FIU’s youngest linebacker in age might be its oldest every other way.
As in the way 20-year-old sophomore Anthony Wint assumed the role of defensive bellwether even as a freshman and buck-stops-here leader as a sophomore (and leads the team in tackles). As in the way Wint treats his body with a seriousness rarely seen in college athletes. As in the way Wint spends his Thursdays playing the ancient strategic game of chess with other FIU students on campus.
As in Wint being FIU’s oldest linebacker in game experience most of this season after injuries took out senior outside linebacker Davison Colimon and junior middle linebacker Treyvon Williams by the fourth game. (Williams is back at practice, but still walks with a noticeable limp.)
So, Wint is lined up with senior Jephete Matilus, who had played limited middle linebacker snaps at Minnesota, and converted defensive back Vontarius West. Maybe that’s why if you ask Wint about any troubles with the overall defense, he’ll assign himself sole blame or seemingly take at least half the team blame on his own shoulders.
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No wonder FIU coach Ron Turner likens Wint to two of the favorite players he coached at Illinois, 11-year NFL offensive lineman Tony Pashos and 10-year offensive lineman Brandon Moore.
“Tony was one of my all-time favorite people,” Turner said. “I talk to him every day through text or Twitter or something. I love him. That’s why he played 12 years in the NFL, because he was a professional and he had an edge about him. Wint is the same guy just without that obnoxious edge.
“Brandon never said a word. Total opposite to Tony. Extremely serious. Quiet. Intelligent. So, similar [to Wint] in that way.”
The thoroughness with which Wint approaches football left Turner unsurprised that Wint plays chess.
“I’m here to play football so I’m going to put my maximum effort toward it for these 12 weeks or more,” Wint said.
Turner said, “I told him a few weeks ago, ‘You’re like a 10-year NFL vet.’ He said, ‘How’s that?’ I said, ‘The way you take care of your body, how smart you are, what you do, the way you prepare. The way you come in and watch film, the way you study the game, the way you’re in the training room.’ ”
Wint said he learned quickly about proper self-maintenance from FIU’s upperclassmen last year, especially safety Demarkus Perkins.
“He told me you only get one [body] and I’m only going to play this game for so long so as much as I take care of my body,” Wint said.
“Usually rookies come in [to the NFL], they don’t take care of their bodies in college, they don’t do it the first couple of years in the league and they learn from the guys who have been around eight to 10 years,” Turner continued. “The ones who don’t learn from them are there two or three years. They learn from the true professsionals.
“Anthony Wint, he doesn’t have to learn from anybody. He’s already a true professional.”
McGOUGH ON RECORD PACE
Perhaps overlooked in the many team records set during Saturday’s 48-31 win against Charlotte was sophomore quarterback Alex McGough resetting FIU’s single season record for pass completions.
McGough’s 27 completions gave him 241 for the season, zooming by the 226 completed in 2010 by current FIU radio color analyst Wes Carroll. McGough enters this Saturday’s game 94 passing yards from Carroll’s season record of 2,623, also set in 2010.
▪ The most activity on campus Wednesday (Veterans Day) took place at FIU Stadium. Before practice, the HBO television series Ballers shot scenes in FIU Stadium, the R. Kirk Landon Fieldhouse weight room, South Lakeview Dorm and the Athletic Department offices. The show shot several football scenes in earlier episodes at FIU.