FIU DEFENSIVE BACK ANTHONY GAITOR
As one of the top defensive backs in the Sun Belt Conference, Anthony Gaitor (left, thanks Sam Lewis photo) has led FIU in interceptions in all three seasons he has played. Gaitor currently has 11 career interceptions which places him second all-time at FIU behind Nick Turnbull's 16 picks. As usual AG has been a big part of the FIU D this season with a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown at Texas A&M that gave the Panthers a 20-6 lead. Last week, AG stopped cold a third down run by Western Kentucky and then blitzed on fourth down to help FIU secure its victory against WKU. Although most remember Gaitor's defensive prowess, not everyone remembers how to spell Gaitor as G-A-I-T-O-R.
PP: I'm sure there are many times when people misspell your last name as G-A-T-O-R. What's the strangest place you have seen it spelled wrong?
AG: People will spell it wrong a lot when they text me. But on my arm is probably the strangest place it has been misspelled. [Gaitor shows a tattoo on his right arm that is spelled G-A-T-O-R].
AG: I wrote it on the paper as G-A-I-T-O-R when I gave it to the tattoo shop to do it on my arm. I didn't realize until a couple of weeks later when I saw it that they had spelled it wrong [laughs]. It's no big deal. I think it was kind of funny.
PP: The defense shouts "Roll Call" at practice after a big play. How did that come about?
AG: It's our way of getting ourselves hyped after a big play in practice. Toronto Smith came up with that. He said it one time and the rest of defense responded to him. When he yells "roll call", the rest of the defense answers him by yelling "aru, aru". It's like a dog barking sound that we make.
PP: What's more satisfying for you: returning an interception for a touchdown like you did against Texas A&M or making a tackle to help seal a game like you did last Saturday against Western Kentucky?
AG: It depends on the situation. It depends on how the game is going, but you can never be upset about putting points on the board. So if I had to choose I would say getting an interception for a touchdown, but that tackle on third down to help us win last week was good too. (Gaitor, 7, left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo)
PP: You don't really cover T.Y. much in practice, but you guys are godbrothers and have played football together since you were kids. When you have covered him since you were kids or even now in practice, who wins?
AG: Ah, we've been going back and forth ever since we were kids. Some times he has his days getting by me and there are other days when it's my turn and he can't get past me. It's back and forth all the time.
PP: You wore No. 26 as a freshman here and then went to No. 7. What was the reason for the number switch?
AG: In high school at the All-Star Game I wore No. 7 and I returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown. That was lucky No. 7 for me so I wanted to wear that number after that. When I came to FIU, No. 7 wasn't available when I was a freshman so I just took whatever number they gave me and went with the flow.
PP: Your high school alma mater, Northwestern, takes on Columbus on national TV this week. How is that game going to turn out?
PP: Do you own a pair of gator shoes?
AG: No [laughs], but I own a pair of Lacoste shirts (right) with the gator logo on them.
The FIU men's basketball team opens practice for the 2010-11 season on Friday at 9 p.m. Practice is closed, but we will try to get something on here for you about the Panthers hoopsters. You can check out a video of the team's new locker room and meeting room HERE
Like alt7787 and Edward J. Wall mentioned in the comments section of earlier posts, El Monstruo Antwan Barnes (right, thanks SL photo) has been signed by the San Diego Chargers. Although it is not the same shade of FIU blue and gold, EM is wearing blue and gold again.
Jsuarez88: Pete, Awesome work on this site. Couple questions... 1. Whats the status with Thatcher Starling? I see a frosh wearing his number in one of your pictures... 2. What's the status on Ariel Martinez and that leg injury he had a few weeks back?
PP: Thank you, Jsuarez88. Starling is done for the season with a back injury. Freshman Isame Faciane is wearing No. 99 now. Faciane recorded his first of many career sacks last week against WKU. Martinez is also out for the season with a leg injury.
PantherPride: Pete, could you suggest having the whole team throw up the Panther Claw during the alma mater? If the entire team is doing it, it would definitely catch on.
PP: I will let them know.
chiaPanther: Pete, Again, love the five question segments.... Are the beat writers the same guys you've always dealt with? If so, do they ask you about the resignation post? Just wondering.
PP: Yes, for the most part they are. They've asked about that post and many said it had to be done and they enjoyed it.
FIUer: Pete, when a game is blacked out on ESPN3 will it still be available on replay?
PP: Blacked out games have been available afterward on replay.