Mario Cristobal: There's something special going on at FIU

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday August 13, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on August 13, 2012

It seems Mario Cristobal is rumored for every major college head-coaching job each offseason, but he has remained at Florida International and is going into his sixth season in Miami.

Coming off an 8-5 season and second-straight bowl appearance, the Golden Panthers are riding high, and Cristobal is seeing increased respect for his program.

"There's a tremendous buzz around here," he told "Recruiting has really taken off to a high level, we've got a lot of pride and we believe in ourselves. There's something special going on here."

The Panthers will have to deal with the loss of receiver T.Y. Hilton, who graduated as was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the NFL Draft. Cristobal didn't point to one player, saying it will have to be a complete team effort to make up for that loss.

"Collectively. With the play of the offensive line, quarterback, receivers, everybody," Cristobal said. "He's one of the most dynamic players in history and it's hard, but the moment is here and everybody is ready to step up. We have units that are capable of getting the job done."

FIU begins its season against Duke on Sept. 1.




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Chris Vannini is a lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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