FIU Panthers Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the FIU season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
FIU Panthers Preview
Head Coach: Mike MacIntyre, 1st year at FIU
10th year overall, 46-65, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 1-11, Conference: 1-5
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
FIU Top 10 Players | FIU Schedule
FIU Panthers Preview 2022
It was supposed to work better than that.
FIU had the coach in Butch Davis who knew Miami, there was just enough talent to make a splash, and the program was supposed to take steps forward and become a bigger factor. Instead, the 2021 season opened with a win over Long Island, and that was it.
The offense was a total disaster as the season went on, the defense never showed up, and the turnaround season led to a regime change and a total reboot.
The 2019 team shocked Miami late in the season on the way to a bowl game. Since then it’s 1-17 with just that lone victory over the Sharks.
Enter Mike MacIntyre and with him comes hope.
He did the absolute impossible and made San Jose State great going from 1-12 when he first took over in 2010 to 10-2 two years later.
He did the almost impossible and pushed Colorado through three tough seasons to 10-4 in 2016. He wasn’t able to sustain the success, but the Buffs were hardly awful in the two years before he was canned.
Now he has another tough mountain to climb. It’s not going to happen overnight, but he’s a good defensive coach who should at least make the Panthers more competitive.
FIU Panthers Preview 2022: Offense
The FIU offense couldn’t move the chains, the running game didn’t exist, and the offensive line didn’t give anyone time to work. New offensive coordinator David Yost knows how to get a passing game going and he knows how to coach up quarterbacks, coming off a few years at Texas Tech and known for his time as a star assistant at Missouri under Gary Pinkel.
This is going to take a bit. FIU is starting from scratch, but the up-tempo attack will be fun, and …
There are new parts of the passing game that should work. Gunnar Holmberg isn’t going to be Aaron Rodgers, but he’s a veteran quarterback from Duke who should settle the position … maybe. Haden Carlson and Grayson James are getting every shot at the gig.
Leading receiver Tyrese Chambers is back along with former USF transfer Randall St. Felix to go along with Sharod Johnson (Syracuse) and Jacolby Hewitt (Indiana). The passing attack that averaged 265 yards per game should keep going. But …
The offensive front has to be night-and-day better. Two starters are back, and there’s size and a little help from the transfer portal, but this group was a major problem with nothing happening in pass protection and little help for the ground game.
The backs are okay, but they need room. Lexington Joseph averaged 4.8 yards per carry -the backs should average close to five yards per pop. Now the line has to keep the quarterback from getting hit to keep that rushing average from nosediving.
FIU Panthers Preview 2022: Defense
New defensive coordinator Jovan Dewitt has been around the block – he was a linebackers coach at Nebraska and North Carolina over the last few years -and he knows the south Florida area. Job One is to generate pressure for a D that was the third-worst in college football overall, didn’t force takeaways, and allowed close to 40 points per game.
There are a few okay parts coming back, and it starts with the defensive front. There’s not a lot of size, but all things considered, there’s a little bit of experience to play around with. Someone has to help 6-1, 263-pound end Davon Strickland make more plays behind the line, and there has to be a good rotation to hold up inside.
The secondary didn’t do a whole bunch, but it had good corners in Richard and Rishard Dames. They’re gone, but the young safeties are back starting with Jamal Potts and Demetrius Hill bringing good size and a little bit of experience.
Gaethan Bernadel made 44 tackles from one linebacker spot, but this is one of the team’s thinnest areas considering the D would like to work around a 4-3 as much as possible.