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National Signing Day is five days away. Like many teams around the nation, the Panthers have needs to fill and we'll get to those needs in this series that runs up until NSD on Wednesday.
Next Wednesday, Feb. 6, I'll have a LIVE BLOG right here from coach Ron Turner's press conference. The time for the LIVE BLOG and press conference is still to be determined. I'll let you know on here as soon as I know. You can join me here then to talk about the newest FIU players and Panthers football overall.
Before we get into the returning FIU offensive linemen, the Countdown to NSD 2013 series disclaimer: Due to NCAA restrictions, I can only comment on current or former Panthers until National Signing Day, Feb. 6. However, the gag order on commenting on future Panthers will be lifted on NSD, Feb. 6. So join me then for the LIVE BLOG.
This unit might determine how successful the FIU offense is in 2013 and it will have new starters at all five positions. The Panthers graduated the five offensive linemen that started the majority of the games last season.
David Delsoin (4 starts, photo above), Donald Senat (2 starts) and Jordan White (2 starts) are the only returning offensive linemen to start games last season. With the exception of those three, the FIU offensive line will not have much game-playing experience heading into 2013.
What the Panthers offensive front will have going for them is coaching -- past and present. The majority of the current FIU offensive linemen learned under former FIU offensive line coach Alex Mirabal last season and will work under new FIU offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler in 2013.
Mirabal took over an average FIU offensive line two years ago and turned it into one of the most productive units in school history and in the Sun Belt Conference. Shankweiler has 39 years of experience coaching offensive linemen at places such as Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Cincinnati, East Carolina and South Florida. With such young and green offensive linemen, teaching will be a big part of the job this season for Shankweiler.
FIU has to replace two pillars at the tackle spots in Caylin Hauptmann and Rupert Bryan and the very dependable guard/center Giancarlo Revilla as well as the size of David Istanich and Shae Smith.
Delsoin has some experience at guard and could shift to one of the tackle spots. Senat played center most of his high school career and some guard last season. White played right guard last season and is currently recovering from a knee injury.
One thing FIU does have when it begins spring practice in late March is some offensive linemen with size. Delsoin (6-6, 300 pounds), White (6-4, 318), Yousif Khoury (6-4, 310), Edens Sineace (6-5, 334) and Trenton Saunders (6-4, 280) are among some of the Panthers that seem to be physically ready. It will then be a matter of technique and execution when they hit the field.
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