and do more after the catch.

- Reggie Thompson, Soph. - 2 catches, 25 yds, 12.5 ypc
Thompson will get plenty of work as the starter in the slot. He's a good-sized receiver with just enough speed to open things up for the rest of the receivers. He'll have to fill the role left by top touchdown maker Cory McKinney.

- Tight end Samuel Smith, Sr. - 35 catches, 3.2 yds, 8.6 ypc, 1 TD

Smith earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors as one of the league's best blocking tight ends with great hands. He finished third on the team in receiving despite missing the final three games with a knee injury. He had an eight-catch, 98-yard day against North Texas and should be an even better go-to target as one of the key veterans in the attack. 

Top Backups
- John Houston Whiddon, Fr.
One of the stars of the Florida state champion Niceville team catching 49 passes for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns. He'll be a fast option on the outside playing behind Chandler Williams.
- Sanchez Anderson
, Soph. - 3 carries, 41 yds, 13.7 ypc
Anderson has the speed to be a top kick returner and should make several big plays at flanker. He'll be used in three receiver sets as a deep threat.
- Elliott Dix, Fr.
The cousin of Bo Jackson, Dix is one of the team's fastest players and should quickly find his way in the rotation behind Reggie Thompson and John Houston Whiddon.
- Tight end Moses Hinton, Soph. - 15 catches, 188 yds. 12.5 ypc, 1 TD
Hinton poses several matchup problems with his 6-5, 264-pound size and good speed. He's a bull with the ball in his hands with too much power for one tackler to bring down. He came through big over the final three games of the season catching 12 passes in the three-game winning streak.

Offensive Linemen
e line was one of the best in the Sun Belt last season allowing a mere 16 sacks. While there are some major personnel changes needed, it's a big group with the potential to be even better in the running game coached by former Miami Hurricane Leon Searcy. Mike Alvarez needs to get healthy at left guard after suffering a shoulder injury, while Ronny Silva is back at the other guard spot after breaking his leg. The big spotlight will be at tackle where Dustin Gibson and David Bailey will have some major problems early on.
The key to the unit: The tackles needs to play as well as last year's starters and the four new starters have to form as good a pass blocking unit as last year's front five.
Offensive Line Rating: 4

Projected Starters
- OT Dustin Gibson, Soph.
A scout teamer over the last two seasons, the 6-6, 263-pound sophomore will get the first look at left tackle and could be used at center if needed. He'll be pushed hard by Danny Muy and will need to be part of a rotation.
- OG Mike Alvarez, Jr.
A shoulder injury is all that's keeping the 300-pound junior down. He has a little bit of starting experience growing into one of the team's best run blockers at left guard. He also saw starting time at center.
- C Xavier Shannon, Soph.
A spot starter and a good reserve, the 312-pound sophomore is a huge first option at center and could move to guard. He's the son of Miami Hurricane defensive coordinator Randy Shannon.
- OG Ronny Silva, Sr.
Silva is back after missing most of last season with a broken leg. At 6-2 and 346 pounds, he's by far the team's biggest lineman getting the starting job again on the right side.
- OT David Bailey, Sr. 
The former walk-on became a decent reserve after suffering a broken foot. He's a huge 6-6 and 324 pounds and should be great for the ground game at right tackle.

Top Backups
- T Danny Muy, RFr.
The 295-pound redshirt freshman is a much bigger possibility at left tackle than 263-pound Dustin Gibson. Muy can play anywhere on the line and should quickly find a starting spot somewhere.
- T Anthony Russo, RFr.
One of the team's top scout teamers, the 296-pound Russo is a great athlete on the right side behind David Bailey.

Related Stories
FIU Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
Florida International Preview 2006
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
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