Florida International U

Injuries take toll on FIU secondary

Florida International head coach Ron Turner walks the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Central Florida, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Orlando, Fla.
Florida International head coach Ron Turner walks the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Central Florida, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. AP

There’s no safety in being an FIU safety.

Redshirt junior Jordan Davis, slated to start, didn’t make the trip to Ruston after sustaining a knee injury late in the week.

Sophomore Niko Gonzalez sustained a stinger during last Saturday’s win against North Carolina Central before junior Wilkenson Myrtil got concussed.

Early in training camp, sophomore Shemarke Spence broke his arm.

As FIU coach Ron Turner noted, the Panthers are down their top four safeties. When Louisiana Tech opened the game with four wide receivers, FIU went with a 4-2-5 alignment that had freshman Tyree Johnson, redshirt freshman Mark Bruno and redshirt junior Deonte Wilson as the safeties. Redshirt sophomore Xavier Hines also took snaps at safety.

There were times it seemed Louisiana Tech senior transfer quarterback Jeff Driskel was hazing FIU’s youngsters in the passing game. Driskel expanded it to the running game on his 32-yard run off an option keeper, on which he gave Johnson an open field go-go shake and sent Wilson lunging the wrong way.

Johnson would get one of FIU’s seven tackles for loss, and the only one registered by a defensive back.

“We had some young guys in there, but that’s not an excuse because it wasn’t those guys, in all cases, who weren’t doing their job,” Turner said.

A BAD DAY

It wasn’t FIU’s day in a number of ways.

One of the team buses was involved in an accident with several other vehicles as the bus caravan rolled back to the Shreveport Regional Airport.

The FIU assistants stationed up in the press box had to deal with being squished together in the Joe Aillet Stadium visiting coaches box, sized more for two game show contestants than several grown men who once played football. Each coaches box at Hialeah’s Milander Stadium, where high school games get played, is larger.

At halftime, the elevator down hadn’t been held for FIU’s coaches, so they descended via the stairs, losing minutes of the limited halftime period.

THIS AND THAT

▪ FIU’s game captains were senior running back Anthon Samuel, sophomore quarterback Alex McGough, senior defensive end Anthony Wint and senior defensive end Michael Wakefield. The coaches select the captains each week on previous week’s play and practice.

▪ The Panthers won the coin toss for the fourth time in four games and deferred to the second half for the third time in three games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

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