FIU DEFENDER CARLAN JONES
The FIU women's soccer team is off to its best start in conference play in a decade. One reason has been the FIU defense, which Jones (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) is a part of. The Panther defense leads the Sun Belt in least goals allowed (0.70 goals-per-game). Jones has been playing D most of her life as she was a field hockey goalie in high school. What she has no defense for are the Miley Cyrus comparisons she gets around FIU.
PP: So where did your interest in surfing come from?
CJ: I like surfing, because we have such a beach culture back home in Virginia Beach and we try and be like a surf place, but we're not, because there are no waves [laughs]. I tried surfing and I could stand up on the board. I fell off the first time, but then I learned how to surf on our puny waves.
PP: Is it true that your high school, Bayside, was the inspiration for the high school name in the TV show "Saved By The Bell"?
CJ: Yeah, it was named after us. The show's producer, Peter Engel, was at a local college in Virginia, Old Dominion, at the time and he really liked the name Bayside High so he named the high school in the show after our high school.
PP: If you were on "Saved By The Bell", which character would you play?
PP: You are a recreational therapy major. Do you want to practice medicine with that or do some other line of work?
CJ: There are different aspects of the major. Like there is this thing I did back home where kids would come out on Saturdays and you would play soccer with them. It's kind of like that where you use recreation as therapy. We do it as well with swimming and basketball.
PP: You played field hockey in high school before coming to FIU. Would you consider that sport more like hockey or soccer?
CJ: It's kind of a lot like soccer. There are 11 players on the field and you pretty much have the same positions. You just have a stick and wear shin guards and a mouth guard. I played goalie and I had a lot of pads. That would be more like hockey.
PP: As a goalie, what was the hardest shot you took?
CJ: I was warming up and our assistant principal was a former professional field hockey player and he shot it and hit me right where my pads were not. I got a black and blue mark on my arm.
PP: Carlan is not too common a name for a girl. Where did you get your name from?
CJ: It comes from my grandfather. He was named Carlis. I was named after all guys. My middle name is Vann and my uncle's name is Vann.
CJ: It is just a different dynamic. This team feels newer, because we are playing more freshmen than we have before. Last year, the returning players and seniors were the core of the team. This year we have the returners and the freshmen both contributing.
CJ: There are some football players here that say I look like Miley Cyrus (bottom, right). In particular one football player really thinks I look like her. I don't know the name of the football player, but I call him Bubba, because he looks like Bubba from "Forrest Gump". I don't even know any Miley Cyrus songs.
THE S BAR (11995 SW 26 Street) WILL BE HOSTING ANOTHER FIU WATCH PARTY THIS SATURDAY for the FIU/Pitt game. Game time is 3:30 p.m. There will be food and drink specials all throughout the afternoon. One prize giveaway during the trivia contest at the S Bar will be the 10th year Sun Belt football anniversary book that includes a story on the history of FIU Football written by yours truly. You can buy the book for $35 at sunbeltsports.org OR you can show up to the S Bar on Saturday and win the book.
chiaPanther: How do you see [Sun Belt] shaping after 4 weeks?
PP: If Middle Tennessee QB Dwight Dasher is his old self when he returns, then the Blue Raiders will be the team to beat. It should be interesting this Tuesday when MT plays Troy. After just four weeks, I think the SBC is wide open after MT, if Dasher is still Dasher. Should Dasher struggle, then the conference race becomes a six-team race. If FIU can play the D it played vs. Rutgers and Texas A&M, then the Panthers will be right in the thick of the SBC race. The offense will be there for FIU.
LonePanther: Pete, have you heard anything about the scouts that were there at the game to look at Gaitor and GE? Do you think AG and GE improved their stock in that game?
PP: AG has gotten off to a tremendous start in his senior season. GE showed what he is capable of last week and all through 2008. AG's stock should continue to rise and he could end up being a mid-round selection next April. GE has all the tools: hands, size and above average speed to be playing on Sundays next season.