Closer Frankie Bartow stared into the Panthers' dugout immediately after fanning the final batter of the University of Miami’s 8-7 victory Tuesday at FIU Stadium. His gaze prompted Panthers players to jump off the bench and rush the field, before being held back.
When the FIU Panthers gather for fall practices, their projected offensive starters will include four seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and one redshirt freshman. On defense, they project five seniors, four juniors and two sophomores.
FIU Stadium will now be called Riccardo Silva Stadium, for the Italian owner of the Miami FC soccer team, which shares the facility with the Panthers football team. Silva donated $3.76 million for the naming rights, and provided a new turf field and jumbotron.
FIU’s baseball team defeated UM both times they have played this season by a combined score of 15-3. Beyond that, new FIU coach Mervyl Melendez has created a national stir with his recruiting prowess, while the Canes are struggling on the field, entering this weekend with a losing record and the worst batting average in the Atlantic Coast Conference (.209).
There is no battle for the starting quarterback position, wide receiver spots are wide open and a walk-on defensive back has stepped up to a prominent role. Those were among the revelations made Thursday by new FIU football coach Butch Davis after his Panthers went through their ninth practice of the spring.
Some two dozen UM and FIU players will try out in front of NFL teams Wednesday, but none might have more on the line than Dieugot Joseph, FIU's athletic offensive tackle who needs to crush his workout to have any realistic chance of being drafted.