FIU Golden Panthers Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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FIU Golden Panthers Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the FIU season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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FIU Golden 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 Golden 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 Golden Panthers more competitive.

FIU Golden 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 Golden 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.

Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
FIU Top 10 Players | FIU Schedule

FIU Golden Panthers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

FIU Golden Panthers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

FIU Golden Panthers: Key To The 2022 Offense

Run the ball.

That might not be the priority in the offense that’s going to start throwing more in the up-tempo style, and there are plenty of other things to work on.

The turnovers have to stop, and the offense has to be far, far better at scoring when it has the chance – FIU was miserable in the red zone – but it all starts with controlling the clock and the play a wee bit on the ground.

How bad were the Golden Panthers at running the ball? The 459 yards over the first two games against LIU and Texas State accounted for 37% of the team’s rushing yards.

There were only five 100-yard games and there weren’t more than 160 against an FBS team. There was a run of nine game run when the O averaged under 3.7 yards per carry.

FIU Golden Panthers: Key To The 2022 Defense

Find a pass rush.

There weren’t enough takeaways, there wasn’t enough production on third downs, and there weren’t enough key stops. It all starts with a pass rush that never showed up.

How bad was the 2021 FIU defense at getting into the backfield? The 0-5 2020 D came up with three sacks in three of the five games. The 2021 version got to three sacks just twice. It came up with 11 sacks in four games, and a grand total of three in the eight.

That has to instantly change, and it will.

FIU Golden Panthers: Key Player To The 2022 Season

OG Jahmari Sylvester, Soph.
Throw in the 6-5, 317-pound left guard as a representative of an entire offensive line that has to rise up and be night-and-day better for the team to improve in any way.

The defense will get better under the new coaching staff, and the skill parts on the offensive side are okay. None of it matters it the line doesn’t start to block someone. It’s a stretch to say it’ll build around Sylvester, but he’s one of the veteran parts, even as a sophomore.

FIU Golden Panthers: Key Transfer

QB Gunnar Holmberg, Sr.
The Duke transfer was able to put up yards last year for a struggling offense, and he ran for six touchdowns. The FIU offense might have been lousy overall, but former Maryland transfer Max Bortenschlager threw for close to 3,000 yards. Holmberg will likely get the keys to a high-powered passing style, and his experience has to come through … if he wins the gig. He still has to take the job in fall camp.

FIU Key Game To The 2022 Season

at Texas State, Sept. 9
The tough 23-17 loss to the Bobcats in Week 2 of last season started the run of 11 straight losses. This time around the game is on the road, and it’s a must win for Texas State to have any hope of coming up with a big year. For FIU, this is one of the most winnable road games on the slate.

Pull this off, and after starting the season with Bryant, and with New Mexico State and UConn coming up, there’s a shot at a stunning 4-1 start if everything goes right.

FIU Golden Panthers: 2021 Fun Stats

– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 181 – FIU 65
– Sacks: Opponents 41 for 281 yards – FIU 14 for 70 yards
– Time of Possession: Opponents 33:04 – FIU 26:22

O, D Breakdown | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
FIU Top 10 Players | FIU Schedule

FIU Golden Panthers Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

FIU Golden Panthers Season Prediction, What Will Happen

It’s not going to happen right away, but it’ll happen.

Mike MacIntyre is a good football coach who’ll eventually bring wins to FIU. For this year, though, it’s about putting the pieces in place to build around and to simply be more competitive.

Last year’s season and team ran out of steam almost instantly – there wasn’t a close game over the last two months.

The offense failed to score 20 points in five of the last six games, the defense played like it had eight men on the field, and now things are going to be different.

There’s the normal “new energy” comments coming from everyone around a program with a new coaching staff, but the faster offense and defensive-minded attitude overall might just be enough to come up with a few wins.

Set The FIU Golden Panthers Regular Season Win Total At … 3

There’s going to be a win over Bryant to start the season, and beating UConn in Riccardo Silva is a must. The road game at New Mexico State is a 50/50 game, and there might be some sort of a shocker somewhere along the way.

There isn’t a game against a Power Five program, Conference USA has thinned out with the losses to the Sun Belt, and there should be more than enough winnable games to shoot for at least four wins.

But FIU has a long way to go. Just coming up with a few victories would be a big step.

FIU Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
FIU Top 10 Players | FIU Schedule

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams