Panthers put on a show at the Conference USA media day

Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics

By Brett Shweky/Sports Director


The Panthers put on a show as Conference USA held its annual Media Day at the DFW Marriott in Dallas, Texas on July 19 and 20. Each team affiliated with the conference had their head coach and two of their players represent their school and discuss the upcoming season. Representing FIU was Head Coach Butch Davis, senior quarterback Alex McGough and senior linebacker Anthony Wint.

Recently hired head coach, Butch Davis, was the center of attention for Panthers at the Conference USA Media Day and discussed what he missed the most about coaching.

“I think the obvious reason is that you miss coaching, but also you miss the kids,” Coach Davis said. “If you’re going to be a coach, you have to love the kids. You have to like the idea of being able to make a difference in their lives, whether it’s educational or football-wise and I missed it. I missed being in the locker room, out on the practice field, the meeting rooms, and stuff, and just being around kids.”

Coach Davis, who is the fourth coach in the program’s history, served as a college football studio analyst for ESPN before joining FIU on November 15, 2016. Davis was hired by ESPN in 2014 and contributed coverage on College Football Live, ESPN Radio and Sportscenter. Davis was also hired by NFL Network and spent a small tenure with the sporting news outlet.

Davis discussed that his time spent with television enabled him to learn about coaching from a unique perspective.

“(With) ESPN, one of the things that helped me was, is it gave me the opportunity to see a lot of programs behind the scenes and learn things to see how everybody else was doing it,” Coach Davis said. “They would send me to Alabama, to Auburn, Florida State, last year I had the chance to go and spend some time with Mike Reilly at Nebraska, and when you go to these programs, you kind of get a chance to see how other people are skinning the cat. How do they do recruiting, how they do the offseason, how they do training camp, that part was good. But from the media aspect, you also understand how important the exposure is for your program, to get a chance for the media to come and see these guys (the players) and get to know them as people and not just a jersey number.”

For senior quarterback Alex McGough, he was asked at the league Media Day what part of his game he worked on the most this spring.

“This spring I focused on myself coming off of last season. Coming off last season, it wasn’t the best season that I had hoped for coming in, so I went back and watched video of myself and the decisions that I made. Sometimes I felt that I was forcing it, so I was just looking at myself and learned from my mistakes”.

McGough finished the 2016 season completing 167-of-286 passes for 1,891 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Tampa, Florida native averaged 18.56 completions-per-game, which ranked sixth in conference last season. The senior quarterback missed the final three games of the season due to injury.

Linebacker Anthony Wint, who was given a preseason All-Conference USA selection this past week on July 17th, discussed the hiring of defensive coordinator Brent Guy and what he has instilled in the defense so far.

“I feel that he demands a lot out of us; me, (linebacker) Treyvon (Williams) and all of the guys,” Wint said. “What we have now [is] he’s let us know that that’s not enough and that he’s going to demand a lot from us with the linebackers being the most experienced group. Us being good enough isn’t good enough, we have to be great or even better than that.”

The Homestead, Florida native also put an emphasis on forcing more turnovers going into the upcoming season when asked about what element of the defense needs to improve the most.

“Not just for the defense but for myself. I’ve put it on myself, and I’ve talked to the other guys too, that we can’t just be tacklers sometimes,” explained Wint. “We’ve got to knock the ball out, we have to force interceptions, force sacks and make negative plays like coach (Davis) said. That’s what’s going to elevate our defense. Just not getting off the field, but catching a pick-six and getting back on the field.”

As a junior, Wint was given a Second-Team All-Conference USA selection and finished the year with 108 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The 108 tackles on the year were the sixth-most in school history, while his 244 career tackles rank ninth all-time at FIU.

The Panthers will begin the 2017 season on Thursday, August 31, when FIU travels to Orlando, Florida, to face the UCF Golden Knights.

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