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Purging of Some Overdue Thoughts...

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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:57 pm   
Cougar

Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:01 pm
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Location: Cooper City, Fl.
Hello Fellow Panther Fans,
This is the first real chance I have had to post some thoughts since NSD. I hope these ideas don't offend anyone but here they go:
1. I am curious, but I don't get too excited, concerning our 2020 signing class. Rarely do any of these players have an immediate impact on the upcoming season. We added an excellent group of young players which will continue to make our roster deeper at every position. I think there is no doubt that our roster has gotten considerably better each year under Coach Davis. Look at the 2019 class. I would argue that not one player contributed significantly or for that matter, even the 2018 class (with the exception of S. Palmer). We have to go back to the 2017 class to see where many of our starters come from.
2. In contrast, look at the transfer portal from 2019. I would guess that during the 2020 season we will have 6-7 starters from that group. Conversely, we lost relatively little to the portal. The players we did lose simply give opportunities to other guys, who may be better players, to take those spots.
3. I must admit that I am somewhat bothered by J. Borregales leaving and choosing to go to UCG. Honestly, if it were a different school it would not annoy me as much. I wish him well but think it's a really bad look - as in disloyal to the school that gave him his big opportunity. P.S. There was apparently some disagreement between Coach Davis and Borregales and they are not on speaking terms. Anyone know any inside details?
4. I don't think there is any doubt that James Morgan is an NFL caliber player. He is without a doubt the best QB in our program's history. He clearly was a standout at the East-West Shrine Game. He will be drafted. In addition, he apparently is a high caliber, quality human being.
5. I hope that our coaches, as some of you have pointed out, resist the temptation to reward tenure over talent ( examples - A. Jones, M. Alexander), which I believe was a stumbling block last year and was one reasons why we underachieved/regressed last season. Coach Davis has publicly stated, after the season was over, that he is going to "play the best players regardless of class". If he does, we will be much improved - pending the QB situation, which I feel will be filled by S. Norton or a graduate transfer.
Interested in what y'all have to say as usual. FIUPhil


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:08 pm   
Golden Panther

Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:25 am
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Hey Dr. Phil,

I think you are spot on with much of your post. I presume there will be at least four major contributors from the signing class: the two JC linemen, the kicker, and the QB. If the latter can't beat out Wiggins in short order, then we are in for a long year and a booooring year--I am sure Butch hates it like poison that he is looking at starting a freshman at QB, but good god almighty I hope he has the courage of those stated convictions. I'd say that we are running out of time for hopes of a transfer at QB, but Butch is not unlike Pat Riley when it comes to pulling one out of a hat. At least there should be a couple of quality receivers to throw to this year, and maybe one of the youngsters will actually develop.

Obviously Jose Borealis got his head lost in the Northern Lights last year, and quite frankly, I won't be surprised if he turns out to be a hot mess over there in Coral Gables. I am not wishing it on him, I am just saying.

Morgan is about as mobile as Trayland Humphrey was, but with an NFL line blocking for him, perhaps that shortcoming will be overlooked. We will see. He has the arm and the touch, when he's given some time. Go Captain Morgan!


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:48 pm   
Golden Panther
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fiuphil, always good to read your thoughts… some of the best posts on this board.

I’ve been one of those who have criticized Coach Davis for putting tenure ahead of talent. I hope he truly learns from his mistakes, but I’m not counting on it. I’ve heard him say in past seasons that the best players are going to play… that every position is up for grabs, etc. etc., etc.

But as you point out—and as I have pointed out repeatedly in the past—many of our most highly-recruited freshmen and redshirt freshmen rarely see the field. That’s inexcusable. Even at much bigger programs, true freshmen get significant playing time and make major contributions.

You’d actually expect freshmen to play more—not less—at a program like FIU. We are in program-building mode. We’re supposedly bringing in better classes year after year. So you’d expect the young guys to be beating out the older guys. It’s not like we’re Alabama and the classes that we’re bringing in are no more talented than the previous three years’ classes.

But for some strange reason, this hasn’t been happening under Coach Davis. The young guys rarely play. There are only two explanations I know of: (1) Coach Davis is rewarding tenure over talent, or (2) Coach Davis and staff aren’t recruiting well. Neither answer is acceptable. Hopefully we’ll see big changes in this area in the years ahead.

There’s no doubt that James Morgan was our best QB ever so far. No disrespect to Alex McGough or Josh Padrick, or Wes Carroll, or Jamie Burke, or Paul McCall, but Morgan is in a different class. His numbers prove it. I just wish we had him for four years.

As for next year, the whole season will come down to who we play at QB. If hard-headed Coach Davis sticks with Kaylan Wiggins--and he begins the year as our starter--we’re in deep trouble. We’ll lose three to four games before he replaces him and our season and bowl streak will be over.

With Singleton back healthy and Holloman joining him—in addition to Shemar Thornton--we have too many weapons at WR to not have a QB who can throw the ball without turning it over. I think it’s going to be Stone’s job before the season is over. With Flex Joseph in the backfield this year, it’s time to run the Flex-Stone offense.

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Official Name:
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:28 am   
Golden Panther

Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:25 am
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well, there you have it Dr. Phil. a couple of word for word endorsements.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:36 pm   
Golden Panther

Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 10:20 am
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Thank you for your thoughts. I tend to agree with everything you have said so far. I think Morgan is av very good quarter back, but still not sure he's the best we have ever had. I believe many of those picked up this draft will start next season. What looks good on paper doesn't always translate on field, but let's hope this class exceeds our expectations.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:41 pm   
Juvenile Panther

Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:31 pm
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I repeatedly see criticism of Butch rewarding tenure over talent. I honestly don't think Butch is that naive to keep impactful players on the bench. I think a lot of us here put too much emphasis on their recruitment rankings. I believe there's a reason some of these guys don't see the field. Sometimes some kids just don't pan out the way you think they will, hence why the transfer portal is so popular. It's a database literally for kids looking for a way out of their situation to seek more playing time. I have faith in Butch's decision making as far as the depth chart goes. None of us are there on the practice field every day evaluating their talent.

As far as the 2020 recruiting class goes, I would say it's arguably the best one we ever had. I think they addressed a number of positions including the O line, DB's, and the LB's. I would've liked to see another DT with a bigger frame, but I'm sure we'll probably get a transfer to fill the spot in the rotation.

As far as the QB situation goes, I'm not excited about the prospect of Kaylan Wiggins being the starter either. However, everyone is over here calling for Stone to take the job, but are completely dismissing Caleb Lynum. Caleb has an extra year learning the offense and has all the athletic ability of Wiggins plus a bigger arm. I guess we'll see though...


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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:41 am   
Golden Panther

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For those who complain about the lack of freshmen playing, they need to consider what type of guys Butch has brought in thus far. Very few have had the size to significantly contribute as freshmen. We aren't recruiting SEC type physical freaks who are grown men at age 17. Lots of these guys are projects, with high ceilings. They need time in the weight room. Others needed their freshmen years to recover from injuries. Others simply never panned out at FIU.

Which specific players do you feel should have been playing? I can only really think of one that stands out in my mind: Nate Jefferson (WR). He had the speed to play day 1. Why was he not returning kickoffs? We were really banged up at WR and needed help there and he could have contributed more last year.

I know others have said Donovan Georges, but FIU typically runs a two-LB set. No one is playing over Sage. And I don't see how you can argue he is better than Jamal Gates.

Sione Finau made the all-conference team last year as a freshman, despite a very senior-heavy team last year. Butch will play freshmen if he feels they are ready. Kam Williams at TE is another example (Flex got a decent amount of PT too, despite many talented RBs ahead of him).

Going back prior years, Sterling Palmer and Bryce Singleton played a ton as freshmen. So did Jason Mercier. So did Noah Curtis and Kevin Oliver.

We had a very upper-classmen heavy team last year. Hard to play freshmen, when eight guys had all-star caliber seasons as seniors (those who made the postseason all-star games... e.g., East-West shrine bowl, etc.)...


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 PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:13 pm   
Golden Panther
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Perfectly put. +1.

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 PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:42 am   
Golden Panther

Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:25 am
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I agree whole-heartedly that it would be the rare, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot coach who would refuse to play kids who showed more talent on the practice field.

However, no one on this board has ever come up with a reasonable explanation for some of Butch's decisions regarding the QB position. The first head-scratcher was his decision to go with Mighty Mouse all the way through the Gasparilla Bowl after McGough was injured.

Another was his decision to run off the same alternative backup after Morgan's first year, even after that backup pretty much singlehandedly won us the Bahamas Bowl game when Morgan was injured. That has to suggest to anyone that Butch simply did not believe in, or get along with that kid and it put us in the situation this past year where we had to use a substitute wholly unsuited to the offense installed when Morgan was injured, and this is after Butch said publicly several times he would never again let himself be put in the Mighty Mouse position, without a capable backup versed in the system ready to go. Were I the coach, I would have found a way to convince my backup that he was a necessary part of the team, that he would play, and that he did not have to transfer to one of the most pathetic programs in all of college football. Ran him off, let him go, I am sorry Dynasty, but there is little difference in this scenario.

I suppose one could theorize that none of the pro-style QBs recruited over Butch's tenure have panned out, but that would make him pretty spectacularly incompetent as an evaluator of talent. My own feeling is that he, as a former NFL coach, has become extremely conservative, and especially when it comes to the QB position. That is why we saw they kid we saw as a backup last year, because he probably made the fewest mistakes in practice. However, just like those anti-depressant drugs, you might lose the lows when you go in that direction, but you can also forget about the highs.

But let's give Butch the benefit of the doubt and say that he will absolutely pick the best of the lot to play QB next fall, regardless of whether or not it is a true freshman or a kid who has never seen the field at FIU. All I am saying is this: if it turns out that the best we have at the position is the backup we saw last year, then we will not excel. That was simply not quarterbacking that will get us anywhere, and I did not see anything in terms of speed or physical tools that would suggest that all the coaching in the world would make much difference. I'm not picking on the kid, I'm just stating the obvious. To go anywhere in college or pro football, you need a QB with SOME markedly above average talent, and that is usually clearly observable from a very early stage.

The biggest frustration I have is the utter lack of information that we get. Apparently no one on this board goes to practices or knows anyone who does. At every other program I have been around, there is usually some gossip that floats around: "Oh yeah, so and so has a big arm, but he is dumb as a rock." Or, "So and so is the best QB but he can't get along with the coaches," or whatever. What we get is "X is the best high school linebacker ever to come out of Hialeah and Butch Davis ought to be shot for not playing him." Not one word in a year and a half about how the kid has looked at practice or behaved as a team member. And don't expect anything out of the staff: have you ever hear Butch utter a single word about someone who ISN'T playing, positive or negative? He just does not go there, as in, "We're hoping to see Caleb improve on his accuracy this spring," or, "We're going to take the mitten off of Kaylin's throwing hand this year." Frustrating.


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 PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:56 pm   
Golden Panther

Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:43 pm
Posts: 3228
Diagodog wrote:
I agree whole-heartedly that it would be the rare, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot coach who would refuse to play kids who showed more talent on the practice field.

However, no one on this board has ever come up with a reasonable explanation for some of Butch's decisions regarding the QB position. The first head-scratcher was his decision to go with Mighty Mouse all the way through the Gasparilla Bowl after McGough was injured.

Another was his decision to run off the same alternative backup after Morgan's first year, even after that backup pretty much singlehandedly won us the Bahamas Bowl game when Morgan was injured. That has to suggest to anyone that Butch simply did not believe in, or get along with that kid and it put us in the situation this past year where we had to use a substitute wholly unsuited to the offense installed when Morgan was injured, and this is after Butch said publicly several times he would never again let himself be put in the Mighty Mouse position, without a capable backup versed in the system ready to go. Were I the coach, I would have found a way to convince my backup that he was a necessary part of the team, that he would play, and that he did not have to transfer to one of the most pathetic programs in all of college football. Ran him off, let him go, I am sorry Dynasty, but there is little difference in this scenario.

I suppose one could theorize that none of the pro-style QBs recruited over Butch's tenure have panned out, but that would make him pretty spectacularly incompetent as an evaluator of talent. My own feeling is that he, as a former NFL coach, has become extremely conservative, and especially when it comes to the QB position. That is why we saw they kid we saw as a backup last year, because he probably made the fewest mistakes in practice. However, just like those anti-depressant drugs, you might lose the lows when you go in that direction, but you can also forget about the highs.

But let's give Butch the benefit of the doubt and say that he will absolutely pick the best of the lot to play QB next fall, regardless of whether or not it is a true freshman or a kid who has never seen the field at FIU. All I am saying is this: if it turns out that the best we have at the position is the backup we saw last year, then we will not excel. That was simply not quarterbacking that will get us anywhere, and I did not see anything in terms of speed or physical tools that would suggest that all the coaching in the world would make much difference. I'm not picking on the kid, I'm just stating the obvious. To go anywhere in college or pro football, you need a QB with SOME markedly above average talent, and that is usually clearly observable from a very early stage.

The biggest frustration I have is the utter lack of information that we get. Apparently no one on this board goes to practices or knows anyone who does. At every other program I have been around, there is usually some gossip that floats around: "Oh yeah, so and so has a big arm, but he is dumb as a rock." Or, "So and so is the best QB but he can't get along with the coaches," or whatever. What we get is "X is the best high school linebacker ever to come out of Hialeah and Butch Davis ought to be shot for not playing him." Not one word in a year and a half about how the kid has looked at practice or behaved as a team member. And don't expect anything out of the staff: have you ever hear Butch utter a single word about someone who ISN'T playing, positive or negative? He just does not go there, as in, "We're hoping to see Caleb improve on his accuracy this spring," or, "We're going to take the mitten off of Kaylin's throwing hand this year." Frustrating.


The decision to play Maurice in the Gasparilla Bowl is quite mysterious. My only guess is that Christian Alexander had minimal practice reps and didn't have a good understanding of the offense at the time. That still falls on Butch.

In regard to Christian leaving after James' first year, it seems obvious James was going to be the guy. Christian didn't want to stay as the backup. And I don't blame Butch for letting him walk. He wanted to get his chance to be the starter somewhere else... And it was at the FCS level.

I agree that if Kaylan is the guy, the team will certainly not be competing for any sort of conference championship. But right now, it's all speculation who's going to get the shot. You have to remember, Butch is also the guy that brought in James Morgan, the best QB this program has ever seen. He deserves a lot of praise for that. I trust he will have the right guy in place come fall.

The lack of information is a whole other issue. I agree, it is very frustrating. It comes from the top-down. FIU Athletics is run very strangely.


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 PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:05 pm   
Golden Panther

Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:25 am
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Strangely!! :mrgreen:

You are probably right about Alexander's departure, Dynasty. But I can't help feeling that if he had been around, we might have won at least one of those games that Morgan sat out. On the other hand, he led Wagner to a 1-11 season, completing 200 of 344 passes for a 5.8 average, with 8 TDs and 9 INTs. No idea if he had anyone to throw to or any kind of a line to protect him. I'm guessing not, given his HS stats. At least he can say he got to play.

I hear your point about Butch having found Morgan. He must think he has his guy in the fold, then, since there's been not a whisper of a transfer. Spring Ball ought to suggest whether or not Lynum is in the mix.


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:35 pm   
Golden Panther
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If Lynum was the man, he would have played last year ahead of Kaylan. I can't imagine he's worse than Wiggins, but clearly Butch thinks he is. We have to hope Butch didn't want to burn a redshirt on Stone. If Stone's not the starting QB next season, we're in for a long season. I doubt he brings in a grad transfer, but you never know.

_________________
FIU is the city of Miami's only state university.
FIU is Miami State University.

Official Name:
State University of Florida at Miami, or
Miami State University of Florida, or
Miami Florida State University


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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:23 pm   
Juvenile Panther

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:53 pm
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Spring Ball ought to suggest a lot. Any player/Any position who has been recruited, signed and on scholarship I think we should be able to see perform in the Spring game. Provided they don't have behavior or grade issues, the only exception I think would be a freshman(kind of). Spring game doesn't determine your position in a conference. It is suppose to identify how individual players perform in a real-time game setting. I say can all the speculation and lets really see what we have with underclassmen especially at QB. We have NEVER seen Lynum in a game. Nobody knows what the season will be but like everyone else I'm anxious to see.


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