FIU at a glance
By IZZY GOULD
Published September 1, 2006
NICKNAME: Golden Panthers.
COACH: Don Strock (15-29, fourth season).
CONFERENCE: Sun Belt.
LAST SEASON: 5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt (tied for fourth).
LOCAL TIES: OL David Bailey (Durant), WR Vergus Mock (Middleton), DB Marshall McDuffie Jr. (Durant), OL Andy Leavine (Springstead).
STADIUM: FIU Stadium (17,000).
OUTLOOK: FIU begins its second season in Division I-A after somewhat of a rough start. It could get worse before it gets better. The Panthers lost 29 lettermen to graduation and must lean heavily on inexperience. Josh Padrick, whose 223 passing yards per game led the Sun Belt Conference, returns for his third year as the starting quarterback. He threw for 2,461 yards last season, making the Panthers the top passing offense in the Sun Belt. He'll have top target Chandler Williams (led FIU with 901 all-purpose yards). The backfield is shaky with a pair of sophomores in Julian Reams (322 yards) and A'mod Ned (375 yards). Keyonvis Bouie (118 tackles) and Antwan Barnes (11 sacks) anchor a defense returning 20 lettermen, though key spots are up for grabs. FIU also must find a placekicker.
WEB SITE: www.fiusports.com
SCHEDULE: Thursday - at Middle Tennessee, late; Sept. 9 - at USF, 7 p.m.; Sept. 16 - Bowling Green, 6 p.m.; Sept. 23 - at Maryland, 6 p.m.; Sept. 30 - Arkansas State, 6 p.m.; Oct. 7 - at North Texas, 7 p.m.; Oct. 14 - at Miami, TBA; Oct. 28 - at Alabama, TBA; Nov. 11 - Louisiana-Monroe, 7 p.m.; Nov. 18 - Louisiana-Lafayette, 6 p.m.; Nov. 25 - at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.; Dec. 2 - Troy, 7 p.m.