Scouting FIU: Q&A with coach Mario Cristobal

Rutgers travels to Florida International for its frst road game of the 2010 season. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at FIU Stadium. On Monday, Golden Panthers coach Mario Cristobal spoke with the media about his team, which will be making its season debut, and also what awaits them in the game against Rutgers.

Scouting Florida International
Kickoff: 8 p.m., FIU Stadium, SNY
Record: 0-0 (3-9 in 2009)
Coach: Mario Cristobal (9-27, three years)
Offense: Spread
Defense: 3-4
Key players: QB Wesley Carroll, a transfer from Mississippi State, who started for the Bulldogs as a freshman. WR T.Y. Hilton, WR Greg Eillingson, WR Jason Frierson, RB Jeremiah Harden, SS Jonathan Cyprien, MLB Aaron Davis, LB Toronto Smith, CB Anthony Gaitor.

Florida International opens its season Saturday against Rutgers at 8 p.m at FIU International, and coach Mario Crisotbal spoke about the Golden Panthers on Monday.
Here is what he had to say:

Opening statement: It's good to finally get into a game week. We had the bye week last week and we got to watch a lot of teams play. Obviously, the Sun Belt conference did a great job representing with a couple of big victories against other conferences, and certainly playing other ones tough. We're primed to represent out university, and our conference, as well.

On advantages/disadvantages of not playing yet while Rutgers already opened the season: I think you always want to get that first game in there because you usually do take a pretty significant jump from game 1 to game 2 in terms of correcting mistakes or miscues that you make have had.
At the same time, we used the extra week and treated it like a game week. We had a full scrimmage, (like) it was a game. We feel we got a lot done with that as well.

On the excitement of having a Big East team playing on FIU's campus: It really is (a big deal). We're building a program, a little bit similar to the days I had at Rutgers University. We're building it and getting an opportunity against these big-time opponents, especially on your own home field, which is something that is brand new to our place.
There is a strong buzz on campus and in the city, and we're looking forward to a great Saturday.

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