FIU Football Spring Practice Recap: Day 1

FIU Spring Football

Kevin Barral/Lemon City Live


Miami, FL – FIU Football is upon us, courtesy of the return of spring football.

With many players coming back and the top recruiting class of conference USA coming in, there is a lot to look at with players and even coaches.

“I thought we got a lot accomplished for the first day, which I would expect us to be able to do that,” said Mike MacIntyre, head coach of FIU Football. “We’ve been around the guys for a year and been able to do walkthroughs and meetings and all that type of thing.”

Who will Become QB1?

As we all know, the starter last year was Haden Carlson until he got injured and Grayson James had to enter his place. Later in the season, James was announced as the quarterback and that is how it stayed until the end of the season.

In the last game of the season, James was not 100 percent and Carlson started in his place. As promising as both of them were in their respective moments, there is still a battle for that starting job. FIU flipped the commitment of Miami legend and hometown hero Keyone Jenkins and they still have Armani Brooks who has some promise to be good.

The quarterback who I saw take the most reps was Brooks, but it is still extremely early to tell who will be the starter. “They all threw well,” said coach Mac. There were a couple of underthrows, but that is something that we can expect on day one.

The talk of the quarterbacks was the former Auburn commit who MacIntyre and others convinced to flip his commitment, Keyone Jenkins. “He looked like he wasn’t lost.” According to coach, he is grasping the new system well and was happy with what he saw out of him.

Grayson James later met with the media following today’s practice and talked about various topics such as the offense and how it is going, having a new set of receivers, and the ongoing position battle which he is the favorite to win it right now. “I feel a lot more confident just having that year under my belt obviously playing more games this year as well. So definitely my confidence level is up and I feel like I have more command and just about being a dealer out there,” said James when asking him how he feels under the offense in year three with FIU.

James was also asked about Jenkins and if he has taken him under his belt. “I mean, yeah, I’ve definitely been in his shoes before, so obviously just kind of want to teach him whatever I can. He’s definitely a talented kid, so to be able to have him me in the room is good for us and obviously just having extra competition is why you love the game.”

The Coaching Changes

Prior to the beginning of the spring, we saw FIU make a couple of coaching changes and that was due to some coaches departing. The new offensive line coach for the Panthers will be former tight ends coach Joshua Eargle and the newest Special Teams coordinator and tight ends coach will be Zac Roper.

Roper is someone that goes way back with coach MacIntyre. Since 1999 to be exact. He was a student assistant coach back at Ole Miss and they had some time at Duke as well.

I asked coach Roper about his expectation for the tightened group which no longer has Rivaldo Fairweather (who transferred to Auburn). “I expect them to do all the things that you have to have a tight end to do.” Roper mentioned the names Josiah Miamen and Jackson McDonald who are the two returning tight ends for FIU.

Kris Mitchell Takes on New Challenges

With the departure of Tyrese Chambers and Rivaldo Fairweather, the most experienced wideout is redshirt junior Kris Mitchell. Limited to just nine games this past season due to some injury issues, Mitchell now takes on a new role with the Panthers and he is well aware of that. “I know once I leave I still need guys getting better. So if I leave a statement now, they’re going to keep rising to the top and playing to the best of their abilities, so that’s exactly what I want.”

Mitchell is projected to be the Panthers number-one receiver this season, so big things are coming for him. One thing that was different about Mitchell was the body. He looked a lot bigger and that did turn out to be the case. When asked about his weight and height, he said he came in at six feet and 180 pounds.

Panther Notes:

    • The freshman that did not attend were the following: Rowdy Beers, Toddrick Brewton, Jaheim Buchanon, Mister Clark, Antoine Cobb, Victor Evans III, Landon Hale, Luby Maurice Jr., Kyle McNeal, Daniel Michel, Braiden Staten, Preston Thompson, Atavious Weaver.
    • Notable players that stood out to me were cornerback Demitrius Hill who got a pick in practice today, Avery Huff who was present, and Kris Mitchell.

What’s Next

The Panthers will be back at it on Thursday, with similar action to what we saw yesterday. On Saturday, we will see the first practice with full pads on. That is when initial assessments can begin to be made in terms of who should start and who shouldn’t. All practices are open to fans, but you aren’t allowed to take pictures.

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