2013 FIU Spring Football Analysis
2013 Florida International Golden Panthers ...
Head Coach: Ron Turner
Why To Get Excited … the trio of QB Jake Medlock, RB Kedrick Rhodes and WR Willis Wright has the potential to be as dynamic as any in Conference USA. All three veterans have all-star ceilings, provided they can stay healthy. Rhodes battled through ankle problems in 2012, but was a 1,000-yard rusher as a sophomore in 2011.
8/31 at Maryland
9/21 at Louisville
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at Southern Miss
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 Louisiana Tech
11/2 East Carolina
11/9 at Middle Tenn
11/16 at UTEP
11/30 at Florida Atlantic
Why To Be Grouchy … the Golden Panthers became an offseason laughingstock, dumping popular and largely successful head coach Mario Cristobal, and needing a month to announce the unexpected hiring of Ron Turner. Turner inherits a depleted roster, especially on defense, where all of last year’s top performers have graduated.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … building back the offensive line. As if the situation couldn’t get any tougher for Turner, he’ll spend the offseason attempting to find five new starters along the O-line. Keeping Medlock and Rhodes is of the utmost importance in Miami. But doing so will be no small achievement considering all of the turnover up front.
Non-Conference Games: at Maryland, UCF, Bethune-Cookman, at Louisville
Games Against the West: Louisiana Tech, at UTEP
Realistic Best Case Record: 5-7
Worst Case Record: 1-11
Likely Finish: 2-10
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Bethune-Cookman, UAB
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Maryland, UCF, at Louisville, at Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, East Carolina, at Middle Tennessee, at UTEP, Marshall, at Florida Atlantic
Schedule Analysis: The Golden Panthers will be more experienced and should be far better this season under new head coach Ron Turner, but where are the wins going to come from? There’s the layup against Bethune-Cookman, and there’s … uh … UAB? It’s not like the schedule is full of killers, but going to Maryland and Louisville will be a problem early and UCF should be fired up early in the season. Going across town to Florida Atlantic to close out the year won’t really matter, but playing three road games in the final four after dealing with Louisiana Tech and East Carolina will be rough. Fortunately, there aren’t any road dates from October 5th until the trip to Middle Tennessee on November 9th.
Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Ron Turner was brought in to kickstart an offense that wasn't too bad. With only four starters returning to each side of the ball, it's going to take some work to find the right pieces to fit again. There were several positives to last year's miserable campaign - the run defense was great - but the offensive line has to be far stronger in pass protection and has to do more to blast away for the running game.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. The coaching change has made it interesting to try bringing in local recruits, but offensive tackle Sandley Jean-Felix is still coming in and should turn into an anchor. Guard Jordan Budwig is big and can hit, while Jason Rae is a short blocker with upside. Now Ron Turner needs more
decent defensive players to work into the rotation.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
83. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Everything should be fine for this year, even with T.Y. Hilton gone, but the Golden Panthers need offensive pop after mostly focusing on the defensive side for the last few seasons. This class will be loaded with receiver options, but the defense isn’t going to be ignored with outside linebacker getting plenty of new bodies.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 109. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defense. How did Mario Cristobal capitalize on the best season in FIU history? He brought in a big, solid class with two interesting quarterback prospects in Loranzo Hammonds and Dylan Warner, several receivers, and a great-looking guard in Derrick Thorpe. The D got the stars, though, with Lyndon Edwards and Demetrius Allen two safety-sized linebackers who could be terrific after hitting the weights. Corners Corey Tindal and T.J. Lowder might not be huge, but they can move. JUCO transfers Jordan Hunt at linebacker and Tevin Blanchard at safety will play right away.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 89. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Willis Wright. In
a major "huh?" moment, Wright, a very strong, very fast safety prospect who could become a whale of a wide receiver or two-way player,
signed with FIU despite receiving offers from
Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, Nebraska, and several other
BCS schools. He's the star of a really nice group of
defensive players brought in with a special emphasis
on the defensive front. Seven defensive linemen were
signed including Jordan White, a 320-pound tackle.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 98. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive back. This was a decent class all the way around, but the major focus was on stopping the pass with some good defensive ends in Joshua Forney and Thatcher Starling, and several defensive backs with decent speed, and surprisingly, a lot of size. Terrance Taylor was a nice pickup at safety while Wayne Times is a good-looking corner prospect.